Two years ago, Chris was moving into his new house and Hannah and I had gone over to clean it. I stood in the bathtub scrubbing down the walls, and Chris was telling me about this beautiful girl he was excited to go out with that night… his first date with Arielle.
They had a great time and went on to many more wonderful dates, and we got to hear all about her—but he made us wait a couple of months before we could meet her. He was afraid we’d wreck it!
Finally he brought her over to meet the family. We were all so excited to meet her, but we had to act cool, because, we didn’t want to wreck it! We all had dinner—somehow I didn’t even burn anything—and we loved her instantly.
We ended up pulling out photo albums of Chris when he was little. Never felt compelled to do that before, but here we were pulling them out. Arielle was looking at pictures and reading the captions that I’d written and she was laughing. The siblings were laughing at the pictures—the clothes and the haircuts—and I heard Arielle’s voice under it all saying: “Is anybody reading this?? This is funny!” Well, of course, who doesn’t love someone who thinks they’re funny? But it was more than that. Arielle and I were like kindred spirits. The more I’ve gotten to know her, the more I love her. Now I get her as a precious friend, a daughter-in-love, and a sister in Christ. Thanks for marrying her, Chris, so that could all work out.
Well, Chris, your dad is right about you—you are gifted, talented, smart—you could do anything you set your mind to. Really: the world is your oyster.
Now, I’d like to retell a family story. When your dad proposed to me, he had it all planned out! We were in New York City; he took me to dinner, then surprised me with a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park. He had his speech in his pocket. He’d even planned on the fact that he is allergic to horses. No problem—the horses are up front, we were in the buggy. But he hadn’t thought of the horse blankets in the buggy! Soon Rob’s eyes were watering, and his paper was smearing. Add to that the falling darkness, and the canopy trees that blocked any remaining light. He couldn’t read a thing! My husband, who plans everything, had to wing it!
It was kind of hard to grasp it without the notes—what? what are you asking me? to marry you? But I got the gist of it and said yes.
I tell the story—25 years later—because of the whole allergy-thing and too-dark-to-read-thing! The flubs are what make it a story. The unexpecteds, the not-planned-fors, the unanticipateds, make up real life. They add the spice and the variety and the character. Without the surprises, we don’t see God. The flubs are HOW God develops our relationship with Him.
Chris, who knows what your horse blanket or falling darkness will be—those things that throw your plans askew, things that show that despite your best effort, you’re not ultimately in charge? Perhaps you’ve already had glimpses of a few of those things, but mostly, they’re yet to come.
You, like your dad, like to have everything planned. I encourage you to take joy in the journey. The more you let God take you off-road, the more thrilling—and peaceful—your life will be. And it will be thrilling! If your goal is to achieved all your goals and reach the end in a straight line, the best you can be is mildly disappointed. But if you let God take you off-road, on paths He wants to show you, you’ll have an amazing journey. And then, He’ll pause and show you a vista you could never have seen from any other vantage point… and it will be breathtaking.
I pray that you leave room for God do what He wants to do. It’ll be better than you ever could have dreamed!