Friday, August 2, 2013

How'd I get here?

Growing up, I wasn't the girl who longed to be Cinderella and I didn't dream of the perfect wedding. Actually thoughts of wearing a long, white dress, standing in front of all those people and kissing a man kind of freaked me out. I was a tomboy and becoming a wife was not a goal of mine.

During my teenage years, those thoughts really didn't change. Many of my friends fell in love and so did I - they were attracted to the cute boys in our class, but a round, orange ball caught my attention. Through high school and into college, basketball was truly the love of my life.

An injury changed things and the game was no longer the same. My heart was broken and it seemed my life fell apart. Depression set in and loneliness took over.

As friends got married and even my little sister planned her wedding, I wondered what my future held. I'd always loved kids, so the thought of being a mom was good; but I was in my 20's and had been on one date, which made me think marriage was not an option.

The only time a boy had chosen me was for the kickball game at recess. As a student that really didn't bother me, but when I became a teacher it made me wonder.

I can recall thinking -
I'm not pretty enough for a guy to love me.
I'm not good enough to be someone's wife.
No boy has ever loved me why would one start now.
Maybe my students are the only kids I'm supposed to love and perhaps the team I coach is the only family I will have.

And friend, there were other thoughts I entertained, ones I've never shared til now...I thought -
What if I'm different?
What if it's not a man I'm suppose to love?

Though I never felt attracted to another woman or had the desire to pursue that type of relationship, this thinking confused me. I was raised homosexuality was wrong, but in college I saw people live this way and listened to others say it was OK. Me, the girl who'd been an athletic tomboy and grew up intimidated by guys, wondered if that's what my future held.

Thankfully, I didn't have to wonder (or worry) long...at the age of 23, I picked up a book that changed my life forever. I have no idea why I thought I needed to read Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Good-Bye, but I'm thankful I did.

Through this book, God showed me who I needed to love and when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior, He filled me with His love. As I invested in my relationship with my Creator and began to live as the bride of Christ, God led me to another book. A book I'd owned for years and one I'd read for information, but my Bible now became a source of transformation filled with words of wisdom.

My eyes were opened to sin in my life and my heart embraced the plan God had for me. He filled me with peace and reminded me happiness wasn't based on my marital status. He showed me NO ONE can love me like He does and I knew His love was enough. He took me to a place where I was OK with being a single woman in my 20's, but better than that I was fine with being the same in  my 80's.

Honestly, as the new millennium began, I really thought 1 Corinthians 7:8, "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do," was a verse God wanted me to live out. I was willing to submit to His plans.

Once I got to the place of surrender, God began to reveal the plans He had for me. In April of 2000, I went on my 2nd date and by November of the same year, I was engaged. On July 28, 2001, I became Mrs. Job Beran. 

Today, 12 years later, I look at this picture and have so many thoughts...

We looked so young! 

I can't believe I had wedding pictures taken on a tractor...growing up the only words I ever said related to marriage - "I'm never going to marry a farmer!!" (Word of advice - Never say never!)

I'm so thankful God's ways are better than mine!

I'm reminded that He truly does have a plan for us and He works in ways that we can't imagine!

I'm so grateful that God saved me from what might have been and has blessed me in ways I never expected.

I look at this picture and I see love...not because our marriage is perfect (I may or may not have grumbled when Job left for a week on our anniversary this past Sunday), but our God is!

I also see joy...not because our life is always fun and free of pain, but because the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Finally friends, I see hope because I know it's God that brought me to this place. And if He can take a young woman who's depressed, lonely and contemplating suicide to a 25 year old woman who's willing to give up her life for Him, HE can do anything.

Now as I look at where all this has lead, I'm grateful because I know His work is not yet done, but I also believe He will be faithful to complete it!

Team Beran - The J Crew

Reflecting on where I've been leaves me excited for where I am going. Thinking about what brought me to where I am reminds me that God is in control, but I still need to submit and embrace His plans. Remembering all He's done leaves me grateful...God is the One who intervened and saved me from myself, my sin and the way of the world. He's changed me, drawn me near and blessed me through it all.

Friend, can I ask you - how'd you get to where you are? Think about it, thank God and give Him some glory today!!


2 comments:

  1. Wow Jill... thanking God for your obedience in being so transparent in your own life experiences and struggles! It's AMAZING to see (and some of it first-hand!) all that God has brought you through and doing in you!!! Praise God! Great insights; very applicable to so many situations in life where we find ourselves in a place that looks totally different than what we expected.

    Thank you for the encouragement to continue to trust Him in the unknown and for the example you set for all of us. Keep on using your gifts for the LORD!!!

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    1. Jackie, thank you for sharing your encouraging words. This is a post I tried to avoid, but God led me to share it, so now praying He will use it. Thanks again for your words...they've blessed me.

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