When I was growing up, I had a picture of how my life was going to look. It was eerily similar to my parents’ life—marriage at a young age, children, immersed in the church, and no major struggles or issues.
If this picture was a Polaroid, it would contain a smiling couple with perfect hair and healthy bodies, two kids in coordinating outfits, perhaps posed for the church directory in which the happy family volunteered regularly and devoted much of their time, just like the generations in the family before them did.
Because that’s what you do as a Baptist woman in the South, right? (Besides learning how to properly peel crawfish at an early age.)
I had this picture in my mind because that’s what I saw lived out in front of me during my childhood and teenage years. As it turns out, my parents did have struggles in their early adult years; they just looked different than mine. Not to mention, that pre-social-media generation was typically better at keeping private things private.
I was ready to live happily ever after, so I got right to it. I was married at age 20, had my first child at age 24, and was happy in my church home. I led a women’s prayer group once a week, and my daughter went to AWANAs, and we hosted friends in our house in the country that I kept impeccably clean. I cooked meals, and wrote devotionals, and exercised regularly, and had my first fiction novel published in my mid-20’s. Things were great. Somehow, in my mind, I’d concocted this silent deal with the Lord. I kept up my end by being a “good wife,” a “good mom,” and a “good person.” His end of the deal was to keep anything too bad from happening to me.
But bad things started happening anyway.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Joao Silas