June 15, 2014 was the day I married my best friend, a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, and the love of my life. The days leading up to our wedding were a whirlwind–busy, hectic, and incredibly stressful, and not just for me, but I was feeling particularly anxious because I knew it would be the day that forever changed my life. It was the day that marked the “goodbye” to life as I knew it, and a part of me felt like the changes that would soon occur were too great to bear – leaving my home of twenty-two years, saying goodbye to my friends and family, the job I loved, my church, my ministry and musical outlet, my beloved horse, our pets, and beautiful Washington State. I wondered how anyone ever left the love and familiarity of their parent’s home, because it seemed like an overwhelming task looming on the horizon. Even though I knew that marrying Patrick would result in a future far from anything I would have dreamed for myself, I also experienced an immense peace and comfort knowing that I was making a good decision. I knew that even though marrying him would be the cause of upheaval and major life changes, my friendship and deep bond with my husband was also the reason I knew I would be able to endure it. I knew in my heart, with Christ as the cornerstone in our marriage, that we would be able to weather whatever was to come.
I think the tremendous amount of anxiety surrounding The Wedding and The Move, first comes from the fact that I am a worrier, but secondly because I fully expected adapting to our new life in Texas would be a long, painful, and difficult experience, full of tears and overwhelming emotion. In reality, saying goodbye was the hardest part. I miss my family a lot, and because we have only one car, I have spent a lot of time alone at the apartment during the day. I don’t mind that much because I’ve always been a home body and enjoy time to myself, but there is certainly a void where I used to get coffee and visit for hours with my best friend, snuggle kitties while talking to my mom, play video games with my younger brother and laugh at his dorky sense of humor, and enjoy family dinners at home and with Pat’s family. I feel rather domesticated, cooking dinner every night and doing most of the clean up, and little by little unpacking and organizing the apartment. I used to wonder how I would ever manage to do all of these things myself, every day – cooking, cleaning, and other household chores – without the help and guidance of my mother. What I failed to realize was that my parents had taught me far more than I gave them credit for, and had done everything to condition me for life on my own. It’ll be interesting to see how well I’m able to juggle all of these things once I figure out a job, but that’s another hurdle to tackle when the time comes.
I am proud to say that I haven’t let our less-than-ideal circumstances get the best of me. Neither of us particularly like San Angleo because it’s a pretty shabby city, but because of a nearby oil boom, nice apartments are hard to come by, rent is inflated, and groceries and sales tax really aren’t any better than they were back home. Despite the mostly ugly landscape, bad drivers, and heat, we don’t hate our life here and we’re both learning to adapt and make the most of our current situation, which I feel is really important given that we have a military lifestyle to look forward to for the foreseeable future. I’m learning how to better manage our money, make do with what we have, and I have a whole new appreciation for the house my parents built and the various pieces of furniture they have acquired over the course of their marriage and life together. The apartment is still empty feeling and we have a lot of random stuff stacked in strange places, but we’re making it feel like a home, little by little. I have a huge list of projects I want to tackle as finances allow, and I can’t wait to be able to say, “Yeah, I made that!” or “I found that at a thrift store or garage sale and repurposed it!” all because my mom has been a great example of how to be thrifty and creative, and the type to make it yourself instead of buying something from a big box store.
All this to say, this major life change does not feel at all like I expected it to. In my twenty-three years I have never experienced something so outrageously new and different, so I suppose I had no idea what to expect. It makes all the difference in the world to have family and friends praying for us back home, a love for Christ within our marriage, dedication to one another, and of course a God who is constantly taking care of us. Philippians 4:11-13 says, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I am realizing that change alone is not something to fear. The life I’m living now is quite different than the life I had at home with my parents and pets, but at the same time there is a lot that is still the same. I am the same person, and any changes happening within me are good things — I am becoming more independent and drawing on a strength inside that has previously gone untested. I feel God fortifying me in everything I do, and that is a comfort completely immeasurable. Adjusting to married life has been a very seamless transition, and Patrick and I are extremely contented to finally have a home together and the ability to spend quality time with one another. Taking on the added responsibilities of adulthood has felt very natural, too, like shrugging on a coat. It means there is additional stress and worry, like how to pay for rent if our BAH isn’t fixed (which thankfully it has been fixed and we are receiving back pay for last month’s rent that I paid for, as well as additional BAH for over the summer after we were married). We have to handle all of our car repairs, something normally my dad helped me with, both financially along with routine maintenance. Patrick has done a few repairs himself on the Jeep since it’s been acting up, for which I am really proud of him.
I am embracing the adventure, gladly adapting to life in Texas with my husband, and learning a lot along the way. It’s amazing how much more you can see God working in your life when things seem scary and new. There’s been disappointment, apprehension, excitement, compassion, comfort and discomfort, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am so thankful for my husband, supportive and helpful parents and in-laws back home, new friends here in San Angelo, Pat’s job security with the Air Force, and the fact that most of our needs are met by his job. We are far better off than a lot of newlyweds our age, and although we have to be careful with our money, we have food in the fridge, and thanks to so many generous wedding gifts from family and friends, everything we really need. We just bought a couch today and upgraded the cardboard boxes next to the bed with two nightstands from Target. I hung a mirror and one of our favorite engagement photos on the bedroom wall yesterday, and things are starting to settle into place (aside from the four tires sitting in our living room along with several rubbermaid containers filled with saddles, bridles, and horseback riding boots… those still need to find a home).
There’s a lot of work yet to be done, and more adjusting in the future. But overall, change feels pretty darn good.