Later this month (May 2017), I will have been married to my beautiful wife, Lauren, for nine years. Looking back over this time, it seems like so much has happened during the last almost-decade. From new jobs, to meeting new people, to moving into and out of a few apartments (one place, which we lovingly refer to as “the bug apartment,” we had to evacuate due to swarms of mating termites), to schooling, to vacations and road trips, it has been a very busy nine years. At times it seems to have been a long time ago, but in other respects it seems like just yesterday… ***CUE FLASHBACK MUSIC ***
It was May of 2008. We were smack-dab in the middle of the square-toed shoe era. People wearing Ed Hardy and Affliction shirts paired with boot cut jeans seemed to be popping up everywhere. Beyoncé was singing to all the single ladies, and Taylor Swift was in the midst of going from new artist to household name. But those were the furthest things from my mind that Saturday.
On that fateful Saturday, as I walked the aisle, flashbulbs went off. I grinned a cheesy grin, a little embarrassed at all the extra attention, but I proceeded onward to meet my destiny. I was dressed in black, from head to toe. Everything from my tie to my shoes was on point. No one could say I didn’t look the part for what was about to happen. As the music played, absent was my usual lazy swagger; it was replaced by a slow, but deliberate walk to my destination. This was it. The moment that was the culmination of everything that had happened over the last four years was here. I caught a glimpse of my family and all the other guests beaming with pride for what we were about to do. I thought back over the last four years, and tried to remember everything that had gone on. I thought about all the struggles and sleepless nights. I thought about the all the hard work and dedication it had taken to get to this point. I thought about the fact that I had no idea what I was going to do for a living or ultimately what I was supposed to do with my life. But, I was resolute. Even though I didn’t know what the future held, I was here, and I was going to accomplish what I had come to do. In that moment, it felt like we were the only two people in the world. It was almost as if time stood still as I tried to muster those two special words. I swallowed hard, and my lips began to form these two verbal symbols of affection…
I then shook the hand of the President of Geneva College, took my diploma in one hand, flipped the tassel on my cap to the other side, and breathed a sigh of relief. I was a college graduate! Two weeks later, Lauren and I would get married but that is a different story for a different blog.
Needless to say, though, May 2008 was a very eventful month. It was a bit scary, though. I graduated but did not have a job lined up. Lauren had been working full time and saving money for months prior, but I still had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life. I felt generally called toward some type of ministry, but, at this time, God was not calling me to be a pastor. I wasn’t ready, either. I knew I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree eventually, but I was so burned out from the home stretch of school and planning a wedding, I couldn’t even imagine jumping right back into school. So, to recap, I earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Christian Ministries and Philosophy, felt a long-term call into ministry (possibly as a college or seminary professor, which would take several more years of school), couldn’t bring myself to begin graduate school work, and, to top it all off, I was now a 22-year-old college graduate newlywed whose 19-year-old wife was making just above minimum wage, and had no clue about how to support us financially, other than money from our wedding and a little bit of savings. At this point, just as in many points in my life, I was confused about my direction. While I was in college, I felt God drawing me toward a ministry degree (but not pastoral ministry) and more schooling. I also didn’t want to push my relationship with Lauren off for another few years while I figured things out, because I knew that she was the person for me. Now that we were married, that was no longer an option, anyway.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I supposed do with my life?” This was the very question jobless graduate Zach was asking. Even though I couldn’t see it at the time, God’s answer to that question was for me to be patient and trust Him. Like I wrote in my blog for March, “Marty McFly and the Lord of the Fourth Dimension,” we panic because we can’t yet see how everything is going to work out. I am a doer. A lot of times, in my mind, action equals results. I just assumed faithful actions would yield speedy results.
Sometimes, even though we are being faithful and we want a certain outcome, there is no way to put a rush on God’s plan coming to pass. We might be doing everything according to God’s Word and faithfully seeing His direction for our lives though prayer and seeking wise, godly counsel, but we feel like we are spinning our wheels. That’s how I felt during the summer of 2008. I still feel that way sometimes. Patience is difficult, but it ultimately comes down to the issue of whether or not I trust God enough to keep following, even at times when I don’t think it makes sense or things aren’t happening quickly enough for my liking.
If you seek God and trust Him, He will provide you with what you need to carry out his plan. That might be by means of a physical provision (food, money, housing, job, etc.), or it could be through providing courage, strength, or perseverance in times of sacrifice. In July of 2008, it worked out that I ended up getting a full-time job that helped pay the bills and allowed me enough time outside of work to further my education, enrolling in school full-time while working 40 hours per week. God continued to provide for me in a way in which I was able to continue pursuing His plan for my life. He has been in the process of doing something similar over the last several months. I just have to remember to be patient during the process and trust His timing and His outcome.
This is tough for me. Over the past few months, we have done the song “It Is Well” by Kristene DiMarco for worship on Sunday mornings. The chorus and bridge parts of the song really hit home in this situation, as they say:
"Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.
Through it all, through it all, it is well.
Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you, and it is well with me.
So let go, my soul, and trust in Him;
The waves and wind still know His name."
No matter what you’re going through, God has the situation under control. But, in order to recognize this, you have to continue to seek God’s will and plan for your life and be patient with God’s timing. Just continue to press on, let go, and trust in Him, and He will see you through!