Monday, March 28, 2016

Lucky number 13

"Lucky" isn't a term I generally use as a descriptor for my life. I'm a person of faith, so I see God's hand in my small daily interactions as well as in big life-changing situations.

But I've really come to dislike the word "blessed" when describing my life, too. It's overused and often gives evidence of a prosperity theology with which I'm very uncomfortable. For example, seeing a Facebook status with "I just got a new car! #soblessed" makes me cringe. God does not bless us with stuff like some kind of divine lottery, we work hard to earn money to purchase things we want or need. God doesn't love--and therefore bless--you more because you enjoy a higher standard of living here in the U.S. than someone living in, say, Nepal or Nigeria. That's just luck. 

See how that word gets tricky?

Anyway, both Todd and I see strokes of pure luck and God's obvious presence and provision in our nearly 13 years of marriage, which we celebrate this month. 

Here are 13 of those instances in no particular order.

1. A few years ago when we were about to be without a place to live for an undetermined amount of time with two small children to provide for, my family graciously allowed us to live in my recently deceased Grandmother's house until we sorted out our next steps. We helped clean it out and prepare it for sale after we left. During our 14 months there, Todd was appointed to his first church in central Illinois. 

2. I discovered I was pregnant with Ava on the Catholic Feast of the Annunciation, when Mary was visited by the angel and told that she was going to have a baby. I had been praying the rosary for months and was deeply distressed that after losing a pregnancy several months before, perhaps I'd never be able to have another child. And then I was pregnant. Ava is named in Mary's honor (Ava Marie=Ave Maria=Hail, Mary). 

3. The cars almost always need major repairs the same week as our tax refund check arrives every. single. year. This year was no exception.

4. Madeline was born at 4:02 in the afternoon on June 14, 2005. 402 was the number of my Grandfather's ship in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II.

5. Maddie was also baptized a year to the day that we buried that same Grandfather, on September 22, 2005. I was pregnant with Maddie at his funeral, but I didn't yet know. 

6. My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary the year Todd and I were married. Being able to celebrate with them at our reception is one of my warmest memories of my wedding day. 

7. When we were expecting Harper, we realized that she'd still be tiny at Annual Conference 2014. We joked that it would be funny if we had her baptized at the same ceremony in which Todd was commissioned--just get it all done at once! And then it happened. I still get teary thinking about that special day. 

8. Todd began a job at our church in Michigan while he was starting his classes in seminary, which was also the same week his unemployment benefits ran out.

9. The same week we learned that Todd would be unable to continue the process for ordination in the Michigan conference, we were invited to a meeting that would put him on the path to ordination in the conference he grew up in back in Illinois.  

10. If it hadn't been for the (possibly bad) influence of my suite mate and sorority sister on my 19th birthday, Todd and I would never have met. We met at a bar in Albion, and I hadn't really wanted to go out that night. But I'm glad I did.  

11. Todd had planned to propose to me several weeks before he actually did. But I may have mentioned in a conversation that I maybe wasn't sure I wanted to get married. So he waited a few weeks until we were both sure. My Dad calls this our "false start". 

12. Just before we left Michigan to move to Illinois for Todd's first appointment, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We took a picture of the girls on the same bridge we stood on our wedding day. 

13. My career has shifted a lot in the past few years. I've gone from teaching in a classroom to being home full-time with my children to working part-time for a non-profit. And it all feels right. I have the skills to do all of it. My education and life experiences have prepared me for most any work structure, which is good, because in life, luck favors the prepared. 

In what ways are you lucky? Are you celebrating any significant anniversaries this year?  

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