Let me tell you the story of how I married my husband. We’d met in college and clicked immediately. At the time I was about to graduate and move halfway across the country to obtain my Master’s degree. Knowing full well the likelihood of a long distance relationship working was slim to none, I quickly ended anything before it could ever really start. We remained friends, lost touch and life moved on. Seven years later I couldn’t get his name out of my head. A friend’s mother once said that when you couldn’t get a person out of your head, you were supposed to pray for them. So, I did. Weeks later the prayers turned into, “God, do you want me to find this guy or what?” Sure enough, the answer was yes.
It turned out that he had just bought a home 10 minutes from where I was living. He was single. He’d held onto the picture our friend took of us the night we met at her party for seven years. And if all this isn’t serendipitous enough, I’ll add to it that had I said yes to any number of job offers I’d received in the interim, I never would have reconnected with the man who would become my husband.
Shortly before we met again, I was offered a job with a prestigious publishing company. This was ideal for me because I’d always wanted to be a writer. I could have moved and started a career that would’ve fulfilled my professional goal. I thought about that job offer recently after a long, exhausting day covered in spit up and drool. At the time, the idea of accepting the position brought on more anxiety than relief, and for some reason I couldn’t quite explain I chose my gut over my head and said no to the job. No one understood my choice. The girl who’d gotten me the interview never spoke to me again, she was so mad.
For years, the subtextual, “You could’ve done something with your life,” kept running through my head. Never had it echoed more loudly than during the intense exhaustion that comes with new motherhood. The confusion of family and friends became judgment in my overtired eyes. Women with Master’s degrees and career potential don’t give that up to become human spit rags. I was beginning to feel like I had failed at life when I came across a line in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: “If you want to be a mother, morning sickness won’t bother you.” Being pregnant, 38 hours of labor, 5 months of exhaustion (and counting!) hadn’t bothered me the way that job offer had. That’s when I realized that motherhood is my big magic.
Women have been given the impression that success depends on career accomplishment and fulfillment on public approval. The truth is that happiness needs none of these things to thrive. True happiness needs trust in God and the gut He’s given you to make the right choices. Anne Shirley once said, “I went looking for my dreams outside of myself and discovered it’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it.” I am a writer and I’ve brought an amazing life into this world. I’m too busy looking at him to look back.