Wait… Can’t we just rewind?

Waahh… WAIT.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be… right? I’m supposed to be living on Cloud 9 in the land of Honeymooner’s Bliss where everything’s bright, sunny and perfect…
Well what happened? Could someone please tell me how I got here?
Ugh. Can’t we just rewind and start things over? Back to September 4th?

If only this wasn’t the dialogue that’s played over in my head – and truthfully more times than it should…
It has been 2 months and 19 days since I married my best friend and love of my life. And it was a day I will never EVER forget – literally a dream come true. Soft salty breezes, sweet summer sunshine and a slow peaceful pace flood my sense memory as I look over all the moments captured in time by my amazing photographer. Peace. Joy. Anticipation. God’s Presence. His radiant smile. They were all overwhelmingly present on that momentous day.

So many people warned me to expect things to go wrong. To just know that things weren’t going to turn out the way I’d planned. I wanted to say to them, “Ok. I get it. Nothing’s perfect. But maybe your plans just weren’t as thorough, or you didn’t communicate your vision with enough detail… That’s not going to happen at my wedding…”
But I didn’t. I held my tongue. I knew better. I knew I wasn’t above mistakes or oversights. I just smiled. Nodded. And tried to prepare myself to let it all go. But more importantly I prayed.
I prayed over every single detail of our wedding. From the weather, to the seating chart, to finding all the vases, maps and depression glass candelabras. And God provided. In every. single. way. Even down to the light dusting of sun-filtering clouds and perfect 72˚F weather that was definitely not forecasted earlier that week.
It wasn’t perfect. Nothing ever is (excepting our Lord Jesus). The ikea candles burned down too quickly at the reception tables, and Dad and I lingered just a little too long so that instead of walking down the aisle to the beautiful “ah uh a ha uh ah oooh” of Sufjan Steven’s “Holy Holy Holy”, it was in complete silence. But yeah… that’s it.
The two things. Pittance. The closest anything in my life will ever be to perfect.
And as of now, that is the complete truth.

©Kristen Marie Photography

The most common question I’ve been asked over the past 2 months and 19 days is, “So how’s married life treating you?”
Well to be completely honest it’s been pretty rough. I wish someone would’ve warned me, as they did for the actual wedding day, to expect things to go wrong. But that’s real life. Not sure why I’ve been surprised… Now I don’t want to you to think that marriage has been rough. If anything, I am more certain every day that the man I married is a gift from God, and that He knew how much I would need Ryan these last few weeks and months…

 Life has been rough. September 1st and the few days that followed in quiet bliss at a cabin on the Hood Canal seemed like a dream. Come September 5th a rude awakening awaited me. Back to a somewhat tense work environment, the unconscious stress and late nights that led up to the wedding day caught up with me. Exhaustion set in. Come September 9th Exhaustion had not only taken over, it invited it’s friends Fever, Fatigue and Influenza to move in as well.
Fever finally departed after ten days and Influenza followed four days later, but Fatigue and Exhaustion decided to remain indefinitely. It’s taken me 10 weeks, 8 doctors visits, 4 blood tests and 1 urine-analysis to finally feel like we posted an “eviction” notice. But as with most evictions, damage had already been done…
There’s no way you can miss two weeks of work right before a Rep and expect to still perform. And I didn’t. But I did my best to “will” myself back to health. Apparently the mind-over-matter tactic doesn’t always work. As my husband says, I’m good at everything except being sick. Yep, I kinda suck at it. And while I was glad to not pass along the wretched flu bug to any of my co-workers, it was still very hard for me to not dance in the opening Rep of my 10th season with PNB. Still harder was coming back to work feeling less than 100% and unable to give less than 110. In fact, if I’m honest I was feeling around 60% – which in most work situations is passable for a few days, even a few weeks. When you dance for a living, it’s a little different.

How did I go from sixty to zero in so short a time? One moment it was summer, sunshine and smooth sailing. The next it felt like wild wind, rough waves and black stormy weather all around.

And yet in all of this God had a purpose. Finally figuring out that I’ve become gluten-intolerant and that my thyroid function has changed was and is Providential, explaining much of the fatigue and other symptoms that seem to persist. But there’s so much more that He’s teaching me that has nothing to do with my physical body.
I’m learning to literally trust-fall into His arms. To let go of it all. To rest. In Him. In the promises of His Word. That He has does have good things for me. That this is good. Right here. Right now. Where I am today. Even in the storm.

Today is my 29th birthday.
And instead of dancing hard, rehearsing Nutcracker, continuing to rebuild my stamina and strength, I am sitting in my apartment with a bag of peas on my knee writing this post. Just two days ago I had the joy of performing Kylian’s Sechs Tänza on the McCaw Hall stage, my friends and family watching in the audience. Unfortunately during the ballet I injured my knee, most likely tearing my meniscus. So much for stamina and strength. I guess we’ll see about Nutcracker too… If you know me, you know how hard this later one is to swallow.
But for my birthday my dear sweet husband bought me a painting I’ve been pining after for months. And of course, little did I know when I first saw it how appropriate it would be. How profoundly God would use it to encourage me.

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown.” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” ~ Matthew 8:24-26

Jesus is in my boat. What have I to fear? I know that if I’m with Him I’ll be okay, no matter what storm arises – be it 2 months of unknown illness or a meniscus tear. And maybe, just maybe, as I sit back and admire the beautiful painting that will be soon hanging on my wall, I too can sit back and admire the storm that I am in and appreciate the great work of art that the Master Artist is painting out of my life’s current circumstances. It is beautiful. It is good. And I know He will calm the storm in His perfect timing.

So no rewinding. Remembering, yes. And rejoicing in that. But moving forward in the strength and perseverance that Jesus offers. Resting in His good and great purpose. Trust-falling into His arms.

The best birthday gift that I got this year? Not a meniscal tear. Not a painting. It was a peace and a joy and an assurance from our Father that it is going to be a good, a great year.

To see a slideshow of some of our special moments captured my the amazing Kristen Parker and Carly Bish Chaney, set to the song we first danced to as Mr. & Mrs. McEliece click here.

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