The Real World is Hard

I have some pent up anger towards Morgan regarding his use of windshield wipers. And by use, I mean the fact that it can be pouring down rain, and he refuses to let the wipers run at a fast past. And by “pent up,” I actually mean that I’m incredibly vocal about this anger. In a pseudo-friendly passive aggressive way, of course. #wifeoftheyear

Morgan’s a big fan of the wiper speed that pauses between wipes. Which is great during a nice little sprinkle, but absolutely terrifying when it’s pouring down rain. While I get annoyed when it’s literally impossible to see the road ahead of us, he gets annoyed at the slight squeaky sound when the windshield isn’t quite wet enough for the constant wiping. (I hope my car terminology is impressing you all.)

He sees perfectly fine through the blurriness of the rain-splattered windows, and I just want to see what is ahead of us. I just want to know what’s coming.

Oh what a picture of my heart.

When I talk to those who are about to graduate college, I so want to be encouraging. I want to say, “OH the best is yet to come! You’re going to find a job you love! It’s going to be easy! And always fun! And you’ll love being an adult!”

But I wish more people had been blunt with me. The past two years have been really, really difficult.

We’ve moved into the three different homes, lived in three towns, and traveled all over the place.

Between the two of us, we’ve had eight jobs. EIGHT JOBS. I’m sort of embarrassed to actually admit that, but also find it hilarious in a self-deprecating way.

When Morgan and I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013, he had a teaching job lined up in the Roanoke area. I remember thinking, “Nailed it! We’re set!” A paycheck was a paycheck for two recent graduates, and I was thrilled to know what our lives were going to look like.

Look how naive we were!(Look how naive and adorable we were.)

There was a sense of security in knowing we’d have money coming in each month, and we started to focus on what was next. Always what’s next. I got a job at a preschool, we got plugged into an incredible church, and we lived happily-ever-after in a sweet tiny house. In my head, I had already jumped to forever. We’d live there forever, have these friendships forever, and have paychecks FOREVER!

What came next was unexpected, and it rocked our worlds. Morgan quit his teaching job a month into the school year. This has a big story tied to it, and we have a lot of peace that it was the best decision at the time.

All the security, all the plans, all the expectations, all the peace— poof. In a matter of days, we abandoned 3/4ths of our income and the sole reason we had moved to Roanoke in the first place. Not to mention we were left in the wake of a really terrible job situation which turned into a really terrible heart situation and a slap-in-the-face within the first six months of our newlywed bliss. I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I remember those nights we’d sit silently at the dinner table, both holding back meltdowns because we felt like two little infants thrown into the real world. We simply had no clue what we were doing.

A temporary new job fell into place quickly, but so did the job search process. We were both working at a local homeless shelter, so we were grateful to be serving our community–but, financially, we knew it couldn’t be long term.

Over the next year, Morgan interviewed for nine jobs all over the east coast. That temporary job turned permanent without us wanting it to, but we were left without a choice.

My husband—a man who has worked in the agriculture field for 13 out of his 25 years, grew up on a massive research farm, and has two degrees in the field—literally couldn’t get a job. He was told he was both over-qualified and under-qualified, which was just about the most frustrating thing ever. One door would close on a job, and another would open. After each interview, we’d get this refreshed sense of confidence, we’d plan a potential move, and we’d let all our prayer warriors know that “We think this is it!” And over and over again, we’d humbly return to them, saying, “Not this time.”

And me, the girl who so deeply desires to see our future clearly and confidently, had to sit back and trust in the only One who knows what’s ahead. It was as if, when we got married, I thought I could snatch our plans and our future out of the Lord’s hands–confident that my plans were perfect and His were second-best.

I was being forced to sheepishly hand them back over. Not because I wanted to, but because there was literally nothing I could do.

In this still, small, overwhelmingly powerful voice, I heard God say, “I know exactly what I’m doing. I made you, I know you, and I love you. Trust me.”

Slowly, my grip let up, my anger softened, and I learned to rest in His promised faithfulness.

The God who holds the whole universe in the palm of His hand, who knows the names of each and every star, and who so purposefully orchestrated the most beautiful story line from the creation in Genesis, to new life in the Gospels, to forever life in Revelation, didn’t stop there. Our lives–our messed up, unexpected lives–were part of the big story.

God provides constantly. He’s not smaller than meeting our needs even before we cry out for help. He can do whatever the heck He wants. I think He does that all the time, but we’re so unaware. Because in the midst of abundant provision, we are quick to forget who the Provider is.

It’s in these moments of I-just-want-to-give-up-and-hide-and-cry that His provision is proclaimed. He is the Savior of our souls, but also the Savior of our joy and our hope and our peace. He saves it and brings it back to life because He loves us. He absolutely adores us.

Life after college can be really, really hard. As much as you might think you know what you’re doing, you have absolutely know clue. You’re 24. And guess what? That’s okay.

From teaching preschool, I learned about patience and the joy in simplicity. From our jobs at the shelter, we learned that our hearts were huge and they broke for the homeless. And from teaching, we both learned that we are not in control–which, surprisingly, is wonderful. Now, we’re in such a fun place of resting in His provision, but we’ve learned to let go of unrealistic expectations about post-graduation life.

There’s this stupid notion that you’re supposed to land the perfect job RIGHT NOW, find the love of your life RIGHT NOW, move into the most wonderful home RIGHT NOW, have it all together RIGHT NOW. Which is so ridiculous because we are just a few short years past being teenagers.

My mom has wise advice whenever I come to her freaking out about how our lives are a hot mess. She says four simple words:

“Life is for living.”

With living comes life. With hardships, confusion, and unmet expectations come understanding that this life is so not about me and my glory and all about Him and His glory.

Those obnoxiously blurry windshields? Just another beautiful reminder that I’m really, truly not supposed to see every single thing that’s ahead. I’d rather trust the sovereign One.

(Dear Morgan, We are supposed to see some things. That’s why we should use windshield wipers. Love, your wife.)

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2 thoughts on “The Real World is Hard

  1. Ally says:

    Hey Holly!
    I know it’s been forever but I saw this post on my newsfeed and had to click the link because of the all-too-true title. Girl you have no idea how much this resonates with me (& Kenny). We’re picking up and moving back to Richmond next month after an unexpected (and unwanted) start to the year. But we are trusting in the Lord and I’m working HARD on letting go of the controls. Thanks for sharing love, hope all is well!
    Ally
    P.S. I’d love to get a meal at some point this summer! You can give me married life advice and we can vent about curveballs and unforeseen pitstops.

  2. Leslie says:

    Holly -Love your blogs. You are an exceptional writer and so glad you are in your field now!! And the TITLE of your blog is YOU!

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