I look at this picture and I am absolutely blown away at the thoughts and emotions that flood my mind. Most prominently, "I HAD NO IDEA."
I had no idea how good it would be.
I had no idea how well he would love me.
I had no idea how little the actual wedding would matter.
I had no way to know how many times he would hold me gently while I cried.
I had no way to know how strongly he would carry my burdens.
I had no way to know that one awful day I'd look at him and whisper-scream "Get out!" And how blessed I would be that he didn't listen.
I didn't know a thing about whole foods, GAPS diet, or Sensory Processing Disorder.
I didn't know a thing about hyperemesis gravidarum, or diastasis recti.
I didn't know a thing about what tired really meant.
I couldn't anticipate how much of my life would be out of my control-the day to day things like being on time and having a clean shirt.
I couldn't fathom how much I would love my babies the very first millisecond I laid eyes on them.
I couldn't comprehend how complicated it would be to just get showered, let alone dressed and made up.
I look at that girl, and mostly I feel GRACE.
Sweetie, it's okay that you don't deserve such a good man. God is giving him to you as a gift, a blessing. You don't have to "earn" him, you just have to love him. And let him love you, just as messy and complicated as you are. His love will teach you so much about how to love yourself. He will get you there one tiny painful step at a time.
Sweetie, it's okay that you will stare at his entire huge family you hardly knew and completely panic walking down the aisle. Nobody will know what is going through your head, and you will make it to the man. All they remember is the food, anyway. (Side note-anyone getting married in the fall should serve Thanksgiving dinner at the reception. Everyone still goes on and on about it.) The pictures will be great, the food will be great, I would even go as far as to say the vows will be great. But none of that matters as much as forgiving and trying again to love well tomorrow.
Sweetie, you think you are in charge, and you are so wrong. But God knows you. He knows your strong will. He knows your tenacity. So He will teach you in the form of a teeny baby girl who will demonstrate to you daily that you are not in control, and that you will only survive by relying on God. She will reflect to you the clearest image of yourself, and you will stand there scratching your head. The question won't be, "How am I supposed to deal with this?" But rather, "How do people deal with ME? (Because she IS me.)
Sweetie, your body is lean. You count your calories the way you will someday count his breath every night for the first two months of his life. You consume things that you would never fathom feeding your children, because you love them too much to fill them with chemical crap. Someday you will shake your head in disbelief every single time you serve your children a snack in a tea cup, because that used to be how you measured your meals.
Sweetie, that body is also very firm. You worry, as you lie on your side and he holds you, that he can feel your fat. That it will gross him out. That he will want someone else. You would be mortified to know the things he will witness happening to your body through the growth and birth of two children. You can't imagine that squish could be beautiful, but it is. A tummy that has stretched to accommodate a total of 17 pounds and 4 ounces of babies IS beautiful. Someday you will look back and momentarily miss that firm, flat tummy, and then in the next moment you will know with every fiber of your being that you wouldn't trade a single moment with those sweet babies to have that body back.
Sweetie, you will be broken. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. You will break. And somehow from the middle of your mess God will put you back together better than you've ever been. You will spend an entire year healing your destroyed stomach muscles. You will spend two learning how to truly love someone who you will never fully understand, someone who makes you completely insane. You will learn, painfully, that this is not your show. It's God's show, and he calls the shots. And you will learn to trust Him when you don't like it and don't understand, and that will be the closest to heaven on earth that you will ever come.
Sweetie, enjoy the time and space now. Enjoy the sleep, the sleeping in. Enjoy the showers without a toddler repeatedly pulling the curtain out and pouring water all over the floor because you've been out of sight for 30 seconds and YOU ARE SORELY MISSED. Enjoy the time to style your hair, change your mind, start over, and still have time to make it out the door and to your destination without anyone else's bodily fluids on your clothes...or face. Enjoy the boobs that are the same size day and night, regardless of anyone else's appetite. Enjoy the idea that they aren't anyone else's personal belongings, they are just yours. Enjoy these things now, so that when they change you can enjoy the new. Someday very soon you will enjoy rocking a baby all night long regardless of how tired you are. You will also enjoy the friends who bring you Starbucks. Someday you will enjoy the tiny face that peeks into the shower and squeals in delight as the water splashes his face. Someday you will enjoy a ponytail again, and again, and again, because babies need burped and diapers need changed and nobody has time for hair in their way! Someday you will be relieved that at 3am, when you have no idea what is wrong, your boobs have magical milky powers over the fussiest of babies. Someday you will be truly amused as she asks for "the nother one" so many times that you begin to wonder just HOW MANY boobs she thinks you are hiding under your shirt.
It's not going to be like you think it will be. It's going to be a lot messier and far more exhausting. It's going to require more apologies and forgiveness than you can actually muster at this point, but it's ok. You will learn. Your humility will grow and grow. Your firmness will turn to mush well beyond your belly, deeper than that into your very soul. And it will be good. Even when it's stretched out, running late, and covered in snot, it will be so very good.