What are some things you never thought would happen to you? Today I’m sharing five of the biggest moments in my life that changed me and that I didn’t expect!
When I was fifteen, my grandma told me that she and my grandpa were planning a trip to Colombia, to visit missionaries they had been good friends with for thirty years. She wanted me to come.
I was terrified. I didn’t know anything about Colombia. I barely knew where it was. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn’t want to go, but I said yes. As the days went by and the trip was getting closer and closer, I was getting more nervous all the time. I secretly hoped that the trip would be cancelled, but I didn’t want to admit that I was scared, and I knew that I was lucky to get to go.
Finally the day came, and we flew from Vancouver to Toronto to Bogota. The moment I looked out the airplane window and saw Colombia for the first time, every fear I had was gone. I instantly fell in love with the country. Those three weeks were incredible. I got to spend time with some amazing people. Enjoy this gorgeous country. Learn some Spanish, which I still think is the most beautiful language.
We spent time with Indian women whose tribe had been displaced from their village due to a volcano. We heard the stories of two of these women and their husbands who had been tortured for their faith. And I realized that God was much, much bigger than my idea of Him. Going to church on Sundays and reading my Bible here and there was good. But I realized that God really truly loved me on a personal level and wanted a relationship with me, not just to be the one I prayed to, hoping He would answer.
I will never forget the time I spent in Colombia, and the people I met. I really hope that one day I can go back to visit!
This is the first thing I never expected. I never thought I would fall in love with a country I was terrified of. I never thought I would discover a love for travelling and expanding my horizons beyond just my hometown. I never thought I would have friends that I love so much.
Since my sister Adalia moved to New Zealand with her husband, I had been wanting to visit her. I didn’t know when, or for how long, but I was incredibly jealous when my little sister Kalina went to visit her for two weeks. Little did I know that a few months later, it would be my turn. After I finished high school and college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to pursue more education, I wasn’t sure if I wanted a career, and I was both scared and excited at all the possibilities. Adalia asked me if I wanted to come visit her. Sure, I thought, why not? I was sure I wanted to visit for a whole month, but then my sister asked if I would stay for six months.
At first I wasn’t sure. I would miss Thanksgiving. Christmas. Did I want to spend that much time away from my family and friends? Six months… is a long time.
But I said yes, and started saving and preparing for this new adventure. I had never been to New Zealand before, and I only knew a handful of people – My sister, her husband, and his immediate family. Honestly, I think it was a little crazy.
It turned out to be an incredible experience and I met some amazing friends! If I hadn’t gone, and if I hadn’t stayed for six months, I wouldn’t have met them, and I wouldn’t have met Jared either, and wouldn’t be here now!
When I announced that I was heading to New Zealand for six months, e v e r y body said ‘Ooh are you going to find a husband?!’ I always responded with an emphatic NO. That was absolutely not the point. In fact, my one goal was to not find a husband. I didn’t want to have a long distance relationship, and although I enjoyed my time in New Zealand and I would gladly visit again, I didn’t want to move there.
After three months in New Zealand, I had successfully managed so far without falling in love with anyone. And then Jared came along. At first, I wasn’t even sure if I should text him back. Did I really want to start getting to know a Kiwi? Jared lived five hours away, so we texted for several weeks and then started talking about visiting each other. I invited him to come visit and then a few days later changed my mind, and as bad as I felt about it, I told him not to come.
We kept texting though, and as we got to know each other even better I realized I would never find a man like him again. I invited him to come visit, again, and this time I didn’t back out. We started dating, we kept texting, I went to visit him a few times, and before we knew it, it was time for me to go back to the States. We didn’t know when we would see each other again, so it was a sad goodbye. When I got home, we figured out the time difference and we video chatted and texted every day.
Jared came to visit in May and we got engaged, and in August we got married, seven months to the day from when we met (not planned!).
I never expected to marry a guy from New Zealand. I never expected to move to New Zealand. I never expected to get married after knowing someone for seven months. I always thought I would get married young, but when I turned 18 I never expected that I would be married before my next birthday.
I have always loved children and babies. I’ve babysat for ten years, and I worked as a nanny for several years. I couldn’t wait to have my own babies someday, and once Jared and I got married I was always dreaming about the day we’d have children. When we got pregnant, I was SO excited, and spent the pregnancy looking forward to meeting our baby and falling so in love, and soaking up every single precious moment. I’d heard of people who didn’t instantly fall in love with their baby, but I knew that wouldn’t be me! I was so excited to meet this baby and would most definitely have an instant overwhelming love and bond with him.
During my labor I reminded myself that each contraction was bringing us closer to the moment we would finally meet our precious child. I looked forward to bringing him into the world, holding him in my arms for the first time, gazing at his little face and falling so, so in love with him.
Then things didn’t go as planned. After laboring at home for twelve hours, we went to the hospital and I spent another twelve hours laboring there. When I finally went for a c-section, I was so exhausted I was struggling to stay awake as they wheeled me to another part of the hospital. When Abel was born I was distracted by the terribly uncomfortable feeling of whatever it was that the doctors were doing to my stomach. I was glad to meet our son but I was even more happy that my labor was finally over, and couldn’t wait for the doctors to finish tugging my insides around.
Once Abel was out and we were back in the maternity ward, I was so tired and, by then, full of meds, that I don’t remember much of that first night. I certainly didn’t have that moment where I locked eyes with my baby and fell in love.
As cute as he was and as much as I liked him, I didn’t feel how I expected. It was hard, feeding him every few hours, recovering from the c-section, and, once my mom left and Jared returned to work, taking care of Abel on my own most of the day. There were many times I thought, Motherhood is amazing? This isn’t really all that great. It’s so hard! Way harder than I thought.
After a few weeks, I felt less like I was drowning, and I was definitely falling in love with him. He was no longer feeding around the clock, I could put him down for naps and have a little bit of alone time, he started sleeping better, and I really made an effort to enjoy the moments that I could. We had issues on and off with breastfeeding for several weeks, but we stuck it out and it got better. Now he’s seven weeks and he’s smiling, cooing, and I can enjoy feeding him and feeling his little hands grab at me as he eats.
Now I do understand that overwhelming love for your child. I thoroughly enjoy being Abel’s mum. We still have our moments, but overall, I love it!
I never thought that I wouldn’t fall in love with my baby right away.
The summer I finished 11th grade, and my first year of community college, my cousins came to visit. As usual, we had so much fun together! Growing up, we only saw each other every year or two, but every time we would always pick right back up where we left off. My siblings, cousins, and I always have the greatest time and want to spend every second together while they’re visiting. Even when they’re on vacation, my Uncle, Aunt, and cousins find a church to go to that is similar to their home church, which usually meant an Independent Baptist church.
That Sunday they were visiting, I went to church with them, and, as dramatic as this sounds, it changed my life. I had no idea, that day, that the people I met at that church would become my best friends and my second family. I enjoyed the church service and meeting everyone, and the next day my family and my cousins all went along to the church’s Memorial Day picnic. We had a great time enjoying good food, fellowship, and volleyball.
My cousin Elijah stayed with us for several weeks after the rest of his family went home. He continued going to the Baptist church while he was with us, and I went to church with my family on Sunday mornings but went with Elijah on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. Before long, I was becoming good friends with the families in the church. When Elijah went back to his family in Calgary, I went too and stayed with my cousins for a few weeks, and went to my cousin Arianna’s high school graduation. When I got back home, I continued going to the Baptist church whenever I could and before long it was ‘my church’. I still went to my family’s church on Sunday mornings, but I was a regular at my church on Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and any opportunity to get involved. My family would come along to church events or picnics, and sometimes my siblings would come to the services with me.
There was nothing wrong with my family’s church. But at this church, I felt like I really belonged, I was always challenged to grow in my relationship with God, and I found a new joy in serving the Lord. I was part of the church family, and found some of my best friends! By the time I turned eighteen, I talked to my parents and asked their permission to join this church, and go there instead of my family’s church even on Sunday mornings. They said yes, and I was excited to become a member of the church.
Just a month and a bit later, I was leaving for New Zealand. I went to church with Ben and Adalia a few times, but I wanted to find a Baptist church, and after some searching I found one half an hour away and began going when possible. A few months later, I met Jared when he visited that church. (It is crazy to think that if I hadn’t gone to church with my cousins four years ago, I wouldn’t have looked for and found the church I attended in New Zealand and I wouldn’t have met Jared!)
I never thought I would go to a different church than my family (while living in the same place).
These five things have had a huge impact on my life! I love how there are some moments that you don’t realize at the time will mean so much to you. I wonder what the next big five moments will be for me?!