For everything a season: Leaning into God’s will for the present moment

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven;
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

--Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Remember in my last post when I mentioned that my word for January was “pause”? Well, apparently it also meant pausing the blog, not just for January but for the better part of 2022. Whoops! Although I’ve written nearly a dozen drafts over the past year, so much life has been happening that I haven’t had the wherewithal to finalize and publish a single post. But I’m back, baby, and excited to share some updates! Let’s start with the top 3:

  1. I got married: On October 22 (the feast of St. John Paul II), I finally became Mrs. Pink Tie! In the coming months, I look forward to writing more about our experience with wedding planning, marriage prep, and more. Until then, you can find the story of how I met my husband in this post. (Hint: He was the best $29.99 I’ve ever spent!)
  2. I moved: In May, Mr. Pink Tie and I signed a lease on our first place together: a townhome in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. I moved into the house in June, and he joined me when we returned from our honeymoon. After 2 years of residing 40+ minutes apart, it’s been such a joy to get to live together and share the regular, everyday moments.
  3. I changed careers: Throughout last spring and summer, it became clear that my once life-giving workplace was no longer healthy for me, so I made the very difficult decision to leave. Before jumping into another 9-to-5, I decided to explore some nontraditional options that would allow me more time to pursue my writing — and I soon landed a part-time job as a nanny and some contract work for a ministry organization that I love. Now that the side hustle of planning my own wedding has come to an end, I’ve finally been able to carve out regular time for writing each week. My hope is to grow this blog, write for some additional online platforms, and eventually, embark on some bigger projects I’ve been dreaming about for years.

So a lot has been going on, and there’s plenty more to come! Each of these transitions has ultimately brought immense peace and joy, but as with most major life changes, they’ve also come with a fair share of challenges: new logistics to navigate, disruptions to old rhythms and routines, decision fatigue, and plain old emotional exhaustion. I’m still settling into all of it and will be for some time.

For marriage especially, people often describe the first year as being “really hard” or a “major adjustment,” but they don’t give much detail about why. I always assumed it was because there’s a lot of compromising — and I wasn’t wrong. But I’m finding that marriage, especially in your 30s, also comes with an overwhelming amount of combining — of belongings, finances, schedules, priorities, expectations, and more — virtually overnight. Add this to the litany of tasks that Mr. Pink Tie and I had already postponed during the craziness of wedding planning, and all the hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season, and we have ourselves quite the to-do list. As someone who loves game plans and getting things done, my first instinct is to try to tackle everything ASAP — even the items that can never be truly “checked off.” (We’ll be communicating about our priorities and expectations ’til death do us part, after all.) I’ve been trying to fight this urge, but still, my heart longs for a roadmap. So, going back to my “word of the month” idea from January, I’ve been discerning what word or phrase I need to guide me in this particular chapter.

For years, I have clung to the above passage from Ecclesiastes and its reminder that there is a season (or in other translations, an “appointed time”) for every thing and — just as importantly — no single season during which we must do and have and be everything. Although the author of Ecclesiastes goes on to emphasize that we can never truly know what God has in store or predict how He will act, I do believe we can discern, with at least some degree of accuracy, what He is calling us to in any given moment.

And I’ve determined that for me, right now, He is calling me to unity.

Now that I have officially entered the vocation of marriage, my top priority on this earth should be Mr. Pink Tie, and specifically, on loving and accompanying him to heaven. I’ve recently started reading Spousal Prayer by Deacon James Keating, which was generously gifted to us by the families I work for. A particular aspect of the book that has stuck with me is the author’s encouragement to prioritize unity and intimacy. This doesn’t mean always seeing eye-to-eye or constantly feeling head-over-heels in love. Rather, Deacon James encourages spouses to deeply share their minds and hearts with one another and, even in times of disagreement, to conduct themselves in a way that preserves, strengthens, and prioritizes their bond.

He provides the (very relatable) example of one spouse wanting to vent to the other. (One downside of having a love for words is that I’m the queen of rants, soapboxes, and unsolicited TED Talks. I felt like he chose this example just for me.) He explains that the wife, for instance, can share her feelings either as a way of getting them off her chest and experiencing momentary relief, or she can share because communicating openly and authentically is a crucial part of keeping their relationship strong, and not doing so may introduce distance and even resentment. The latter isn’t necessarily terrible, but the focus is more on the self than on the marriage. It’s a subtle distinction that, according to Deacon James, will make a big difference in the long run.

So in this busy season, when I am constantly tempted to do more things rather than be present with my husband, or to avoid a difficult topic for fear of the uncomfortable emotions it may trigger, or to continue doing things how I’ve always done them because it’s just easier that way, my prayer is that I will choose unity instead (or at least, that I will choose it more often than not). It doesn’t mean that all other people and projects fall completely to the wayside, but rather than they settle into their proper place in the lineup. This will be an ongoing challenge for the rest of my life, but one that I particularly want to focus on now.

On a lighter note, you may have noticed two things about the graphic for this post. First, the bride and groom in the photo are, in fact, me and Mr. Pink Tie! I thought it would be fun to switch things up and use an actual wedding photo instead of a stock image. Secondly, the template looks a bit different from all of my previous graphics because Turning the Paige is now on Instagram! I’m so excited to finally launch this account and interact with both readers and fellow writers in new ways. It’s also a preview of coming attractions, as the blog will be getting a complete makeover in 2023, a la Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries.

I’ll be back soon with more thoughts, reflections, and maybe a few unsolicited TED Talks. Until then, Advent blessings to each one of you!