On October 18, 2013, B took me on a quiet autumn walk and asked me to be his wife. In the days and months after we got engaged, I was joyful and excited and humbled and honoured. But I also encountered an emotion I did not expect: fear. So, two years later I’m writing a letter to that fearful girl. I wish someone had told me it was okay to be afraid.
To Sarah, Autumn 2013,
Hey, girl. I know you have a lot of feelings these days, most wonderful, one unexpected and bothersome: fear. None of the movies or 19th century novels you love show the heroine questioning her choice in marriage. Charlie D never shows Esther wondering if Woodcourt really is as wonderful as the papers write, or if they’re right for each other.
I know it seems surreal and unearned. I want you to enjoy the whirlwind of being a bride, but I know that the weight of this decision is pressing you down. I know it’s not like the movies. That you weren’t expecting life to go this way, that you had hunkered down in your heart to wait, not planned the perfect wedding. Trust your judgement. Trust (even more) the prayers that have been bathing your life and his life from the beginning. Know that fear is okay. “Doubt does not mean don’t.” Feelings are wonderful and interesting companions, but they are nothing to build your life on. Instead, look at truth.
Kindness will carry you far. That way he can make you laugh will carry you through storms small and large. A heart willing to learn is the rarest gold in marriage, as my 1 1/2 years have taught me. Warmth of character means much more than checks on a checklist. A man who values your heart is a prize never to be released. And love for God? Marriage is big, larger than your fears or fancies, and only Someone bigger than the two of you can sustain it.
Welcome to this roller coaster ride of wedding planning. You will laugh; you will cry. But please, don’t let fear be the leader of this journey. Hold on to Hope, and the greatest of these, Love. But for the days when fear does win, know this: the hardest and most beautiful days of your life are ahead. Love is like a tree, different in each season, but always reaching up and growing deep. Be of good courage. You have made a brave choice, and the Lord will bless you for it.
Here’s to faith and the unknown future!
Mrs. Sarah Doolittle
P.S. We all have our own brave choices. Sometimes that’s staying single, or saying no when the “red flags” are waving, or moving on from heartbreak. All require trust and a brave heart, and stepping into an unknown future. I pray God meets you wherever you’re being brave today.