In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I might recount a story for you that involves stuffing,  And, yolking.

So I was newly married (new readers/jerk long-time friends: I’ve been married twice before – don’t judge, plus so has my husband.  Keep up and we’ll get to the yoking part).  Let’s start again.

So I was newly married and had just gotten through a Bone Marrow Transplant earlier in the year.  What I mean by that is this:  I was twenty-six, still frail, bald, and trying with all my might to get back to a life of normalcy.  Whereby apparently in all my wisdom, that included cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal for fourteen people.  Any time you cook for a number which is larger than half your age, unless you’re Rachael Ray, it’s not a great idea.

I get up early.  I hoist that disgusting salmonella filled bird that someone had shot in a field in Alabama or Minnesota up to the counter and remove giblets.  And a neck and a liver and whatever else is inside that grab bag of a cavity.  After dousing my hands with the orange Palmolive a dozen times, I pat the thing dry and start rubbing it with butter as if we are at a day spa.  The whole thing is freaky, let’s be honest.  Just…ew.

But, I’m trying.  Really hard.  I am trying to be this “perfect” little everything – daughter to my parents who are on their way after a horribly rough year of me having leukemia, sister to my younger one who will no doubt be reminding me that our mother can actually knock it out of the park in the kitchen, mother to Liv who was only two and would hopefully never remember me almost not being alive to make Thanksgiving dinners, and a wife to someone whom I had no business being married to.

And so the fun fest continued.

We are all crammed into the dining room littered with hammered stars and wooden bears on the walls (not my taste).  I have no idea if the turkey is even done, the rolls are burned but thankfully Pillsbury allows for the removal of the bottom fake-buttery layer, and just as my butt was about to hit the chair for the first time all day, the noise-clattered room went silent.

“Sis!  What the @!*% is THIS?  What the @!*% did you put in this stuffing?  IT’S HORRIBLE.  You don’t put apples in stuffing, you moron,” my father-in-law yelled over everyone while literally removing the stuffing from his mouth.

I had to react calmly.  I had to give my parents the look which indicated please don’t say anything so the already horrifying situation wouldn’t be made any worse.  And I had to will my stomach back up from my feet to its proper place so I could start regaining my composure and make sure everyone else’s day would not be ruined.  The whole vibe had to be reset, so I reset it and moved on.

Oh, where was my husband, the stuffing-remover’s son, during all this you ask?

Laughing.  He apparently thought what his dad had said to me was funny.  That his behavior was not only acceptable, but what he was used to, andhear me here – would emulate.

Let me pause for a second.  It’s been a very long time since that period in my life has been over and I share it with you NOT to disparage him, his family, or anyone else – ever.  People are people as you always hear me say.  We are all broken, flawed, and doing the best we can with what we know.  This entire blog is meant to pass on things I have learned over the years (primarily relationship mistakes and living like everyone else “expects” you to live) in an effort to, where possible, help others avoid making decisions which go against a much greater plan than we can ever imagine, let alone actually believe we are worth.

You see, much like I would have had no idea how to cook a big gross bird without instructions, many of us continue to live without ever bothering to read our own how to live and choose wisely instructions. 

I was Catholic up until and including that point in my life; I actually thought the Bible was alphabetized (’cause why wouldn’t it be, duh) and sure as heck had never read it.  Again, I am not minimizing my Catholic roots or any part of my upbringing – but it amazes me that while our world is so divided with so many lost and hurting people, that the words which were written to make our lives better are never read, in favor of figuring it out on our own.

Bang up job I did.

The Bible is actually useful so don’t give me that, “it was written 2,000 years ago so it doesn’t pertain to me” excuse.  I used it, so you’re not getting that one by me.

Had I only read and understood “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14), I may have avoided spewed stuffing and a whole lot of subsequent unhappiness.  

Have those conversations before you not only get married, but before you even say yes to a date.  It matters.  Having a shared faith, a shared belief system, and similar family backgrounds and upbringings absolutely matters.  Trust me.

I waited five and a half years to get remarried – something I was absolutely never ever ever going to do again.  And do you know what my husband and I discussed on date #2? God.  Mars Hill.  Rob Bell.  Belief systems.  It was crazy, I’m telling you.  I had no intention of falling in love with that man or any, but his faith and love for Jesus imbued him then and it imbues him now.  And guess what?  When I drive him crazy or he’s had a bad day or I am low on patience or our schedules do not align or the weight of the world is pressing down on us – we are solid.  The way he responds to me and I to him is grounded in the love Christ has and modeled for each of us.

Prior to me knowing Him and that story, I was afraid to share my faith with any guy (stupid, I know and yeah, obvious – thank you hindsight…), but I tried to actually repress it!  Even stupider.

Don’t be that person.  Be who God made you to be – unapologetically.  And if you aren’t sure who that is yet, it’s ok.  There is no right time frame for which we are supposed to have it all figured out, and it is definitely never too late.  Read the story.  Get a Bible.  As I used to tell my daughter and her friends in bribe-like fashion: there’s tons of sex in it!  (Seriously, Song of Songs is the best. Solomon had it going on).

This Thanksgiving, I am totally making non-Stove Top stuffing and giving thanks for so much.  Especially my believer husband, Ryan (a/k/a Ry, Fish, other names you guys can’t know)…who also has it going on.