{Part One}

My whole single life my one request for a husband in my prayers about someday finding “The One” was: Please let him be someone I can find rest in. 

Please let him be a place where I can rest my head every night knowing that, no matter what, I’m safe. I’m safe being me. I’m safe sharing my deepest fears and darkest secrets. A place where I don’t have to run from side to side apologizing for coming across as the morality police over here and feeling the need to repent for being too rebellious over there. A place where I don’t have to make apologies for who I am. A place where it’s not only safe, but encouraged, for me to “not match.”

A place where my heart and my mind could find rest.

And that is what Zach offers me. That is what my marriage offers me every minute of every day. I am beyond grateful for such a gift.

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When I met Zach I immediately felt at peace with him. It was uncanny. We’d known each other  before–that’s honestly what it felt like. I felt like he might be a resting place.

The more I got to know him the more I got to know my truest self. The more it was safe to settle somewhere and really analyze how I saw the world. I started to realize that  I can have rules and I can break them and that’s okay. Sometimes that’s what makes life fun. Maybe rules are what makes me tick, though they would drive my brother crazy, because rules are me. That’s who I am.

I finally felt safe enough to have rules, break them, re-write them, throw some of them out and write new ones.

I started to feel like…

Maybe I am the morality police.Maybe I am a little rebellious. Maybe I am a questioner. And I don’t have to make apologies for that if it bothers someone else. Me being me was never intended to offend. I’m not a bad or malicious or unfaithful person because of my rules, I’m just a different person.

It’s okay that I don’t really fit in. It’s okay to fit in differently in different places. First and foremost I have a place with Zach and that’s my favorite place. I have a place with my family. I have a different place with different friends. I have a place in my career. I have a place at church. I may not be popular in all of my places, but I have a place there. I stopped searching for a spot to fit.

And as I came to understand who I was (What I could change. What I couldn’t change. What I wanted to change. What I didn’t want to change.) I started to see myself “change.”

But really when I look at myself now. I see the purest parts of me. I see my little girl self first and foremost. I could give a million examples, but I won’t. Just trust me on this.

So maybe I’ve changed, but I’ve changed back. Marriage gave me the safe place to find the parts of me that needed to resurface without apology. And I am so grateful for it.

Because those parts of me are the parts that I believe I came to earth with, they are part of my spirit. Those parts (and many more that I didn’t mention) are the things that my Heavenly Father intended to be a part of me. I truly believe with all of my heart, that He put Sharlee together just the way she was when she was 5 years old for a purpose. But I believe that for everyone.

Because I have “changed,” it has allowed me to make many other real changes. Changes that I don’t believe were in me all along.

To be continued