Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's not about how you start, but how you finish.

Out of all the wedding planning, future planning, people pleasing, this keeps running through my head... child, you're forgiven and loved. About 3 weeks ago Daniel and I had what we thought, the worst day of our lives. When I called to tell him, he froze. I continued with, "Just say SOMETHING." I have learned through this process how different women and men are when relating to stressful/ emotional situations. He was later encouraging and helpful, but had to get over the shock. At this point, I knew I had to quit my job. Like I told the doctor (who is an elder at the church), "Who am I to counsel girls?" He agreed and went from there. With the help of the Keelers, who I will always love, I left my job professionally. That was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. 

After a week of waiting for Daniel to arrive in Jackson from summer school, I was ready for Clinton, LA. When I saw my mom, she immediately knew. I didn't have to say anything. She wrapped me in her arms and continued to say, "It's all going to be okay." That hug was what I had been longing for all week. Daniel's response was, "I hope they're all that easy to talk to." After that we talked to my dad, who was also very loving. Girls, that's the worst possible way to tell your father he's going to be a grandfather. I was a total basket-case, but deep down, I knew my dad would accept me and not pass judgement. He loved me, Daniel and this new addition. Daniel's original plan was to get his blessing this weekend - we just rushed it. Two weeks ago, Daniel had talked to his parents about proposing. So the engagement was no surprise, but the raspberry inside of me was. After talking to my dad, he reminded me to live out what I believe. I was so stressed/ embarrassed talking to him and he said, "Do you not believe what you read??? Do not be anxious about anything. ANYTHING." That helped me piece things together and realize this situation was bigger than me. 

Daniel and I also hated that our "mistake" effected everyone else... what we didn't realize is their willingness to help, support, and encourage. Both of our parents are divorced and told us how hard it would be to have a healthy marriage and a family. Thankfully Daniel and I have talked on the phone every night (except the summer of 2007) and know each other's weaknesses and strengths. That's not to say we will have a perfect marriage, but we will try our hardest. I'm also thankful we did pre-engagement counseling with J.D. Shaw. He gave us great advice (of course). Daniel and I were planning to get married and start a family, but this is a little bit rushed. Daniel never planned to propose to me at my house in Clinton while I was asleep. His original plan was to fly me to Glorieta, NM where we met. Thattttt was a tad bit interrupted. The engagement was still sweet! He couldn't think and his hands were so sweaty. The engagement will have to wait for another post! 

I've come to realize (after 3 weeks) that God's plan is more than we can ever think or imagine. When I found out we would be a family, I kept asking myself, "How could this happen to me?" That's exactly why this (blessing) happened to me - I am too self righteous. I thought Daniel and I could fight the devil and his evil schemes- we were weak. When I told my siblings, I started off apologizing. Apologizing for being so judgmental to their way of life. I have learned to accept people and pray for them genuinely. When I talked to my sister, Jill, on my front porch one night, I started to see the good in this situation. She reminded me we were a family. She loved me and wanted the best for me. I haven't been super close with my siblings since I moved to Starkville. I take FULL responsibility for that. I thought I was better than them and it turns out they're the glue that holds our family together. What makes this journey so easy is family and friends. 

I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the response from family and friends. I imagined coming home to, "You're an embarrassment. How could you do that?" That is NOT what my family would've said, just the devil feeding me lies. Throughout this entire process, I have not heard one negative comment. My friends have offered several times to help, throw a shower, go on a trip, serve punch, etc. They're not passing judgement - just being a friend. That means the world to me. My family and family friends have also responded joyfully. Of course, they're shocked, but want to help in any way. I am just overwhelmed at what God is doing. Being from a small town, everyone is close. That's not to say they won't talk, but that's expected. I always said I would never move back to Clinton - never say never. Once a situation like this happens, you beg and plead for your family. I want to be close to my mom and dad. They love me for me and will never look at me differently. 

What prompted me to start this blog was "the town talk". Today, the word got out (in Clinton) that I was having a wedding on July 30 and having a precious baby. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me one bit. I did take a nap today and screen a few calls, but I can honestly say it was a good day. If you know me, you know I'm a people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy - life doesn't work that way. You will never make everyone happy. I was actually ok with people finding out. I'm comfortable with the situation now that it's just a part of my life. Am I proud? No. Am I being secretive and ashamed? No. I feel as though people are praying for me, and I'm not distracted by "the talk". Daniel and I want to glorify God through this whole thing. We are wrong. We are dead wrong, but like J.D. said, it's not an unforgivable sin. Child, you're forgiven and loved. I think social networks proved to us on Saturday how much we were loved. That keeps us going, friends. It keeps one foot in front of the other and pushes us. I actually delight when people say negative things about me. It challenges me to pray for them, because I know they're hiding something, too. As Proverbs 11:13 says, "A gossip betrays a confidence" and I believe that. I remember the verse, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10. All of the sweet, personal text messages are very heart-warming. I thank you for that (and sorry if I'm late responding). 

Daniel and I want to keep the focus on how we can grow from this. We want people to see how we finish, not how we started. I am trying to be confident throughout this entire journey. I KNOW WHO I AM, I KNOW WHO DANIEL IS AND I KNOW THE GOD WE SERVE - who is abounding in love. This will be the best thing that has ever happened to us. Did we plan our future? Yes. Did we plan it this way? No. Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." What a vessel we will be for the Lord one day when someone else experiences this! We are continually following His steps. So people who were waiting for me to mess up, here's your chance to eat it up. But in reality, what confidence are you betraying? It's not bothering me at all - it's bothering you. If anything, you're helping me. You're helping me be a better wife, mother, friend, mentor and Christian.

On to wedding planning, which I must say I have the best mom in the world - seriously. She has been working A LOT, teaching swimming lessons in the afternoon, taking me to the doctor, my sister to the doctor and planning 2 weddings. We have the caterer, photographer, florist, her dress, my dress, bridesmaid dresses, registered, accommodations, cake, ice cream man, chairs, tents, pastor, landscaping, guest list, invitations, already booked... in a week! Tell me my mom's not supermom? It's actually her birthday tomorrow, too (June 22). Happy Birthday, momma! 

There will be details to come. I have so much more I would like to share, but I'm sure this isn't the timing. Please keep us (Daniel, me, little raspberry and our families) in your prayers. We are getting ready to move to Starkville and start a lifelong journey together. We love listening to advice, so please don't hesitate to share. Love all of you and remember, you're forgiven and loved. 

To the One who loves us when we don't deserve it, 

Mary Kathleen Kennedy... soon to be Sims! 


  1. love you!!!!!!!! and love love love the post!!! : )

  2. Mary your blog is great! What a wonderful way to express your thoughts and feelings honestly! THANKS for sharing