It took me a while to sit down and come back to this series for a few reasons. First, I honestly didn’t even know where to begin once we got married, which is funny to say out loud. Should I write year by year? Should I write about our main lessons learned? Should I just share my struggles in each season? I honestly felt overwhelmed by the “right” direction to take this, and honestly, I’m still not sure, but I do know there is no right or wrong. So, I’ve decided to share my main struggle our first year of marriage. This was the second season of my life (the first being freshman year of college that I shared here) that I felt lonely and rejected.
Days were long in Mauldin. I felt like we lived on a little island. I started going to Starbucks to get out of the house, to have a little bit of routine, and that little routine turned into an every day thing for the last 6 years (lol). I wanted so badly to have a picture perfect home, to have people over all the time, and to have it all together. But the truth was, I was brand new at this whole “wife thing,” I didn’t have a job, and our townhouse felt a little cold. I got my feelings hurt often during this year, constantly feeling rejected, which is no one’s fault but my own, but here’s why.
Christmas time we wanted to have a White Elephant party, a time where we could see old friends and have a little house warming for our place. 4 people showed up out of the 40 invited. We justified by saying everyone was busy with Christmas parties, family, traveling. Made sense. We decided to try again and invite people over for Gravitopia (clearly the only way to celebrate turning 23) and snacks at our place for Braden’s birthday in March. 3 people came to Gravitopia, 4 people came to our place out of 45+ invited. We thought third time’s the charm, and wanted to celebrate our friends Chase and Annabeth with a His & Hers shower this past weekend. 2 people came in addition to Chase and AB. Rejection.
Inviting people into your home is vulnerable. You’re setting yourself up for an opportunity to feel discarded, to feel wounded, and to feel unimportant.
It took me a few years to understand 1) why this upset me so much and 2) why wouldn’t anyone come. I’ve come to the conclusion that we were simply just in an inconvenient location, living around 20 minutes from downtown where all of our friends lived. I have also come to understand that I was putting far too much worth into other people’s approval. I still battle this all the time, but during this season of my life it was pretty heavy. There’s good news here, since moving from our townhouse after living there almost our whole first year, we’ve redeemed our host draught (PTL).
In the meantime while all of this was going on, I was slowly building Jessi Nichols Photography in the background. I have an entire post devoted to how I got started, and you can read that here. I was still applying for other jobs & going on interviews. I’d either not hear back, or after interviewing I’d find out that there was a major “but” to the job – like weird hours. Rejection after rejection.
We closed on our house in August of 2014, almost right at a year after getting married! The house hunting process wasn’t easy, the market in Greenville was insane then & still is now. I honestly never expected for house hunting to be as stressful as it was. We put an offer on a house, had to send a personal letter & wedding photo, and still got rejected. It was brutal. Our lease ended in July for our townhouse, and we closed in August, so we were “homeless” for about 3 weeks. Praise the Lord for Susan and Kent, the family who did our pre-marital counseling. We housesat and kept their pups for them while they were at the beach and YoungLife camp that summer.
The day we moved into our house, Braden was super pumped about spending our first night there after all of our friends / movers had left. I honestly felt so overwhelmed that I cried, I couldn’t stay there, I couldn’t stay in all the chaos. I drove back to Susan and Kent’s, got into bed, and felt like I was at home for one last night. It’s so weird to think back on this night, but truthfully I just wasn’t processing all that was happening & just needed a minute.
We spent the next night in our new house & we’ve been settling every since. We love our house and it has housed some of the sweetest memories for us so far. Soon after, we brought Sampson home on Labor Day, about two weeks after moving into our house. You all know how much I love him, haha, probably a bit too much.
This was a very sweet year, but looking back, those rejections helped shape me and refine me. I learned so much about myself, about Braden, and about our new life together that I’d never trade at all. I’m thankful for all of the rejections & how the Lord has used them for redemption & growth over the last few years.