I Thought I Was Getting Married Yesterday
By: Joshua Denton
This past consecutive year or so has without a doubt been the best season of my life. But it has also without a doubt been the hardest season of my life.
Not that the current months in my life have been particularly easy, but around this time last year was pretty rough.
In January of 2015 I first moved to Washington, DC with the full intention of either remaining in the metro area or landing a decent career job in another state. I moved here to start as a Washington Scholar for the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute. I knew I was planning on staying in the city or relocating to another state so I took on a second job at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill to save money. My internship at the Family Research Council was from 9am-5pm so I would work at Starbucks from 4am-8am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then usually work longer shifts on Saturday and Sunday.
That was essentially my life for the better part of 8 months. About halfway through those eight months I started dating my best friend. At the end of those 8 months, my supervisor at FRC helped me get a job in my home state of Indiana as the Office Manager of the state’s leading family policy council. In August of 2015 I started what I assumed at the time would be a fairly long-term period with the Indiana Family Institute.
In October of 2015 shortly after landing my good, full-time career job, I got engaged to my longtime friend of over six years. We set our wedding date for October 1, 2016. Practically two months later, I was no longer engaged.
Just because we pour our heart into someone or something doesn’t mean they will stay or it will work out.
The most difficult part wasn’t after the engagement was broke off. The hardest part was the week before I finally realized it was coming and knew I was powerless to stop it. I had to give the whole situation up to God, and ask him to bring it towards the best outcome. I’m not ashamed to be a Christian and I try to live my life by Biblical principles. The Bible encourages individuals to seek God through fasting and prayer, so I decided to fast for a week and ask God for his special guidance on the situation. I had to surrender the girl I wanted to marry up to him, I had to be content with the realization that whatever happened was for the best. The offices of the nonprofit I worked for at the time were located in a church so as I fasted each day for that week I would go into the church’s auditorium and spend my hour long lunch break praying. I pleaded with God, I asked him only for his will, I struggled with laying aside my own will. In the end, each day my prayer boiled down to “God, I can’t keep this girl and I don’t even want to try if it’s not what is best. If it’s best for us to get married, please change her heart and help her to want to stay, but if it’s not best for us to be together help me to be okay with her leaving.”
She didn’t stay and life went on. Sort of. There’s a lot more to the story of course and none of this is to say that I didn’t make mistakes because I have made plenty. The most important part of making a mistake is admitting it and doing your best to clean up the mess and not repeat the mistake.
But no matter what circumstances we are going through if we allow God to be in control we can be content. We can also be joyful. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is a feeling dependent upon our current situations. When we go through difficult circumstances, it affects our happiness. Joy is not dependent upon circumstances but is rather a state of being that comes from finding our satisfaction in God. Only in Christ can we be complete.
In December of 2015 I was admitted to the emergency room for a large spontaneous pneumothorax of my left lung and a small pneumothorax of my right lung. Translation: both of my lungs were partially collapsed. Spontaneous means that it essentially happened for no apparent reason other than the fact that spontaneous pneumothoraxes have a propensity to occur to taller, thin males. The first partial lung collapse occurred in my left lung and I had gone to multiple doctors multiple times and thought it was improving. I went for a scheduled CT scan and it was found that my left lung had gotten much worse and that my right lung had developed a very small leak as well from being put under the extra strain. I had to have a chest surgery in which a chest tube was inserted into my lung. Thankfully, my lungs healed and they haven’t bothered me since (except for those pesky medical bills I’m still paying off from all the doctor visits and emergency room).I had picked up another job as the Assistant Communications Director of a Virginia based nonprofit to help save money to be in a better position for the upcoming marriage, so I threw myself into my full and part time jobs and just ignored the hurt. Shortly thereafter I was promoted from Assistant Communications Director at my part time job to Communications Director and given a 20% pay increase.
In February of 2016, I was offered a job as a Staff Writer with an investigative journalism media group in Wisconsin and shortly thereafter made the jump to Wisconsin, and away from the sticky breakup mess. I wasn’t deliberately running away from a bad situation, but it seemed like a good next opportunity and I love writing.
I enjoyed Wisconsin, it’s a state with a really cool and unique political climate. I enjoyed my job, and I was also extremely privileged to serve as the State Director of Millennials for Cruz. But in May of this year I had the chance to participate in a pro-life walk across America. I knew that going on the walk could mean possibly losing both my full time job with the media group and my part time job as Communications Director for the nonprofit in Virginia.
The walk across America was amazing and adventurous, and I was honored to share in the mission with my fellow walkers. It turns out that at the completion of the walk in May, I did lose both my jobs –and an annual salary of nearly $55,000 along with them – but if even one baby was saved it was more than worth it. Participating in the walk was a great opportunity to see the country while simultaneously spreading the message of life. Every life has value and thus deserves to be treated with the inherent dignity and respect due them being created in the image of God.
Because of losing my full time job in Wisconsin I decided to relocate back to the DC area. I am currently working as a Production Intern for the Laura Ingraham show and as a Contributor for Live Action News. The future isn’t exactly certain right now, but I have so much to be thankful for. God has provided for me along every step of the way – sometimes before I was even aware of my own needs.
So despite coming through a rocky time – moving 8 times in the past two years, having an engagement broken off, having both lungs collapsed, and losing an annual salary of $55,000 – I can’t complain.
Even though I once thought that yesterday was going to be my wedding date, I’m more than content that it didn’t work out that way. I’m thankful in fact, because I trust that God worked in that particular situation just as I have seen him do in many other situations.
I’ve learned through these difficult circumstances that we all go through periods of darkness, but that God is the God over darkness, though he is light. But the thing about being in a period in life that feels dark to you is that those darkest moments are where God can shine the brightest. The reason that this has also been the best season of my life isn’t just because it’s the biggest salary I’ve ever had, or because I’ve had the neatest experiences of my life to date this year, but because the way that we mature is through difficulty.
“When God says ‘no’ it’s really a ‘yes’ to something better.”
– Pastor Deamon Scapin
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 (ESV)