What the Past 25 Years Would Have Been Like Without....

Without Purple Hair: For my big TWOFIVE last week, I sprayed my hair purple. It looked FAR better than that one time my mom let me get bleach blonde highlights for my birthday in middle school. GROSS. That's also when I used to part my hair in the middle... which is JUST NOT a hair part everyone is made for. Only the Spice Girls could pull off bleach blonde highlights and middle parts. And maybe SClub7.... they were allowed to do a lot of things my mom WOULDN'T have let me do for my birthday (like have bleach blonde highlights and wear shirts that don't cover their bellybuttons and amazing Sclub7 abs). Life, I think, would have been a little bit better without highlights and middle parts. But it probably would have been SO MUCH MORE FUN with purple hair and Sclub7 abs. I guess that's something to pursue in my next 25 years....

Without Donuts: Bleak, dark, frustrating. What would I have eaten at 3AM in college without donuts? What would "go nuts" rhyme with?

Without Harry Potter: What would my developmental life be without Harry? Um, but, seriously. Harry taught me bravery. His friends were so true and willing to sacrifice their lives for everyone else's livelihood. I cried for him and laughed with him. I'm not sure I would have ever thought school was cool if it weren't for Hogwarts. Brett and I would have had to go on a normal honeymoon if it weren't for Harry Potter World. We might have even had to go to Disneyworld instead *gasp*!!!! And what would the world do without J.K. Rowling's famous Harvard commencement speech? Cry, probably. It might sound weird to any of my friends who never got into the Harry-craze (or whose parents FORBADE them to), but I am grateful I've lived life alongside The Boy Who Lived.

Without My Creative Mind. I probably would have been far less distracted in school.

Without A brother. I wouldn't have known how to laugh, openly and unashamedly, when someone farts (or as my brother would say it, "when someone makes a fluffy"). Usually that someone is me. 

Without Coffee Shops. Don't be surprised this is on my list. I think back to the first coffee shop I ever went to and remember how my eyes lit up when I realized it was a space made for people like me. A space for dreamers and intro/extroverts. What would I have done without these spaces and warm cups of "I NEED THIS"? Well, I probably would have spent far less money. 

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Without Brett. I wouldn't daily consider whether or not I'm married to Clark Kent or not. Those glasses, that look, and the way he steps up to life so bravely has me thinking he might secretly be a superhero. The guy who checked us out at Walmart today even told Brett he looked like Clark Kent. What would I do without Brett, the guy who watches and quotes Elizabethtown with me every few months? The best roadtrip partner a girl could ask for. And the guy who perseveres in loving me and serving me like Jesus served and sacrificed Himself for the church. I've learned so much from him and with him, I hope I can walk the next 25 years with him. 

Without Grace, Peace, Hope, and God. For a few months now I've been rewinding my life trying to imagine what it would have been like for me to live without hope and grace because I want to figure out how to tell people who don't know God like I do, what it's like TO know Him.

I've tried to imagine who I would have been if I didn't believe in God.

What kind of decisions would I have made without the God I've fallen in love with chasing after my heart and life? Where would I be if I hadn't let God write my story? My story is made valuable, beautiful, refined, and new because instead of receiving death, God loved me fiercely enough to sacrifice His treasure and prize, Jesus, so that I can live freely and with hope. Seeking to "Know God" has helped me know and understand so much more of myself, because He created me as a reflection of Him. Knowing my creator helps me delight in who He has created me to be. I meet a lot of people who really struggle to delight in themselves. I do too sometimes, but God will fight lies that I'm worthless- that I'm a failure- with me my entire life, because with Him, he makes me valuable and restored.

If I didn't know the hope God offers me I think I would be trying to find it in everything else. I KNOW I would be seeking acceptance through my blog, fashion sense, and creativity. I would constantly be wanting to be someone else- never loving myself. I KNOW I would be trying to find love, acceptance, and fulfillment in dating and even marriage. But it wouldn't be Brett I'd be married to. Brett and I wouldn't even be married if I didn't know God, because I wouldn't understand that Jesus dying on the cross wasn't just a terrible thing that happened to a nice man--- I wouldn't understand that I am called to sacrifice my life, out of love for others, so they can know God--- just like Jesus did. I wouldn't know how to live that way in my marriage, loving and serving Brett as Jesus would. I would make selfish decisions and attempt to hold power over others (especially women I compare myself to or feel threatened by) so I could feel better about myself. I wouldn't ask God to help me forgive others because I'd rather hold things against them and not seek restoration. 

WITH God--- What I love most is when I find myself at the end of my rope, completely distraught, feeling alone and hopeless, God tells me I am blessed because I have Him. He tells me He hasn't given up on me. He tells me He is good and has a better and deeper purpose for me than I ever imagined for myself. And I really do believe that, because trusting Him has had me wanting to serve Him and love Him all the more. He is Someone I hope everyone I know can meet and be drawn to and walk with. 

Here's to 25 more years with Him. And maybe some more purple hair.


Stacie Stine

Design Jamboree, Denton, Texas, United States