Die a Happy Woman: When You’re Waiting For Something You Don’t Have Yet

A few weeks ago,  I was eating lunch at my desk listening to the  hit country song,  “Die a Happy Man” on repeat because  love music is my kryptonite and silence makes me uncomfortable. If you are not familiar with the song, please click here and enjoy the best 4 minutes of your life.

Lunch that day was leftover baby back ribs that I made myself in the crock pot on Sunday. They were delicious and I ate them all.

I also had brought mashed sweet potatoes that day, because apparently I was feasting like a queen, but realized as I went to start on them that I didn’t have a spoon.

One option would have been walking down the long hallway to the staff lounge and getting a spoon. That option was not going to work for me. The second option suddenly became clear, like an enlightened idea: the curved bone of a single rib.

There I sat, using a rib bone as a spoon for my mashed sweet potato, using the curved end to scoop and eat. Covered in barbecue sauce, and utterly happy.

And I thought, someday, someone will be observing me doing this from another room in the house, and think to himself, “How did I get so lucky?”

The song “Die a Happy Man” is literally the cutest thing I have ever heard in my 25 years. I am pretty sure I just keeled over and  instantly passed out the first time I heard it, but once I came back to life, I was never the same.

It is absolutely adorable.

What makes it better is that the music video for the song is Thomas Rhett’s ACTUAL WIFE IN REAL LIFE. (fall over again).

The lyrics talk about how he could never accomplish all the huge goals he has for his life, seeing the Eiffel Tower, building a mansion in Georgia, and he would still die happy because he has her great love. Swoon. All he needs in this life is her crazy love.

I find myself in the opposite situation, but recently have found overwhelming peace.

My dreams and my goals are taking off. I am writing and people are reading and I am teaching and students are learning, but one giant thing is missing for me. At 25, I thought I would be married, and maybe even starting a family.

I thought the ring would come first, and then my life would fall into place, into neat little pieces that fit together perfectly, after my heart’s desire had been met.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

So, while Thomas Rhett sings of contentment with his wife, even if that means he achieves nothing else, I must learn contentment in God alone even if that means it’s all I will ever have.

Not as flashy- the song would probably not be a smash hit.

But, I don’t want to spend my life wishing and waiting for the next thing.

I don’t want to spend the one life I have in fear of not getting what I want, or consumed with anxiety that tomorrow doesn’t hold what I hope it holds.

For me, it’s marriage, but for others it could be a  career, a baby, a dream job since childhood, a friendship, traveling, or ANY desire of our hearts that we don’t have yet.

I have struggled with contentment since I can remember, but recently I feel as if God has spoken to me loud and clear about where He has me.

While I have spent much time anxious and afraid of never obtaining my desires, in fear of being alone, I have forgotten one key thing:

“…be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”

(Hebrews 13)

If my lot in life is nothing like I planned.

If I never achieve the things I want to achieve.

If I never have a family of my own.

If I have to mow my own lawn the rest of my life.

Could I die a happy woman?

Like, I said, this would not be a popular song. It goes against EVERYTHING we naturally are as humans. It actually sounds a little depressing.

For others it might be:

If I never get the job I want,

If I never lose the weight ,

If the relationship never mends,

If I never get a ring,

If the disease never goes away,

If the cancer comes back,

If I never fix everything that’s broken,

If I never have the baby I so badly want,

Could I die a happy human?

A gratitude journal I started at the beginning of the year to take the focus off what I don’t have.

Because we are not alone, our steps are ordained, and our hearts can be content in knowing there is a greater plan than our own.

The absence of what we so badly desire feels lonely. But we are not alone in the waiting.

It is hard. It is a daily surrender. It is not natural to go against my selfish desires and simply be content.

Philippians 4:11-12, Paul writes:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

If you are like me, and are living in want, remember that those desires are not wrong. But there is a secret to living a life of peace and contentment: and that secret is finding your joy in something that no one on earth can either give or take away from you. His love and His satisfaction.

It’s a lesson I will continue to learn over and over. Some days will be better than others, but let us encourage each other to find our contentment in one thing alone.

So if all I got is His hand in my hand,

Then I could die, a happy woman.


Blessings, not chins







3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kimberly says:

    OMG! Look at what my Facebook post was yesterday. (I’m not that savvy with technology so since I don’t know how to snap a “screen shot”, I just copied and pasted.) :

    Kimberly Gurley
    Yesterday at 10:40am ·

    I fully admit that if I was even twenty years younger (because then it might actually be socially acceptable), I would tell you I have a crush on Thomas Rhett. So perhaps that influences this statement: “Die a Happy Man” is one of my favorite love songs EVER. Seriously ladies, the line: “If all I got is your hand in my hand, baby I could die a happy man.” If a man said that to me, he could have my hand, my heart, my everything. And, no – my hubby doesn’t speak or sing like that, Nonetheless, he is truly my first crush, my last crush, and my only love.

    My family and I adore country music. My daughter works in the country music industry. She does not “know” Thomas and Lauren Rhett but “follows” them and has been “obsessed” with them and how cute they are as a couple. I was lucky enough to be at a “meet and greet” with Thomas. I adore his music and have loved seeing him at both a small club setting and a huge (Levi’s) stadium. He’s amazing. And was as sweet and “real” in the brief 3 mins. I got to speak with him as I had hoped.

    All that being said, your post (only my second – I started following you after your amazing “Sunday night-before returning to school-after winter break” article) made me tear up again. I’m going to forward it to my daughter. It sounds like you are both in similar places in life. She is packing as I type to take a job in Nashville and move from California, and the only home she’s ever lived in. (‘Bout to burst into Oprah’s “ugly cry” right now, so back to the subject at hand . . .) She’s actually never had a boyfriend. She definitely dreams of a family. But I’m so proud of how she (and you and young women like you both), are trying to not let that goal consume you, derail you, or cloud your vision and depress you when it “appears” it may not happen. I admire that you know it isn’t always easy, but you are doing the work, the self-talk, the praying, and the thinking to keep from going down that slippery slope.

    I’m also going to send this to my VBFF (Also a teacher – and one of the most amazing I know. Her influence and impact upon young adults – high schoolers – is astounding!). She is in a very dark period right now regretting some life decisions/choices, feeling lonely, etc. I think the absence of a mate and children are hurting her so much that she can’t even see all that she has and be grateful for it. At almost 54, I think your observations and beautiful words might be even more on point for her at this moment. See – you never know how you influence and affect people even outside of the classroom.

    Anyway, I don’t know “blog etiquette” since yours is only the second blog I follow. I’m sure this is way too wordy and lengthy for a “comment”. But I found it a bit freaky that you referenced the song I adore after what I just posted yesterday. And then, when I read your blog entry in its entirety, it spoke to me for many reasons. The mom in me can’t help but say that I feel proud of you, delighted for you that you are having these thoughts and life philosophy at such a young age so you don’t squander your life and waste valuable living regretting. And I am giving the glory to God for getting you there.

    Bravo, “Happy Woman!”

    P.S. And yes, I was procrastinating while looking at the mountain of schoolwork I brought home, but that does not in any way diminish the sincerity of my words! 😉


    1. jennakay says:

      Kimberly, this is probably the most thoughtful and my most favorite comment ever. Can’t stop smiling 🙂 I LOVED reading about your life, your sweet friend and your daughter. What a huge transition for her. I have never been to Nashville but am heading there for a Bachelorette party in May and can’t wait. Is that where Thomas lives??? I might need to add a stop to our itinerary 😉 (And I honestly don’t think you could ever love Thomas Rhett as much as me…hahaha I am so obsessed!! and with his wife….she is a DOLLLLLL) It sounds like your daughter and I would get along great. Our stage of life is a tricky one. Your words of encouragement, support and connection light up my life and energize me in ways you never will know! Please continue reading and keeping in touch…it is my absolute FAVORITE thing about blogging is “meeting” new people and hearing their stories and connecting with their lives. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the time to leave me such a nice message and empower me the way you did!!!


  2. kjmmakes says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve read your blog before when it was about returning to school, but I’ve just rediscovered it when Huffington Post picked up your latest article. It is everything I have needed. I’ve read through some other posts of yours and I relate so much to the journey you have been on. I’m a 27 year old school teacher in Australia and my life does not look how I expected it to. I have the job of my dreams, but there’s parts of the equation missing, that I was sure I would have by now. For me, I have been LOVING reading and listening to anything by Annie F Downs. She has just released her book Looking for Lovely, and she has a fantastic Q Ideas Youtube clip called “What More Do You Want?” Which I often watch on repeat, and then forward to all of my friends and make them watch it. I honestly feel like you have jumped into my head, read my thoughts and then written it way better than I could myself, so thank you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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