One of the first pictures I posted to Instagram was of a smashed banana with googly eyes. I believe the caption said, “Look what I found on my pillow. I squashed it. #evil #friends.” How absurd. That was pure, authentic, youthful Haley right there. I keep scrolling to find more pictures from my college years—pictures of friends, family, other inanimate objects, and then of course, the one of my sisters and me when we ran into Aaron Carter in Kinko’s (another story for another time).
Everything I posted seemed to be something that was obviously worth the world seeing, but even if it wasn’t, it felt important to me. I find myself smiling at pictures of roommates and friends that have come and gone in my life for whatever reason, experiences of being goofy, college winter formals, and random dorm shenanigans. That season of my life already seems so foreign to me, and I’m not even that old.
I look back with both nostalgia and thankfulness that the Good Lord brings us out of the phases of our lives where Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty is our #mancandymonday (Oh, Haley). Life seemed easier and so much more simple then, even if it was filled with problems that were very real to me.
I scroll through my Instagram feed and notice my transformation. The woman who saw the world fairly naively gave love in the only ways she knew how to give at the time—in friendship, coffee dates, sitting with the unpopular kids in the cafeteria, and opening my dorm room to those who didn’t feel welcome anywhere else. I gave love in silliness and late-night chats and leading my volleyball team in devotionals. I learned to let loose at school dances and felt the tender embrace of my now husband during slow moments on the dance floor. His embrace is still tender, but even now, we rarely let loose like those early college days.
Of course, for me the parenting journey has created margin in new ways and drawn out responsibility in the place of what sometimes feels like fun. The shift was probably happening years ago; that’s just what happens when you grow up. I write with a little sadness because when I look at that Haley, I yearn for the spontaneity, the goofiness, the independence, and quite frankly, the energy that she brought to the world.
I look at that Haley and know that I wouldn’t choose to go back.
As I look at my most recent feed, I see a woman whose heart has been transformed by the steadfast hesed of God. I see posts about justice, signifying a vocation emerging in the ashes of deep pain. I see images of students graduating from college, students I poured into. I see resilience in laments about being pregnant during a global pandemic. I see new roles—auntie, pastor, mama—and a baby boy who has cultivated love again and again in my life, even if it’s at 2:00 in the morning.
I scroll back and forth between the early Haley and the one who is still being made new. Somehow, I am able to hold it all. For the moment, she is all me, and she is all good.
Haley Wiggers is passionate about discovering how the messy, painful, and unexpected gifts that come with being human connect and relate to and offer understanding of how God relates to and cares for us. She’s been married to her husband Tyson for 4.5 years, and together they just welcomed their first little into the world. His name is Theo, and he is the cutest. United by undeserved grace, they’ve created a life centered around table fellowship with others and long walks with their puppy.