when God’s will doesn’t match up with my own

ORGANIC (2)

This weekend Timehop reminded me through a Tweet I posted last year that we were embarking in a significant season of transition. “The walls are getting whiter,” said year-ago Kelly. I remember it well. I was preparing for our apartment to get packed up by movers. And my heart was experiencing all kinds of emotions. Let me give you the back story:

A year ago we received the news that our world was being flipped upside down faster than we expected. Our anticipated September move to California for Adam’s training was moved up to May. Not only that, but we would need to leave the day immediately following his graduation. Not only that, but we received word of this all just shy of a month before we would need to leave. Talk about overwhelming.

Now May was the initial time frame for our departure when we first found out what Adam’s job would be in the Air Force. At first we were prepared for it. We were excited to know that his career would start right off the bat as he finished up his undergrad years.

Then somewhere in-between it was pushed back to September. This was disappointing news for about a split second, but the more we thought about it, the better it seemed. September meant that Adam would have a brief period of rest after 4 years of late nights and hard work. September meant that we could spend the summer getting together with friends and family that we hadn’t seen much of throughout our newlywed year. September meant we had plenty of time for goodbyes before we turned the page. September meant that we had a few extra months of life in Carbondale. September meant we had a few extra months of time at Vine Church, where we were growing, learning, investing. September became perfect.

And then in typical Air Force fashion: a last minute change of plans. They pulled a major “just kidding” on us and pulled our leave date back to May. No more time off for Adam. No more time to see loved ones and say goodbye. No more time left with our friends or our church in Carbondale. April to May quickly became a whirlwind of a month. Adam had to scramble to accomplish all the minor tasks to prepare for going active duty – all while finishing up his final semester of college. I immediately had to put in my two weeks notice at work, and I scrambled to get my cases in as much order as possible so that I could transition everything off well for the caseworker that would take over them. We prepared our apartment to be packed up strategically for a cross country move. We planned our road trip across the states – being sure to make it to our new base in time, while still making time to see some landmarks along the way. We made space in the midst of the craziness to host some last minute visits from some family. We said goodbyes. Many goodbyes. Many difficult and rushed goodbyes. Adam graduated. He commissioned. And we were off. Just like that.

In a span of 4 years for Adam, and less than a year for me, Carbondale, Illinois became our home. There’s nothing overly extravagant about the college town on paper, but it has become a place that I will forever love to return to. It was the setting for the start of our life together. It was a town filled with so many unique adventures – most of which we didn’t have time to explore. It was where we could get the world’s greatest fruit slushes at QQ Bubble Tea and the best chicken fried rice at Thai Taste. It was a place where our faith grew exponentially in the midst of new challenges and lessons. And it felt like it was being ripped away from us far too quickly. Why did we have to leave so soon? Why couldn’t we stay just a little bit longer? It’s not like we were getting too comfortable or becoming stagnant there. We were growing. We were serving. We were being challenged. And yet the Air Force and God still bid us onward.

The ONLY thing that kept me moving forward, and resisting every urge to cling to it all and never let go, was that God assured me countless times that this was His will for us. He orchestrated it all. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t want it – at least not yet. But whatever the circumstances would bring – both good or bad – it was his desire for us to move onward. And therefore, that is what would be best for us. It’s a scary thing to admit complete trust in God. Never in my life did I have to cling so tightly to His promises to get me through. I tried, for His sake (and His glory) to point to Him in it all. To let people know that although my heart wanted something else, I was still going to follow God where He wanted me to go. Granted I probably repeated that so often to people because I was trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince them. But He knows far more than I do. And He knows what I need to be sharpened and refined.

It’s been almost a year since we left. I remember the emotions of that time like it was yesterday. The fear, the disappointment, the excitement, the nervousness, the instability, the peace. It was nothing short of overwhelming. And I remember when the novelty of it all wore off. A short way into our time in California we were missing Illinois like crazy. It was much easier for me to focus on the hardship and the aches that my heart felt than it was for me to focus on God’s plan. Another move later and I still find myself doubting and asking “why?” I still question this even when my heart is far more at ease than it ever was in California. Although I still haven’t figured out the direct answer, God keeps bringing me back to the truth that this has all been a part of His will, and this is what is best for me, for us, and for His glory. And I learn to accept that (keyword: learn). I may have to continuously reaccept it, but it’s where I keep getting brought back to.

Because we are exactly where God wants us to be. We are in a place we begged and pleaded not to go to, and yet it has turned out to be far greater than we imagined. I still miss Carbondale. I still miss home. But it becomes much lighter when I give the weight of it all back to Jesus and rest in the assurance that we have purpose here. More likely than not, purpose far beyond ourselves.

As someone who trusts that God is who He says He is, I can confidently and firmly believe that His will is better than my own. Even if I don’t see it now, even if I don’t see it in 20 years, even if I don’t see it ever in this life, He knows far more about what is best for me in this life than I do. My vision most often is shortsighted and selfish. His vision is all knowing, all wise, & all encompassing. He sees beyond me because He knows it’s not about me. Therefore when He calls me onward to something (or tells me to stay put), I want to trust Him that despite what good or bad may come that it is best for my well being and for His glory. He never promised Christ followers an easy life. He never promised anyone an easy life for that matter. He never told us that we deserve great things – we came up with that mindset on our own. But what he has ensured us of is that in our sinful nature and natural rebellion of Him we deserve eternal punishment. But He took care of that on the cross and opened the door for us to have the undeserved and unearned opportunity to find freedom and grace in Him. And as I have come to accept that and believe that, I turn towards Him with a heart of repentance, respect, and love. In doing so I’ve accepted that we are all broken humans filled with flaws due to our sinful nature that need to be refined in the fire of the Holy Spirit. Refinement is a hard pressing process. It means difficult things are inevitable. But refinement can help rid us of the things in our hearts and lives that don’t belong. It can chip away at the dark pieces within us to make more room for Jesus.

And I don’t know about you, but I want more of Jesus. He’s the only thing that has ever been, and will ever be, worth giving up everything for. In doing so, that means giving up my own will, and following His – even when it doesn’t make sense, and especially when it doesn’t match up with my own.

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april goals

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I’m a little slow rolling here with my April goals. I think going on vacation at the end of last month left me with no time to really think through what it is that I would like to accomplish in the 30 days of April. But first, let’s check in on how March went.

MARCH REVIEW

  1. Continue hitting up the gym at least 5 times a week. Up until our vacation at the end of the month, I stayed consistent in working out again this month. I owe so much to my swollmate for that. 😉
  2. Read 4 chapters of Systematic Theology. Nope. Only got through one chapter again this month.
  3. Complete the gallery wall for our living room. More progress has been made, but not quite there yet. I painted a couple pieces to include with it that I’m really happy with. It just needs to all finally get nailed down.
  4. Journal more often. Sadly, this just didn’t happen.
  5. Get a tan in MEXICO! While some overcast days and a bit of rain salted my game, I left Cozumel with a little bit more color than I came to it with. More importantly, we had the most wonderful time vacationing with the whole Pruim family. (More pictures and details to come on that soon!)
  6. Snuggle more with my hubby. I wasn’t exactly intentional about this, but I still managed to fit in snuggle time nonetheless.

APRIL GOALS

  1. Read More (beyond Systematic). Going on vacation allowed me a little more reading time, and I was able to finish a book I’ve been reading since Christmas. I want to keep plowing through the many quality books on my shelf that I have yet to read.
  2. Work out 3-4 times a week. I’m not going to lie, going on vacation ruined a bit of my motivation to hit the gym everyday. It took a couple days of adjusting back home to finally suck it up and get back into it. Now that I’m getting there though, I’d like to keep at it. Because I’ve been really pleased with the progress I’ve made because of it.
  3. Spend the nice days outside. Spring is trying to surface here in Minot. We had a week of gorgeous 60-70 degree weather, but then we dropped back into the 30s and 40s, with multiple days of snow scattered in. I was warned to never get my hopes up with the weather here. But I at least want to take advantage of the nice days that we do have. This weekend we’re supposed to be hitting back into the 60s and 70s, so in whatever off time I have I want to get out and soak up the sun, because it sure does do something for my soul.

I’m just keeping it simple this month, considering we’re already a third of the way through it. This month is more full than usual too with a big fundraiser for work, some friends coming to visit, and Adam’s birthday, so I want to be sure my time is spent wisely too. Besides, I still want to leave some room in the margins to let life happen. Grace man. That’s what this whole thing is about.

What goals do you have for yourself this month?

letting life happen

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Well March came, and March went. And April has come and we’re already a week in. And I’ve been nowhere to be found on this space. To be honest, there were a couple times this month that I sat down to put something together for a post, but the publish button never got pushed. And it’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. It’s just that I’ve been simply living.

Nothing extravagant has been going on (minus our recent vacation to Mexico, but I consider that an exception). I’ve simply been working, maintaining the house, working out, building relationships, and spending quality time with my husband and pup. And this past month, that was enough for me to manage. Everything was steady. It was simple. It felt peaceful. And so each time I sat at the computer and typed out some of my thoughts, all that came out was words expressing my desire to just be living life and utilizing the time in my days to the best of my abilities (I can thank the gorgeous weather at the beginning of the month for that inspiration – where that weather is now I’m not so sure). It’s not that blogging isn’t worth my time. I love having this space and I look forward to seeing it grow in the time to come as I find new and better ways to invest in it. But this past month it was nice to take the break and just let life happen. To take the moments as they came and experience them fully. To not overwhelm myself with too much on my plate, especially with my new job. To enjoy the simple evenings of sitting next to Adam on the couch or tossing a ball around with Boone. To take advantage of the few spring weather days we’ve had so far and get outside more. To soak in the opportunities to invest in relationships, both near and far. It was all worth it.

As we’re already a week into April, I’m excited to get things rolling again around here. I have a month’s worth of life to catch you all up on. I have overdue words to share with you. I have a new series to continue in. But I also am giving myself the grace and the wiggle room to deal with life as it happens. I’m not a full time blogger, so I feel comfortable giving myself that slack at this time. But know that I care about sharing the words that I do with you here. And therefore I don’t want to give you second rate stuff. It’s just that sometimes the quality I aim for takes a little more time. So be patient with me. And trust that there is more to come soon.

Until then…