In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.Proverbs 16:9
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not into thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6 (King James version)
As newlyweds, my husband and I left my hometown where, within a year, we had met, married, and built a house and moved to Nashville, Tennessee where we knew only one person. That person ended up moving to Texas the week after we arrived in order to promote Shania Twain. We had indeed arrived in “Music City” but it was not yet “It City” anything – we just hoped it would arrive someday and we’d be on the front of that wave. While we had prayed about the move decision and felt called to move (we moved within 6 weeks of the prayer!), it was also one of the hardest challenges we ever took on as a couple or, for me, as an individual. Many times, I doubted whether we had done the right thing. I doubted God’s direction. Many times, I felt incredibly lonely having left my childhood hometown. Many times, I doubted that God had given me in Nashville enough companionship and of the right kind and in the right amount to be joyful. When we moved (which at the time felt like a romantic adventure that declared, “I am all grown up, Mom and Dad”), I left my entire family behind – three generations worth – and a job I loved and a large network of friends from high school and in-state undergrad and law schools.
Nashville was only 4 hours down the road, but it seemed a lot farther than that, after we settled into our demanding jobs, young marriage and the goal of raising children. Many times, during the first few years after the move, I threw myself a pity party about not having my comfort zone of family and friends within easy reach. During that first decade, my father became terminally ill and died, other relatives also passed, a sibling divorced, I had two children and brain surgery and many other events occurred that represented the rhythm of life that cannot be silenced, even for a heart desiring to get back to those to whom we feel most connected and to whom we could provide comfort or from whom we could receive it.
Sometimes, I would wonder if I would ever have complete peace about the move we had made. But, through prayer and spiritual growth, peace eventually arrived and I began to understand that I could comfort from a distance and that miles are not a barrier to love. While I have truly missed living near my family these many years and often felt loss over the decision, I can truly say that I am glad I followed God’s calling by moving. What has unfolded for me is undeniable growth in reliance and trust in God’s purpose for my life and in belief in the power of prayer. I do not think I would have the strong marriage and faith that I have if not for the move. We have been blessed in so many ways and the blessings have often been directly tied to our big move – new friends (including a neighbor that brought me to Soul Sisters) are among the greatest.
For further reading: Romans 5:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Please forgive us when we don’t fully appreciate the blessings you put in front of us – when we long for things we have lost or have even freely given up. Please help us have faith that you are always guiding our steps and know our best path on the journey of life. Help us, Lord, to walk contentedly with you, as we live the life you want for us. Finally, thank you for the people you place in our lives to help us make transitions and to live joyfully. May we be a similar blessing to others we encounter. In Christ’s name, Amen.