This post is a little different from others I’ve written because I’ll be sharing personal journal entries from the most difficult trial of my life.
I have no intention of drawing attention to myself, and I definitely don’t have all the answers to coping with life changes. But, I hope my experiences encourage and help you, as we all approach shifting seasons in our lives. 🙂
Two years ago, my parents and I moved from my birth place in Texas—a log home on 6 cozy acres—to a neighborhood 4 miles away from the most crime-infested section of Brooklyn, New York.
I was familiar with New York because of yearly trips to the city, but living here is a whole different story!
Fairly often I’m asked, “Was it hard?” or “Do you like living there?” or “How did you adjust so well?”
And here are my answers…
- Yes, moving was hard. Leaving friends and family ripped my heart to pieces. But no pain was deeper than God’s comfort.
- I love living in New York! Though it’s not a place I would’ve chosen on my own, I wouldn’t change anything if I could. God knew the desires of my heart before I did, and He’s gone above and beyond to fulfill them.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV).
- The last question– “How did you adjust so well?” — is trickier to answer. So let me break it down…
First of all: I didn’t.
Not at first, anyway. I had no idea what to do, what to think, how to react, or how to feel. My emotions were chaos.
February 27– If we were supposed to move, wouldn’t God make me feel like I should be in New York?
March 3– Why is God doing this? What is His purpose?
March 14– Shall I describe my moods today? Alrighty, here we are: Sad. Happy. Depressed. Overwhelmed. Overjoyed. Terrified. Bouncing. Mystified, and so on and so forth.
Secondly, I questioned God.
I delivered grudging prayers, attempted to give Him the cold shoulder, and I sobbed a few times, somewhat hoping tears would change His mind.
But, though it was difficult to look Him in the eyes (because I knew His plans weren’t budging), I knew I wouldn’t survive without Him. Without His peace. So I surrendered what little of my heart I could, and He worked with the rest.
March 2– I have finally come to realize—it’s not His fault I’m scared or upset. He does love me, and He wants the best for me. I can choose whether or not to believe that—but I’m starting to let myself trust Him. Even though I know the future holds some major hardships.
Thirdly, I prayed.
And God worked miracles.
He took my feeble surrender and opened my mind to new thoughts and attitudes I never expected. The pain was still there, and vividly so. But resentment faded, and His strength increased.
March 3– Somehow, even though I’d so much rather stay here, God has prepared me for this day—the day my father tells me he thinks we should go to Brooklyn. At the same time of feeling peace about it, I can’t stop the tears that stubbornly flow.
March 8– I just know that New York will soon be where I live. And though I do believe it has been the cause of my dreadfully stressful week, I’m okay with it…Tomorrow I have to tell [my closest friends.]
March 9– Although I still can’t see myself coming to love New York, I think I’m finally willing to go. It will be the hardest thing for me to leave [everything and everyone I love]…but I’ve slowly come to believe that if I’m meant to be in New York, I’ll be happier than I could ever imagine. It’s just hard for me to see right now.
Fourthly, I ran to Jesus when doubt resurfaced.
March 15– I wish I could fly right through this hardship with a huge smile and full reliance on God. But I’m here admitting that I can’t do that. I can’t make it easy, and I can’t wish for it to be. Because I know God has a way of using not-so-easy things to change our lives completely.
Lastly, I could never leave out Mrs. D…
The woman who spent countless hours listening to me, encouraging me, and gently quoted Scripture when I was fighting tears.
God blessed me big when He brought this mentor into my life, and, because of her wisdom and optimistic outlook on my trial, I was able to gain positivity. My heart was able to trust.
She toldme to anticipate adventure, and inspired excitement in me.
She told me to get on my surfboard and enjoy the ride. To find the thrill in unknowns, and to always climb back on if I fell in the water.
She told me to delight in the Lord so He could grant me my heart’s desires. Desires only He knew I had, and ones only He could meet.
So I delighted. And shakily stood on the ‘surfboard’.
April 25 – Going to New York does not mean the end of my life. I’m not losing anything. I’m gaining perspective. I’m learning that, when we hold onto things loosely, it hurts less when God has to pry those things out of our hands…Four years of high school in New York City won’t kill me…Like Nate (my brother) says, ‘change is legit!’
May 8– I can’t stay on the same page forever. I have to find out how the story ends.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).
In part 2, I’ll share more recent journal entries, and close with a few applications I’ve drawn from the past few years–points I hope enable you when faced with the plot twists God throws your way.
Don’t forget His love ❤