I said I’d never move back to Louisiana.
It was too small, too familiar. It was the Sportsman’s Paradise, for crying out loud, and despite spending my childhood on a farm, I wanted the hustle and bustle of a big city. I was the girl who lived as close to downtown as she could afford and considered her home ownership in the suburbs as an exile of sorts. I would never be okay again with a town that did not have a Target, let alone a Super Target, I said.
As I sit in my new living room in Louisiana, with a sea of unpacked boxes surrounding me, and in a town that’s 30 minutes from the nearest Target, I have to laugh.
I also have to laugh because I have longed and ached for my home Louisiana more in the past six months than I have in the all of the thirteen years I’ve been a Texan. That alone should’ve been my first clue that the Holy Spirit was up to something.
For the next year, I’ve committed to help minister to college students who attend my alma mater. College ministry has always been a passion of mine, and I could not be more thrilled about it.
Several people have said, “Never tell God where you won’t go. He’ll send you there for sure.”
Clichés. They kill me.
For starters, I never told God I wouldn’t go back to Louisiana. I jokingly told other people I wouldn’t. God and I had an understanding that deep down—despite my lack of interest in returning to any place I’d already lived for a lengthy period of time—I trusted Him, and I’d choose obedience over personal preference.
And then there’s the whole implication of God as a killjoy. Are there times we are called to do things we don’t want to do? Absolutely. Is obedience costly and sometimes painful? Absolutely.
With this rationale, I should start telling God I don’t want to get married. Because then He’ll punish me with marriage, right?
The truth of the matter is I struggle with the implication of God as a killjoy, too.
Sanctification being a process and all, I’m used to the hard parts: the waiting, the longing, the frustration, the hard work, the confusion, the struggle, the faith. I’m used to my desires and God’s plan being a little off-kilter. Not always, but often enough.
So when things happen easily–when what I want and what God wants goes together beautifully–it freaks me out.
In the past year and a half, I’ve seen God’s hand move so clearly in my life it has left no question of who has ordered my steps. I could not have orchestrated the things He’s done, and honestly, my imagination never even dreamed that far. Working with college students is just the icing on the cake really. You’d think I live in a constant state of euphoria.
Instead, much of my time has been spent waiting for the rain cloud.
I have struggled tremendously with enjoying where I am because I’m waiting for lightning to strike. It’s ridiculous really. My fear has sabotaged me often.
But God is so precious and patient with me.
He knows my struggle to see Him as a loving, benevolent God. He knew this before He started unfolding His plans for my life, before I was even born. He knew I would need to trace His hand through this journey—how I would spend hours fighting the enemy’s lies and attempts to steal my joy in these moments of late.
And He knew one of the tools I would need: the knowledge that what has occurred in my life is so much bigger than me, it could only have been made possible by a loving, benevolent Father.
Oh, how deeply grateful I am. Because though I’m still working through this, I know already it is a watershed period in my life.
It’s less about my desires being met and more about grasping parts of His character in ways I only thought I understood.
I’m no fool. Just because I’m somewhere I want to be doesn’t mean there won’t still be difficult days ahead or periods in my life in the future where I will be struggling (yet again) to learn contentment in my lot. The storm clouds will roll in legitimately. That’s life.
But for right now—right now I’m working on seeing the silver lining instead of the rain clouds. I’m working on tracing His hand every day and allowing Him to gently remind me that the good times are for His glory, too.
*Photo credit: Mark Heard