Monday, April 16, 2012

When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

During my bridal shower my sister surprised me by reading from a journal that I had written in early grade school about my dreams for the future. Apparently I wanted to travel to Hawaii, marry my 4th grade boyfriend, and work at a church. (My dad is a pastor so I think that's where I got the idea.)

My bridal shower was Hawaiian-themed because my husband and I were moving to the Big Island a few weeks after our wedding. While I didn't marry my 4th grade boyfriend, he was the best man in our wedding and is a close friend. And although I don't work at a church, I have been in full-time Christian ministry for 3 years, so that's close!

(This is my family and I when they visited me and my husband in Hawaii.)

I am not spontaneous, I hate change, and the word "unknown" makes me want to throw up. When life doesn't go the way I plan, it can be really hard for me to deal with. I love what we do in Montana, but it's not easy to live in a different state than our families. I never planned on raising Nicholas without his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins close by. Living far way from them brings moments of pain and longing. I've seen people I care about go through things that no one should have to endure. Not everything in life turns out the way we plan. We all have our fair share of circumstances that aren't what we thought they'd be.

It's not always easy to embrace this perspective, but I'm slowly learning to appreciate the different seasons of my life because of the joy and growth that they bring. If I had stayed in Washington to be closer to my family, I would have missed out on the adventures of living in Hawaii as a newlywed and sharing life with people in the Middle East, Asia, and Central America. We wouldn't have the incredible relationships that we have with friends in Montana. I wouldn't know the giggles of sweet little ones in Guatemala or know what it feels like to ride on the neck of a Thai elephant. The difficult moments have brought opportunities to rely on Christ, persevere through hardship, learn to love my husband in a deeper way, and much, much more.

I'm also learning that the difficult days make the sweet moments in life even sweeter.  There's nothing like reunions with family at the airport when you haven't seen them for 6 months. The drool-filled grin on my baby's face can erase the memory of countless nights of terrible sleep. Getting an unexpected check in the mail means so much more when your watching your bank account dwindle.

I know that there are things in my future that I can't plan for. My hope is that, instead of dreading the difficult moments, I can embrace each beautiful season that God brings and rejoice in the growth and beauty that comes through it all. I don't want to hide from life; I want to truly live it.


  1. Thanks for this beautiful post! My husband and I are transplants from LA to Portland, and it's been extremely difficult to be away from family. I'm trying to enjoy the time here, even while hoping to move back, but that's easier said than done. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Ariel, I'm SO glad that I could encourage you! Transition is hard enough, especially when it involves being away from family. If you don't Skype with them often, you gotta do it! It almost feels like you're in the same room :)

  3. We definitely do skype often! I worry more about having to miss big events like graduations, weddings, birthdays, etc. But I'm trying to work on that... and save more money for plane tickets. :)


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