I went for a walk this morning on the paths by my house. I love going for walks this time of year, admiring the foliage and breathing in the crisp morning air. I went to my favorite spot by a little bridge over the creek, where I always seem to end up on these walks, and I realized something. It has been a year since we moved here, since I packed up with my family and moved to a place that I knew nothing of and nobody in. I remember going down to that exact spot by the creek shortly after we moved in, sitting on a rock, and crying to God to please just let me feel at home here, and to not make me move again. I was angry about leaving my old home, I was hurting because of a broken friendship, and I was confused. I felt more alone and lost than I had in a long time. But I remember as I sat there with my journal, I gave it all to God. I told Him that even though I couldn’t feel the good in this, I knew in my head that He is good. I asked that He would help me not only know it, but believe it, and surrender myself completely to Him.
The next few weeks were a battle. I struggled with anger and bitterness, I struggled with a lot of fear, and surrender was a constant battle, something I had to do over and over again every day. I would go for a run every afternoon after work to pray and get rid of stress. I would take my journal down to that faithful little creek and write my thoughts out. I hesitantly started attending the Sunday School class and Bible study at our new church. And the more I took those little steps and prayed through the fear and frustration, my stubborn heart was softened to God’s leading. I met some amazing people, I began to be challenged in my faith once again, and I started to realize that we often grow the most when we are uprooted from our comfort zones.
And one year later, I look back and realize that God is so faithful. God is so good. And I don’t always see that, but I am learning to recognize it daily. I am learning to lean on His steady hand and fall into His arms when I cannot walk on my own. When everything around me is whirling and dark and terrifying, my God is constant. His love is for always, and His grace is sufficient. Things have not been easy, but God has been faithful.
He has brought some incredible people into my life this year. I have been challenged, I have been encouraged, and I have grown through their love and friendship. He has brought me through situations that were gut-wrenching and seemingly impossible, and He has taught me (and is still teaching me!) that my worth and my satisfaction can be found in Him alone. He has given me contentment with the season of life that I am in, and He has given me excitement about the future. He is shining the light on the legalism that I struggled with and didn’t work through for so long, and He is breaking down the lies that I have believed about Him in the process. He is showing me what it means to truly follow Him, listen to His voice, and claim Him as my own. He is teaching me that I am in desperate need of Him. He is teaching me to be burdened for the world that is full of lost and broken people in need of Him. He is giving me a love for others, a passion to go and get involved in ministries to serve Him, and a confidence in Him that I never knew before.
I’m still learning how to live abundantly in the here and now. I’m still learning to be satisfied in Him. I’m still learning what it means to have a true, deep relationship with Jesus, not just head knowledge based on what I’ve heard. He is guiding me on a path that leads me to Him, and I can look back on this year and be truly thankful. I can be full of joy as I remember His faithfulness. And I can look forward with excitement because I know that His promises are true, and His plans for me are perfect, no matter what I feel.
And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.