I have slowly, often fraught with resistance, learned that I’m not in control and I don’t have it all figured out. This realization would have served me well decades ago, but better to discover in decade 5 of life than much later! I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t have the best plan in mind, and I must let go of control and rely on the only One that does.
God gave me the chance of my lifetime to let go and trust Him in 2016 when we had the opportunity to pack up, leave all that was familiar to us for over 40+ years, and venture 11 hours south to a new state, new culture, and new everything where we didn’t know a soul. Everything was changing, yet nothing was changing.
This life-changing decision blessed us with the opportunity to rely on God in prayer like never before in our marriage. It brought us to a point of such surrender to listening for His plan, because the options before us were not clear-cut, obvious answers. We relied on others’ prayers for us, which was somewhat of another new and much-needed territory to embrace.
Throughout the planning stages I leaned on promises in God’s Word such as Philippians 4:19, “ And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Also in the forefront of my mind was Ephesians 5:22 in trusting God to lead my husband in the decision He had for us.
It took a good two months until we arrived at a clear and definitive answer to making this move or not, trusting in the LORD with all our hearts, not leaning on our own understanding, acknowledging Him in all our ways, and watching Him make our paths straight in this new endeavor. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I recorded God’s faithfulness and provision to us throughout the decision-making and preparation process. Some of the highlights were His provision for the perfect timing and availability to travel for house-hunting, the right house for us getting listed and open for showing the day I was in Tennessee, the perfect timing to arrange some loan details just in time for closing, and a new Southern friend that provided endless encouragement and overflowing local knowledge as needed. God went before us in every sense imaginable and opened one door after another. I could go on and on about details that were left to Him to work out, and He did…beyond measure and expectation.
When we arrived to middle Tennessee on December 20, 2016, emotions were high and all over the board for me. When relying on your own understanding and trusting only in what you see, it’s a recipe for chaos and stress. Despite my blog’s name, it’s still a struggle from time to time. I certainly don’t do this perfectly, but having One to lean on and keep my eyes on, trusting in His ways, makes all the difference.
“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11
My prayer within the first few days in Tennessee was that in one year I would be able to say that I couldn’t imagine not being here. By far the biggest blessing in our move has been the people. With the church God led us to, the relationships made so far, and the growth that’s occurred in our marriage, I have already expressed this prayed-for-sentiment only 8 weeks in. We, as finite-brained humans walking around in sin-filled bodies with selfish and skewed ideas, cannot begin to comprehend how wide and how deep and big is the love God has for us (Eph. 3:18-19), nor can we fathom His ways. Leaving the only home state we’d ever known, the newly built cabin up north that was the best thing we ever did in our marriage, and separating ourselves from all family and precious friends was not something on our radar 5 years earlier, nor does it seem to make sense “on paper” to many onlookers. Yet only 3 months in I can’t imagine it any other way.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Romans 11:33
So, as my post title states, everything has changed, yet nothing has changed. Though our surroundings, our culture, and our daily routine has changed, the fact that God is sovereign, on His throne, trustworthy, in control, and working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28), nor has He changed one bit. Despite there having been times of wrestling internally, overall I’ve relished this opportunity to trust God, to let go of my will, and allow His to be done, ultimately bringing Him glory, I pray. Where we live on Earth is fairly irrelevant, because we will never be home. As He reminded me 5 weeks before our move to Tennessee, and 3 days before our previous move to Milwaukee, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) Friends, we are only residing here temporarily anyway!
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21