The humidity was slowly subsiding as we reached the beginning of America's desert lands, but the sun was pounding down, hot as ever. The asphalt blended with the horizon, sizzling hot for the last hour of the flat drive, watching the skyline of Oklahoma City slowly getting bigger and bigger in the distance. We pulled up onto a dusty road with a few gas stations and restaurants and checked into our apartment hotel room. We sat on the bed and looked at each other and laugh-cried; Home sweet home.
I guess we're used to it. Moving so often has taught us to roll with the tide more than against it. Our professional future, starting July 5th, seemed to be in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration, but we knew God was at the wheel. We signed up for four months in middle America, Oklahoma City where my husband would study to become an Air Traffic Controller. As I write this, in three weeks the journey will send us somewhere new, again. So from the start we had to build up the thick skin to be vulnerable and make friends, but also give our full attention to where was leading next. It has been the hardest balance.
So, I’m here to tell you what’s ‘really’ going on, right? Well, I’m panicked and frustrated and feeling like I missed the mark on so many milestones during these past 15 months of transition. I wanted to be a marketing photographer or photojournalist and have the credentials to prove it, but I couldn’t wait for the perfect job so I took another, and another, and now I feel light years away from that path. Many friends from each stage of life have moved away or enter new stages and are unable to stay connected. I look at myself in the mirror often and feel uninteresting and invaluable. Even after 4 months of what I thought would be a good break I find myself incredibly lonely, disconnected, and incapable. So in summary: If you’r reading this, thank you.
But…the positives, right? There’s got to be a silver lining!
In the first few weeks we got connected to an old friend of my husband; Isaac Elder and his wife Riley. They introduced us to Henderson Hills Baptist where we have been able to hear and live out christ-centered teaching. The Elders also taught us through their own unique path that there is no normal story to this life. God has a grander plan and he’s not about making our lives easier; he’s about making us the best tools for his glory. The Elders also introduced us to the Heard on Hurd festival in downtown Edmond, Oklahoma. I got to experience some delicious pizza and snap a few photos of them.
“God has a grander plan and he’s not about making our lives easier; he’s about making us the best tools for his glory.”
About a month into our stay I found a job at a Dog Daycare facility here that truly loves and takes care of their clients and dogs. It has not always been easy learning new jobs, but I will say that I am proud of myself. I pushed through a lot of anxiety and disappointment, and had to come to terms with ‘just getting a job.’ I learned a lot and had meaningful conversations with people that were truly different than me, and God used that in my life to understand how deep his love is for every person.
Within two months we found a few good restaurants like Waffle Champion in Midtown Oklahoma City, and Louie’s Bar and Grill right across the street. We enjoyed mini golf, Hurts Donuts, and $1 ice cream cones from Braums. I got to explore coffee shops like I did on our road trip across America and talk to strangers. I got to even met an old friend and Liberty University Alumni, Hannah, at a delicious Mexican restaurant on Automobile Alley.
In four months I have developed great exercises habits and discipline with medicines that I take. Even if I don’t make the progress I want to see, I know I’ve made some great changes. I have learned to cook in a very small hotel kitchen that only stocks two of everything; two knives, two spoons, two plates, two glasses. I have learned to move to a new city for the second time this year, and it has shown me how to adapt and change as I prepare for another new city in November.
In September we mourned the death of our only pet, and our best friend, Amelia. It was very difficult, but we have learned to shed want we want, and work towards what God wants. We often don’t understand his plan, and even right now I have no idea what will happen to me in the next months of my life in New City, but I know he will bless my socks off if I open up my eyes to see it.
“[GOD] HAS ANSWERED WITH HIS DIFFERENT AND ALWAYS BETTER SOLUTIONS.”
I’m on this wild adventure, and its absolutely nothing like what I have expected in my life. I spend so much time fighting my circumstances instead of embracing them, and I forget that God has given me so much more than I ever dreamed. We prayed to be used outside of our college town and God gave me many homes and states to live in. We prayed for two years that Josiah would get into Air Traffic Control School and now he’s about to graduate in 3 weeks. We prayed for a good church to remind us of our mission and we’ve had three! We prayed that God would strengthen our marriage and he has refined us raw and then built us back again. We prayed that God would grow our family with children, and he has given us countless friends and mentors in so many states and countries. God is not here to answer my specific requests and prayers. But, he has answered them with his different, and always better solutions.