when God’s will doesn’t match up with my own

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This weekend Timehop reminded me through a Tweet I posted last year that we were embarking in a significant season of transition. “The walls are getting whiter,” said year-ago Kelly. I remember it well. I was preparing for our apartment to get packed up by movers. And my heart was experiencing all kinds of emotions. Let me give you the back story:

A year ago we received the news that our world was being flipped upside down faster than we expected. Our anticipated September move to California for Adam’s training was moved up to May. Not only that, but we would need to leave the day immediately following his graduation. Not only that, but we received word of this all just shy of a month before we would need to leave. Talk about overwhelming.

Now May was the initial time frame for our departure when we first found out what Adam’s job would be in the Air Force. At first we were prepared for it. We were excited to know that his career would start right off the bat as he finished up his undergrad years.

Then somewhere in-between it was pushed back to September. This was disappointing news for about a split second, but the more we thought about it, the better it seemed. September meant that Adam would have a brief period of rest after 4 years of late nights and hard work. September meant that we could spend the summer getting together with friends and family that we hadn’t seen much of throughout our newlywed year. September meant we had plenty of time for goodbyes before we turned the page. September meant that we had a few extra months of life in Carbondale. September meant we had a few extra months of time at Vine Church, where we were growing, learning, investing. September became perfect.

And then in typical Air Force fashion: a last minute change of plans. They pulled a major “just kidding” on us and pulled our leave date back to May. No more time off for Adam. No more time to see loved ones and say goodbye. No more time left with our friends or our church in Carbondale. April to May quickly became a whirlwind of a month. Adam had to scramble to accomplish all the minor tasks to prepare for going active duty – all while finishing up his final semester of college. I immediately had to put in my two weeks notice at work, and I scrambled to get my cases in as much order as possible so that I could transition everything off well for the caseworker that would take over them. We prepared our apartment to be packed up strategically for a cross country move. We planned our road trip across the states – being sure to make it to our new base in time, while still making time to see some landmarks along the way. We made space in the midst of the craziness to host some last minute visits from some family. We said goodbyes. Many goodbyes. Many difficult and rushed goodbyes. Adam graduated. He commissioned. And we were off. Just like that.

In a span of 4 years for Adam, and less than a year for me, Carbondale, Illinois became our home. There’s nothing overly extravagant about the college town on paper, but it has become a place that I will forever love to return to. It was the setting for the start of our life together. It was a town filled with so many unique adventures – most of which we didn’t have time to explore. It was where we could get the world’s greatest fruit slushes at QQ Bubble Tea and the best chicken fried rice at Thai Taste. It was a place where our faith grew exponentially in the midst of new challenges and lessons. And it felt like it was being ripped away from us far too quickly. Why did we have to leave so soon? Why couldn’t we stay just a little bit longer? It’s not like we were getting too comfortable or becoming stagnant there. We were growing. We were serving. We were being challenged. And yet the Air Force and God still bid us onward.

The ONLY thing that kept me moving forward, and resisting every urge to cling to it all and never let go, was that God assured me countless times that this was His will for us. He orchestrated it all. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t want it – at least not yet. But whatever the circumstances would bring – both good or bad – it was his desire for us to move onward. And therefore, that is what would be best for us. It’s a scary thing to admit complete trust in God. Never in my life did I have to cling so tightly to His promises to get me through. I tried, for His sake (and His glory) to point to Him in it all. To let people know that although my heart wanted something else, I was still going to follow God where He wanted me to go. Granted I probably repeated that so often to people because I was trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince them. But He knows far more than I do. And He knows what I need to be sharpened and refined.

It’s been almost a year since we left. I remember the emotions of that time like it was yesterday. The fear, the disappointment, the excitement, the nervousness, the instability, the peace. It was nothing short of overwhelming. And I remember when the novelty of it all wore off. A short way into our time in California we were missing Illinois like crazy. It was much easier for me to focus on the hardship and the aches that my heart felt than it was for me to focus on God’s plan. Another move later and I still find myself doubting and asking “why?” I still question this even when my heart is far more at ease than it ever was in California. Although I still haven’t figured out the direct answer, God keeps bringing me back to the truth that this has all been a part of His will, and this is what is best for me, for us, and for His glory. And I learn to accept that (keyword: learn). I may have to continuously reaccept it, but it’s where I keep getting brought back to.

Because we are exactly where God wants us to be. We are in a place we begged and pleaded not to go to, and yet it has turned out to be far greater than we imagined. I still miss Carbondale. I still miss home. But it becomes much lighter when I give the weight of it all back to Jesus and rest in the assurance that we have purpose here. More likely than not, purpose far beyond ourselves.

As someone who trusts that God is who He says He is, I can confidently and firmly believe that His will is better than my own. Even if I don’t see it now, even if I don’t see it in 20 years, even if I don’t see it ever in this life, He knows far more about what is best for me in this life than I do. My vision most often is shortsighted and selfish. His vision is all knowing, all wise, & all encompassing. He sees beyond me because He knows it’s not about me. Therefore when He calls me onward to something (or tells me to stay put), I want to trust Him that despite what good or bad may come that it is best for my well being and for His glory. He never promised Christ followers an easy life. He never promised anyone an easy life for that matter. He never told us that we deserve great things – we came up with that mindset on our own. But what he has ensured us of is that in our sinful nature and natural rebellion of Him we deserve eternal punishment. But He took care of that on the cross and opened the door for us to have the undeserved and unearned opportunity to find freedom and grace in Him. And as I have come to accept that and believe that, I turn towards Him with a heart of repentance, respect, and love. In doing so I’ve accepted that we are all broken humans filled with flaws due to our sinful nature that need to be refined in the fire of the Holy Spirit. Refinement is a hard pressing process. It means difficult things are inevitable. But refinement can help rid us of the things in our hearts and lives that don’t belong. It can chip away at the dark pieces within us to make more room for Jesus.

And I don’t know about you, but I want more of Jesus. He’s the only thing that has ever been, and will ever be, worth giving up everything for. In doing so, that means giving up my own will, and following His – even when it doesn’t make sense, and especially when it doesn’t match up with my own.

happy veterans day

The more I live out the days of my life, the more I grow to appreciate the things within them. I’ve learned to appreciate the colors of the fall, the warmth of a winter coat on a cold day (like the ones we’ve been starting to have in Minot this week), and the therapeutic nature of the world’s most precious puppy (a.k.a. our lil Boone Pruim). Bigger than all of that, I deeply appreciate the joy that exudes from fellowship & solid friendship, the grace and mercy that God grants me on a daily (probably hourly, or maybe even minutely) basis, and the freedom that has been granted to me in this country that so many people around the world don’t know.  In light of Thanksgiving this month I’ve been trying to focus a little more on the things I’m thankful for. Cliché? Yeah maybe. But regardless of what holiday is coming up next, or what holiday it is, I would still be thankful for a whole lot.

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Today, on Veterans Day, I’m inclined to be extra thoughtful of my appreciation for the men & women who have served and are serving the United States in the military. The people that have defended my honor and fought for my freedom. The people that sacrifice their comfort, their time, and a normal life for something bigger than themselves. Today, these are the people that are being honored & appreciated.

As time has gone by Veterans Day has become more & more personal for me. I have friends that spent years in the Army and others that have made commitments to the Army National Guard. I have friends with family members that have served or are serving in all branches of the military. I have friends that are preparing to serve in the Air Force through ROTC. My cousin Billy served in the Army years ago. My cousin and lifelong best friend Jordi, and her husband Aaron, have recently finished their own journey with the Army and are adjusting back to the civilian world. & it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I began to understand that civilian life and military life really are two different things, because after a four year ROTC commitment through college, Adam began his active duty career as a missileer in the Air Force. Now I’m meeting and living amongst the people that have followed suit of people before them that have chosen a path of life that demands more commitment than most establishments in existence. I foresee my appreciation for these honorable people to increase tremendously as my own life is saturated in military influence and demands.

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Just a quick story to share with you: This year there are many restaurants and companies that are honoring those who have served or are serving in the military with special offers. This morning we took hold of this opportunity and went to Denny’s to receive free Grand Slams. The place was packed with veterans, active duty members, and their families from the moment we got there to the moment we left, with no end in sight. Now drinks weren’t included in this special offer so as we and our friends went to the counter to pay, the employees took our receipt and told us that a man that was in the restaurant earlier had purchased a $200 gift card and gave it to them to apply to everyone’s bills stating that he wanted the entirety of their meals to be paid for. This man had already left Denny’s, so I couldn’t give him the hug that was dying to burst from within me. All we could do was repeatedly thank the manager. I don’t know who you are stranger, sir, but you are incredibly kind.

I’ll be the first to say that the United States has its problems. It’s got issues and messiness within it that make me cringe. But today, especially through this one man’s generous act of kindness and hospitality, I’m so grateful for days like today when people choose to honor their neighbors; when we choose to focus on something bigger than ourselves.

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So happy Veterans day to the men and women of our country’s armed services – past and present. You are appreciated. You are loved. And today we honor you.

rest for the weary

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Today was just one of those days. Or at least this morning was. The kind of day that didn’t go remotely as I expected it to (even though I didn’t really have many expectations of it to begin with). It was a morning that started off with an unexpected jolt, followed by a couple curve balls. & it was enough to leave me feeling weary by lunchtime. & as I sat on the counter top & ate my Chef Boyardee I felt tired. Not just the sleepy kind of tired, but more specifically the emotional kind of tired. I’ve never really used the word weary before to describe my own feelings. But today, I felt it. & it felt much bigger than just today. I didn’t fully understand it. I still kind of don’t. But I shared it with Jesus in prayer. I cried some of it out too.

As I talked with God, I laughed at myself as I pondered over how absurd it sounds to say that I feel like I need rest when right now I’ve been spending my recent days of limbo doing a whole lot of nothing. How can I need rest when I’m not even doing things that necessitate rest? & what I gathered is that this season of transition is weighing heavier on me as the days go by. I haven’t really felt settled or established somewhere in six months. We’ve been in transit. We’ve been in a waiting game. We’ve been in transition, but I don’t know exactly what I personally am transitioning to. & I’m growing weary of trying to make sense of it. Of trying to be optimistic even when I don’t really know what I’m trying to be optimistic about.

To be honest, I feel overly dramatic saying some of this, because it’s really not that bad. I promise you. But I’m just in one of those somber states of feeling weak from relying on my own strength in all things and trying to understand the jumbled mess of thoughts I’ve been processing. But oh how the Lord is teaching me that He took my yoke the day He died on the cross. That HE is my sustaining hope and strength in all things, in all days, even when I think “I got this.” It’s Him that I can always, and should always, rely on.

He’s also been revealing a lot to me about grace lately. One of those words that gets thrown around a lot in church, but I am just now starting to grasp onto the truth of it. Or at least a piece of it. Today, for me, grace meant allowing myself to sit on the couch snuggled up with my puppy and binge watching episodes of The Office, and not expecting anything more of myself. To not feel like I should be accomplishing something instead. To set my mind aside for an afternoon to rest. In reality, I could have been doing something more productive with my afternoon. But sometimes I need to let myself of the hook and not demand so much of me. I need to give myself grace.

Now just because I’ve felt weighed down by this season doesn’t mean that it’s over yet. I’m still in this. & so I’m going to start praying daily to be sustained by Jesus’s strength & for more and more grace. Because Lord knows I need it!

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish. Jeremiah 31:25

Is there anything that you need to give yourself grace for today?

where the next chapter begins

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My dear blog readers, what a week & a half it has been! Last time I checked in here our belongings were being packed up to be moved across the country to North Dakota. Now, as I write this, I myself am sitting in a Starbucks in North Dakota, after finishing sipping on my first caramel apple cider of this fall season of course. That’s right, we’ve arrived! We ventured across six states to get here and stopped for some scenic adventures as well. When we weren’t taking time to see parts of the United States we’ve never seen before, I had plenty of time on my hands to think, reminisce, listen, and marvel in the glory of God, meaning I have a whole slew of things to share in the days ahead here on this blog. This whirlwind life we’ve been living has me processing more than I can piece together at times, so bear with me as I try to string all that God has been laying on my heart together. A more in-depth post on our trip itself will come soon, but for now just know that time alone in the car driving through the desert and the mountains was a great opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit to move in me.

As we transitioned across the country, I couldn’t help but reflect on the adventures we’ve had already. Because that’s what our life has been: an adventure. Back when Adam & I were married in May of last year, we started our life together in a trailer in Southern Illinois. Though our time there was brief as we were finishing out Adam’s year lease, from the get-go we clued into the fact that our life together would be an adventure. & from the get-go we unknowingly decided that we were going to make the most of it. As anyone’s life is, our adventure has come with the everyday journey that God has laid out for us, alongside of the less usual excursions He has had planned as well. Our life in Southern Illinois held more pieces of the adventure than we ever anticipated. But as Adam’s graduation came near the Air Force bid us West and so we turned the page on the first chapter of our lives.

Chapter two had California in store for us – a place that both of us had always dreamed of visiting, yet we found ourselves living there. We took up as many adventures as possible, many of which have been shared here. But we knew that this season of life was to quickly pass. And as I’ve disclosed here multiple times, we’ve been ready to move on to what is to come in the next chapter.

On Tuesday the next chapter of our lives began. The chapter that has brought us to North Dakota. The chapter that has brought us to a new state, a new home, a new life. A chapter that is going to bring about a lot of new and old challenges, hardships, and joys. As I sit in this coffee shop still letting it sink in that this is our new home, I feel the greatest level of flexibility that I’ve ever known. So much of our adventure right now involves us taking our hands off the wheel and letting God do the directing. And as he leads us into new circumstances there have been countless times that I’m having to trust again that this is His will for us, therefore this is for our good. Even when our housing situation has become more of a nuisance than we ever thought, this is still what God wants us to go through. Even when Minot turned out to be much more populated and busy than we expected, we can look to Him and know that He knew this is what was to come all along. Whether what we face is tough or easy, He is working in us in ways that we don’t even realize is for our own sanctification and for His glory. I find myself lifting my hands and saying, “okay God, I’ll go with it.”

The thing about chapter books is that a chapter by itself is not the whole story. It’s only a piece of the big picture. Sometimes a chapter holds details of struggles and hardships. Sometimes it speaks of events of great joy & happiness. Other times it explores the challenges faced. In the time preceding our move to California I started accepting the reality that the military was drawing us in towards a life that we had no control over. One that would bring us through chapters that we could not even fathom. & yet I started cluing into the fact that it was God who was drawing us onward. It’s been God that has prepared the way for us to go where we’ve gone and where we have yet to go. It is He who has led us through the struggles, hardships, joys & challenges. And I’ve come to the realization that I’m not the main character in this story. Neither is Adam. We’re just the supporting cast that has the role of pointing towards the One that the story is all about. I must say, the story has started to make a lot more sense once I take myself out of the center of it. But I still want to live up the part that I am playing within it.

This is what The Pruim Life is all about. It’s about the adventure of our lives. It’s about the paths and roads that God is taking us on as we learn to live this life, and story, for Him. And it’s about honoring Him in the midst of it all. So I invite you all to come along for the ride. I invite you to share in this story along side of us as we turn the page to The Pruim Life: Chapter Three.

things to miss & things to look forward to

Guys, we leave California in 3 days. Another season of transition, adjustment, & hopefully not too much stress is quickly approaching. The process feels more real than ever as TMO is packing up the majority of our stuff literally as I type this. In a couple hours we’ll be left with only two car loads worth of stuff. Most of this past weekend was devoted to packing up what I could, & organizing as much as possible so that this move goes much more smoothly than our last one (i.e. we don’t leave ourselves with cars overflowing with unnecessary belongings). Doing so has helped eliminate more stress than I even realize. But with just a couple days left in California, I don’t want to let it slip all away. We’re planning on going surfing & enjoying some In-N-Out tomorrow to finish off our time here in style. As we transition to the next season of life, I’m making the efforts to embrace the things we’ve enjoyed here, but also look forward to the goodness that awaits us. I’m trying my best not the resent the things that I don’t care for here, or being negative about the cold weather we’re going to be moving to. So I thought I’d share the things that make me smile as I reminisce our time here on the Central coast, as well as the things that have got me itching to arrive in Minot.

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Things I’m going to miss about California:

  1. The weather – Let’s be honest, warm sunny weather all the time is pretty fantastic. While my Midwest roots have brought up the unthinkable in me & have made me miss the rain & the seasons, I know that come winter time I am going to be aching for the sunshine & perfect, non-humid temperatures.
  2. The beach – Although we haven’t spent as much time at the beach as I thought we would (the central coast hosts a lot of weather in the 70s that makes it a bit cold for the beach sometimes), but I have thoroughly enjoyed having some so close to us. I like having the opportunity to (attempt) surfing nearby. I like the beach-town vibes that can be seen & felt in the shops & restaurants along the coast line.
  3. My job title (or lack thereof) – guys, it’s been a true blessing to have not had to work these past few months. I’ve been able to refocus & rejuvenate myself in many ways. I’ve made time for things that I haven’t had the time to do in ages. I’ve started on projects that I’ve been dreaming of for years. & I’m not even done with them yet. I’m just not quite ready to give up all this free time yet. Once we get settled in ND we think it wise for me to start looking for work again. Retirement at 23 just isn’t feasible. I think it’ll be great for me to get back to work, but being a stay at home wife has been better than I even hoped it would be.
  4. My tan – I think I’ve mentioned it multiple times here, but I FAILED at achieving my goal of becoming the most tan I have ever been while spending a summer (not working) in California. It seemed so sensible. & yet life stood in the way. While I have gained some color, I know that in a couple months I’m going to be shaking my head at myself. The tan that I have accumulated in the past 5 months is going to fade from me quickly. I can feel it. & I’m going to miss it dearly in the cold, pale winter months in North Dakota.
  5. The palm trees – If I had to pick a favorite tree, it would probably be a palm tree. It was always a dream of mine to have a palm tree in my backyard (yeah, I dream real big) & I’ve achieved that here in California. So I’m going to miss having those tall guys (& the short ones too) around.
  6. The adventures – Anytime you go somewhere new there are adventures around you because you’re not familiar with what’s there. But something about being in California makes it seem like the adventures are more attractive & more plentiful. We’ve had opportunities to go try new things & visit new places that are all thrilling & exciting. While North Dakota is going to bring new adventures of its own, there’s something about the things to do in California that are really appealing.

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Things I’m looking forward to in North Dakota:

  1. Seasons – We’re moving back to the Midwest. Friends, I’m telling you, I really never thought I’d be that person that would wish for the seasons as I’m soaking in the sun & daily warm weather, but it’s happened. I’m dying for some caramel apple cider, but the weather around me just doesn’t make that seem real fitting. I want to wear the fall clothes that I spent the past year stocking up on, but the weather here makes that unreasonable. So, I’m looking forward to mixing it up. Now granted, in a short few months time we’ll be experiencing the terrible tundra & I’ll again be shaking my head at my current self, but right now I’m looking forward to something different. The same weather every single day really is nice, but it’s just not normal to my Midwest heart
  2. Permanency (well, sort of) – since being married last May, Adam will be moving to our fourth home. Yes, fourth. In a year and a half. That blows my mind, because I never moved in my whole life until I went to college. Oh how the military has changed that for me. Although we’ll only be in Minot for 3 years, that’s already 2 years more than we have spent anywhere so far. I’m looking forward to getting settled somewhere – to getting rooted in & not have to leave so suddenly. Which leads me to…
  3. New relationships – with Minot being a semi-permanent place for us for the next few years I’m looking forward to building new friendships with neighbors, co-workers, & whoever else there is to join the party. I’m excited to meet people that are ahead of me in stages of life, as well as ones that I can journey alongside of. I’m excited to learn from others, while also sharing my heart too.
  4. A New Home Church – Being in California so temporarily has made it difficult to really get plugged into a church. We’ve found somewhere to attend each week, but in the summer months the small groups don’t meet so opportunity to build relationships has been left to just Sunday mornings. & it’s been minimal. After coming from a church that we both deeply & passionately loved in Southern Illinois, we’re hoping to find a church that we can invest ourselves in as well as be invested in by.
  5. Closer proximity to home – Now it’s not like we’re living right next door to anyone, but we’re jumping from approximately 31 hours away from home, to 15. & 15 hours sounds a whole lot more reasonable to me. With how badly we’ve become homesick, it’s nice to know that visiting home will be a little more tangible now.
  6. New adventures – While California hosts many of the adventures I’ve been dreaming about all my life, North Dakota is going to present new opportunities as well. It’s a state I don’t know much about (& I’m finding that basically no one knows anything about it either). But I sense that we have the opportunity to get a little more outdoorsy in a state that isn’t crowded with cities & people. & it puts us in closer proximity to visit some other states we’ve never been to before. (Minnesota, I’m coming for ya!)

My heart & mind feel ready for this move. We’re tying up the loose ends of all the logistics & getting ready to go. We’re anxious to see how Boone handles the cross country move. He may not be a fan of being cooped up in a car all day for a few days straight, but we think he’s going to like having his own backyard in a state that isn’t so hot on his black fur. Until then, he’s not being very helpful in the packing process while he takes naps on my to-do lists. Lucky for him, he’s the cutest puppy on the planet & I don’t mind all that much 🙂

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