This morning, I closed the cover on what feels like another chapter of my life. Before I wrote on the last page, I took a few minutes to skim through different excerpts I had written in the past 8 months. These pages held some of my most intimate prayers, my deepest struggles, and my most profound revelations. I began to reflect and celebrate all that God has taught me over these pages and the one thing that came to my mind the most was thankfulness for learning the art of surrender.
I was recently sharing my story over a cup of coffee with a new friend and she said something that came back to my mind this morning. “So often we think that when we follow God’s plan, it’s all going to work out exactly how we imagined it. But more often than not, our stories are messy and they are full of lots of twists and turns.”
Twists and turns… the past 8 months have been full of them! This journal I specifically bought in Latvia during a celebratory street fair. I wanted something that just screamed “This is from my first season in Latvia!” as I imagined it would be filled with my experiences there. As it turns out, this journal is filled much more with my struggles in leaving Latvia and wondering what it was all for.
All I felt in those beginning pages was confusion over why God would call us to move across the world and then interrupt it less than half way through to call us right back. It made no sense. “God, we followed you! Why isn’t this working the way it was supposed to?” And I just imagine God grinning. “It may not be working the way you anticipated it was supposed to, but I’m accomplishing exactly what I set out to do.”
And today, I feel that understanding that I didn’t have before of why God called us there only to bring us right back. He may have brought us right back to the same physical place, but that time we spent seeking his will set a brand new trajectory of our lives. We moved to Latvia out of a desire to fight for those who no one else was fighting for and give hope to those who were without hope. Since we moved back to California, it seems like the doors have flung wide open to do that very thing here. Ironically, I have found more opportunities here in Ventura than I did while we were serving overseas. And yet, I don’t think my eyes would have been opened to that if we never moved in the first place.
I fear what choice we would have made if God actually laid out his plans for us from the get-go. Would we have really made all the effort of moving across the world if we knew we would move right back? I’m guessing we probably would have stayed right where we were and missed out on a life changing experience.
I’ve come to realize that God’s secrets are for our good.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves and his ways for us are perfect. But his ways won’t usually look the way we imagined them in our heads. We need to embrace the twists and turns, embrace the messiness of life.
God is no Hollywood scriptwriter; he doesn’t write stories with predictable endings. God writes complex stories, unique testimonies and epic adventures. Our goal is to surrender, and keep surrendering when we see rocky seas ahead. Our God is faithful until the end.