I am so excited to introduce y'all to my friend, Heather. She is my first bloggy friend that I am dying to meet in real life, and since she is fellow Arizonian I think we just might be able to make that happen in the near future. I love, love, love her faith, so read her post below and go check out her blog! I am guest posting over there today!
Hi there! My name is Heather and I blog over at Finding Beauty in the Ordinary. My little blog is a place to share what's on my heart, what God is teaching me, and what my husband and I are up to as we have embarked on a new adventure in a new city. Jen was one of the very first bloggers that I met when I started actively blogging. I got so excited when I discovered that she lived in Arizona, too! Her story was similar to mine: Girl marries boy, girl moves to new city, girl adapts to new life. Instantly, I fell in love with her blog and felt gravitated towards her. I can not wait for the day when we get to sit down to coffee and meet face to face. Jen had the idea to do a blog "swap" and I was so excited when she asked me. I am honored to be posting on her lovely blog today!
Five years ago, my husband, Joshua, and I were planning our November wedding. We were filled with so much excitement and anticipation of our life together. In my mind, I had plans and visions for what I thought my life looked life as a happily, married woman: we would get married, we would have kids in a few years, we would both have careers we loved, and we would raise our family in San Diego, CA, where we had both grown up.
During our first year and a half of marriage, I was working part-time at Starbucks and trying to get through college. My husband had a fantastic job and although there were rumors of lay-offs at work due to the failing economy, our life was good. Really good. While in the process of making a caramel macchiato with extra caramel, I got a call at work that would rock my world. My husband was calling to tell me that he had been layed off after all. Over the next year, we dealt with his unemployment and my transition to a corporate job that was not necessarily my cup of tea. After that miserable year, he finally got a decent management job in retail, I plugged along at my high-stress corporate job, and we moved in with my in-laws to save some money. We did all of this while my husband was pursuing a job with the government. Now if you are familiar with government jobs, you know that they take forever. Well, federal jobs take even longer. The process of waiting on this new career and all of the hoops my husband had to get through to get it-- while living with my in-laws (don't get me wrong, they are great people) and dealing with a high-stress job that I hated-- was enough to nearly put me through the ringer.
My sweet husband finally got the job, after almost 2 years of waiting. But guess what comes with the job? Relocating. What? Me? Us? To another state? Yes. God said go, and we went. Mostly because we had to, but also because it was 100% clear to us that God was removing us from where we were comfortable and was taking us to where we were not.
So... Back to my original dreams and plans for myself :) If you were to have told me that we would have waited over five years to have kids, we would have dealt with careers we hated, and we would have to move out of San Diego (and to Arizona, none the less), I probably would have laughed at you in the face. Isn't it funny how God's plans for us usually turn out to be completely different than the plans that we have envisioned for ourselves?
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
What was this San Diego beach lover going to do in Tucson? I was filled with bittersweet feelings about the move. The bitter: leaving family, friends and a city we loved. The sweet: my hubby got the job he had been waiting on, I got to quit my lame job and pursue other options, we were finally looking at more financial security, and we got to go out on a new adventure... just the two of us.
I never thought I would have said this, but moving away has been one of the best things we could have ever done for our marriage. I have heard it before from other couples, but I had to experience it for myself. And it's true. From the start of our union, we are told, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 I have to admit... I didn't really realize how united I still was with my own family after getting hitched. There were times when Joshua and I were fighting, and I could just drive over to my parents' house and hang out for awhile and pout. Or I could meet a friend and go shopping and get my mind off of it. Moving has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, but it has definitely taught me how to rely on my husband and become completely unified with him. And there is no one to turn to other than him when we are disagreeing. We have grown immensely since we have relocated and have had only one another to cling to during the lonely times.
I have missed my earthly family so much. Sometimes it hurts so bad I have to go work out or take the dog on a walk to keep my mind off of the fact that I am aching for them. I miss my friendships with my girlfriends. I miss the fact that we could just get together for random trips to the mall or hikes at the beach. I miss so much about my relationships. But this move has taught me to trust in my heavenly Father and to just take in the immense love that he has for me that no earthly relationship can provide. At times when I have felt orphaned, alone or by myself in this new town, I am reminded that He is with me. I am comforted that He is there any time I need to talk to Him, not just when its convenient for Him.I have learned who my true friends are through this process. It has taught me who to remain focused on. Before, my life was filled an immense amount of relationships that often left me feeling tossed around like a rag doll. As much as I loved each and every one of them, I had a hard time dispensing time and energy into the people who were true friends because my time and energy was spent pleasing everyone. Through this process, I have learned that it's not necessarily impressive how many friends you have, but who is truly there for you during all seasons of life-- and not necessarily just because you live near each other.
I have learned who I am as a person, outside of my husband, family and friends. I have had the time to focus on who my identity is in Christ. I have been able to learn who I am aside from what I have felt in the past was "who I was supposed to be." Over this time, I have truly discovered who I am and become content with that, flaws and all.
There are so many beautiful things about this move. And there are so many difficult things about it, too. When my dad's birthday came a few days ago, I choked back tears almost the entire day. There are definitely moments and times when the ache for home seems crazy strong. But then there are other days when I am excited to just be on this journey with my husband and to be living out our dreams. Yes, they are not the dreams that I had thought up in my own mind; they are the dreams that God had for me, for us-- from the beginning.
Jen has been such a blessing to me in this new adventure. She has written me encouraging emails and has said just the right words at exactly the right time that have left me amazed by God's goodness. I'm thankful for friends like her. Friends that know how to reach out and show love in just the ideal moment. She has helped me feel less alone in this new city and has helped reassure me that everything I've felt is "normal."
This journey is far from over, and I know that God still has so many more things to teach me. There are good days, and there are horrible days, but overall, I'm a work in progress and I am enjoying this journey far more than I ever could have imagined! God is so faithful to give us not necessarily what we want, but what He knows is good for us. To Him be the glory!
Meeee again. Isn't she GREAT?! Go visit her blog! See you there!