Here We Are, Five Years Later

Five years ago today, we finished packing up all our belongings, said goodbye to the last few friends, gave tearful hugs to the remaining family members, and loaded up in the van for our drive back to Texas.

Five years before, we had done nearly the opposite - packed up all our belongings and moved to Washington.

It wasn't an easy thing, that first big move.
I didn't want to go. Yes, there was the excitement and adventure of moving, and the newness that appealed to me at eight years old. But there was also the ache.
Up until that point, I had lived in Texas my entire life. I didn't know any different, and I didn't want to leave the people I loved and the place I knew. I remember crying a lot, but being super excited at the same time.

The first few years after we moved were not easy ones. We lived in a travel trailer for the first two years, moving around based on where Daddy's work was. We didn't have a consistent church for the first year or so, instead attending whatever was reasonably local to where we were living. I didn't understand why God had brought us there. Thankfully, family lived close, (including two aunts near my age) but other than that, I didn't have any friends.

Finally, when I was ten, we started regularly attending a church there, and I finally began to sink roots in. It was such a perfect fit for our family, and we grew tremendously while we were there. I was able to look back on our move with such great thankfulness, because had we not moved, I would have never had those dear dear friendships that I treasured so much, nor would we have grown so greatly in our walks with Christ.
There were still moments where I missed those still in Texas, but I was content and thriving where I was.

Then (long story short), Daddy's old boss offered him a job. Back in Texas.

I was scared. I was finally loving where I was, and had some of the sweetest friendships I've ever experienced. I was happy in Washington. I had finally moved on from Texas in my heart, and wanted to stay where I was.

But to move seemed most reasonable. Our family had been struggling financially the entire time we lived in Washington, and my parents had prayed for a solution to that. The economy was terrible, and they simply couldn't make ends meet. To reject this offer seemed to reject God's provision for their family.

So, here we were, not much more than five years later, packing everything back up to move across the country once again, back to where we started.

I was heartbroken. Why would God move us back now? I didn't understand it, and I didn't want to accept it.

Yes, there was the excitement of seeing friends that I hadn't seen for five years, but that certainly didn't outweigh the grief of leaving all the friends and family that I had come to so dearly love.

So there we were, packing up and saying our finally goodbyes.

Then, over the next few days, we made our way back down to Texas.

(Our van kept overheating going over the mountains, so here we are taking a break just before entering Montana.)

Once again, we lived in a travel trailer, but this time only long enough to find a rental house.
We visited the church that we had attended before we moved, and saw many of our old friends that we hadn't seen in five years. But like I had been warned several times, the relationships with them were not at all the same. Five years is a long time, and a lot of growing up happens between eight and thirteen. Some of those that I had been close to before, it was now rather awkward to relate to, because we had both changed so much.

By God's grace, we were quickly able to find a church that fit us now, and begin to settle there. But even though we had a church, I was still incredibly lonely. I don't make close friends easily, and those that I share a lot on common with (not to say friends must have a lot in common) are few and far between. I was able to make some friendships, but precious few were close. (Even now, I only have one close friend that lives within fifteen hundred miles of me and is within fifteen years of my age.)

It was hard. I cried a lot. There were many times that I wondered "Why?". Why did God have us here?

But over they years, I've come to see so much more clearly part of the "Why". I see friendships that would've never happened (or as the case may be, deepened). I see things we would've never learned. Yes, I see trials that we have walked through, but I've seen where God has turned something horrible into something beautiful. I see relationships, that had some of these things never happened, would have crumbled, but instead are strengthened, and testaments of God's goodness.

I see God's hand in our lives.

Are there things that I would've changed, and done differently if I could've? Definitely. But that's not how God works. He had a plan in each thing that happened, and He has a way to make it beautiful.
Do I always understand? No. Nor do I expect to. But, time and time again, I've been able to look back, and see so clearly why it was that He orchestrated things just the way He did, even though they were excruciatingly painful at the time.

So here we are, five years later from that move. And while it was incredibly painful at times, I'm grateful for where God has us. Is it still hard sometimes? Yes. Are there still moments and a small part of me that wants to go back? Yes.
But I know that He has a perfect plan. Even though I can't always see it, and even though I certainly can't understand it.

He has a plan, and that's good enough.


  1. Beautifully said. Good has a plan and purpose, even in our pain.


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