Made New

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have started this blog post. There is so much to say and reflect upon that I get overwhelmed. In April, I wrote about impending transitions and how much I dread transitioning into new stages of life. Well, most of those transitions happened. They were not without tears, laughter, angst, joy, and mishaps.

In the past five months, I graduated from college, planned a wedding, packed for a move, got married, went on a honeymoon, moved to the midwest, and have searched high and low for a full time job (this transition is TBD).

Nothing in my life is the same and the loss of familiar is painful and disorienting at times. Yet, the familiar is replaced with new and that new is so wonderful. Living life well seems to equate to an exchange of the familiar with the new.

After two and a half months of marriage and living in St. Louis, I think I can accurately reflect on our new life together.

I love being married to Nathan and doing life alongside him. I was warned by several people that the first year of marriage can be incredibly difficult, because we are transitioning to living together and being truly codependent. And while there are natural moments of frustration and disappointment, the transition to the midwest and city living is far more challenging than the transition to marriage. After a year of long distance, it is pure joy to be able to see him everyday. Nathan is abundantly patient with my many emotions about transitioning to a new city and he never lets me wallow in my own frustrations (aka lack of a full time job). Marriage is far more of a blessing than I even imagined and I am so humbled that we get to embark on this adventure together.

Adjusting to life in St. Louis is far more challenging than I anticipated. As a person who thrives in structured environments, I have struggled to find my footing here. I have yet to find a full time job (If you hear of any full time job – particularly teaching jobs – in St. Louis, hit me up!), which means I am alone and lonely a lot.

At first, not having a job was a bit of a blessing, because I had to unpack the house and get us settled, while Nathan went to schoowork (school & work – PhD school is a lot of both, thus the new word). We live about 6 minutes from an Ikea and we had no furniture, which really meant I watched a lot of Netflix and built a lot of furniture (one desk, two office chairs, two bookcases, one bed, one boxspring, one armchair, and one cabinet). Then, we were settled in our little home and my days started to stretch endlessly before me. I am getting better at filling my days with running, reading, learning to code, and applying for jobs and I have a part time job, which adds a lot of structure to my week, but I am lonely and chafe under all of the new.

I am being made new, again. It is exhausting, humbling, frustrating, and absolutely wonderful. My pride in my ability to do things well and tough it out has crippled my heart from being present in my everyday. The more I chase after my way, the more my heart becomes unhappy and uncentered on God. Last week, all my strivings for perfection and success just broke. I was so disappointed and felt like such a failure for struggling to find a job. I sat in my little backyard crying in my frustration and loneliness. The Lord used that brokenness and frustration to bring my heart and my mind back to him and his will for me. I am still without a job and still am lonely, but my heart aches less and my hope is restored in the Lord.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:5-6

Through this time of icky transition, I am learning the beauty of sitting in silence and the grace that accompanies loneliness. I have a new appreciation for how awful it is to be unemployed. I realize the gift Nathan is in my life and am so thankful for the encouragement and laughter he daily brings into my life. I am learning (for the hundredth time) how to praise the Lord in all things and entrust my life to him.

And, I am a huge fan of free zoos, but more on that next week.

 

Impending Transitions

Transitions are some of my worst moments. I am not sure why, but all too frequently, I get thrown off and upside down by transitions. The older that I get, the better I get at anticipating transitions and preparing my heart, mind, body, and soul for them.

However, I happen to prepare for transitions in the most counter-productive way possible – I obsess. I make lists. And, worst of all, I withdraw. I try to make it the absolute easiest for me to transitions by doing absolutely everything in my power to emotionally detach.

Today, I convicted about my way of handling transitions. By burdening my heart with worry, I am not entrusting my heart to the Lord, which means I do not fundamentally believe in the Lord and his goodness in my life.

Ouch. Nothing like a morning wakeup call.

 

As I reflect on my struggle with transition, I am reminded:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

I do not believe that trusting in the Lord means that life will be easy, but I do believe that, when I step forward in faith, there will be solid ground beneath my feet. It is so easy to say that I will trust in the Lord and act in a way that glorifies him, but it is another thing to live  it out.

Where are you clinging onto your way of doing things, refusing to let the Lord into your worries and fears? I’m embarrassed to admit that my list of “My Way” is much longer than transitions. But for today, for right now, I am consciously submitting my fear of transition to him who promises to be beside me and carry my burdens (Romans 8:38-39, Matthew 11:30).

Will you?