[No, this is not an ode to the Justin Bieber. (But really….what happened to the Biebs?) Anyway, honestly, when I first started writing this post….I thought I was going to be writing about all of the joys of the first year of marriage and life in North Dakota. Heck, I don’t even know if any of this makes sense or if my title is even relevant….#wordvomit. But it’s funny how sometimes God just takes over and pushes our hearts and words in a different, but better direction. Plus….it was time I shared a little bit more about why I’ve been basically MIA from this blog for so long. So here’s to hoping you find a little sliver of hope & encouragement here.]It’s pretty amazing all that can happen in a year. A little over a year ago, I was packing up my little apartment in Seattle, planning the last-minute details of a wedding, finalizing dress fittings and preparing for my world to be completely overturned (in the best way) by all of the things that were about to change; my last name, my zip code & my heart. Now, as I sit at home in my cozy apartment just outside Fargo, North Dakota….I can’t help but realize that really nothing about my life looks the same as it used to. And y’all, that’s a great thing. Some days, it’s a hard thing, but really most days, it’s a wonderful, incredible, amazing thing.
If you would’ve told me four years ago that I’d be living in North Dakota, married, with a husband in grad school, I would have likely had a big ‘ol laugh in your face. As a West Coast girl through and through the thought of living in the Midwest would have just seemed straight up laughable. But if you’ve followed along this crazy journey I’ve been on over the last few years, you might remember that so far, I’ve lived in every single place I ever said I wouldn’t ever live in. Yep. Back to Washington? Check. Montana? Check. North Dakota? Check and check. I’ve started to really realize that it’s a pretty dangerous thing for me to use the word “never.”
But that’s the BEST part…God has used all of my “no’s and turned them into “yes’s” and used them in a profound way to deeply impact my life and grow me as a person. Has it always felt good? Nope, nope & nope. But has it been worth it? Yes, always yes.
But that’s the thing about being obedient to the calling on our lives, sometimes it just hurts. And friends, I’m here to tell you that is so okay. In fact it’s more than okay. In the past year, I’ve learned so much about sacrifice, commitment and walking into, and through moments that were uncomfortable just by being obedient (sometimes begrudgingly) with my actions. It can be so easy to walk away when things get hard, or pack up your bags and move along when life gets boring. I’ve been there. I’ve been that girl that craved change and movement. Luckily, God used my missteps to write a beautiful story, but not without struggle. This year, though life was like one big tidal wave of change, in the middle of it all, it wasn’t always the change that I desired. But God kept me, He guided me, He rooted me in something greater than circumstances, people, places or things.I’ll be honest with you, this year has been no walk in the park. It’s been trying, humbling, frustrating and just plain hard at times. It’s been sleepless nights, buckets of tears, loneliness & hard times. (Stick with me….the light is coming.) So why do I share this? Because friends, it is so, so, so easy to think that everyone else has it all together when we feel like we’re crumbling inside. It’s so easy to look at other people’s lives and spin up a story about how much better things are for them. (Been there, done that.) But most of the time, this is never the reality of it all.
I spent a lot of this year feeling so stupid for struggling. This was supposed to be the best year of my life! Newlywed! Finally in the same place as the one I love! Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing year full of such sweet moments, but dangit, it was wayyyyy harder than I ever could have anticipated.
I like to think that I’m a strong person, but this year, I never felt weaker. And honestly, part of this was marriage. It humbled me to a place of realizing that I couldn’t be so independent anymore and it brought me to my knees after realizing just how imperfect and weak I truly am. Whewwww, they sure don’t mention all that stuff in premarital counseling. Or maybe they did? (I’m working on that whole”listening better” thing….just ask my very sweet & very patient husband.Friends, I share all of this and I hope it doesn’t make me sound like a Debby Downer. That is so far from what I’m after here. I love my husband deeply, I cherish this life that I am blessed with and I am so, so grateful for everything I have. But I’ve just gotta be real with y’all….life is tough! And I hope if nothing else, this encourages you that it’s okay to sometimes feel stuck in the difficult, trying and hard moments. It’s okay to struggle through life and feel just so imperfect. Because ya know what?
You are perfectly imperfect and that is just the way God intended us all to be.
Without these difficult moments, I think we’d all be walking around completely self-sufficient, totally self-reliant and without even the slightest understanding of our need for Jesus. I think it can be so easy to coast through life feeling like we don’t desperately need Jesus, but it’s reality that slaps us into shape and makes us remember “oh hey, I need a savior like big time.” It’s those low moments that go undocumented on social media that push us into the arms of a good and loving Father.
I think that all of these changes in life over the last year pushed me out of a place of what had become self-sufficiency and into a place of realizing my major need for Jesus. Because without realizing that need, acknowledging it & walking into it with faith….life is kind of meaningless. (Disagree?? Check out Ecclesiastes & that might just change your mind. Solomon drops some serious truth bombs in there. Just make sure you read the whole book less you feel a bit discouraged after.)
Sweet, sweet friends. I pray that you would walk into whatever road is ahead of you, be it a road of deep suffering and struggle, or a road of great joy, a road of change and uncertainty, or a road of complete and utter surrender because God knows what He is doing.
So stay in your lane and walk into the calling you have received! I know it’s hard sometimes, but I promise, it is so, so worth it.Sending love from up North,
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography
Dress is from American Eagle