When we were engaged, I posted one of our pictures on Instagram with the caption “Where you go I will go.” I stated this in the moment and meant it. But I had no idea what God really had in store for us and how much He would challenge me as I kept this vow. The gravity of such a statement wasn’t there because I hadn’t experienced it yet, and I honestly didn’t know what that promise would entail.
"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay." Ruth 1:16
Fast forward almost 4 years through moving 6 times, in and out of hotels, Airbnbs, and apartments with usually only a week’s notice; not able to plan anything in advance because we never knew when we’d be told to move again. I had a really tough time with it. When I was younger, I’d get upset when someone switched the restaurant we were planning to go to last minute. So to say I didn’t handle change well is a major understatement. Which is why I struggled so much the past few years.
When the “stay at home order” was put into place, Cortland wanted to spend it back in southern Illinois. At first, I really pushed against it. We had just gotten settled into our new home, and I really didn’t want to pack it all up again. But being in a big city away from everyone we knew, it felt safer to be back in a rural area near friends and family. I cried for a few minutes (I blame this on pregnancy hormones)… and then got to packing.
This was not my first rodeo of huge last minute changes. And I had a moment where I just thanked God. I had been seeing how He helped me cope in the midst of the struggle, but it was so rewarding to see all those prayers and tears bring forth actual fruit in my life. He put me in a challenging situation, walked me through it, and molded me more and more into His image on the other side of it.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Now, when a situation comes up that’s either a huge alteration or maybe just a little one that’s requiring me to be a bit more go-with-the-flow, the evidence of God’s work on my heart is there.
I always knew my negative reaction to last minute changes was a problem, but I thought it was just part of my personality. And it definitely is, I mean it can still be hard for me at times. But I have seen so much growth in that area. And now every time I’m faced with a change of plans, I handle those situations with more grace than I would’ve before, and it causes me to praise Him.
I’m so incredibly thankful for a patient and faithful God who wants so badly for us to be holy as He is holy, that He’s willing to stick with us through our worst traits.
"But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do." 1 Peter 1:15
God uses all things for good, even if in the moment it feels really bad. I just want to encourage you today if you’re in the midst of a mess, God will use this to shape you even more into His image and thus it will ultimately be for your good. It may hurt right now but on the other side, you will see His good works and praise Him. Let us face our trials with pure joy as James says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Don’t give up, love. Pray one more time. Cry to Him one more night. You will get to the other side and see how beautifully He has crafted you.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8