“And in the midst of all of this, the prayer I kept saying was Jesus can you just change these things, can you stop the cancer, can you stop the storms but He’s chosen not to stop these things just yet. And I’m finding out that sometimes the best question is not, ‘Jesus can you change these things around me but instead, God can you change me so that I can handle the things you are walking me through’.” Micah Tyler
I think it’s time to share the reality of my life since I moved to Holland. If I’m being honest, it has been a bit of a mess! Of course moments of goodness and memories and people I will cherish forever but the reality is, I’ve shared the good and held back the bad.
You may have noticed the blog saw less attention and my instagram captions got vague. You may have noticed a change in demeanor or just lack of ability to see the me that was once so present. I haven’t been myself and I’ve struggled to even find the girl I once knew (especially in my writing)!
“Change me back. Change me back. Where did that happy Grand Rapids girl go?” …I think that often. But what I’m starting to figure out is that God doesn’t want to change me back. He was never planning to stop the storms I was walking through. He is molding and creating a girl who can handle the chaos. A girl that can walk through whatever He has me walking through with a smile and a sense of who I am. I’m growing into the girl God wants me to be. That happy Grand Rapids girl isn’t gone. She’s in there. She’s being changed by God (for the better) and I had know idea he was even working to change me.
I moved to Holland in September, ready for a fresh start with a new outlook on life. I wasn’t naive. I knew there were things I was going to have to do alongside of my move to get myself in a better place emotionally, financially and physically. I just didn’t realize how hard it would be. I was back to praying, “God can you just make this better. Make the heartache go away, make the bills disappear and fix my mess.” He didn’t.
I let my relationship with God dwindle. He wasn’t answering my prayers and I was frustrated. Mess after mess, it felt like my circumstances were running me. I struggled to find joy and I lost a sense of who I was. It was a really hard reality to face.
When I moved to Holland, I lost a community of friends I was so close to in Grand Rapids. I isolated myself and didn’t let many people in. It was easier to go about my mess alone. I could barely admit to myself I was in a bad place let alone tell others. I was in an apartment that was about a 1/4 of the size of my apartment in Grand Rapids and I wasn’t as financially blessed as I was in years past. I had to seek a part time job just to pay my bills. I got a flat tire, I watched my dog have to have emergency surgery, I lost partnerships and more. With each little thing I had a heightened sense of “this isn’t working out like I thought it would”.
When things aren’t working out, you need to make a change. After wrestling that thought, I finally came to terms with it. God is changing me. He’s changing me and guiding me as I navigate my new normal. It’s been a long year but He has been working in ways I wasn’t even aware of until now. I made the tough decision to leave Holland and I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I have been called elsewhere. I really do feel that sometimes the stars just align. God calls us and it’s almost as if His plan is written in the sky for us to clearly see. I just wasn’t looking! I now see what steps I am being called to next and I’m excited. I am a massive work in progress but accepting that Holland isn’t the place for me at this time in my life was one of the biggest changes God put on my heart.
I am handling the things God has me walking through and more than ever, I am rediscovering that joy I once had. I don’t think things will be perfect overnight and I’ve learned so much the past 9 months. So much about myself, so much about the importance of family, friendship and community, so much about seeking joy over happiness, so much about my ability to be self-disciplined, to work hard, to fight and most importantly to not underestimate or devalue my worth. A younger version of myself saw my life so differently at age 28. As God helps heal and change my heart, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be as a resilient 28 year old woman.
Holland will always have a piece of my heart but Mac and I are moving back to East Lansing (and Grand Rapids part time) to further pursue what God has in store for me. I can’t wait to share that part of my life with you all but in the meantime, please please know this: I’ve walked through highs and lows and I’ve (yet again) tried and tried to pretend like I’ve got it all figured out. The fact of the matter is, I still don’t! It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to fail. That’s what family and friends are for. Everything WILL BE ok. My life is a constant work in progress. Don’t ever let this space that I use as a creative outlet fool you. I struggle financially, I struggle emotionally and I even struggle to find my worth some days. I don’t always show it but I’m human. I hope if you’re ever feeling the same you can rest on knowing that joy comes in the morning and the morning always comes!
Hold onto hope, lean on your family members and trust God! We’ve all got a story and your story is a tell of who God is and what He can do in your heart. I’m amazed and in awe of what he’s doing to mine. I will keep you posted on where my life goes from here (hint: I’m moving to Iowa at the end of the summer) and I can confidently still say, the best is yet to come!