"Three months ago you couldn't have even imagined yourself here now..."
And that's exactly the point. I couldn't have possibly imagined. But that's also exactly how God promised to work:
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21
God wants to do more than we imagine. And in these past four months, He has.
Three months ago I was recently graduated from college, in a committed relationship, and had no immediate plans for graduate school or using my degree in any way. I knew I was called to ministry, but I talked myself out of any leadership or teaching role. The most immediate plans I had were to move out of Albuquerque and maybe intern at a church in whatever city we ended up in.
Until we became me and suddenly I wasn't completely confident of any plan for the future. But God was, God knew, and God covered everything with peace that made no sense until He was ready to reveal His plan to me. I fasted for a month in prayer of what to do next, what to do with my life, what to do with my degree. At the end of the fast I travelled to Tennessee to visit my sister in Memphis and meet up with our parents in Nashville. My goal was to have a decision made about where I would live and what I would do when I came back.
Throughout the fast I had started to make plans to stay in Albuquerque. I started to become okay with staying in this little city that I had never imagined myself staying in for more than four years. But I told God that I would go wherever He called me, even if it was New Mexico. And throughout the fast found myself in a place where I could say that, and mean it. (He blessed it, you guys. I opened myself up to His plan, even if it meant staying somewhere I didn't really want to be, and He took me to a city that was exactly where I wanted to be.)
God answered my prayers for direction at the end of the fast. But not with any confirmation for the plans I was forming in Albuquerque. Instead I felt tension, doubt, and fear about staying. I knew there was something for me in Tennessee, in Nashville, in the South. There was something for me in this place I had never even considered.
So I Googled churches and internship programs and found nothing that met my needs. I tried to ignore the feeling that I needed to be in Nashville and attempted to find confirmation to stay in Albuquerque.
Towards the end of my last semester in undergrad I had researched graduate programs at Christian schools. I thought maybe one day I would get a masters in something general, just to say I had it. Remembering this, I searched "seminary schools Nashville" and Lipscomb University was at the top of the list. As I scrolled through their site I found a program that had launched last year, combining a Master's of Divinity with actual experience working in a local church. I had no idea this is what I wanted. But it was everything I needed.
A few phone calls and emails later and I applied. The pessimistic side of me was trying to guard my heart from getting too excited about the possibility of actually moving and told myself that I wouldn't get in, that I wouldn't be back in Nashville for a year at least.
I work two part time jobs, which usually means I am working 5-6 days out of the week. But this last week I managed to have Wednesday-Friday off from both jobs. I booked a ticket to Nashville and scheduled my interview for the program at Lipscomb.
And I was accepted.
I met Natalee in Albuquerque two years ago through a mutual friend. We followed each other on social media, grabbed coffee a few times, and decided we would be best friends if she wasn't moving the Kentucky and I wasn't heading to San Diego.
When I visited Nashville the first time she and I grabbed lunch and dreamed of how wonderful it would be if we ever ended up in the same city. A few years a part, and yet somehow we found ourselves in the same stage of life: our original plans shattered and faced with the endless possibility of what to do next. We could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone.
She told me she might move to Denver or Nashville and I said I would be staying in Albuquerque.
We grabbed lunch a second time when I visited Nashville for my interview. I told her I was accepted into the program and she shared how God was closing doors in other cities for her: maybe Nashville was it.
A few hours later we found ourselves at an apartment complex where her friends lived, signing a year long lease for a two bedroom, officially confirming our move to Nashville. And it sounds so crazy, but I have never felt more confident or peaceful about any situation. Sometimes, you just know.
June 7th and I'll have a new address.
You guys, writing it out now, it sounds so easy. It sounds like it all fell into place so naturally. And it did, but that doesn't mean it happened without any stress or anxiety or doubt. There were so many moments where it felt like God had stopped planning. There were so many nights where I found myself fed up with waiting for His plan, confused about what goodness could possibly come from it. There were times when I was overwhelmed with frustration at my inability to confidently make decisions.
But He worked it out all for good, just as He said He would, in ways more beautiful than I could have ever planned. When I met Natalee two years ago I could have never imagined we would one day be roommates in Nashville, TN. If you had asked me three months ago I would have never told you I would actually pursue my dream of working in ministry by getting my M.Div.
How glorious and wonderful and powerful our God is, to take the could nevers and would nots and should haves and make them into a living, breathing, glorifying plan. He was there the whole time, every worry and doubt and fear, He was there waiting to reveal this all to me.
The best part is I know He's not done yet.
The best is certainly yet to come, but it's also happening, right now.