As I laid in bed paralyzed with sadness. My tear soaked sheets stuck to my face as I tried to move. How could this happen? I wasn’t happy where I lived but to move to a new place my senior year of high school?! How could I start over again?! We moved often because of my father’s job but this move had been more permanent. We have lived in this small Indiana town for about 4 years which was a long time for us.
My father was a well known community leader and when he lost his jobs rumors began to flood the town. I started to notice my friend group quickly dwindled. And I didn’t understand. I had gone through so much with friends and I was being shunned for a reason unbeknownst to me. No matter where we lived I had always had a lot of friends and was very involved at school and with my church. I had never really been teased or gone through a difficult school experience other than moving to a new school and starting over. But with my outgoing personality I usually made friends fairly quickly. But for some reason my friends stopped eating lunch with me, stopped asking me to parties, and eventually stopped talking to me. I had become a pariah and I had no idea why. Had I done something to hurt someone? Had I said something offensive? Or was there some other valid reason people weren’t talking to me? I boldly asked and no one would explain. Was it because of father’s job loss? Who knows. But this experience was super painful and really confusing. And I’m not saying it wasn’t well deserved. I was a completely different person then projecting a lot of pain on a lot of people so their reasons for excluding me could have been completely valid. I just wish, and to this day, still wish I knew what was going on.
At the time it was difficult but looking back I am thankful. I started to develop friendships with other people and those people changed me. They exposed weaknesses in my character and I truly started to begin to understand how socially excluded classmates of mine felt like. I became good friends with two foreign exchange students who exposed me to the beauty of cultural diversity. An acquaintance of mine started eating lunch with me and her and I became good friends. And I had more time to spend with my best friend and had more opportunity and time for adventure with him and his siblings.
But now, after all that pain, all that hard work to try to make the best of it we were moving. To be fair my mom asked me if it was ok before we left and I said yes because in my gut I knew Florida is where God was calling us. It just felt right. But that doesn’t mean that the move was easy and that doesn’t mean that the move was without pain.
I watched my best friend drive down the gravel road in his clunky car and I began to cry. I thought about our adventures. Him teaching me how to drive, talking about our crushes, laying in the grass dreaming about who we wanted to become, and fishing in the local lake with his sisters. I truly loved him as a best friend and he was the closest friend I ever had. I knew that we he left he would be gone and my life here would be gone with him. No more late night talks under the stars, no more campfires, and no future. I am usually an optimist but in this moment I was a realist. He was in love with his girlfriend and I knew that in the next few years he would propose. He was my best friend and I knew saying goodbye also meant saying goodbye to being apart of his big
moments. His engagement, his wedding, the birth of his first child. And vice versa. Who would be there when I graduated college, or when I would get my first real job, or start a family? Is that selfish? Maybe. But it’s real.
As I laid in bed I felt truly alone. I felt like I had no one. I prayed saying, “God, I’m sorry for my pain. I know that you have a plan and that everything will work out in your timing for Your glory.” And suddenly I felt a wave of peace and began to think of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” The verse comes from Pslams 46. It reads, ”
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I know it’s ridiculous to be sorry for my pain. Pain has a purpose. It teaches, it brings attention, it’s the beginning of healing. And I know that saying God has a plan is totally generic and misused. Because I honestly don’t believe that God ever has a plan where He wants you to choose sin because sin separates us from God and He wants us to draw near to him. But he gives us the freedom of choice. But that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have a plan of redemption for us when we choose sin or when others’ choice of sin causes us pain.
So much had happened that was out of my control. And it was hard losing what seemed like everything. But little did I know that moving to Florida would be the best thing for me. I met my two best friends who were also new to my school. I went from a school with a total student body of about 400 to a school whose student body was over 2000 and full of diversity. I discovered my passion for culture which would later lead me to meeting my husband. I worked at a job that provided friendship and opportunity. I spent my free time on the beach with my new friends and at exciting concerts. My senior year was a blast and laid down a foundation for my future and it never would have happened if I didn’t move.
Trusting God is hard. It is! Faith isn’t easy for everyone. And that’s ok. That doesn’t make you less. Your pain is valid and it can be hard to see what could be when you are dealing with What is.
I know have a beautiful daughter and loving husband. I’m passionate about culture and have traveled internationally. And I’m not perfect. I still struggle. There are times that aren’t easy and yes it can be hard when bad thing like illness or disasters happen to my family and friends. I’m human and I struggle. And that’s ok!
I don’t keep in close contact with my dear friend who gave me so much hope in high school. But every time I see a picture of his family on Facebook I’m reminded of God’s peace and provision and I’m given hope. And at the end of the day hope is just a stepping stone faith, right?