The Pruning.

Two weeks in to life here in Tennessee, and things are... well, honestly?  Things are hard.  I'm aware that sometimes our behavior on social media can portray a distorted reality, and I am sure that thus far mine has.  I mean, it looks like I am just drinking lots of coffee, attending concerts, and enjoying the cities of Nashville and Franklin.  While some of that is true (note: I drink a lot of coffee because it gets me out of the house and is cheaper than an actual meal, I spontaneously got a ticket to a Hunter Hayes concert last weekend, and I have spent some time exploring these two cities because I don't have much else to do), the truth is that this whole thing is a massive personal struggle.

Why?

For one, I am realizing more and more just how much this is really not at all about me.  The job that I wanted and prayed for has not worked out.  The housing situation that I wanted and prayed for has not worked out.  Not much has come together the way that I had expected or wanted.

Second, I have found myself to be quite lonely.  Yes, I do have a handful of friends out here that I can hang out with, but being more on the introverted side of the spectrum I am finding it hard to get out and meet people on my own.  Not impossible, but difficult.

Third, I have no income.  Being someone who has been financially and in-most-other-ways independent since I was 16, this fact causes me more stress than anything.  I still have multiple bills to pay, not to mention a need for gas and food, all out of a limited and fixed sum of money.

Yet there is glory in all of this.  HUH?

Yes, this is not about me.  The truth is that, regardless of what my flesh may want to think, this never was and it never will be about me.  It is only and all about the nature of who God is.  He led me to make this move, He gave me the confidence and support system to make it happen, and He led right to where I am now: in a place of realizing that He is all that I need.  No, things are not working out like I wanted... and I need to come to the place of knowing - and I mean truly knowing - that that is okay.

Sure, I have been lonely, and yes, I have cried a few times about it.  But I have found myself turning to the Lord more than ever before.  Here, in this new place, I just don't have anyone to fall back on.  While that is really hard in the day-to-day, I look back and see just how much it is reaping fruit in my life.  I am growing up as an adult, drawing closer to Him, and He is revealing Himself more to me in new and amazing ways.

And, yeah, having no income sucks. But - hello! - that kind of comes with the territory of moving across the country without a job.  Yet still, there is a lesson to be learned here.  Dependence.  I mean real dependence.  I am being forced to (wish it didn't have to come down to that) really depend on God to provide, and so my prayer life is way more sensitive than it's ever been.  I'm relying on Him more financially, with a job, with housing, with friends... with everything!  And honestly?  I think that this is the way He intended for us to be.  Wholly dependent and reliant on Him alone as the source of everything.

I am learning that the challenge was not and is not my move to Tennessee.  The challenge continues in my being here.  The challenge comes down to pruning and stretching and growing and trusting.  I continue to find comfort in that this was a total leap of faith.  I refuse to sugar-coat, however, the fact that I have found myself caught up in the feeling that God has somehow forgotten me here.  But then, in those moments, I remember that I cannot lean more into my circumstances than into the reality of who God is and the promises He makes throughout His Word.

His promises are for good, not harm.  To lead and guide.  To give us all good things (which don't always fit our idea of  good things).  All for the sake of His glory, not ours.  Not yours, not mine.  And sometimes that just means things being hard for a time.  So in the midst of the pruning, I will continue to praise God for who He is.  I thank Him for the new and fresh ways He has been revealing Himself and for making me more dependent and prayerful.  I am grateful that, regardless of how hard or painful it may be at the time, He is leading me more and more out of my areas of comfort.  Though I can't always see it, I know that He is at work here.

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