Seven months ago today, I posted a very personal post about the many things I had learned over the year and a half prior. I was excited to embark on my adventure to Nashville and see what life had in store for me next.
Funny, #5 on that list of things I believed I had learned was that God is in control…
“GOD IS IN CONTROL. Sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan. I mean really…I can plan my future, I can plan my day, I can plan my work schedule, I can plan my outfit, I can plan a wedding….there are so many things in life that I can (and most often do) plan. But over the last year and a half I’ve learned that life will inevitably go according to God’s plan, which is typically not at all what I had ever imagined or envisioned. I’m 23, single, and I’m moving to a new, fun, crazy, beautiful city which I truly believe will have so much to offer me. As scary as not having a plan is to me, I believe that I will learn and grow so much from figuring it out and letting God guide me wherever He has planned for me.”
So much for my lack of planning! Whether I wanted to admit to it or not, I very much had planned out my entire adventure to Nashville. I planned to move here single (maybe meet a nice country boy). I planned to find a good church. I planned to dive into my event planning career in this new exciting city and see it flourish. I planned to find a regular full-time job in events. I planned to meet new people and fall in love with this city and never return to DC again. Little did I know, God definitely planned to remind me that He is in control.
The day that I officially decided I must move to Nashville was a Sunday while I was sitting in a church service at Life Community Church. There was a speaker who was talking about how God had led her to do missions in some third-world country. She mentioned during her talk that if you are feeling led by God to go somewhere, then you should go. Nashville is far from third-world, however at that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was as if God whispered in my ear, “Go to Nashville, Kelley.” In that moment, all my fears about whether or not I was doing what God wanted me to ceased. Clearly, God wanted me to go to Nashville. I called my parents and Taylor in tears as I shared the story with them. Finally, God had given me the clear answer I was praying for.
You can imagine my frustration, then, on the many nights I cried on the phone to Mike about how unhappy I was in this city and how many times I choked out the tear-filled words, “Why did God move me here? I thought this was where he wanted me to go!”
So here it is…the many things that have occurred over the past seven months that reminded me that God is in control and His plans for my life are often very different than my own!
1) I never stayed single in Nashville. I met Mike one month before I moved and one month after I moved here we decided we must make this long distance relationship work. Yea, that was not a part of the plan. However, I can honestly say that I now know the meaning of every single word written in “Bless the Broken Road,” because that guy I danced with all day at Seacrets in Ocean City, MD after having wayyyy too many Dirty Bananas over Labor Day weekend has become my very best friend and is the rock that got me through this adventure. I could not be more thankful that he was put into my life despite my plans (or that in 2 weeks we no longer have to be long distance any more!)
2) I never had one single full-time job here in Nashville. I started serving at a bar/restaurant downtown. Then, I got a full-time job at a hotel, an exciting opportunity for me as I wanted to see how I liked working in the hotel industry (I don’t know that I would do it again, ha! It is quite the customer service challenge!!!). Finally, I did start catering with Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and was privileged to learn a ton from their talented Banquet Captain. I must say, I worked more here in Nashville than I ever thought I was capable of. I will definitely appreciate working a job with more regular hours back home, which also happens to also be my (right now) dream job!
3) At the time that Taylor and I originally decided to move, we had grown bored with home. It felt like it was always the same…same bars, same people, same traffic. We needed some change in our lives. Since I’ve been away, I have really grown to miss and appreciate everything back home. I miss the big city (NEVER thought I’d say that) and my family and my friends and once I return, I never plan to leave again!
4) Moving to Nashville did prove to me that I was capable of much more than I ever thought I could handle. I never expected myself to move 10 hours away and have the courage to meet all new people who have been great friends to me since I’ve been here.
5) I did find an incredible church here in Nashville, but I had no idea the impact the church, my small community group, and Pastor Pete Wilson’s sermons and books would have on me. I’m in the process of reading Plan B, which is teaching me that just because life may not be going according to my plan, does not mean God is not using the Plan B situation to do some incredible work in my life! And believe me, if the entire reason that God whispered in my ear that day was to bring me closer to him while I was here, then I certainly have accomplished a lot here!
When I made the decision to move home, I started to worry what people were going to think. I thought people would think I was a coward for giving up before the year was up. I didn’t want to answer the questions that I knew people were going to have about why I decided not to stay. I didn’t want to listen to the assumptions about my reasons for moving home. I didn’t want people to say that I moved for nothing or that I wasted my time and quit my jobs for no reason, etc. etc. But then God reminded me that this trip was far from a waste. This trip was 100% purposeful and planned…just not according to my plan. He works in incredible ways. I can honestly say, in two weeks I will be moving home a completely different person. My life was changed in so many ways by this adventure and despite the moments when I felt like I was hitting rock-bottom, I couldn’t be more thankful that God decided to move me 10 hours away from everything I knew so I had no other choice but to turn to Him and so that he could rock my world in ways that I never could have imagined. Moving back home will be bittersweet, but I’m so thankful for the love and support I’ve had from those close to me (in Nashville and in DC) and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me next!