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Life unexpected

Updated: May 9, 2023

Is your life going the way you expected it to this Christmas? Are you in the place you thought you would be? Doing what you thought you'd be doing?


This year for Kaila and I has been amazing in so many ways. But as the year draws to an end, we have found ourselves in places and doing things that we never expected. We've found ourselves in a weird spot of absolutely thanking God for His provision and blessing in our lives and at the same time wishing our circumstances were different.


Like most people we had plans for where we thought we'd be this Christmas and what we thought we would be doing. You may or may not know that we transitioned to full-time RV life this year. We've been traveling around the US and Canada since August. We had planned to be in Southern Utah this winter. Exploring and creating awesome biblical teaching about following Jesus. We knew where we were going to stay, and what we wanted to do, and even sorted out the budget.


Instead, Kaila and I are in 2 different countries, nearly 3,000 miles apart. And we've been apart since Nov 4. That's 50 days apart so far and another 27 to go before we are reunited! Not only are we in different places, but neither of us is anywhere near Southern Utah where we thought we'd be right now.


We could be bitter or angry about things not going the way we hoped. We could be overwhelmed with regrets. We could be upset with God. But we're not any of those things. We've actually been pretty content and grateful. It sounds funny to even say - grateful to be away from each other for nearly 80 days. But that's the thing. We're not grateful for what we're missing out on. We're immensely grateful that we are living our lives in such a way that we can adjust as needed and completely trust God. To be in a position where we can say, "God's plans trump our plans" and then follow God's plans. We have come to think that way because we read God's word and we're sincerely doing our best to live out what we learn. By no means are we perfect at it. But this has been a season where we have felt like we're listening to God and trusting His plans even if it means all our plans go down the drain.


In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah was speaking on behalf of God when he said, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts - and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9


I don't read that as if God is chastising people. Instead, it's more like someone with lots of experience and wisdom simply explaining that you'd be wise to look to them for instruction and advice rather than just doing everything that pops into your head.


IS YOUR LIFE NOT GOING ACCORDING TO YOUR PLANS?


How are you handling that? Are you talking to God about it? Do you have anyone to process with and dig into God's word to help you look for direction from the one with greater thoughts and plans than you?


If you want some help with that, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. You can shoot us an email at info@jointhejourneychurch.com


WHAT DID GOD HAVE PLANNED FOR US?


Well, it turns out that God had some others-centered, self-sacrificing plans in store for both of us. So instead of "living our dream" that we had planned, God redirected us to a time of serving others.


Kaila's mom was struggling and needed help for a season while she was undergoing some medical treatments. It was a tough assignment because her mom didn't really feel like she needed the help. On top of helping her mom, she's also spent a tremendous amount of time and energy helping her dad. Her folks are divorced and live nearly an hour apart. Going back and forth to help each of them is a true act of service. It takes planning and effort and kindness, and lots of sacrifices. She's practically walking out the Scripture that says, there is no greater love than to lay your life down for another. Not doing what you want to do is not easy for us humans. We're much better at serving our own interests than those of others. But it's in those times of losing our life, that we begin to find the better life, the fuller life, that Jesus offered.


It's been a lot of ups and downs. If you've ever been a caregiver for an aging parent then you know it well. I couldn't be more proud of Kaila and the way she is loving her mom and dad. The way she is serving them, even when she doesn't feel like it. The way she is being kind and helpful even when they don't seem to want the help. I am blessed to have her as a wife and counterpart.


For me, God exercised his sense of humor. He asked me to lay down my plans and also serve my family. My sister and her husband and inlaws had an opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime. A trip with the grandparents, parents, kids - the whole gang all going together to Switzerland and Europe. The only problem with all of them being able to go was this huge farm they live on. A family compound of sorts. Multiple buildings, houses, barns, lots of horses, cows, dogs, and of course some chickens too. I sensed God telling me, "You can do that. Your plans can wait. I want you to go serve them first." So, here I am. RV in the shop at one end of the barn.


That's my brother-in-law Nick and my sister Tiffany and her 4 giant Great Danes.

God had a sense of humor because when my sister was young we had horses and I have terrible memories of how much I disliked taking care of them. I never got into riding them which made taking care of them even less fun. As my sister got older she took over all the chores and has been an animal-loving lady ever since. But I have to chuckle as I walk through the barn feeding and caring for all these horses multiple times a day. And it turns out, I'm really enjoying it. It's fun to learn from my sister and the more time I spend with the various animals, the more I see their personalities and funny quirks.


NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED -


So, this Christmas is definitely not what we expected. We're not where we thought we'd be. We're not together. We're not with others we hoped to be with. But we both know that we are where God wants us, doing what He wanted us to do, for the people He wanted us to serve. And for that, we are both very grateful.


In years past we would not have been in a position with our work or budget to be able to adjust our plans and obey God in this way. That is bringing us far more soul-filling joy than whatever we had planned.


So, wherever you are this Christmas season, whatever you're doing, we sincerely hope and pray that you're allowing God's plans to trump your plans and you're better off for it.


REMEMBER - WE'RE HERE TO HELP


We mean it when we say, "We're here to help." We're not saying we're experts. We're just regular people, leaning into God's word and sincerely trying to listen to and obey Jesus.


If you're struggling with "the place you're in" or "How your life is going" please feel free to reach out at: Info@jointhejourneychurch.com










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