On the Unexpected

Today I’m going to write about some recent unexpected happenings in my life.

Two summers ago, I wrote my very first blog post – “On Adventure“. In that post, I said:

True adventures are messy, rarely easy, and hardly comfortable. On an adventure, there’s no telling what will happen, but most likely it will be unexpected. Adventures require planning, but they also require knowing that your plans will change.

How true. This especially resonates with me now, after the unexpected happenings that I mentioned.

Some important history for later: When I initially wrote that first blog post, I was traveling with my brother in the Czech Republic. During the trip, a posting for a job went up at MidAmerica Nazarene University, for an “Evening Library Assistant” – and, since I was planning to begin graduate school in library & information science that fall, I decided to apply. I got the job, and I worked at MNU for nearly two years in the position – the entire duration of my time in graduate school. I loved every moment of my work at MNU, and I am fully confident that getting that job was entirely God – it was perfect for me during that time in every way, so much so that only God could have planned it.

Fast-forward to a few months ago, when I left Kansas to move to North Carolina. I’d been offered a position as a Reference & Instructional Librarian there – and more importantly, I felt that God wanted me to move there for other reasons. It took me some time to really get settled (adjusting to a new state and a new life is hard), but I learned a lot during this time. God taught me so much about loving selflessly and being joyful in Him alone – and eventually, I started feeling that I was really going to enjoy living in North Carolina.

I didn’t expect the unexpected.

About a month ago, a posting went up for a new faculty Librarian at MidAmerica Nazarene University. Initially, I didn’t think twice about it (other than slight disappointment that MNU wasn’t located in North Carolina!) – after all, I’d just begun my new position, and I believed that this was where I was supposed to be.

But then, suddenly, the reasons I had to be in North Carolina unexpectedly fell through. I wondered why God had called me to North Carolina at all – because now, I had no reason to be there besides my new job. I began strongly wishing I was back in Kansas, among my friends and family. So, in the midst of this, I began to more seriously pray about the position at MNU. Every aspect of the position seemed perfect for me. I already had experience at MNU from my previous position. I knew the staff and the community. I also had all of the exact qualifications, even to the point that one of the “Preferred Requirements” was “experience as a Reference & Instructional Librarian” – the exact phrasing of my current job title (and it’s not a common way to phrase it!). Was God in the timing of the new job opportunity? It seemed too perfect to be otherwise. What if all along, coming to North Carolina and everything He taught me there was preparation for this new position at MNU and a life back in Kansas?

I applied, and within a few days, I had an interview scheduled – coinciding with an already planned trip to Kansas for a grant project. The timing was incredible. I interviewed, it went remarkably well, and I enjoyed seeing my former colleagues again. Overall, it was a very encouraging trip. Finally, I returned to North Carolina to wait upon God and see what happened next.

This is always the hardest part – waiting. I’m not going to lie, those couple of weeks waiting and not knowing what was going to happen were very hard. I desperately wanted to return to Kansas, not just for the position but also to be with my friends and family there. But, I knew that not getting the position was a very real possibility. It would be competitive. I knew that getting or not getting the job was entirely up to God – and so, I prayed, nearly nonstop for those weeks.

These days seemed so much longer than they actually were – not only because I was waiting, but because of how many lessons God taught me during that time. At first, I prayed ceaselessly that He would give me the position in Kansas – but as day after day passed by, I began thinking that it might have been offered to someone else. I still knew that if He wanted me to have it, then I would get it – and that if He didn’t, then there must be an even better plan for me in North Carolina. In the end, I gave it up to Him, to the point that I was honestly alright with not getting the job and expecting not to. The day after that, I received the call offering me the position.

I am wonderstruck by God’s remarkable goodness and perfect timing. When I moved to North Carolina, I did so believing He was calling me to do so – and I still believe that, even though the ending of that adventure was unexpected. Through coming to North Carolina, He changed me as a person – hopefully, to be a little more like Him. Through it all, I was forced to rely fully on Him – and I was taught the importance of giving up every aspect of my life and every one of my plans to Him. I learned to trust His plan – and that even when it is not my plan, it is so, so much better.

All of the lessons were ones I needed to learn – and I wouldn’t have if all of this didn’t happen. I am overjoyed to be returning to Kansas – but even more, for everything He taught me through this adventure. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learned is the absolute beauty of His plan. Though I will never know His full plan for my life, I believe the mystery of it makes it all the more beautiful. Even so, I do think that sometimes, God lets us see small fragments of it, in order for us to see how perfectly He has worked everything thus far – so that we can fully trust Him in the future, no matter what.

I’m so thankful for so much right now… primarily, for God and His infinite wisdom and goodness. Even though things didn’t work out as expected; even though my plans in North Carolina fell through; even though these last few months have been hard – I trust God and feel His love for me more strongly than I ever have before, to the point that it’s impossible to describe with words.

In that first post “On Adventure“, I said:

“Going on an adventure will change you. You do not return from an adventure the same person you were when you left.”

Assuredly, I am not returning from this adventure to North Carolina the same person I was when I left. And, I’m so excited for whatever happens in these next chapters, even though I don’t know what will occur. What I *do* know is that through both the expected and the unexpected, I can always trust His plan and His perfect love for me – whatever comes.

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