It's a question two-year-olds can't seem to ask enough. If you stop and think, though, adults probably ask it far more often, just not out loud. We're always questioning, always doubting, always trying to seek answers to things we don't have control over.
With all of the natural disasters that have occurred this year, I'm sure it's a question on many people's minds. Why the tsunami in Japan? Why the tornadoes in the south? Why the flooding in North Dakota?
I accuse my husband of always asking questions that can't be answered. He's a very logical, analytical thinker and needs to know the how's and whys of things, since he doesn't rely on emotions or gut-feelings like I do. I scold him every now and again for trying to determine the reasoning behind things we have absolutely no control over, or more specifically, for trying to determine the reason behind things I can't explain. (I don't know why I'm crying, I just am! Deal with it!)
It's no secret I'm not the best at rolling with the punches, and change is something it takes me a lot of time to adapt to. I tend to not question it, though, but rather focus my energy on what I can do to just keep going. Strength? Weakness? The answer is "yes." (grin)
There is one "why?" that has been lingering in my heart for a very long time, however. Why, dear God, why did you move us here?
Wyoming was my home. We moved there from California the summer before I turned 13. As time went on, it was just confirmed in my heart Wyoming was where I was meant to be. The wide open spaces, the mountains, the wildlife, the beauty, the people - I fell in love with all of it. And I fell hard. When Brent and I packed up and drove out of town on December 31st, 2005, I held a really strong front. But inside I was devastated. Broken. I was leaving everything and everyone I loved behind. And for what?
Months earlier when we realized I would (finally) be getting my AAS and we maybe needed to plan for a sustainable future, Brent wanted to return to school as well. He gave me the option of moving to Billings, Montana, or Dickinson, North Dakota. "I'm not living in North Dakota. If we have to move, let's go to Billings." Spoken like the very open-minded person I am....ahem.... We looked into jobs, housing, and schooling, and it seemed like nothing was coming together. As Billings was only about 100 miles from where we called home, I of course wanted to stick around. Alas, nothing came together. Nothing.
We prayed, we visited with our wonderful pastors at the church we were attending, and we prayed some more. One day after we had visited with Pastor Montey, we walked out of the church and I heard...yes, heard..."Fargo."
"What?" He had walked ahead of me and stopped and turned around, as I was frozen where I stood.
"We're supposed to move to Fargo."
"Did God just tell you that?"
"Cool." As he turns around and keeps walking.
UM, HELLO?! God just told me we're going to move to the far east side of the state I swore I wouldn't live in, and you just say, "Cool" and keep walking?! Help a sister out, here!
January 1st, 2006, we rolled in to the parking spot of our new home in North Dakota. Did you catch that? NORTH DAKOTA. A state I swore I would never reside. I'm not sure what I had against it, really. It wasn't Wyoming. My parents and sister weren't there. My friends weren't there. Mountains weren't there.
On several occasions, Brent has told me I haven't seemed as happy since moving here. The fact is, I'm not. I miss Wyoming. I miss my home. I miss my friends. I miss my family. Life was literally as perfect as it could have been. We had no real major struggles, no real hardships, I was surrounded by everything and everyone I loved. We moved here - and not so much. I have never been surrounded by so many friendly people and felt like no one was my friend. I was lonely, missing mountains, tired of the putrid smell from the compost station/dump, and the winter - Lord have mercy - the winter was awful. In Wyoming, it gets cold, it snows, and the wind is merciless. But in a few days, the snow is gone and the sun shines more often than not. Here, it gets cold, it snows, it snows some more, the wind is merciless, it snows some more, and in a few days, it snows some more. The snow falls and it's sticking around for months. MONTHS. And you're going to be surprised that I'm not as happy here? Really?
WHY DEAR GOD DID YOU MOVE US HERE?
The five and half years we've been here have had ups and downs. I can't rely on my parents for help every time I need something. They're 11 hours away opposed to 20 minutes. I don't have friends I've known since middle school who can read me like a book, know what I'm really trying to say, and have ancient memories with. I don't have the luxury of driving 5 minutes to my "thinking spot" which was a body of water, surrounded by mountains, and full of wildlife. I have to drive over an hour for a place somewhat like that (rolling hills don't really do it for me, though....). It just isn't what I wanted. And goodness knows, I should always get what I want.
Whoa. Spoiled much? Yeah.
So, I've resented God. For 5 1/2 years. I don't know why He moved us here, I don't love it here, I didn't ask to be here, so take that, God. Stick it. I'm mad at you.
Talk about a two year old.
We've had hardships and struggles. Brent and I struggled - and I mean struggled - in our marriage. Buying our house was a nightmare. (Meth pipe in the bathroom left behind by previous residents...remember that story? Yowzers!) Making friends, real true-grit friends, wasn't easy. Not only was it not easy, it just wasn't happening. Period. We longed for a church like the one we had left behind, and weren't finding it. I nearly died while pregnant with our first child. These types of things would be the situations that would cause unbelievers to cry out to God, begging him for help. Not me. You're going to move us here and then dump these problems on us? Whatever, God. I believe in you, and I served you, and I moved here because you told us to. Now this? Betcha I can do it better.
So here I sat. Pissy and resentful for 5 1/2 years. (And I wonder why it was hard to make and keep friends?)
A few months ago I joined a women's discipleship group that meets on Friday mornings. We've been going through books of the new testament, taking a few chapters and reading them over five times per week. There have been several heartwarming moments, and things I've come across in the Bible I'm seeing from a fresh perspective, which is nice. But this....oye.
Acts 17. One of the chapters we were supposed to read this last week. During the 3rd time through it, I came across verse 26, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." It took the third time I read it for it to get me to stop and think. Whoa....wait....this could give me some insight here. You moved us here when you did on purpose...okay...but what purpose? WHY?
Verse 27, "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
Ouch. No, really, ouch. I felt, when we lived in Wyo, I was very close with the Lord. I sought him in nearly all things, I ministered to his people, and my faith was reaching a pinnacle! I had it all going for me! Why would you move me away from that, to reach out to you, when I already was?
But, Val, you weren't.
I was so comfortable in my heaven-on-earth. I had my friends, I had my family, I had everything I knew, and I relied on all of it. I move here, I have none of those, and the one thing I still had, I neglected because I was mad at Him for leading me here! It's hard to reach out when you've got your arms folded across your chest while you pout.
So God decided, "Alright Val. Enough is enough. You've sulked long enough, and I'm going to answer your "why?" if you're ready to listen." I wasn't ready - it took me reading it 3 times before my eyes were opened to it.
And now here I am. In North Dakota. I've uncrossed my arms, I've stopped pouting, and I've realized I've been a big baby. I'm ready to reach, and I'm ready to grow, and I'm ready to let go of the resentment I've unjustly held for far too long. I'm now okay with the fact that it looks like I'm not going anywhere for a while.
And I'm proud to be a North Dakotan. You betcha.