This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.  -Elisabeth

The sky darkens too early for this time of evening, even in late August. Rain is coming. People stroll past on the sidewalk, and I watch them from my seat in this empty café, planning for the year ahead. A few familiar faces roll by, and I wave and match their smile. I keep my smile pressed against my lips a little longer, marveling at where I have landed, how far I have come.

When I left my life in Kansas City a year ago, as I packed up my things, I held my passport gently in my hands. Recalling where it has taken me. And I wondered if I would ever use it again.

Just a few short months later, I traversed Terminal E in Toronto, with its wide-spread windows showcasing craggy outlines of the city, past leg one of this international journey that took me to a week-long conference with a sports ministry I agreed to volunteer with communications help. I boarded another flight headed to Frankfurt, Germany, met my new team, and piled in a van for the two-hour drive south to Mosbach. I met new faces, remembered old ones, and learned to hold tight to the hope in my heart.

It was magic, more than I could have hoped for. And this was the life I desperately craved. I longed for more of this freedom, but soon after, I found my plans inside-out and evaporated, landing back in my small Wisconsin hometown of all places, taking on a position as director of a new nonprofit student center that has no blueprint—it creates as I go. This is not where I expected or hoped to be, giving up yet again my dreams after a long season of heartbreak and clawing my way back to the surface to allow God His will to be done. I see blessings in this season, and He has absolutely restored my joy and filled my mouth with laughter, but here I am, breaking ground in new territory and leaning on Him every step of the way as I feel my way through the dark.

If I let myself remember those lost plans, deep down I wrestle with those unmet longings, a fractured heart of what won’t be. I am afraid of losing all I had wanted, all I believed God was calling me to. How does one reconcile the roadmap of life when it’s suddenly presented upside-down?

This transition is strange, dancing the steps of surrender. Yet there is familiarity when the rhythm rests in Him. I had wanted to keep traveling the world, but I travel the length and breadth of young lives. And this takes me to vibrant places ripe with need. There are so many hearts starved of soothing words of acceptance, to hear truth spoken into minds riddled with anxiety and discouragement, and perhaps, being around the first person who has truly believed in them. God’s wonder all around, and I marvel every day at the life I get to live in heart to heart connection. The One who traverses seas and stony plains prevails just as strongly in the suburbs.

I fix my mind and heart on Him who is unchanging and believe He will bring about people and situations and opportunities and challenges that He desires. He is the One who guides my plans, for His purpose and glory, and for my good. And when I have those moments of wondering, of sneaking a glance back at another life envisioned, He loves me greatly, gives permission to grieve this loss, and gently nudges me to trust.

Rumbles of thunder circle the sky outside. Piles of paper shrink on the table as I pack up my bags for the night. There will be more work tomorrow, ongoing plans and prayers and, most important, stripping bare my soul and surrendering my life to what God asks of me. Again and again, every hour. Little did I know I would wind up impacting the world from my tiny corner, attached to an impossibly big God who leads the way.

If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:

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Taking a few moments to sit quietly and focus your heart and mind on Jesus is one of the best things you can do for yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. Enjoy this free gift of guided meditations.

you're just moments away from calm!