“…for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
I will never forget the day we found out we were moving to Iowa for my husband’s General Surgery residency training. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I had never been to Iowa before and we knew only one couple living there. I remember thinking, “God, we have prayed and asked you to send us exactly where you want us to be…. So, I trust you. But, whoa, this is crazy!”
So, we packed, again, and made our way to Des Moines. I was pregnant with our second baby, my husband began his intern year of residency, we tried to navigate a new town and meet new people. Life was crazy. But in the midst of the crazy, I saw and felt God’s love and protection over us in the sweetest ways. I could write pages about the things God has done while we’ve been here. The past three and a half years have been life changing. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from moving to a new place.
I have learned to look around expectantly for God’s constant provision and protection. He is always there - in the big decisions and also in the little day-to-day moments. God promises this in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I just have to be open and willing to see it. It’s easy to walk though the day, going through the motions but if I can change my focus off of me and onto what God might have in store for that day, I feel so much freedom. I notice an elderly woman in the grocery store who might need a smile. I see the sun shining perfectly through the trees as a whisper from God reminding me He loves me. I’ve learned that if I live intentionally looking for – and expecting – God’s little blessings throughout the day, He is excitedly waiting to show them to me. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you,” James 4:8.
Another thing I’ve learned is that God designed us to walk though life with each other. We were made to encourage one another, to cry with each other, to reach out for help or advice. As much as I wanted to hide in my loneliness inside my house, once I stepped out of my comfort zone, gave myself a pep talk and actually made an effort, I was able to see the community God had already planned for us here. I committed not to believe the lies Satan was feeding into my head; “You’ll never find a friend.” “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not like them.” “They won’t like you.” LIES. God is so much bigger than that and His truth says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” Psalm 139:14. We were made for relationships and if we step out bravely, looking for ways for God to use us, not serve us, He is just waiting to bless us with relationships. Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
One of the biggest things I’ve learned (and am still learning) is the fact that life is hard. Trials will come. Our days will not be easy. God tells us this in the Bible over and over again, “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33. I know this truth, yet I still have moments of feeling sorry for myself. As if I deserve something different or better. And the thing is, I don’t. I don’t actually deserve anything. What I do deserve is death. Hell. Sadness. But Jesus took all that upon himself when He died for my sins and now I can live in freedom. That doesn’t mean life is easy, but it means “I have been saved by grace…” Ephesians 2:8 and when things are tough, “I do not fear for I can be strong and courageous….” Joshua 1:9. It’s a choice I make daily. I can either wallow in the things I wish were different OR I can give God the glory, let Him write my story and trust He is working for my good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28. I heard a speaker recently say, “If you’re looking around and everyone else’s grass seems greener… maybe God is telling you to water your own grass!” God has blessed each of us in our own way and we need to stop wishing for things to look the same as those around us. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped…” Psalm 28:7.
God is faithful. In every way. No matter what. He is faithful and He keeps His promises just like He said He would. He always has and He always will. Hebrews 10:23 is one of my favorite verses. It says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
I can hardly believe how fast our time in Iowa is flying by. We are beginning to prayerfully consider where God is leading our family from here. As we start another new journey, I am clinging to each of these four truths once again and repeating over and over in my head: God is faithful. He always has been and always will be. Because of His great love, I can be strong and courageous, no matter where He leads. And I pray that wherever God is leading you, whether it’s a new city, new job, new relationship, new phase of life… You can trust God’s plan and His faithfulness to provide for your every need! Lean into Him. He’s got you.
Elizabeth Mason has been a part of Valley MOPs since moving to Des Moines in 2012. She is the mom of two girls, Reese (5) and Lucy (3) and the biggest cheerleader for her husband of eight years, Mark, who is a Surgery Resident at Methodist Hospital downtown. Despite the crazy cold winters, the Mason family has enjoyed their transition from Texas to Iowa. And they’re especially thankful for what God has done for them through Valley Church.