After driving for two days from Indiana, I stepped out of the car in Denver and felt like I took my first deep breath in years. Between the bright, high sky and mountain views, I was sold. I was on my way to student teach on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, but Colorado had already stolen my heart. Every free weekend during that semester of student teaching, I longed to drive the two hours north into Durango--to see the mountain vistas, enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons, and just soak in the feel of a true mountain town.
Upon returning home after my semester finished, I wasn't sure what to do next. I didn't have a job. I had missed my family terribly. I longed for my own adventure, but was also tempted to follow my older sister to Virginia just to be close. What if I went my own way and I was lonely? What if I couldn't find a job or a husband? Once I looked past my fears, however, I allowed myself to feel the deep pull back to Colorado.
With great excitement and trepidation, I went. My mom and I packed my car with everything I had, including my dog. Once we pulled out of my parents' driveway, I felt certain that I would find the job and adventure that I had been seeking. We were heading west.
But, let's be honest...moving to a new city is hard. Trying to make new friends can be scary and messy. Mistakes are made and hard lessons are learned. Believe me, I had my fair share. Along with the adventurous western spirit, there seems to be an unspoken rule out here that plans are always tentative and that you never fully commit until something happens. I struggled to find a sense of belonging. I longed to be with people I loved and who understood me. But, I also saw the enormous blessings of following my gut, which really is following the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit. God honors that. As time went on, I did find those new, deep connections and even renewed some old ones. I came to appreciate how Denver is different from the midwest and to find my place here. Here became my home.
Regardless of how clear a call is or how willingly we follow, it's never easy. Even years later, I miss my parents and siblings ALL THE TIME. I sometimes get a little whiny in the spring when everyone else is warming up and we're still getting snowed on. But, then I look at the faces of my sweet boys and my loving husband and I know it was a good plan. It still is.
Read more of Ashley's posts on her blog, Stepping Through the Wardrobe