For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s a quick summary of the past 6 months. Andy and I were married in June 2016 and lived at Fort Knox; we weren’t expecting to leave Kentucky until 2018. Our plans were to have Andy volunteer for Recruiting duty in January 2018; as a volunteer you are more likely to get your preference on Recruiting assignments instead of if you are DA-select (aka the Army “volun-tells” you to be a Recruiter.) In mid-March we learned that Andy was DA-select…. and would be starting Recruiting school in just 3 weeks with a move to come in July. We wanted to be sent to Arizona, Oklahoma, or Texas, but instead, we were assigned to the Minneapolis Battalion (which consists of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota) with no choice in the matter. Then a third time, we got blindsided with news we did not expect. Out of our 4 state option in the Minneapolis Battalion, we requested Des Moines or another large city, but ended up with rural north Iowa. Not to sound super dramatic, but our lives literally changed in the blink of an eye. All of this took place in the span of 3.5 very intense months.
When learned that our new home for the next 3 years would be Mason City, Iowa, I was devastated, upset, and angry. I still remember hitting the floor as soon as Andy told me the news. I asked God so many times “WHY do we have to move now? WHY Iowa? WHY the middle of nowhere?” It just didn’t seem fair. I honestly was so upset over it that Andy and I discussed me staying behind in Kentucky while he lived in Iowa for 3 years. I just didn’t think I could live in Iowa and I surely didn’t want to. I knew trials would come in our marriage, but I thought we would at least make it through year one painlessly.
I remember discussing it with two dear friends at Fort Knox. That conversation will forever remain in my mind; just rambling and weeping with them over the whole situation. One of my friends reminded me I can’t change the situation, that all I can do is trust God and choose to be happy. Satan wants to see me bitter about the situation and wants to use this to destroy my marriage, but God could bring good of even the “worst” circumstances. I decided then that I would use these next 3 years to shape me for the better.
I started making a list of things I’d like to accomplish during the often-demanding Recruiting duty. Things like go ice skating, take college classes, take swimming lessons, get my concealed carry permit, and the like. Honestly, I thought all of these goals were far-fetched. There’s no way I can accomplish any of them in the “middle of nowhere.”
I started praying over certain things in Iowa. Things like finding a nice rental house quickly– quite the test since there really isn’t a rental market in rural Iowa, making friends, finding a nice church home, finding a well-paying job for me.
Looking back on the “big move” a few months later, I see so clearly how God was working. Our move to Iowa was relatively smooth; although there were some hiccups, it was things we could handle. We had the opportunity to “work-cation” in Minneapolis for a few days which I loved! I had arrangements for a job interview before we had even moved, interviewed 2 days after arriving to town, and started said professional, well-paying job just 2 weeks later! We found a charming rental cottage in a nice neighborhood, were the first couple to see the house after it became available, our application to rent it was approved, and we moved in a few weeks later. It’s not a perfect house, but it’s still a house! We were able to borrow my father-in-law’s camper for 2 weeks so we would have a comfortable place to stay until our house was available. Andy’s coworkers invited us to hang out one day soon after arriving (which rarely happened in an entire year in Kentucky.) I found a blogging group for North Iowans and got invited to an event just a few weeks after arriving. I met a new friend through the blogging group who invited us to her church, which turned out to be our new church home. I even enrolled in my first 2 college classes since graduating in 2013!
Andy and I were both talking the other day about how “smooth” our move was and adjustment here has been. We’re both surprised at how well I’ve adjusted to everything. Yes, I still miss home something fierce, but it’s manageable. I honestly haven’t struggled with depression like I did when I first moved to Fort Knox.
One day last week, I was driving home from work and it just hit me– things are so, so good here. Even when I was so stubborn and didn’t want to go, God had a plan up his sleeve. I know that when our time in Iowa is up in 3 years, I’ll probably go through the gamut of emotions again, but when I look back on the move to Iowa…. if I can thrive in the midst of the “unthinkable, horrific” move I had expected, I can thrive anywhere.