Before I finish my story maybe actually defining the word brave will be beneficial for us (myself and you, the reader) to be on the same page. Brave: 1. having or showing courage: having or showing courage, especially when facing danger, difficulty, or pain. Now, after seeing it in black and white, I REALLY am not sure, actually I am quite certain, that this word should not be tagged as an adjective to describe me or my decision to move to Colorado. Let me explain....
When I think of bravery, I think of the Soldiers that volunteer to risk their lives so we can live free and safe in this country. I think of the kid that gets straight A's at school and then comes home to take care of his drunk father and protect his mom from the man who claims to love her. My decision, was not so severe. This was not your courageous, against all odds, Daniel in the Lions' den, you-may-loose-your-life-but-you-forge-ahead-for-the-cause-anyway decision. It just wasn't. My life is in no way going to be in anymore danger moving to Colorado, than if I stayed my butt here, working for the same company, in the same job, doing the same thing year after year....or would it?
Before I left on my deployment I had heard the rumors of our organizations move to Texas but truly didn't think that they would ever come to fruition. The government had postponed and delayed the move so many times that people said it would never happen. After my tour in Iraq, I knew change was coming. I just wasn't sure what that meant for me. The move was no longer a question mark, but an actuality. Which meant I had to make a decision. Moving with my job would mean a pay raise due to the cheaper cost of living, a new place (for my itchy feet), no more 45 inch winter snow storms! But for some reason, the thought of moving to San Antonio gave me so much angst and unrest that I started to explore other options. Maybe I just needed a change from the actual work I was doing, or something more challenging?
While on my quest to "stay in Virginia," going back to school had pricked my heart again (as it did 5 years ago) only be bandaged up and quickly pushed to the back of my options for multiple reasons, but mainly because the thought of going to school, working AND going into debt paying for school was overwhelming. I told a friend of mine about the crazy thought of going back to school for counseling and fully expected him to agree with me in saying that it was too expensive and remind me that paying off school debts is a nightmare. He didn't. Instead he said "what student loans would you have to take? You can use the Post 9-11 GI Bill. You'll get PAID to go to school! You should do it!!" ....Wait. What? "I'm eligible for that???" Turns out, I was. I wonder if God ever gets tired of having to use a 2x4 upside my head to get my attention. Thank God this 2x4 turned out to be paid education and no debt. I'll take it. (thank you, Lord, for your gracious ways when trying to get my attention)
And so the school search began...
I started out with a list of about 15 that was quickly narrowed down to five. I researched the shools, talked to people in the counseling field, and decided I would go visit the different schools. As it was, I had already planned a trip out to Colorado (before I even knew that going back to school was an option), and there were two schools out there that were on my list! I visited both schools while I was out visiting my friends in Colorado and just like I knew a change was coming before any of this began, I knew Colorado was where I was going to go to school. Both schools in Colorado have great programs but Colorado Christian University seemed to be a better fit for me. It was one of those moments that I just knew this was where I belonged, so much so that I applied when I returned from my trip and found out that I was accepted in the Spring. God was opening doors left and right as I continued walk forward in prayer with each step of the process. I most definitely didn't want to be in Colorado if that wasn't where I needed to be. I mean, there are BEARS in Colorado. And snow. Lots of it.
After my acceptance, it was just a matter of figuring all the logistics of moving, quitting my job, and everything else that comes with a life change like this one. Although, the logistics can be the most complicated part of it all. At least the most frustrating and tedious. But God has continued to open doors and make a way to get me out to Colorado, confirming the decision and conquering any doubts the so easily cloud my mind. I won't say that I'm not scared at times. I am. What if I fail? What if it's harder than I remember to be a student? What if I can't get a job after completing this program? What if, what if, what if... I could play that game forever. Some of the questions I can come up with are so ridiculous it's embarrassing. Yes, they are real fears that cause legitimate doubt at times, but I can't let my fear OR doubt control me. I am a child of God and I believe that He is ALWAYS working out His plan for the good of those that love Him. He is GOOD, whether one of my worst fears come true or not. Sometimes I think I worry too much about the outcome rather than the actual journey on which God has me.
I am a firm believer that 1. we have all been called to a journey here on earth, 2. God is ceaselessly working His plan out through all of us and our journies, and 3. God is less concerned with the actual location of our physical bodies than He is, the posture of our hearts. So when people say I'm brave for making such a big move, I think I understand the sentiment. There undoubtedly will be pain and difficulty, possibly danger (uhh, maybe). But I know God is with me and watching over me, so it doesn't seem all that brave. It seems more terrifying to have decided to move to Texas (keep my job) or stay in Virginia, ignoring God's nudges, just because it seemed less daungting than navigating the unknowns of a new chapter in my life. I am confident I'm in the right place and have made the right decision, which makes it hard for me to feel like I'm being brave or courageous about anything. So I guess that's how I got so brave... It's not really me not being scared or at times worried, but more so me knowing that the God I serve is with me!