Milk and Honey Magazine's advice on how to trust God through change as a young woman. He loves you!

Yearning for Change

Nicole Kennedy

Last week, I went on an epic road trip with some of my best friends from college. For some it was a grad trip; for all of us, it was a celebration of friendship and freedom and the beauty of our surroundings. Together we were closing a chapter of our lives, enjoying one last hurrah as a group before leaving for grad school or jobs in different cities.

From Los Angeles, the six of us packed into a rental minivan and drove up the West Coast. We hiked to Bishop’s Peak and learned about the history of Mission San Louis Obispo. We survived two nights in a sketchy Bay Area Airbnb, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and ate authentic Dim Sum in Chinatown. We admired the state capitol in Sacramento before retreating to the gorgeous mountain town of Quincy, then drove through acres of lush forest to the Oregon border. We explored books at Powell’s and wildlife at Multnomah Falls. Finally, we made it to our ultimate destination: Seattle, Washington.

On my last day of the trip, I broke away from the group for several hours to visit some of my favorite places in Seattle. I started in Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where I’d lived for a week while volunteering with L’Arche my junior year of college. Everything was just as I’d remembered it–the lovely foliage of Volunteer Park, colorful Craftsman-style houses lining each street, and rich coffee from Victrola Roasters.

I walked down rainbow-striped crosswalks on Pine street, past designer boutiques and political protesters in Downtown, until I reached Pike Place Market. Later that day, after reconnecting with friends and saying my final goodbyes, I drove by the University of Washington Law School and picked up dinner nearby. The sky, which had been sunny for most of the afternoon, suddenly began to rain. As I activated the windshield wipers, my eyes also began to water. What?

I’d had such a good day, felt such peace during my time in Seattle. Yet very quickly, I recognized the source of my melancholy: I was mourning a life that wasn’t mine. A life of taking classes in UW Law’s beautiful glass building, studying at local coffee shops, riding my bike along the Puget Sound. An opportunity to live as a twenty-something in a vibrant city, to venture out of my Southern California comfort zone. That life felt so tangible as I walked along those paths, and yet so out of reach.

Milk and Honey Magazine's advice on how to trust God through change as a young woman. He loves you!

Last year, I watched Idina Menzel perform in a musical called “If/Then” at the Pantages Theater. In the show, a thirty-something woman named Elizabeth ponders how her life would change if she made different choices. Elizabeth splits into two separate personas: Liz and Beth, both played by Menzel. Their separate storylines play out in drastically different ways, completely altering the course of her life. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure story fully fleshed out, an intriguing look at humanity’s fascination of the road not taken.

In a moving song called “Some Other Me,” Elizabeth sings:
Some other me is homeless / Some other me is queen / Some other me has seen things that no other me has seen / If I met her I would ask her that one question we both fear: Some other me / How’d we end up here?

As each of us grow up, we are confronted with increasingly difficult and complex decisions. Choosing a career path, getting married, buying a home; these are all wonderful things, but choosing one closes doors to alternative possibilities. It can be overwhelming to think about all the things we’ll never get to do, the moments we’ll never experience in our short lives.

Proverbs 16:9 says In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. How awesome is that? We have free will, so we’re able to explore or settle down or do whatever we want. Yet at the same time, God is guiding us every step of the way, blessing us and keeping us safe. We don’t have to worry about making perfect decisions because we have a Lord who loves us unconditionally.

Maybe one day I’ll be called to move to Seattle. God has placed an inexplicable love for that city in my heart, and I don’t intend to ignore it. For now, I’m continuing to lay down roots in Southern California, to fully embrace each moment, to invest in the strong relationships and opportunities I’m building. That’s all any of us can do, and God is taking care of the rest.