After years of struggling with the unfulfilled desire to be somewhere else, God surprises Caitlan Rangel with the goodness of where she is.
My four-year-old daughter’s face was covered in dark chocolate sea salt ice cream bar. A vendor at the farmers market said, “That’s farmers market face!” He grabbed a towel for her, and when he handed it to me, he said, “There’s a story there.” He was right.
For years, I wanted to be somewhere other than where I am.
In vulnerability, I open my interior narrative to you: If we lived in another state, we could afford a single family home with a yard. If we lived in another state, we could afford to send our children to Catholic school. If we lived in another state, we could be closer to nature. If we lived in another state, we could build community more easily.
What was the true longing behind the narrative? If I was somewhere else, I’d be happier.
If I could add up the time of my thoughts, I’m sure I would find that I’ve spent weeks of my life coveting a life that is not mine.
We have tried to make a move—more than once. More than once the job opportunity was there, within reach. And then—the door would slam shut.
God was being abundantly and mercifully clear with us. For years, though, we didn’t want to listen.
Why can it be so difficult for us humans to accept God’s will? Personally, I think I suffer from a type of spiritual amnesia wherein I forget that God is good and loving. Or, I am fooled into believing the lie that He isn’t who He says he is.
I accepted our unfulfilled desires and waiting as part of God’s plan, perhaps a way that He wanted me to grow in patience. I was hopeful, however, that the waiting would be no longer than minimally necessary. I never laid roots, because I kept expecting to leave.
Something happened, though. My husband and I sat in our garage one day as we paused from housework. We started talking about our week, and like a bolt out of the blue, God’s goodness broke in. It actually made me laugh. I saw with clarity: God is at work in our lives. God is at work right here in this place.
For years, I was blinded by my desires. They were good desires—a yard for my children, access to nature, authentic community. But, they were mine because I believed that these desires could only be met in a certain way. I was living out of scarcity, but our God is a God of abundance.
In the garage, I laughed. And after I laughed, I cried. I wept over my ingratitude. Over desiring other than what God had generously given.
In the months that have followed, I have wept again, but this time over seeing God’s goodness so clearly in my daily life. I look upon the mountains so close to our home, and God fills my heart with awe.
A friend drops off pedialyte popsicles and supplies when a stomach bug runs amuck in our home, and I know we have community. Our doctor moves around his schedule so that he can see my children, rather than have them see a doctor they don’t know, and I know God’s care. A stranger offers me her child’s spare clothes when an accident left me walking around with a toddler in a pull-up, and I know God is merciful. A vendor at the farmers market gives me a towel and a kind word for my sticky daughter with farmers market face, and I trust that it’s all part of God’s story. Isn’t he a beautiful author?
Copyright 2022 Caitlan Rangel
Images: (top) Canva Pro; copyright 2022 Caitlan Rangel, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Caitlan Rangel is a wife and homeschooling mama of four. After years of struggling with disordered eating, motherhood has been one of God’s greatest instruments of healing. Caitlan creates habits to raise a family with a healthy and holy approach to food. Read her Rest & Rise newsletter to receive bites of nourishment for parenting, restoring health, and living with God. Follow Caitlan on Instagram @caitlan_rangel.