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Ever Been Mad At God? Me too.

Ever Been Mad At God? Me too.
I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Have you ever been mad at God? Silly question, right? We all have. But have you ever felt like He led you astray? Like He gave you a “gift” that can only be called that with quotations around it to show exactly how much of a gift you think it is? That’s exactly how I’ve felt for the last few years.

God gave me the “gift” of living in Nashville, far away from my home in Colorado, and I’ve been mad at Him ever since. 

The problem is, I didn't realize just how mad I was until I was back home visiting earlier this year.

I was in Boulder, where I went to college, visiting the church that became my home there. My best friend Kelsey is the assistant director at the college ministry there now, and as often as I can, I go back to visit.

Well, this particular time, I was waiting for Kelsey to get out of a meeting so we could go to lunch, when I snuck down to the church sanctuary for a few quiet moments alone with God.

Now, I get that God is everywhere, and I believe that a park bench is just as holy as a church building. But something about that sanctuary is extra holy to me. God feels extra close in that room because of the ways He changed me, transformed me completely in the years I spent in it.

I climbed up into the balcony that overlooks the sanctuary, and as I sat there, I started to pray. But they weren’t grateful prayers, reminiscent prayers, reflective prayers. They were hissed prayers, angry prayers, prayers that said, “This is so unfair, God, how could you do this to me?”

I feel at home in Colorado, in that church in Boulder. And as I sat there that day, I felt absolutely furious and wronged that these days, they aren't my home anymore.

The truth is, I never meant to move to Nashville. I never meant to move down to the south at all. 

I moved to Georgia after I finished a year long mission trip on the contingency that it would only be for six months. “I’ll give this new place six months of my life,” I thought haughtily. “And then I’m moving back to Colorado.”

Have you ever been mad at God? Silly question, right? We all have. Read this post for the time I moved away from home and felt mad at God.
My very last moment of living in Colorado
Have you ever been mad at God? Silly question, right? We all have. Read this post for the time I moved away from home and felt mad at God.
How I REALLY felt about leaving…

But then, on my first day of work, I met a man named Carl Wilson — and just a month or so later, we started dating. And… I know you know how this one ends… that guy Carl Wilson is now my husband.

So this job that I only planned on keeping for six months or so led to me meeting my husband, which of course meant that I wasn’t in any hurry to high tail it out of there. I was attached, rooted, ready to stay for awhile. Falling in love does that to you. Right?

But then, on a Thursday morning in March, just a few months before our wedding, we each got called into a meeting only to find out that we’d both been let go from our jobs. But it wasn’t just us. Most of our department, and most of our friends were let go too.

In the span of 10 minutes, we went from being settled with a plan, to totally at loose ends.

It was awful, horrible, heartbreaking. But it also contained a tiny glimmer of hope. Maybe this was the moment I could finally move back home.

So we started applying for jobs in Colorado — we reached out everywhere we could think of — we really put our best foot forward. But we heard crickets in response.

No actual responses, no, “You’re not the right fit, but thanks for applying.” We just heard nothing.

Colorado — no matter how much I wanted it to — was not going to pan out. Not this time.

And so we went back to the drawing board. And then with a half a job between us, we decided that Nashville would be our next move. We packed up all of our things, and moved to this new city and new state the weekend before our wedding. Transition upon transition.

And at first, it all felt exciting. Nashville felt like this creative frontier — a place full of possibilities, and connections, and friends to be made.

But after awhile, the newness wore off, and loneliness settled in. I didn’t know anyone here, I didn’t have anything really connecting me here, and that’s when I started to long for Colorado more than ever before.

Every few months I’d come home for a visit, and people would ask me excitedly how I was liking Nashville. I know they expected me to say, “We’re really loving it!” and to tell them about the latest musician we’d just seen in a small venue or even just walking down the street.

But I was so miserable, I couldn’t even muster up pleasantries.

“It’s fine,” I’d say tiredly. “But I’m ready to come home.”

And that’s how I felt for 14 months. Tired, lonely, ready to come home, and increasingly resentful of this town that I never meant to move to. I’d drive through town and think, “How did I even end up here? This isn’t my place. I want to go HOME.”

And that’s exactly what I told God that day from my seat in the balcony of my favorite sanctuary. “God, I am ready to go home. I’m tired of living in Nashville. Please bring us back — why can’t we move back!?”

And then I realized something. It was one of those realizations that really hurts because of how true it is, and because it brings you face to face with a part of you you didn’t notice before.

I was living with absolutely zero faith.

God was all over our move to Nashville. He provided in all kinds of unbelievable ways, including the fact that Nashville was the only door that opened to us out of countless that we knocked on.

Nashville was it — it was where God was leading us — and He’d been telling me through sermons, through other people, and through the whisper in my heart that I could hear when I’d slow down enough to listen, that He has us in Nashville for a reason.

And even if I couldn’t see that reason yet, it didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

I hated to admit that. And even more, I hated to admit how ungrateful and how resistant I’d been to Nashville for so long.

I held it by two fingers, away from my body, like a dirty diaper headed for the trash. I didn’t let it close, didn’t look it in the eye, didn’t try to make any kind of connection, didn’t even want to admit that maybe, just maybe, there could be something in this town for me.

But there in that balcony, I realized something.

I realized that I have no idea how much longer we’ll be in Nashville. We could be here for the rest of our lives or God could tell us to move home next week. But regardless, Nashville is a gift that God gave to us for a purpose. And if we were to move next week, I would be so ashamed and have so many regrets about how many months I just squandered that gift.

The truth is — it’s really hard to be away from home. Moving sounds glamorous until you do it, and until you need your phone to give you directions to the grocery store for months upon months.

It sounds glamorous until you realize you don’t know anything about your new town, that there are places, and customs, and things people do that you’re totally oblivious to.

It sounds glamorous until you realize how lonely you are, and until you realize that it’s a long road to make new friends in a whole new place. It’s just not easy.

Nashville has been a really hard thing for me. It was easier to travel around the world for a year than it’s been to settle in Nashville and to dare to call it home.

But that day, in the balcony overlooking my real home, I realized that God has never failed me. 

When I open my hands and accept what He has for me, when I give Him a pinch of faith, and a splash of courage, and decide to follow where He leads, He always takes me somewhere amazing. I’m always astounded, and never disappointed.

And I realized that Nashville is probably the exact same thing set to country music — God’s same faithfulness in just another season of life.

And so I decided to make a change. I decided to invest in Nashville for as long as I’m here. I decided to accept the gift, to open my hands, to hold it close to my chest, and to look it in the eye.

And since that day in the balcony overlooking the sanctuary, I really have.

A few months later I was in Colorado again, sitting in that balcony overlooking a place that will always feel like home. But this time, something in my chest felt different, and it still does even today. I’m not angry anymore, and I no longer feel like God replaced my home with a really bad gift.

I don’t feel like He’s keeping me in Nashville against my will, and I don’t feel like He took my home away from me, despite my cries and pleas to keep it.

Instead, I feel like I have two homes tucked safely and warmly inside my chest.

I live in Nashville, and I’m really okay with that now. It’s a wonderful town and I’m blessed to live here. But Colorado is also home. It always has been, and it always will be.

And somehow, by the grace of God, I’m realizing I can have two homes. They can both exist in my heart and my life. And I’m grateful.

God really does give the very best gifts. Even when we can’t see the goodness in them right away, it’s there. It is for me, and it is for you too. I promise, and even better, so does He.

Have you ever wrestled with God over something like this? Have you ever been angry with Him for giving you what feels like a bad gift? How have you seen God's faithfulness and goodness even when it didn't look like goodness at first? Pop your thoughts in the comments below. I can't wait to hear your stories!

P.S. If you could use some help trusting God's plans for your life (or help figuring out what those plans might be!) I have a few resources just for you. Here they are:

The Lipstick Gospel Devotional

The Between Places

Girls Night #112: How to Trust God's Timing for your Life

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Have you ever been mad at God? Silly question, right? We all have. Read this post for the time I moved away from home and felt mad at God.

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  1. Skuya says:

    This is really interesting because I’m currently in a season with still no job after a whole year come this September and I’m highly feeling like a failure. Still no job, even after I try. And it’s getting to me because there’s some jobs that I go back to because they’re always hiring, hire, no hiring sign, and then hiring sign again. And it’s like “hello again” trying to smile with all the love I still have within me even if it kills me that they don’t see my potential each time. And oh yes, I cry out to go God “please don’t take me out of my home Yakima.” Because Yakima is my home, my roots are grounded here and I don’t even want to move out it for anything right now. In everybody else’s eyes they tell me that I’m picky (I am, I’m devoted to church both Saturday and Sunday -_-) and I want whoever will hire me to go around it. There are some prayers I feel that aren’t answered yet. I have a lot of ‘feelings’ but now I’m second guessing if they are God given. Recently I’ve been miserable and real pouty that I have no job. I have great joy in me, but lately these obstacles have been getting the best of me in private and shared only with a couple close ones of mine.

  2. Jen mendenhall says:

    Swap out Nashville for our inner city neighborhood in Kansas City, and I could have written this myself. For a long time, I’ve wished to be ANYWHERE but here-somewhere safer and prettier where we can put down roots and have a “normal”suburban life instead of hearing sirens and driving past motels riddled with prostitution. But God has given my husband a wonderful job less than a mile from our house working with inner city youth, and He has put us 10 minutes away from the best children’s hospital in the region where our daughter with spina bifida will be born and operated on. He’s given us a wonderful church family in our neighborhood. My process has been a bit different-it was exciting at first, but as time has gone on, it has felt more and more like a “bad gift”. I’m still trying to find my place of being grateful, but that can sometimes be hard. Thanks for the reminder to look for the ways this season is a good gift!

  3. Diane says:

    Thank you for your candidness. I will be married 25 years in December. We have moved 8 times and lived in 6 different states. We were in Nashville last before moving to the Northeast. Each move was hard ,except the one to Colorado for 2.5 years, but the this last one was the first move where none of my children came. It has been hard knowing we gave up front row seats to their lives and live someplace where there are so few Christians. But in the snail pace of my empty nester life, the Lord has reveled areas to grow in my faith and recognize discontentment. I still haven’t had that Eureka! Moment of why He called us to move but I am meeting Him in my loneliness of living in the NE.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi! Just wanted to say I’m from New England (and miss it every day, especially as fall approaches) and to hang in there! <3

  4. Mandy hernandez says:

    Dear sweet sister, I’ve had this blog post open in my tabs since you’ve posted it and finally felt the nudge to actually read it. Now I know why! Two weeks ago I accepted a job- completely out of no where- in…. Nashville! (Franklin to be specific!) the first week everything sounded and felt great and the skies the limit. Then reality sank in and now I have to pack and say goodbye to my home- Kansas City- with just a week and some change left here. Overwhelmed is an understatement! Moving to a state, a city, I know no one. Packing up my life alone, moving forward and trusting God to provide the church, the friendships, the apartment, the cozy coffee shop and bookstore that’ll make me feel like home is hard! My friend told me to enjoy the process. Thank you for the reminder. I was starting to regret it. Starting to let overwhelming fear and doubt sink in. He is Emmanuel- God with us. He doesn’t lead us to new places and leave us to fail! His name and glory is on the line. He doesn’t let His girls fail. Thanks for stirring my excitement this morning. I know it will be hard and trying but that’s what growth is! And who knows, maybe my main man is in Nashville 🙂

  5. Lauren says:

    Stephanie, I could barely finish this particular post because tears were streaming down my face. My husband and I moved to California from New England about 1.5 years ago and I’m still struggling to find a sense of home and belonging. Thank you for putting all my conflicting and pent up feelings into your beautiful words. Sometimes I really feel like I’m struggling to hang on to joy, even though our move here has come with good things. Reminding myself to hold fast to Jesus daily!

  6. Madison says:

    I too have felt like God has given me two bad “gifts” having to move back in with my parents while I work to pay off my student loans and also still being single while my Facebook feed is full of engagements, wedding and baby announcements. But over the last year I’ve decided that instead of constantly wishing I lived on my own and closer to where I work, that I should be thankful for what I do have at home – caring, loving parents, siblings and our dog. My mom almost always has dinner ready when I finally make it home at night, a big screen TV, Starbucks runs with my sister and countless other benefits like not having to worry about too many bills yet either!

    As for the not being married & no kids in sight, at least it means I have the freedom to relax and do what I want in the evenings and on the weekends!

    • Stephanie May Wilson says:

      Madison, gosh, I totally hear you love! It’s so hard to watch the flood of Facebook engagements. But there are two things I would love to share with you if you haven’t seen them yet. One is that I wrote a series of letters to my single self — advice I would go back and give myself if I had the chance. I would love to share them with you! And the second is that I’m opening up my course Make The Most Of Your Single Life on September 26th for only 5 days, but I would love for you to join us! We’re talking about the exact things you mentioned here, and it’s a wonderful group of women who are exactly where you are right now — all learning together how to make the very most of this season while really preparing well for the next. I would love to have you join us!

  7. Bri says:

    Thank you for sharing this Strphanie! I recently moved away from Colorado to move back to Montana and I had a hard time believing this was a good thing even though I knew this was where God wants me and despite his assurances that it would be beyond anything I could ask or imagine. I have yet to fully understand the transition, but I know he always has the best in mind. Thanks again!

  8. Annie says:

    Hi Stephanie! I am amazed and so happy I found your blog, and specifically this post, two days after transplanting to a new city. I moved from Atlanta to Minneapolis and I am in the mist of accepting that this is what God’s plan is for my life, right now. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences with moving to the South (which ironically I call “home” and miss so much). I had to tell you that your words are encouraging me to pray and look towards God as I begin a new life here, find solid friendships here, and put roots here (I even hesitate while typing “put roots here” because I would rather put roots at “home”). I believe He has brought me here for a reason and I thank you for reminding me of that.
    I will surely continue reading and wish you much happiness in Nashville! God bless!

  9. Molly says:

    I’ve been mad at God lately, too. My best friend passed away suddenly a year and a half ago and I’ve been having a really hard time dealing with the pain of that loss. I’m slowly starting to let go of the anger and realize that some good things have come from that – like me becoming friends with her mom, her little sister, and the closeness and unbreakable bond we have. It’s still a struggle, I’m still mad at her and God, but I’m getting through, one day at a time.

  10. Katie says:

    I think that this applies to more than just an actual move across country, for me it applies to Trusting God’s will and not my own. That is harder than i could have imagined but if i want the freedom of life with him i have to jump when he says to jump and move when he says move. I really have to lean in. Awesome post I’m so glad you started back blogging.

  11. Stephanie,
    I absolutely loved this post. I’m always loving everything you post, but I felt connected with this one in the sense that I have been frustrated with God before..more than I’d like to admit. I always feel dragged other places, but I don’t have the finances to commit to going anywhere else. I feel like I’m missing my purpose, and I really hope to find it soon. You’re always an inspiration to me, and thanks for letting me be a part of your journey. You’ve inspired me to go out and try devoting more of my life to Christ. Thank you for all you do.

  12. Jen Wurm says:

    This is so funny because God has called me to Nashville too, despite my efforts to take my life into my own hands and try to move to London where I studied abroad two years ago. I absolutely fell in love with London and never felt more at home, and have been trying harder than even to go back ever since. But every door I’ve tries has closed. After graduation from college, I didn’t know what was ins store for me. I missed most deadlines for grad school in my field except one that seemed like it was designed for me at Vanderbilt. I applied on the last day it was open, was able to meet with the assistant director that week, received an interview, and shortly after received acceptance with a 5 year full tuition scholarship and full time stipend. However I couldn’t help but think Nashville didn’t seem right and even though I was excited, I wasn’t as grateful as I should’ve been because London was always in the back of my head. I’m moving to Nashville in August and need to go into it with the mindset that this is where I’m supposed to be even if I can’t yet see why. I need to make peace with the fact that London is not calling me right now, but perhaps it will be later. But right now, Nashville is where I’m needed and I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

  13. Lia says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for this post! I have been in a season of transition after graduating college and it is so difficult. I am living at home and working a job that didn’t necessarily require a degree and therefore I can barely afford my student loans. I feel like I wasted time in college because I cannot find a career I enjoy or that uses my degree. I am struggling to trust that God will set the timing of a new job because I hate the one I’m in. I need hope and this post was encouraging.

  14. Lily Cooper says:

    This literally happened to me in sixth grade. I grew up in Washington and went to the same middle school as my mom and planned to go to the same high school as my friends when the economy fell and my dad lost his job. He looked everywhere in Washington and even a few towns over. Eventually, he thought maybe Montana because that’s where my mom and he really want to live, and looked in Oregon- basically everywhere that was comfortable to us. The whole time we were looking though, a company in Alaska had wanted him to interview for a position. We set that off for so long until the only place left was Alaska. So the summer after sixth grade we moved away from my childhood, friends, family, basically the lower 48, and went to Alaska. I wasn’t too pumped about it, but whenever someone asked me how I was liking it, I would put on a brave face. Then after two years there, my dad got a promotion to Arizona. I was a little more willing to go there because it was warmer and I would be closer to civilization. We have been in AZ for about 7 years and although I wouldn’t quite call this place my home either, I realized Washington is no longer my home. I have pieces of my heart in each state and because of the moving, I have gained a love for traveling and find it easy to pick up and move. I’m also grateful for moving because it led me to the college I am at, the opportunities I have gotten, and the friends I have gained. If we hadn’t moved, I don’t know if I would have ever gotten out of Washington. Sometimes God has the bigger picture, while you just have a piece of the puzzle.

  15. Kathina says:

    I too feel the same way in this season. I moved from Richmond, Ky to Williamsburg, Ky only for college. I had full intentions on returning “home” after college but instead I found myself in the next city over from Williamsburg, somewhere I said I would NEVER live, Corbin, Ky. I find resentment and aching in my heart at times when I return home and spend time with my family and friends. Although I have established new friendships some feeling like family, I long to go home. I haven’t met my husband yet and so I have no clue as to the plan God has for me in this time. As graduation from my masters approaches I long even more to return home to where I feel I belong. I am having difficulty trusting God on which step to take in the next season when I graduate as I’m not sure where he will call me next. I am enjoying my time where I am but I know I still long to return to what I know and I pray I can continue to place my trust in his plan. I want to say “Lord your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Not “Lord my will be done”. I don’t want to ask God’s blessing on my plans I want my heart to beat in rhythm with his.

  16. Talia says:

    I am wrestling with this same issue, except me not wanting to move to Colorado and leave Georgia behind.
    Thank you for your encouragement and helping me see this possible change as a gift in this season!

  17. Jenna says:

    Thank you for this, Stephanie. Right now I’m living in a wonderful city with an awesome church community – more “home” than I have ever felt, and a true gift from God. But, I’ve fallen for an old college friend who lives in a much bigger city ten hours away. I’m faced with deciding whether my current “home” can continue being home if he’s not here with me – yet terrified of leaving this community to marry him in a strange place. (There are a handful of legitimate reasons he’d be unable to move here for me.) It’s a frightening choice, but your post is a good reminder that we can choose to invest and make “home” anywhere, and God will use us in that!

  18. Melissa says:

    God gave me the “gift” of a man who I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with at the time as I was still hurting from my previous relationship. This man stayed in my life and was my best friend for the past year. Maybe even more than my best friend. Neither of us dated anyone else. I finally told him I wanted to try us again and that I whole-heartily loved him, words I never used in our relationship. He doesn’t know. It’s been weeks. I don’t mind waiting but he is now very distant. I trust God has a plan for me and I believe God may just be giving us a “trial” before he grants us the “gift” but it’s also hard. I don’t believe God is cruel and gave me this man for the past year to only pull him away when I was FINALLY able to love again but sometimes I do question the situation. I pray if this man is my husband, God’s will be done, and if not, that God will bring love into my life. (However, I do feel very positive about it being this man.)

  19. Jackie Miyasaki says:

    I love this blog post. About a year ago I hit a really dark time in my life after losing my dad to leukemia cancer. I blamed myself and I blamed God for taking my dad away from me. I’m in a better place now but I still have those moments where I get angry that I lost my dad so young. I am 26 I should have never lost my dad at this age but I know it was God’s plan for him and for me.
    Your blog posts and lipstick gospel has really helped me so thank you so much.

  20. Kim says:

    This was eye opening; thank you! I’ve spent my past two years living in Delaware, and let me tell you, I’ve experienced some of the toughest times of my life while living here. I thought, “this REALLY can’t be what God has in store for me, and it’s certainly not what I want for myself.” Now, in the past six months, I’ve really tried to embrace my community and find the silver lining in all that surrounds me. Only after I was able to find peace here in Delaware did God present me with exactly what I have wanted for two years – I’m moving! I have a new job halfway across the country, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I think He knew I wasn’t ready for this “gift” until I was able to accept that He had placed me in Delaware for a reason, and that my time here was no accident. Once I placed my faith fully in Him, the rest of my world opened up. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us know that we’re not alone in this!

  21. Winola says:

    Hi! I like your story.

  22. Jamie says:

    I made a similar journey, but in the opposite direction. I moved from Georgia to Colorado a year ago with my 2 children for my daughter’s genetic syndrome. Having a daughter with special needs makes my life very secluded and lonely alone, but leaving everyone I knew in Georgia made it even lonelier. I often ask God, “why me?”. I am often reminded of my many blessings since our move, but it still hasn’t felt like our permanent home due to lack of friends and meaningful relationships. I was angry too, but then I realized my relationship with God is the best it has ever been and I am still craving more of this loving relationship with Christ each and everyday. This move was the best thing for me spiritually, financially, and mentally. It definitely has been the best thing for my daughter and my son loves it here too. Keeping faith in God’s plan makes me not so angry anymore and God has a way of filling my loneliness with himself, which is what I needed all along.

  23. Sara says:

    I am in this place now! Your words were very encouraging. I am currently studying abroad and I have felt kind of lost. After a tough couple of years I found myself in this place that I never imagined possible. I have a feeling that I want to stay in my new country, but I also want to go home at the same time. I know that God will lead me in the right direction. Your message has given me the hope that I can trust Him. Thank you a million!

  24. Nia Perry says:

    I can definitely relate to this story! I live in Nashville too! While I don’t dislike this place, I feel like God has left me here. Recently, all my family has moved away. I feel incredibly lonely. I wonder why God would leave me by myself. There are also things He has promised that I have yet to see come to pass. That really frustrates me. I feel helpless and hopeless. I pray that I can accept where I am and learn to love my place too. Thank you for sharing.

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