Life May Not Always Go as Planned, but We Can See Some Beautiful Things Along the Way

When Rachel Earls found herself separated from her husband, Harold, by thousands of miles while he fulfilled a lifelong dream to climb Everest, she was forced to come to terms with her loneliness. Married for less than a year, she wasn’t sure she could handle the very real possibility that he might not make it home. And yet, she discovered even though she felt fearful and incomplete, she didn’t have to deny her feelings to cope. Rachel shares her experience of focusing on the Lord and changing the direction of her thoughts that helped her realize life may not always go the way we planned, but we get to see some beautiful things along the way. It’s a grace to welcome Rachel to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Rachel Earls

My solo trip to Ireland was my opportunity to see what I was capable of without Harold.

I met up with my friend Kate in Belfast. After exploring Northern Ireland and Giant’s Causeway, we decided to book a last-minute flight to Scotland, making a one-day trip the very next day.

In Scotland, we went for a hike around Arthur’s Seat near Edinburgh.

Hiking made me feel closer to Harold.

We just happened to be taking in two completely different views!

That night I pulled out my journal and read what I had written a couple of days before leaving on this trip.

Hi, God.

I’m struggling and have a thousand thoughts running through my head. I really wish You and I could chat. I miss Harold.

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been handling this whole Everest thing pretty well, much better than I thought I would at least.

But then there are times like today when I’m just over it, when I start to feel less of myself because it is so apparent that half of me is away. I hate feeling like this. I’m trying my hardest to stay positive and to live my own adventure, embracing this as an opportunity for growth, yet sometimes it just gets the best of me.

Maybe I should look at this as our quality time together, God, instead of looking at it as time without Harold. So, let’s make this time about us!

Lord, teach me Your ways. I love You, and I put You first! When I am stubborn, remind me of this, that being close to You is all I really want and it takes time and effort, but it’s always worth it.

I needed that reminder.

In the lonely moments, I was focusing on the empty feeling of Harold’s not being by my side instead of the fullness of God’s presence with me each step of every day.

I knew it was okay for me to admit I was feeling sad, but I didn’t want to let those negative feelings drown me.

Choosing to learn and grow from an experience doesn’t mean you have to deny the very real feelings that come from enduring your time of trial.

I felt what I needed to feel and then chose to refocus.

Changing the direction of my thoughts helped me feel more in control of my situation.

On my last day in Ireland, I took a hike along a narrow trail, overlooking the seaside cliffs on the outskirts of the small town of Howth.

I stopped to take in the view, sitting at the edge of the cliff with my feet dangling over the side.

The waves crashed against the rocks below and then trickled down like mini waterfalls.

I unzipped the top of my backpack and pulled out my journal to write.

I’m glad I can just sit here and take a moment to breathe and reflect. I’m really proud of myself for having the guts to just go off on my own. I think one of my fears is going through life alone, which sounds weird since I am blessed beyond measure in my marriage with Harold.

Life is so exciting, and I have no idea where it will take me; kinda like this trip. I had never even heard of Howth until I got here, and here I am taking in one of the best views. I think You do that with our lives, God.

Life may not always go the way we planned, but we get to see some beautiful things along the way.

I stood up and continued my hike, smiling the whole way.

It truly was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I had ever been. I thought how much Harold would have loved it because it was the perfect kind of walk for a daydreamer—easy to get lost in your thoughts and feel inspired.

The trail was lined with beautiful yellow flowers, but I learned the hard way those little suckers would sting if you touched them.

I had been walking for a long time and needed to head back, so I took a cut-through path I spotted and hoped for the best. I was praying not to get lost out there alone next to some cliffs before the sun went down and I missed my train back to Dublin.

I spotted a gray stone bench up ahead. As I got closer, I saw it had the words “Find God in All Things” etched across it.

I looked up and gave a little smirk to God. It was the perfect way to describe what this Ireland adventure had meant for me.

I was reminded of a verse I lean on during challenging times:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2–3, NIV).

It was a beautiful reminder that no matter what I’m experiencing in life—highs, lows, or in-betweens—God is always with me, and there is something to gain from every experience.

 

Rachel Earls is a beloved vlogger, business owner, founder of Earls Family Foundation, Army wife, and mother. Rachel also hosts the Earls Family Vlogs, which has millions of views on YouTube and nearly half a million subscribers, who tune in regularly for Rachel and Harold’s discussions on faith, family life, and love.

Captain Harold Earls IV is an active duty Army officer currently serving as the Commander of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Harold is a graduate of West Point and is US Army Airborne Ranger qualified.

A Higher Calling: Pursuing Love, Faith, and Mount Everest for a Greater Purpose shows each of us that when God’s purpose and our passion meet, we can transcend any sacrifice we make on the mountains of diversity. And as we approach life with an attitude of thanksgiving, we realize that being joyful and living in love is worth it. Every time.

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook for their partnership in today’s devotion ]