Before I came to Montana I was so excited for the new adventure. I had never been to Montana or anything remotely close to "big sky country" and I felt like I was going to come across something so wonderful and memorable.
When I first got here, I was sorely disappointed.
That's not to say that Montana isn't beautiful, because it is. It's so beautiful that on some of my alerts, I'll be driving out to the sites and my breath is still taken away by the landscape. There are mountains that will truly floor you just to see God's wonder and rolling hills that you can only dream of. However, that wasn't Great Falls.
Man oh man I struggled and sometimes I still do. Driving into the town, you could have seen my morale go shooting down a slide. The "busiest road in Montana" otherwise known as 10th here has so many businesses that haven't seen a renovation in years. Driving through, it seemed well, dirty and definitely not kept. I soon discovered that to leave the town, cities like Missoula and Bozeman were three or more hours away. Yikes!
All of this contributed to how I decided to shape my attitude. It definitely wasn't a good one. I found myself missing home so much that it would put me into the worst moods. I missed my family and friends. I missed being able to pick up some Chipotle or visit Marshall's to pick up a new outfit. I missed going to Hilldale Mall in Madison and having all of my favorite things there. I missed mega-Target.
I realized that it would be four+ miserable years if I continued with this. So I slowly began the process of changing my outlook. I knew that my church community was going to help so much in the process. Instead of holding back, I started joining small groups and Bible studies. I felt the Lord challenging me to reach out and develop my relationship with Christ. It was one of the best decisions I ever made because I am obsessed with my small groups. I have met so many amazing people who have taught me things about the world and about myself. All of this from a community that I originally thought was "too small town." I then started volunteering more and I currently volunteer with a Girl Scouts group as they practice to compete in a robotics competition. Never did I ever think I would be doing this but my background in advertisement and public relations made me an ideal candidate to become a coach. Now I'm working with girls to build their confidence, their public speaking skills, and to hopefully help them win.
So why did God send me to Montana?
He sent me to Montana for several reasons. The most obvious is that Malmstrom AFB is here and the nuclear mission needed more missileers. He sent me through Air Force ROTC because he knew my passion, dedication, and gratefulness to this country would make me a good officer. He also understood that I would work my ass off to be the best officer I could be.
The Lord sent me to Montana because I needed to break out of my comfort zone. I needed a space to work on my marriage that had been so unconventional from the start. For the first time, Ryan and I were living together instead of being separated by deployments, orders, or distance. We needed a space to figure out how he other worked, what upset us, what brought us joy, and for us to have the time to build on a beautiful life together.
The Lord sent me to Montana because he knew that I needed to help others but at the same time be humbled. When I first got here, I thought I was better than this city. I had a college education from one of the best schools in the world and I couldn't understand why this place didn't want to be more progressive. I needed to be humbled because many of the folks here are intelligent, kind, and care more for others than themselves. I was leaving the selfishness that I had recently lived in. It was a place of young people almost needing to go out to the bars to fulfill their need for human interaction and an attempt at relationships. That need to feel wanted because you were young and beautiful and alcohol made everyone social. The need to be so materialistic and buy whatever you felt compelled to purchase because the 30+ short dresses in my closet weren't enough.
So the Lord put in a place where there were few stores and instead, replaced the amount of shopping opportunities with just wonderful people who needed me and I needed them. The Lord put in a place where everything that was sort of similar to my college experience was hours and hours away. I needed to become a better person here first and learn to help build up my community.
I need to fall in love with Great Falls.
It didn't just stop there. I needed to be humbled about myself and that despite being a young person, I am just human. Instead of being naturally good at everything, I had to spend hours and hours everyday studying in a career field that has rocked my confidence to the core. I gained weight to realize that despite being 23, I still had a woman's body that would naturally gain weight in areas that made fitting into my old clothes nearly impossible. I was forced to give up clothes filled with memories that really didn't fit but to also purchase new ones to make me feel confident in having hips and curves. I had to learn that despite my natural athletic ability, I was going to have to work my ass off (literally) but to also learn to love my new shape.
The Lord sent me to Montana for many reasons but I know the Lord sent me here because I needed to build a relationship with Him. I had so badly wanted that in college and struggled. I let so many contributing factors, especially my failing relationships with guys, contribute to how I felt about myself. I became a friend to myself instead of a friend of the Lord. When Ryan came into my life I knew that this was the start of a journey that God, HIMSELF, was guiding because He knew that I needed this so badly.
God put me in Great Falls so that I would have the time, space, and opportunity to become a better person.