Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we plan. That’s okay because our life doesn’t have to make sense.

We all have dreams and ideas about what our lives should be, but what does it mean when things seemingly go off the rails?

In the early ’90s, my life felt stagnant, leaving me frustrated. After visiting friends in Oregon, I fell in love with the state and decided to significantly change my life. Less than 30 days later, I packed my Mercury Topaz and left to start a new job in Oregon. As I drove those 1,300 miles, I planned my new life.

My family and friends thought I’d lost my mind, but in retrospect, I’ve realized my life doesn’t have to make sense to everyone.

Things in Oregon went differently than I’d planned.

My new employer changed the position between the time I accepted and my first day on that job. This left me in a job I hated. Making friends didn’t magically happen—that’s never been an easy thing for me, so I don’t know why I thought moving to a new state would be different. I moved during the rainiest season in Oregon, which was one of the draws for me, having lived most of my life in a semi-arid state. However, I soon developed seasonal affective disorder. Things just didn’t go as planned.

Uprooting myself and leaving everything I knew didn’t make sense to many people around me. When things didn’t go as planned, many deemed this a failed endeavor on my part. Truth is, it didn’t always make sense to me and I, too, wondered why I’d done this. Still,I couldn’t afford to relocate to Colorado, so I returned to school to change my life.

What I learned impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined.

After my first class at Western Baptist College (now Corban University), I knew I had missed something regarding faith. In that first class, I met a guy named Wes. His eyes lit up when he talked about Jesus. Smitten, I daydreamed of a life that included Wes without ever going on a date with the guy.

The actual plan for my life didn’t include Wes, but that class sent me on a journey to figure out the missing link in my faith. It led me to a little church in the middle of a farmer’s field where I met the Lord, and that was God’s reason for my going to Oregon.

Things in our life don’t always go as we hope or prepare for, but our stories are a part of us.

They’re not the entirety, just a piece. Even through the hard times that don’t go as we hope, there is value in our life. When we don’t get the job we wanted or a relationship fails, God still has a purpose for us. It’s hard to see it sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

The story of Jesus dying on the cross to save us doesn’t make sense in this world, but that’s God’s fingerprint.

God sees all the twists and turns in our life. He knows the pain and misery, the joy and success. He will take all the stories of our lives to fulfill the purpose he has for us.Your life doesn’t have to make sense. It may not until we get to heaven. That’s okay. It makes sense in the end.

Let’s chat: Is there a time when life didn’t turn out the way you planned? Did it turn out the way you needed instead?