A year ago, I had a plan.

I knew exactly how the next five years of my life would play out. I would graduate from college, work at my alma mater for three years, save up some money, and move on to a grad program somewhere out west that, hopefully, I could afford.

I applied for the job. I knew exactly how I would interact in my new position, how I would dress, how I would decorate, even how I would reorganize. I had so many ideas for a position that I, shamefully, thought I had in the bag.

But I didn’t.

I was devastated. So many people had told me they were sure I’d get the job, that I’d already committed to staying in the area for a year. Now I had limited funds, no job, and no motivation.

Disappointed and discouraged, I took a part-time seasonal position at Kohl’s Department Store. It was not what I’d imagined doing right out of college.

I was living about 12 hours away from my parents. I’d been away from home for six years, and it was getting harder to say goodbye with each visit. A bad day at work and my mom’s unexpected stay in the hospital brought me to a decision.

I started looking. I narrowed my search to two cities, both about two hours from home: Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I focused more on Cleveland at first. I searched job sites, applied for any position that looked interesting, and waited.

Nothing. My lease ended in July. It was only May. I had plenty of time.

I had a plan…I would have a job, an apartment, and opportunities already waiting for me by August 1.

By the end of May, I’d heard several things from Pittsburgh but nothing from Cleveland—not even an automatic “thank you for applying” email. So I focused on Pittsburgh. Finally, in early July, I flew up for two different in-person interviews. I was excited.

I returned completely unsatisfied. Neither position was what had been advertised. While talking to my mom about how frustrated I was, I found a listing for a position with Carnegie Mellon University. Just for giggles, I applied.

The next night, I received an email asking for a phone interview. I was shocked. I honestly had not expected anything except maybe a nice automated email saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I bombed the interview. I’d never realized I was a nervous laugher until that very awkward phone call. I spent the next two weeks dreading the “we met you, and you weirded us out” email…but it never came.

I was packing up my tiny studio apartment, my cat, and my memories, and moving—you guessed it—back home. I was so discouraged because nothing was going according to my plan.

On my last day at Kohl’s, I picked up a call from a Pittsburgh number. To my jumping enthusiasm, it was CMU, requesting an in-person interview.

A timeline for you: I moved home August 1, interviewed August 2, got a call the same day saying I was their preferred candidate, was formally offered the position August 8, signed the papers August 9, and started work August 12.

Life was suddenly a whirlwind. I had a new job in a new city…but nowhere to live. I couch-surfed for two frustrating months and started to doubt again.

Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” In His perfect time, He provided me with a beautiful, safe, and affordable home.

Looking back, I know I would have been miserable in my plan. Stuck in a position that had no opportunity for growth, working with people who wouldn’t have challenged me the way I needed to be challenged. Staying way too comfortable.

God’s timing will always be better than mine. His plans will always be better than mine. He made me wait to stretch me; He let me be uncomfortable so I’d learn to trust Him. I’ve learned that He has perfect plans for me, and every disappointment is a preparation for the better thing He has in store.