We all have our plans don’t we? We all like to imagine that we have complete control over our days and years… all with the ultimate goal of achieving whatever it is we happen to be dreaming of. For some, maybe a select few, this may actually work out; however, the vast majority live out a very different storyline than originally imagined- especially for those of us who follow Christ. It isn’t wrong to dream, it isn’t wrong to plan, but if we really want to please God then we need to be ready to do (or not do) whatever it takes to follow His will. We choose to do this with all of the love in our hearts because, deep down in our souls, we know that is the only way we can ever truly please the Father and be personally fulfilled.
I was no different than most other young people in my attempts at planning a future. I’ve only really had a couple of dreams in my life regarding how I would spend my adult years. First, around middle school and up through the first year or so of high school, I truly desired to be a cardio-pulmonary specialist. I know, specific right? I had a thing for the heart and lungs and could soak in just about any kind of anatomy and physiology research. I was set. Then about midway through high school, I had attended a Christian women’s conference with my mom and some ladies from church. It was at that point that God sat next to me, put his arm around my stubborn shoulders, and said, “I want you to minister to my girls”. OK, he didn’t audibly say that… but I felt it in the depths of my soul. Whatever that would look like down the road, I knew women’s ministry was my calling from God; whether it was 2 women or 2,000 I didn’t care; I just knew my ministry would be based on investing in women’s lives for God’s glory. This would, in my thinking, involve teaching, writing, and traveling. The journey getting there, however, was not at all what I had planned and, at 30 years old, I’m still not 100% sure that my life is going to look like that picture I had in my head.
Once I knew God’s calling on my life, I assumed the natural posture of a young person who was sure of their heading. I had heard all growing up that to be stable and successful in life, you had to go to college and get a good degree. I knew I was going into ministry, so my leaning was toward a Christian University. I tried to be as frugal as one could be while attending a private college, so I opted to live at home and work on the side. I decided that my path to where God wanted me would be very straightforward. I would:
- Graduate college having majored in Christian Studies and minored in Communication.
- After college, obtain a job in some kind of Christian organization where I could learn the ropes of public ministry.
- Get married to an amazing man of God and have about 3-4 kids. While raising the young breed I would publish 1-2 books in order to keep in touch with ministry-life.
- After being a stay-at-home-motWe all have our plans don’t we? We all like to imagine that we have complete control over our days and years… all with the ultimate goal of achieving whatever it is we happen to be dreaming of. For some, maybe a select few, this may actually work out; however, the vast majority live out a very different storyline than originally imagined- especially for those of us who follow Christ. It isn’t wrong to dream, it isn’t wrong to plan, but if we really want to please God then we need to be ready to do (or not do) whatever it takes to follow His will. We choose to do this with all of the love in our hearts because, deep down in our souls her to said children, when the youngest would reach school-age I would return to work in ministry and all would be right with the world.
It sounds great on paper doesn’t it? Well, I still believe God has called me to Women’s Ministry, and I still know that He will use my writing and teaching in some form in order to accomplish His will. Yet the journey so far has not looked at all like I envisioned those many years ago. Here is what my life has really looked like since those days of me “planning it all out”.
- Met my future husband during my senior year of high school (he’s older than I am).
- Attended Christian University for 1 year and got married the summer after. I then attended for part of the next year but after much prayer and consternation, we decided for me to pull out of school and let God show us what He wanted us to do.
- After quitting college, I found out we were expecting our first baby and almost at the same time discovered we would be moving to a different city 5 hours away for my husband’s job.
- We moved, I had my son, I went through depression for several years, and then we moved again to another state (this last move would prove to be a huge blessing in all of our lives).
- I’ve since had a little girl and, unless God wants differently, WE ARE DONE… no 3-4 kids here! I am currently still a stay-at-home-mom with no published books, no ministerial work history, and no travel journal telling of my exploits.
Due to things going a little askew from what I thought they should be, I was fairly confused about who I was for several years. I was so afraid of missing God’s plan for my life that I could not see myself living it out, simply because it didn’t look like I had envisioned. I now see that, although the dream itself that God had given me is still very much the dream I hold onto today, the journey to get there had to be the one He designed- not me. I am in the throws of raising two children but I still serve at church and use my website as my own way of “publishing” what God lays on my heart. I am learning every day to trust more and worry about where I’m heading less.
I see the passing years, not as time wasted that I should be doing something else, but as precious processes that have to be worked through in order for me to be effective in the Kingdom. I no longer define myself by what I thought I wanted in my youth and the stark contrast to what I am living out now. On the contrary, I have more now than I ever dreamed of wishing for and I refuse to allow a change of plans dictate my worth or my success. Dreams may change or the path to those dreams may change or be different than what you think they should be, but learn to trust God’s heart. He is much better at making dreams and fulfilling them than we could ever hope to be.