“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
I grew up in the South, like the real South. The peach picking, biscuit cooking, fried chicken eating, front porch swinging, pew sitting South. My dad was a Southern Baptist preacher and my mom was a homeschool mom who played the piano at church and sang in the choir. I’m the oldest of 4 siblings and the highlight of our summers was small town Vacation Bible School tours where we hit up every church in town to attend their VBS.
I told you. I grew up in the South!
Growing up, I was immeasurably blessed with early exposure to the Gospel by parents who were passionate about teaching their children foundational theology and what all this Jesus stuff looked like as you lived your life. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world when I accepted Christ as my Savior at an early age.
For many of us, this “early salvation story” is something that we overlook in the large view of our lives. But I have truly come to appreciate the beauty in what I saw as my “less than exciting conversion experience”.
Oh the preventative grace given in this beautiful gift of faith at an early age!
No matter how old you are when you take that step,
a soul is moved from death to life by salvation
through the gift of God that none of us could earn!
That is good news, friends!
So, I continued to grow and learn and move….A LOT of moving!
I call the greater South my home since, by the time I went to college, I had moved a total of 12 times with addresses all over Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Every move was a blaring reminder that I could plan for soccer camp, or symphonic orchestra, or marrying that cute electric guitar player in youth group, but my plans wouldn’t necessarily happen.
As I started college in South Carolina, I just knew I had finally put all those stupid, kid-plans behind me. My plans as a “real adult” would be in line with God’s purpose because I was so mature and had everything figured out. My college experience had its fun ups and downs including meeting and marrying my husband before we even started our senior year. We worked difficult jobs, slaved through impossible classes, and dreamed loftily of all we would do for the Lord after leaving school. I graduated alongside my husband in May of 2012 and we began to put our plans into action.
Those plans had a false start, landing us in Missouri with no jobs and no idea why God had brought us to where we were. Friends, that was 4 years ago and I can tell you that in those years, I have built more plans than an architect. They’ve been weighty plans; full of all the hope I could muster up in desperate moments where I felt none of my heart desires mattered.
But all these failed plans and dashed hopes piled up in my heart.
They were like anchors pulling me down, backwards, and under.
Every chance I had to make new plans, I jumped all in, only to watch as yet another labor of love and effort and dreams died. Again.
I planned and prayed for much:
a fulfilling job for my husband,
a place to truly call home,
a job for myself,
for peace in my family.
It was during our early months in Kansas City that my parents started the long, ugly process of divorce. I cannot even begin to say how much this shook my life and my faith. It had never occurred to me to include a fall-out plan for if my parents were no longer married to each other.
So here’s the thing, since this isn’t a Hallmark movie, there isn’t a nice little bow for me to stick on the top of my story signifying how magically perfect everything is now. I can say with absolute certainty that in the battle for my plans versus God’s purpose,
He has never left me to struggle alone.
Our needs have always been met.
We’ve discovered wonderful, new people and relationships.
My job is in ministry working with children.
Matthew and I have been given time to grow our relationship with each other and as individuals.
As I’ve grown together with my husband, I’ve been amazed at how God has shown me His character through Matthew’s loving encouragement as we’ve walked together through those crazy low times I couldn’t have imagined, especially my parents’ unforeseen divorce.
God’s purposes have brought me fulfillment in ways I never could have dreamed.
As I learn more about letting go (Frozen, anyone?) of my plans and living in God’s purposes, the more I realize afresh that the life I’ve been given isn’t about me. As the Westminster Catechism reminds, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
I’m not made to plan or scheme or worry.
I’m here to know Him better and I’m so glad to be on that journey with all of you!