19
Dec
08

My Plan vs. God’s Plan – Part 1

This weekend’s guest blogger is CrossPointer and school teacher extraordinaire Lara Walls.

My story is like most of yours, yet my story is unlike any of yours.

When I start thinking, “Why did I say yes to this weekend blogger thing?”  The Lord gently reminds me that it is not about me.

My story is like yours in terms of difficulty.  I have found that how difficult life seems is completely relative to what is going on around you and what you have experienced.

I have listened as many of you have spoken during the Devoted series, in Sunday school, and on mission trips.  I continue to be amazed at your strength and willingness to share your heart.  It has been inspirational to me.  When I listen to you talk about the illness you are facing or the job you don’t have, I am amazed at your faith.

At the same time, I have shared some things with people who have told me how much faith I must have in order to have dealt with some issues in my own life.  It doesn’t feel that way to me.  But His grace is sufficient.

I am no superwoman.  I am hard-headed like the Israelites, and God had to continue to bring me back to him.  Thank God that there is no limit to His grace.

Although we all have difficulties, our lives are very different.

Nothing happens by chance.  Nothing!  Our lives are an intricately woven plan, designed by the Master.  He wants us to have an abundant life not one without trials.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I grew up repeating this verse; memorizing it.  Yet I never truly understood it.

I am the daughter of two amazingly strong, Christian parents.  They took me to church every time the doors opened.  Every possible time I could be exposed to the Word, I was.

For those of you who know me, you will not be shocked to know that as I grew up I had already decided what my life would become, and my plan was always the best.

My stubbornness and need to do things my way were completely out of control.  I did not even realize my need to know God until I was 17 years old.  Even then, I accepted Him as my Savior, but not as my Lord.  That happened much more recently.

When you mixed the events that would soon follow with my attitude at that point in my life, things tend not to work out well. That’s exactly what happened.

Let me give you the rundown of the next segment of my life.

  • My older brother had a terrible car accident that caused him to be burned, and have a closed head trauma injury.
  • My mother fought a disease incurred from transfusions years before.
  • My beloved grandmother was diagnosed with and eventually passed away due to Alzheimer’s, and I helped take care of her throughout.
  • My aunt, who was practically my second mother, went through a battle with breast cancer while I was living with her and my uncle.
  • My grandfather died.
  • I had a miscarriage.
  • I went through a rough divorce.

The list could go on for a really long time.  This is NOT what I planned.  None of it was what I wanted.

There was a common thread in al of this, though.  Every single event I mentioned was all about me.  I never really thought about what it meant to everyone around me.  I knew that God was making me angry.  How dare he change the plans!?  I just ran and  cried.  I was a walking pity party.

But I don’t want to dwell there.  I want to focus on the grace and the mercy part.  The more that my plan fell apart, the more I ran from God.  The more I ran, the more He pursued me.

I remember sitting in service at Crosspoint one Sunday and hearing Ryan say:

There are two kinds of people in this room: Those that are broken, and those that are being broken.

I walked away that Sunday amazed by God’s ability to meet us right where we are.  I came home and wept, and I gave it all to Him.  I didn’t do it because of wisdom but because of brokenness.

He is NOT through with me yet.  There are a couple of things I have learned in the last year.  I had to quit looking for the lessons in the events that were taking place and just find God.

He wasn’t teaching me about myself as much as He was teaching me who HE is.  He was just doing it in a way that was different than I had planned.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8

This wasn’t my plan.  I never wanted to feel angry or like a failure.  I didn’t want to lose the people I loved, nor did I want to see my family suffer.  But so great is His steadfast love for me that He walked me out of the fire and into His arms. He had a better way.

Next, I learned to forgive.  He forgave me over and over.  So why should I not forgive those who have wronged me?
Not only have I learned to forgive, but I have also learned to love with a redeeming love.  These are often connected for me.

According to Webster’s, to redeem means to “set free, rescue, or ransom: to restore the reputation or honor of oneself or something”.  God loved me with a redeeming love.  It rescued me from myself.  He restored me, and there is freedom in that.  As I have let go of the pain and frustration, He has allowed me to experience a new kind of love that comes only from knowing Him more.  When you get that kind of love, you begin to realize that you need to share it.

Finally, I am reminded that NOTHING happens by chance.  God created us.  He knows us inside out. Often times God uses our pain to bring our rescue.  What we think will destroy us brings us out of the fire and strengthens and refines us.  God will use what was intended for evil for good…all to His glory.

As a Christian, this gives me great hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13

Peace does not mean perfection.

Ray Pritchard speaking on the first Sunday of December was not an accident.

He asked us to think about whether or not we would want to know what would occur in our lives over the next ten years.  That forced me to think about the last ten years of my life.

I am so thankful that He doesn’t tell us, and that His grace for each day is sufficient.

Forever branded in my mind is Ray’s reminding us that as Christians with the Lord in control, there is no fear.  God is good all the time, in every circumstance, no matter what.

God is good.

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