Many of you may know that I used to blog a lot. I started a blog when I was thirteen and was very disciplined in writing out my thoughts and what God was teaching me then. I recently looked back at those posts and both smiled and cringed to see who I was and who, at thirteen years old, I thought I would be now, at twenty-two years old.
I think that this is true for most of us. Many of us have dreams, plans, and visions for our lives that, because of tragedies, surprises, and life changes, just don’t always work out.
And that’s why I write, why I created a new blog, why I am burdened to tell my story. Life is so very transitory, so very unpredictable and so very different from what most of us ever thought it would be. When I was thirteen years old, I thought I was going to be a nurse… and not just any nurse, but a missionary nurse to some foreign land (either that or the next Nancy Leigh DeMoss, for those of you who knew me at a young age!). A few years later, I decided that wasn’t enough; I had to go overseas to a people group who had never heard the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and translate it to them in their language. I applied to Moody Bible Institute for this very reason. I never wanted to be a Bible translator; I just thought that surely this was the best I could do to serve my Savior with my short life. I was accepted to the school, but changed my major before I even stepped foot onto the campus. God had created me for different things and He was showing me that little by little through His Word, through prayer, and through trusted people in my life. I had no idea what “different things” these things would be, but I knew my Savior and I knew they would be good.
God refined my desires, revealed my gifts, and showed Himself to me more than ever in my lifetime in those four years at Moody. My second year there he gave me a study partner and good friend named Matt, the same Matt who is now my husband. Now I’m twenty-two, graduated from Moody with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Counseling (from Bible translation to counseling!), married, living in yet another state… and not a single part of my life is how I envisioned it at thirteen.
I’m twenty-two, living in a small campus apartment with my husband who is studying in seminary, living 626 miles away from my family, starting a new life in a new state where Matt and I didn’t know anyone, and working in food service. I’m not in full-time ministry. I haven’t traveled overseas to do missions work since high school. I’m not studying for my master’s degree. I haven’t published a book. I’m not a mom and I only work a full-time, secular job to pay the bills. I’m going to be honest, I have sometimes been disappointed in this new life stage. I love my husband more than anything and anyone in this world. I love being married to him and I love being his wife. I am not at all disappointed with my marriage to Matt. But it is hard not to be disappointed in the fact that God hasn’t given me a “ministry job” when He has given others I know jobs that people in the Church praise. It is hard not to mourn the loss of my family’s physical presence in my life or the loss of what I knew as normality. It is hard to find a new Church family who can know me and love me as my previous one did. It is hard not to be disappointed that my life hasn’t turned out the way that I thought it should, the way that I had planned.
But God is faithful.
I am not disappointed in God, though at first I was. Bitterness, anger, and depression plagued me as homesickness and the desire for normality overwhelmed me. I pushed God away because I was bitter that He had not borne into fruition the plans that I had made for myself. Why did You take me from my family? Why did You take me from my friends? Why did You take me away from the Church that I loved? Why did You put me in food service again? Who am I and who am I supposed to be in this new place? I wanted to be with my family, I wanted to be with my friends, I wanted my Church, I wanted a bigger and better full-time ministry job, I didn’t (and sometimes still don’t) know who I was. I, I, I… but I have come to understand that it is not God who has disappointed me, for His plans are faithfully unfolding. I am exactly where He wants me. My life – rather, the life that I had created for myself, the life that I had envisioned – was not the life that God brought me out of the womb for. I had envisioned a life for myself, not for God. Sure, I wanted to do great and big things for His kingdom, but I now realize that it wasn’t always really for His kingdom… it was often for myself and for my own glory. If my desire was truly to bring glory to my Father, then I would be content in whatever situation He places me in as long as I am bringing Him glory… no matter how different it looks from what I envisioned. This is why I now understand that God has me exactly where He wants me, in a place where I have no title, no place of authority, no ministry.
And yet, I do.
My title is daughter of the King (Galatians 3:26), precious (Isaiah 43:4), chosen and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). My authority comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is He who gives me power and authority to overcome the Enemy (Luke 10:19). My ministry is to live this life faithful to my Savior (Luke 16:10)… in my home, in my relationships, and in my workplace.
I was disappointed… but God is so faithful. This life I am living is exactly the life He fashioned, the life He created, the life He planned for me to live for Him. I remember being in kindergarten and my teacher asking us to write an answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I simply wrote, “whatever God wants me to be.” I didn’t quite understand at that young age how so different that would look throughout the course of my life. Right now, that looks like a wife and a full-time employee in food service. That looks like a daughter, a sister, and a friend. May I be faithful to where He has me and to who He has made me to be… because that, my friends, is life – life that God is honored by, life that God is pleased with, life that lives in relationship with the One who it was created for.
Abundant life. That’s what He came to give us and that’s what we can live when we live the life He has envisioned, the one He brought us out of the womb for… when we live faithful to the One who remains faithful to us, when we are content to bring Him glory in whatever life circumstance He has us in (as hard as that may be… Lord, give us strength).
What does that look like for you right now?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”