I’m sure every person reading this blog could relate to this statement: “I never thought I would do that.” We imagine how something will go in our lives, but our reality ends up being different than our dreams. This blog is my testimony about what God has taught me about my vision versus His plan.
Lesson #1: Everyone has a place in His kingdom.
For the longest time, I struggled with my role in the church. Whether it be related to woman’s roles, my personal relationship with God, my “holiness” compared to others…I never fit in. I always thought I would never belong in the church.
A few years ago, I struggled with anxiety, fear, and what I would describe as depression. I really struggled getting through my daily activities, especially out of the house. Then, I saw an invitation to teach fifth graders. For a reason that was none other than divine, I volunteered. That sparked an eight-year journey of consistently working with pre-adolescents and teenagers. I had to work through some SIGNIFICANT self-doubt. I still have to work through it. But because God is who he is, he made me realize that my personalities can be used for His glory. Since I accepted that fifth grade volunteer position, I have volunteered in our children’s ministry, our youth ministry, our guest ministry, and our adoption/foster care ministry.
If we aren’t careful, we listen to Satan whispering in our ears, telling us that we are not a “good enough Christian” to be part of the body of Christ. But what God has taught me is that we are all made in the image of God, we are worthy of Him, and we have purpose. It takes a faith community, solitude, and an open heart to discern what that holy purpose is.
Lesson #2: Marriage doesn’t look the same for each couple.
Love is not a feeling. It’s a conscious decision to act in love to one another. I never had a “lovey dovey” perspective of marriage, but I never understood the depth of work that a marriage takes. Marriage is not a cakewalk. Marriage is choosing to love your spouse. Every marriage is unique and can bring glory to Him.
He taught me to reach out to others (i.e. friends, family, neighbors) and ensure that their marriage is doing well. “Looks” DON’T MEAN A THING. Just because a couple “looks” happy doesn’t mean that everything is great behind closed doors. We finally started to tell people that we were struggling, and we received overwhelming support. Develop your spiritual network now to ensure a healthy marriage for tomorrow.
Lesson #3: God is the ultimate creator of life and family.
When I was younger, I had these thoughts of what my children would look like…white, smart, athletic, hard workers. I thought my children would be mini-versions of me. Isn’t that what your children are supposed to be? Yeah, God laughed HARD at that dream for my life.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would adopt a child of color. Adoption was not part of my worldview growing up. That’s not wrong; I had just never been exposed to it. God knew what he was doing when he brought Benjamin into our lives. Adoption, race, and social injustice has hit our family full force over the past five years. We are forever changed, and we couldn’t be more grateful to God for it.
He taught me that a family is what He designs.
He repairs the brokenness in families and loves us through our hard times. That love and repair may look very different than what we imagined, and we may not even understand it. Do I believe that God caused the hardship, loss, and grief within our family? No. Do I believe that He brought beauty from the ashes? Yes.
He taught me that the greatest way I can love someone is through sacrifice. At first, I didn’t know how to love Benjamin when I was fatigued, tired, upset, etc. He required 100% dependence of me, and I didn’t know how to give out of my “emotional and mental” poverty. However, God has worked on my four cornerstones through motherhood–spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental. He has put His word and His people in my life to help me navigate motherhood in the way that I need. Don’t get me wrong–I have my moments of anger, frustration, and fatigue. But those moments are diminished, so I can give my all to my family more often with no hesitation.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I don’t really know where I go from here. I think that is my main point behind this blog. We never know. To an extent we can plan, but we never know what God has planned or how He will work. But God is there, ready to give us what we need to fulfill the roles in our life journey.
There were times in my life that I know my heart and mind were closed to His guiding whispers. Now, because of these lessons, my family, and my faith community, I have a better idea of what His whispers sound like. Will you hear Him? Will you hear Him calling you to fulfill your role in a way that you never imagined?