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?
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We have to be willing to be sensitive to the leading of His Holy Spirit
Yes! Sometimes that can be difficult. I’m thankful that I have had spiritual mentors in my life that have helped me listen and discern His words with me.
I want to be in his will and on the path that he wants us to be.
So true! Sometimes I think people get caught up in the emotional and spiritual turmoil of every day living. Spiritual disciplines can help us re-engage and use Him as our filter to view the world.
It is comforting to know that our Heavenly Father is always beside us as we journey through this world to return unto him.
I never really knew what that meant until I was older. I’m thankful for how God has worked in my life!
How fun to jump at the chance to teach the 5th graders and end up on a journey working with pre-adolescents and adolescents! God will guide us as to where we should be using our spiritual gifts, whether both in the church and in our marriages.
I know right? Trust me I never expected to be where I am now! God is good.
God instills in us the talents necessary to glorify Him and it can be amazing the journeys we go on when we listen to Him! I continue to look forward to God’s use for me and how I can bring others to Him.
Yes! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks be to God for always reminding us that he is in control and that he has a purpose and plan for us. Most of the time his plan is nothing like what we have planned. Thanks for sharing your story!
Very thankful for God’s hand in my life. Thanks for your response!
I can honestly tell you I never saw me doing a lot of things I’ve done in my life! I always wanted to be married and have lots of kids (we have 5), but that’s where the similarities stop. I married a preacher – wasn’t ever going to do that, I have 2 uncles who are ministers. I moved hundreds of miles from my family – wasn’t ever going to leave OK. I lived in a tiny, TINY town (450 people), which was a FAR cry from our life in Tulsa. I was never going to homeschool my children –… Read more »
I think God honestly laughs at how our paths are completely different from the paths we imagine! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Lori, I too minister to 4th and 5th graders at church and that is a bit out of my comfort zone. We do have to step out in faith and watch how God works in and through us! To Him be the glory! I love how He changed your view on family – God has a sense of humor I think in how He shows us things sometimes!
Yes! I couldn’t believe how He has shaped our family. He knew exactly what we needed!
I get where you’re coming from! It’s so easy to believe that we don’t belong somewhere, when it’s actually the devil that wants to keep up discouraged and in self-doubt. Great reminder to always have faith in God and follow where He wants us to go!
We must be prepared for the spiritual warfare that Satan inflicts on our lives.
Rightfully said, there are many time i too have deliberately and naively avoided Guiding whispers, but in the midst of my unfaithful choices, He has remained faithful. May His plans always prevail.
Thank you for sharing!