My Plans or His?

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I had a dream of being a missionary.
I did marry a preacher and thought, “close enough.”

I had a dream of being a teacher, and it happened for a time.
But not as long as I had hoped.

I had a dream of raising children who would walk into the world as strong Christian leaders in their communities.

I had a dream of a marriage that would weather any storm.

I thought all of these were God-given dreams. I felt sure He had placed these things within my heart and mind and was working them out for His glory.

The culmination of the dreams didn’t happen as I had hoped. 
But, they did happen…

I was a missionary in England for a year. And at a local health clinic for a time.
I was a preacher’s wife for a season, before he chose another profession.
I was a teacher for quite a few years, until health issues became cumbersome.
I have amazing kids who are strong Christians in spite of my bumbling efforts; but their place of leadership is a bit different than I had anticipated (never expected jail or public school).
My marriage is struggling to weather our latest storm; but I do see God working in both of our lives.

I guess I had the dreams for a time.
A season.
And as the seasons change, I’m seeing glimpses of His glory shining through…

Sometimes, in the darkest of nights, it’s so hard to catch a glimpse.
But, even when I am not faithful…He remains so.

I’m seeking Him, again.
Looking to Him, alone.
Not the works of my hands, but His.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”  ~James 4:13-15

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

~Jeremiah 29:11

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

My hope is in the Lord and whatever He wills for my life…
I pray I will surrender to His will.

(Thanks, Alece, for stirring thoughts and comments.)

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12 responses »

  1. I enjoyed your thoughtful writing, your title says it all…I continually want what “I” want, it’s hard not to feel like Gods “spoiled” child!

    I’m reminded of a quote from Spurgeon,

    “Prayer is lifting up our desires to God and hoping they match His’

  2. When we seem to be realizing our dreams, and then have the rug pulled out from under us, it can be doubly hard to renew our spirit.

    As you say, we need to look to the source of our faith to replace our doubts with hope. Then we also need to work to turn this hope into trust.

    Once we gain trust in the source of our faith that is when it gives us the will to keep believing in our dreams.

  3. i loved this the first time i read it. and i love it still. thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully, eloquently, and honestly.

  4. Seeds in the ground (left to their apparent “deaths”) split open ~ revealing their very inner aspect and their life-giving structure ~ and in the dirt-covered, lifeless hole in the ground, covered by *nutrient-rich* dirt, drenched by heavy storms as well as by light spring rains, forced to experience total dryness with the intense heat of the summer sun, then nearly gobbled up by scavenging birds and other critters, and then, guess what? “Life” comes from “death”. Whoa.

    * * * * *
    When I was much younger, I once held a camera up to my eye, to see what I could see: Wow! How COOL! I thought that what I’d so carefully framed would be a cool picture (and I did attempt taking that photo). Not too long after taking the picture, someone came up, *asked for* the camera from my 8 or 9-year old hands (I was puzzled, saddened, and wanted to hold the camera again…”now! please?!!”), and…carefully attached a telephoto- zoom lens, with bayonet mount. As I stood there perplexed, wondering why I couldn’t see the wonderful views I had just gotten to see for the very first time, that same person gently handed the much-heavier camera back to me, holding it so that I could get my own kid-sized hands around it, yet ensuring that I not drop the whole thing. He now urged me to “take a look”… “Wowww!!!”, is about all I could manage, “will this camera take *that* picture, too?” He assured me that it would…

    * * * * *

    Hmm. Seeds & camera lenses. Our culture, sometimes even well-intentioned friends, and nearly everything around us is screaming, “What you *see* is what you *get*!” But ~ is it? Really? Seeds that stay on the concrete or in a “safe” place will likely never make it into the ground to become fruit-bearing plants, gorgeous flowers bringing fragrance & joy, or towering trees. Cameras with the most basic of lenses can capture that which is immediately before us. But…distant vistas? A zoom-shot of a baby’s face? Of the intricacies of God’s design in the starry heavens? Not.

    You, Michelle, are the seed, broken up, and dropped into the unlikely dirt of the “junk” of your life… You, Michelle, were the young girl holding the basic camera lens, eager to take a “picture” of your dreams… The Gardener is nearby, tending the soil all around you. Can’t see Him now! He’s pulling weeds, adding compost *directly* on top of you — UCK! The Master Photographer has been changing & adjusting the camera lens even as it’s in your hands, such that what you originally “framed” (i.e., “imagined”) is nothing as vast as the view that *He* has in mind…

    “for who has known the mind of the LORD? or who has been *His* counselor???” (Rom. 11:34)

    Love you, Michelle, & “talking” about you to Him!

  5. Hi Michelle. I was surprised…when I read your reply to my earlier comment on one of your posts. But then again…today’s post seems to answer the questions that went through my mind. Oh, we all have plans…and dreams. I do…and my husband too. But in the last five years God has taught us that while there is nothing wrong about having dreams…the dreams should not HAVE US. In other words, when things happened not as we anticipated…we should learn to look for God…outside of our dreams. Its a hard and well deserving lesson.

    You will be in my prayers. God keep you…close to His heart.

    Gladwell

  6. i love this, and you are still a teacher, right here with students that you can not see..and altho our dreams are not quite the same as the plan of God, the outcome is better.

    I know our marriage has been through some things that the world would have said “its a done deal”, but God took it and brought about the most beautiful relationship i ever had, and could not possibly dream up. I know HE is faithful, and HE is creating something more glorious than your dreams…and just for you, HE adores you!

  7. Thank you, Alton. I know I sound spoiled much of the time. I’m so thankful He knows me better than I know myself.

    *****

    “Having the rug pulled out from under us”
    It’s been about seven years of rug pulling, Ed. I do know He has plans that are for my good and not harm…
    I’m holding onto that Truth

    *****

    Thank you, Alece. 🙂

    *****

    I’m not sure how to thank you, Gracie, except to just say it,

    THANK YOU!!!

    You’ve given me so much to think through (as usual). “Cameras with the most basic of lenses can capture that which is immediately before us. But…distant vistas?” He sees so much more than I can even begin to comprehend. Trusting in His goodness and the eternal, unfathomable depths of His mind…Thank you for praying for me.

    *****

    Hi, Gladwell. “The dreams should not HAVE US.” It is a hard lesson, but the only way I’ve known to keep going is to do exactly as you’ve said…look to Him…

    Thank you for praying for me. I truly appreciate that.

    *****

    Thank you, Darla, to say I am still a teacher. I have so much more to learn. He’s not letting up on the purging and I know I can be thankful for the fire…even when it burns sooooo hot. To create something beautiful…I’m thinking on that one…

  8. It’s not easy to leave our lives to God. We want to be in control of our destiny. It is hard for me to believe that God’s plans really are better than mine and that He can actually do exceedingly abundantly more than I can imagine. Some famous preacher ( I cant recall who) said that we rarely doubt our own abilities because we know our limitations exactly. But we doubt God because we don’t know His limits (limitless) and we fear that He might drop the ball. But He won’t of course, and He will give us the very best, even if it doesn’t look quite like we thought it would. I’m also there Michelle, fighting the surrender battle. Keep fighting friend 🙂

  9. Yes, Rain…His limits…I’ve thought lots about what Gracie said concerning the telephoto lens, somewhere…^^^…up there…^^^.

    Our perspective is so very limited. We only see a tiny view of the whole. One moment at a time. Yet, He sees the whole. He sees far beyond and knows exactly what He going to do about all of it.

    Makes me remember when He revealed Himself as El Roi (The God Who Sees) to Hagar. She had run away from Sarai’s abuse (not that Hagar was perfectly innocent, having “despised” Sarai) and yet, God told her to return and told her of His blessing for her son. He had plans she knew nothing about. All she could see was the harrassment and the need to run. But, He told her much greater things would be accomplished through her son.

    Yeah, I need to remember that His ways are not our ways…His thoughts are not our thoughts. So much higher…way beyond my perspective.

    Thanks, Rain.

  10. I understand a bit of this. God sometimes asks the exact opposite of us than what we expect. And why?

    Ah ……. He is so intelligent.

    “If the leaders of this world had understood [God’s wisdom], they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory …”

  11. Wow, Annie, it seems I have a certain way I want God to work. Yet, His ways are mysterious…so far above our own…so different than our expectations.

    Thanks.
    (Just saw this. 😳 )

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