From A Friend's Perspective
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
This verse has always been a challenge for me. I like to plan. I like to micromanage, I like to be in control, and I LOATHE change of plans. Over the years and from various sources, God has been teaching me to let Him be in control, and change my imperfect human plans. It always turns out better than anything I could have ever dreamed.
I had a less-than-perfect relationship in high school that led me to decide that I probably wouldn't get married. God had different plans. Just 8 months after graduating high school, I met my husband. He was tailor-made for me. I thank God daily for this change in plans.
After getting married, I began to have an increase in some health problems that were previously just slightly annoying. I was told by various doctors that I may have trouble having children. One doctor told me he didn't think I would ever have children. So we decided we were probably never going to have them.
When my husband and I had been married for just three years, we felt called to the mission field. It was something neither of us had seriously considered in our adult lives, but we had become heavily involved in our church Mission Team and the stories of reaching the lost tugged at our hearts. We had meaningful friendships with the international students at our local college, and we felt especially burdened for the Japanese people. We began to study Japanese and looked into what it would take to get to Japan.
The thing was, the paths we had chosen in our lives so far made leaving the country very difficult. My husband was in the middle of a doctorate program that increased our student debt by thousands every month. And the degree he would graduate with would not allow him to work in Japan. We still felt such a burden, that we continued to try to make the puzzle-piece of our lives fill a spot that it didn't seem to fit.
In December 2010, a year and a half before my husband would graduate, we received shocking news: we were going to have a baby. Praise God for this change in plans. This added another, wonderful corner to our puzzle-piece that made it even harder to move to Japan. When our son was less than a year old, we finally concluded that Japan was not in our future, at least, not at the moment.
Our hearts were still so burdened for the lost all over the world. We couldn't help but feel like we failed just a little. But God began to show us that we could make a difference right where we were. My husband may not be able to work in Japan, but he can work in the U.S., and God blessed us with a higher salary than either of us had ever experienced. We began to see that we had a unique situation. We could give to missions more than most.
All the while that God was changing my plans into a beautiful picture I could never have created myself, my long-time best friend Sarah Larson was going through her own journey. She went on short-term mission trips and went to Bible college. My husband and I prayed for her throughout this time, and we both felt called to help support her when she decided to commit her life to long-term missions. She has blessed my life in so many ways, and I am thrilled that I can allow God to bless her through me. Not only that, but because of our close friendship, I will be able to have a real connection with the people she ministers to in Honduras. I am amazed to look back on my life and see the awesome pattern that has begun to emerge. I am so excited to be a part of Sarah's journey as she gives herself fully to the will of our Savior. I know He has such big plans for her and so many people for her to reach.
I have learned, and I am still learning, that God's plan is better than mine. I still try to fight it sometimes; I try to micromanage and take control. But He is gently teaching me to hand over the reigns to Him and enjoy the ride. I'm just so thankful that He is allowing me to reach the lost, even though it's not the way I planned.