Monday, April 22, 2013

My Plans, God's Plans...

Last week I posted about participating in a challenge and a couple days later I started that challenge, the 40 Day Challenge along with several other bloggers for a series of days to soak in who God is to us, and how He shows us His love. Email Ashley to join in, it's okay if you're late!)

feel it...He's moving within us and leading us, and perfecting us, and all in love.

God's love works in mysteriously perfect ways, does it not? Even when we can't

The first day of the challenge, Ashley asked us to just sit and talk to God and ask him, Lord How much do you love me?

The question was difficult at first, I wondered how that might be answered or rather what an answer to that looked like. As I carefully wrote the words out in my prayer journal I felt the Lord say, enough to always and consistently take care of you.

Those words may not seem like much to you but to me they are powerful.

I'm a caretaker, it's who I am. I'm a natural mother who's not in fact a mother of children (now or yet...or perhaps I should take it a step further and say hopefully not for a while). It seems to be just in my system. I've always been the "mom" of my group of friends. I reminded my friend, Eva, of homework assignments by our locker doors in middle school, I organized driving caravans to our high school football games, and in college I put together the "hang-out" events like visiting Christmas lights and going ice skating. I helped my mom take care of my sisters, and in fact might have been half-mom too often rather than simply a sister.

I serve. I do. I give. I move. I act. I am a caretaker.

When the Lord said, I love you so much that I have already and will continue to take care of you consistently and always, I breathed, I resedt and I found peace. My go, go, go mindset took a backseat and I allowed God to show what this looked like in my life.

Example One: God uses Kevin to take care of me and show His care on this earth. It's funny but when I think about the many reasons I love Kevin one that has continued to come to the forefront of my mind is how he has always taken care of me like no one else ever has.

Before we dated Kevin volunteered to come save me from my blow-out-tire on the highway when he was at least an hour out from me, he brought me lunch when I shut myself up in a study room and desperately tried to finish a studio project, he gave me his printing credit and picked up prints for another studio project, he drove me to studio when my car wasn't working, he helped me load up my car with all my belongings at the end of the year...the list could go on and on for even then...and now in marriage his care taking of me is mind blowing, yall the man makes my lunch for me everyday, and that's just one of the simpler things. 

Bottom Line: God loves me so much that he cares for me through His servant, the man He's gifted me as my husband. That's beautiful.

But you see God didn't stop there. No, Example Two: God illustrated what His care taking has looked like in my past 23 years of life in this world. The memories seemed to flow through my mind seamlessly ..I saw hurt and confusion and God's remarkable answers and care to those through my years of life.

And then I thought, wait a minute I started a post on this exact thing the other day! God works in mysteriously perfect ways.

So the rest of this post is a snapshot of the memories God played before my eyes on the day 1 of this challenge. Begun of course with the original beginnings of the post as I'd started in just a week before (with snippets of my journaling over the past few weeks which I didn't realize till now all revolve around this same thing, TRUST. Trusting God to do HIS work):

I was thinking the other day about life right now, where I am, where God has me which got me to thinking about the future, Will I always live here? Will I always be here? Have this job? But this is not exactly where I thought my life would lead.... and it reminded me that so much of my life is not what I thought or I planned and yet it is so much better than my thoughts or my plans.

These little thoughts and memories ran through my head as I was driving and I realized, I need to write these down. I need to remember these. I need to praise Jesus for these moments! These gifts of change. His moments of care-taking and working and leading.

And so today, I'm remembering. Remembering the moments where I had my plans but God had better plans:

My plan: Attend TCU in Fort Worth...not too far from home, close to my cousin and not too far from the boyfriend (the first one, not Kevin)
God's plan: Change everything and introduce me to of wind, and cold, and people I don't know.  I had struggled with which school to go to for the longest time and one morning I woke up and told myself, that's it I'm going to TCU. I went on the rest of that day telling people this. I went to Bible study that night and had the youth pastor ask where I had decided to go, I confidently said, TCU! He looked me straight in the eye and said, no you're not. Imagine my confusion friends. I don't think I need to list how differently my life would look if I'd not listened to God speaking through that man that night and chosen TCU over OU.

My plan: After I accepted God's place above, I decided 7 hours from family wasn't that bad. It was good.
God's plan: Not 7 hours but 19 hours and 17 minutes or $400+ and 4 hours in a Florida.  I resisted this plan, oh boy did I resist this plan...maybe not as much as my younger sister but friends I fought it pretty hard. It was not at all part of my plans to pack up life at my home AND get ready to move to college. Now I see that Florida is where my mommy needed to be, plus while the time and $$ still aren't fun the destination is lots more fun than Htown...can we say BEACHES?!

My plan: Not date M, run away from M, and avoid M at all costs. (M=former/first boyfriend, read about his part in my story on Mondays,typically, or here).
God's plan: Date M for a whole year! Without divulging my whole life with M on this here blog, or making this post more enormously long than it already is...I'll just say that dating M helped shape a part of my life and taught me how to be in relationship with a man...thus preparing me for my relationship with Kevin.

My plan: Find a big church in Norman close to campus. Cut on driving time, cut on gas.
How crazy awesome is God? This was a part of the worship
notes I took from THIS Sunday! (as in yesterday!)
God's plan: Omitting attending a church outside the city limits of Norman, God quite literally sent me to a church farther than any other and planted me in His house at Journey Church. Not only that, but while Journey was/is a rather large church in Norman, God sent me to the smaller campus...a campus that actually met in a building next to a barn, no joke yall. I resisted attending Journey for quite some time, I can't say why actually, I don't know why. One day when my phi lamb cov group leader encouraged me to try it out, I finally gave in...boy did God have plans in store for me!

My plan: Get involved in the youth group at Journey ASAP. My way of giving back to a part of life that greatly shaped my character and my relationship with the Lord.
God's plan: Put me in the childcare department at church. When I went to volunteer and met the leader and she asked who I wanted to work with I had fully intended to say middle or high school and yet what rolled off my tongue? -Wherever you need help- and where did they need help? The babies room. To say I wasn't exactly ecstatic at first is an understatement...I'd just come from babysitting my entire high school life away and didn't really want to get back into that. Yet if I'd not gone that route I wouldn't know the many beautiful and sweet young families at my church and they wouldn't have blessed me at our wedding with their sweet faces, and I wouldn't have met my "norman mom" community at my church would be dramatically different.

My plan: Not get married right away. Graduate college, get a little apartment, get a dog and enjoy life working and cuddling with a pup at night.
God's plan: Get married 3 weeks after college, and not get a dog until 6 months later. If you've been around the blog you can see what a beautiful and blessed change of plans this was.

My plan: Not date Kevin. Kevin was my first guy friend that "I did not like" and that friendship needed to remain as such.
God's plan: Date Kevin, fall for Kevin, love Kevin, marry Kevin. Again, any of you who read this little blog have seen the joy this plan has been and will continue to be. (on Mondays read our story, catch up here).

My plan: Move to Dallas, or back to Houston. Live in the great state of Texas and be a rockin interior designer.
God's plan: Work at OU, stay in Oklahoma, live in Norman. If someone would have told me this would be my life today at 23 I would have laughed in their faces...before college I knew where Oklahoma was but that was about the extent of my knowledge of the state...and never had I ever considered moving there.

My plan: Get a puppy ASAP after getting married.
God's plan: No puppy until we'd gotten past 6 months of marriage. God had some work to do in my heart and required me to trust and give up control. Read more about it here.

My plan/Our plan: Kevin and I wanted to join a group at church that was like us, young couples, get to know people, make couple friends, and enjoy fellowship with those from our church. The first group we joined fell apart so we were ready to find a new one. And that was our plan. Find a new group.
God's plan: Lead a group. Much to our dismay, our former group leader approaches us and told us he was passing our names off to the Journey church group leader organizer to say we were going to "continue" or lead the group. Crazy man, say what?! Read more about our journey to serving God through leading a small group here. God has worked in our hearts so much through leading this group. It's been beyond anything we could have imagined.

Bottom Line? GOD IS GOOD! all the time!

The list is too long to continue but these hit some of the big key points in the last 5 years or so. None of this is possible without the Lord deeply and gently at work within my life. HIS love, HIS mercy and HIS care are  what truly shape this life He's given me into something meaningful and worthy of living.

At our church we like to repeat Ephesians 3:20...we call it living an E320, E three twenty, life style...that verse is the following,
God can do anything, you know, far more than you can every guess, imagine or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us 

One more thought to leave you with
"For from Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to Him be the glory and the praise" -Make Way
 (Journey Worship, my church band)

*Linking up with Mingling Monday!
For those of you who read through it all, you're in for a treat because I've got a special giveaway going on with my friend Kelly, from Today Was a Fairytale!

Enter for some GREAT prizes:

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  1. Love this post! My blog is called His Plan, Not Ours for this very reason! Did I plan on marrying the first boy I ever kissed! Heck no! But God did. Did I plan to move away from my family (three moves in less than 3 years of marriage)? No, but God did! Did I plan on having a baby before my second anniversary? Nope, but God did! It's hard to follow God's plan when you have other plans or when people think you're insane for doing it, but His plan is always the best and you receive so many blessings when you listen to His nudges.

  2. This.
    This post.
    Just awesome.
    So So So awesome.
    Thank you so much for this.
    SO true. God's plans for us are truly amazing.
    He never fails to amaze me.
    Thank you for sharing this, love. =)

  3. I have so many similar stories of how God has completely stepped into my life and changed my plans around, and his plans are always better!

  4. Btw, I've really been enjoying seeing these pop up on your instagram :)

  5. It's so wonderful that God has His plan for our lives. If we leave our trust in Him, our lives will be better by far. I have so many stories like that in my life as well. If you had asked me 4 years ago what my life would be like, I never would have imagined what it's like now.


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