I was recently given the opportunity to share a brief testimony at our new church here in South Africa. The Lord’s grace and mercy towards me has been something very much on my mind and heart, so I thought I would share a bit of that testimony here as well.
Much of my life has been about plans. First, have a great plan and then maybe a backup plan just in case that doesn’t work out. Now don’t get me wrong, plans are great and I think that foreword thinking and planning are all very useful things in our daily service to the King. But I tended to take these plans to the extreme and left little room for the Lord to reveal His plan for my life. I was saved at the age of sixteen and from that point on had a desire to serve the Lord, but preferably well within my comfort zone. So after high school, I made the comfortable choice to study nursing at a Christian college in Florida. This would provide me with job security and hopefully, along the way, I would be able to meet a nice man and settle down in my hometown.
Like I said, great plans, but I am ashamed to say that I did not consult God much during this planning process. Maybe a halfhearted prayer asking him to reveal His will for my life. Seeing no immediate “closed door”, I charged ahead.
Thankfully, even in my sad state, God had not forgotten about me and through a good friend, pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the completely foreign country of Peru. Yikes, this was definitely not part of my plan! But it was only a two week medical missions trip, I could handle that, as long as I knew I would be back home soon. While on that trip I raved with the others about the beauty of Peru and how I could “live there forever” (Peru really is quite beautiful), but was secretly anxious to get back to my comfort zone.
And then it happened… Yes, boy meets girl, and in a romantic foreign country, no less. He wooed me with his good looks and persistence and his amazing grasp of the Spanish language;) But, guess what, he was a missionary to Peru. That meant several scary things for me: living very far away for my home and family, learning a new language and culture, and possibly giving up what I had worked very hard for, for 4 years. This was not what I had expected for my future at all. But you know what, it was better! Outside of the day that I was saved, the day that I met Jeremy Hall, will always and forever be the best day of my life.
I often think now, where would I be if all of my plans had worked out? What would I be doing? Well, I probably would not have spent an amazing four years in Peru and now be serving the Lord in beautiful South Africa along side the most amazing man I have ever met. Our life has been a series of adventures and seeing the Lord’s hand move time and time again in the hearts people we have grown to love like our own family. God has given me a new outlook on what it means to really be his servant and to really give him my whole heart, my whole life and be filled with his desires and not my own.
Luke 14:25-35 talks about the true cost of discipleship. A disciple is one who follows Christ, ready and willing to sacrifice all for Him. He is the most precious thing in our lives. Instead, I made that most precious thing my family, my life, and my plan. Verses 28-32 speaks of those who make plans, counting the cost, looking ahead. These things seem so right and so important, don’t they? But then comes verse 33: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Just as an architect has a detailed plan for his building, and a king has a great plan for his kingdom, I had a great plan for my life, but I had forgotten one thing: my life was not my own anymore. God had his plan and it has always been the same: a man (or woman) with his grace. Do you know how difficult it is to let go of something you have held on to so tightly for so long? It’s impossible. But that’s the point isn’t it? We can’t do it in our own strength. But with God all things are possible.
I guess the whole point of this post is to hopefully encourage a young lady out there who may be struggling with some of the same issues that I did. Planning too much and not realizing God already has plans for you and an “expected end ” that is so much more wonderful and beautiful than anything our finite minds can imagine. So let go of your plans and let Him write your story.