“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
I haven’t blogged for a few months, but I believe God has been doing many wonderful and exciting things in my life during this absence. In August the Lord blessed my husband and I with a two-week vacation down the Oregon and California coast. It felt like a slice of heaven on Earth. It was so beautiful, and I felt God’s presence and peace in nature. The calming seas, crashing waves, thick forests, majestic mountains and fast-flowing waterfalls all speak of a God who loves His creation. Experiencing those moments made me closer to God and seemed to completely change my perspective. I felt God melt away my pain, sorrow, loneliness, envy, jealously and fear and replace it with awe and wonder and excitement. Before my trip, I was dealing with the somewhat sudden death of my uncle from cancer and a pregnancy loss at the same time. God completely overwhelmed me on my trip. I always feel closest to God when I can admire his handiwork in nature.
In August, I also had a fulfilling week in San Diego with my family and friends whom I hadn’t seen in more than a year. It was so gratifying just to spend time back at home with the people I love and care about most. I missed them more than words can express, and it really touched my heart to see how much good it did us to see each other, hold each other, and to laugh, smile and share a few special moments together. I cherish my family, and after living apart from them for four years I have learned never to take them for granted. The Lord knew how much I needed to be with them, and I felt truly blessed when I saw them.
Our return to Boise was marked my a month and half of sickness. I was so frustrated! I wanted to blog, and enjoy the end of summer outdoors, and make the most of each day up and about doing this and that. You know what? God said no. He gave me a deep time of reflection instead. Through it all, I just kept thinking of Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I bought a picture with these words on it and hung it in my kitchen. In the past, I have always thought the meaning of this scripture was to chill out a little more, relax and listen to what God is telling you. For the first time, He gave me a different interpretation that has really changed my life. You see, even as Christians, we still feel we must be in control of certain situations. Sometimes God wants us to do absolutely nothing. He says, “Just stand still for a moment and let me take over. This may seem frustrating or impossible to handle, but I’m God. I will take care of you.” Then He wants us to be a spectator in our own lives and watch Him perform something amazing. It takes courage and trust to let go, but sometimes God really does need us to get out of the way, so He can have His way. And the Lord’s purpose will always prevail!
God had me dwelling on all of this the same time my husband and I were about to make a huge decision. My husband is in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman attached to a U.S. Marine unit. He is like their medic. They call him “doc” and whenever they need help, they come to him. We have had the privilege of being in Boise for nearly four years, and our time came last month to decide where the military will move us next. Normally you have at least a few weeks to decide. We had two days – TWO DAYS to decide the next four years of our lives! It seemed so unfair, and I felt so angry at the military and at God. We had three choices where to move, and every one of them seemed so awful at the time. I have never been more frustrated, furious or felt so completely baffled about our decision. I decided to throw up my hands, clear my head and let God help us decide. After the two longest and most agonizing days of my life (in a long time), we have decided upon Erie, Pennsylvania. The looks I get from people when I tell them we are moving from here to there make me laugh. They range from mild horror and pity to a fake smile followed by one nice comment as if it is a nugget of gold to hold onto as we enter a frightfully new place. After all, extreme cold and snow for someone born and raised in Southern California is a big change! I was horrified at first when we finalized our decision, and my family back at home was sad we would be moving even further away. To top it off, Mark and I must live apart for three months (me here, him there) before I join him there.
The Lord has replaced all of my horror and frustrations and fear with peace, contentment, excitement and joy. One of my favorite sayings is “Where God guides, He provides.” And I have seen how much He has blessed us in Boise beyond measure, and I know He will look after us in Erie. There are so many unknowns about our future, but I believe God plants us where He needs us, and He wants us to bloom wherever we are planted. I am looking forward to see where He will lead us, how He will use us and what He will show us and reveal to us. I used to think I had my life all figured out. I am the type of person who thinks about life five years ahead, but God has a funny way of making His plans our plans. And the Lord’s plans are always more amazing then our plans! In the end, the Lord’s plans will prevail.
Pray this Prayer: Dear God, I know I have not surrendered every area of my life to you. Please help me to stay still, so that you may take charge of my life. Please help me to see that your ways are higher than my own, and your plans and purpose for my life are even greater than I could ever imagine. Please help me to walk along the path you have set before me. Hold my hand and lead me into your wisdom, your will and your purpose. Help me to accomplish that which you have set before me during my short time here on this Earth. I pray all of these things in your Holy and precious name, amen.”