Today would have been my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, it’s hard to wrap my mind around that idea, but it’s true. When I was barely twenty-one I fell in love with a tall redhead from Dallas and we quickly believed God had brought us together for forever.
We planned out what we would do for a living, the names of our dogs, the names of our five children. Where we would live, where we would vacation. We had everything laid out on a checklist to mark off when completed. It was going to be the perfect life. I loved having it all organized in front of me. Then three weeks before the wedding, he phoned and said he couldn’t do it. I was hoping he meant couldn’t wait to see me and start this structured life together. But the tone in his voice told me that wasn’t what he meant.
All of my elaborate plans came crashing down like so many cards and suddenly I was lost. I had no events to plan for, nothing to look forward to as the days went on. My extended family chose to come anyway and we had an impromptu family reunion. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, came together and we boated, played softball, had cookouts, and went on walks. It was a wonderful few days.
When it was silent again, I called out to God. Trying to figure out the reason for such an abrupt end. It was then I heard Him say, My Precious child, you ran ahead of Me. You became so focused on your plans you forgot to seek Me about My plans for you.
Ugh. He was right. So I focused my attention back on Christ. I read books about growing my faith. Sought leaders who spoke the Truth from Scripture and with my hands full of these new lessons I didn’t dwell on what I had put down.
I found verses that reminded me that God was the One who created me, Who knew me, and Whose plans for me would be unlike any I could imagine. Now, all these years later, married to my dearest love and best friend, mother to two amazing young men, living in the middle of the United States- not the middle of Texas– I can see with clear eyes and a honest heart, the old plans I had made were counterfeit.
The love, the purpose, the part I was to have in God’s story was to include chapters in my own life I would have never written. If I had been left to my own tidy, structured life I would never have seen the mountains and the valleys, the vistas, and the dark places that I have travelled through since I gave God the controls.
Sure, I feel safe when I have structure, who doesn’t? But when I see the God Who loves me calling me to the adventures He has in store for me- what else could I do but follow Him?
Joshua 1:5b says, I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Jude verses 24 and 25 states, Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
As much as I am surprised to say it, I would rather the unstructured life with God than a life that is laid out before me. One that is safe, but offers no unexpected highs and lows, no opportunities to be stretched and grown in my faith. This is the life described in Ephesians 3:20-21, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.