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The Best Laid Plans

So, you had your ten-year plan all lined out to a “T” and knew exactly what your life was going to look like. Or, your family had your future lined out and all you had to do was follow suit. How many of you can look back and say, “Yep, my life worked out exactly the way I planned”? Not me!

In this life, we do our best to live up to society’s expectations. It’s normal in our culture to go to college, find a career, get married, buy a house, have some kids, and live happily ever after! Many of us end up here, but the road was not as straight as we envisioned. The twists and turns, hard rights and left swerves, the hills we’ve climbed (and nearly died on), and the potholes we hit on the way were not a part of the plan! 

Let’s think of it this way…each of those detours built character. Since I came to the Lord, my life verse has been Romans 5:3b-4: “But we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.” Where I found myself—the interruption that changed my direction—was never a spot I marked on my roadmap.

My pothole was deep, and if I’m honest, I got a flat tire and stayed there for…four years. You see, my brother was killed in Afghanistan in August 2011, and the regrets I carried could’ve reached the heavens. We were not on the best of terms when he left, and I convinced myself that we could fix the issues when he came home. 

I stayed around this gaping void a long while. Remember when John said, “Sometimes His plans hurt”? Well, I’m here to tell you that they do, but there’s always a reason behind the pain. After pain, compassion develops. Empathy abounds. Love magnifies. Pain gives us the ability to look at life differently; much like John assured, we begin to “look at life through faith.” 

My life fell apart, but the beauty from the ashes was Jesus. I had nowhere to go but up! All the aforementioned societal checklists, I now have, but not without the fight of my life! I learned that His purpose is greater than my plans (John said that!). Jesus cultivated a hunger for His Word, His presence, and His ways within me that still thrives today. 

But, don’t miss the battle! I went through literal hell for four years. I tried to do it on my own! I had a good marriage. I had a career I was good at. We bought a new house. I had two great kids. Check…check…check…check

If you could see me, I’m shaking my head at my foolishness! In God’s goodness, He turned my pride into humility! My plans into His purpose! My passion into Kingdom impact! Don’t discount your troubles because there’s beauty on the other side. Dig in! Fight! Remember, in this life, we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against powers of this dark world.

We fight best on our knees. Lean into Jesus and trudge through! His promises are true! The fight may not feel good. Things may be rough for a little while…or, if you’re stubborn like me…a long while, but reach up—Jesus is waiting!

As John reminded us, “If God can use Mary and Joseph, He can use you and me!” And the beauty is this: that was always His best laid plan.

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