Next to God’s Grace, my wife Ashley is the greatest gift in my life, but if I would have been following my own plan, I never would have met her!
It was my sophomore year in college and everything was coming together with “My Plan.” I had applied for a Study Abroad program that was going to allow me to spend my Junior Year of college in England. I was already practicing my Austin Powers impersonation and listening to classic British rock music to get geared up for a year overseas. I had wanted this for a long time and it was finally happening. All the doors were opening. Life was good, until…
I started feeling uneasy about it. I realized that I had never really prayed about this. I had just assumed that because I wanted it, that it must be God’s plan. Honestly, I didn’t pray about it, because I wasn’t really interested in God’s opinion. I naively and selfishly thought my opinion was the one that really counted.
I finally swallowed my pride and started talking to God about the situation, and as I did, my worst fears were realized…I felt like God was saying, “Don’t go!” The more I prayed about it the clearer that message seemed to get, until I finally made the painful phone call to withdraw my name from the program. The guy on the other end other the phone thought I was crazy, and as I hung up the phone, I thought he was probably right!
I spent all summer moping around and wrestling with bitterness and resentment about the whole situation. I was angry with God and mad at the world, because my plans weren’t happening the way I thought they should. Instead of packing for England, I was stuck in the same place I had always been. I felt like I was being punished for something.
I carried that negative attitude into the first day of school, and that’s when it happened. That’s when I was slapped in the face by God (in a good way). On that first day, in my very first class, in a moment that I never would have been there had I followed my own plan instead of God’s…she walked in. As soon as I saw her, I knew what God had been up to. It was like He was winking at me.
Ashley is my best friend and every day with her is such a gift. Our three boys are the light of our world, and none of that would have ever happened if I had forced my own agenda instead of stepping out in faith and allowing God’s agenda to replace mine.
If you’re at a crossroads in life, please pray before you step! That “Perfect Plan” you have might be the wrong one. Remember that God loves you and His plans for you are perfect. When He closes a door, it’s only because He wants to open a better one! Even if you have stepped off course, remember that His Grace is bigger than your biggest mistakes! Trust Him to redirect you back to His perfect plans.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11