Tag Archives: Best Laid Plans

1 Kings 1, 1 Chronicles 26-28, Romans 6

Have you ever wanted something so bad you could taste it? Have you ever planned and planned and just knew in your heart the something you wished for was going to come true or eventually happen one day? Something good and right and treasured? I remember thinking something along those lines as a child. I knew very early on that I wanted to be a nurse. By middle school, my plans and desire had not changed at all except that even more than being a nurse, I wanted to be a nurse practitioner. There were several experiences in my life that had led me to that decision and I knew God had given me the desire and the ability. I studied hard, got good grades and was given many opportunities including attending a licensed nurse diploma program while still in high school. My desires were strong and the ability was there but something happened toward the end of my senior year that changed the trajectory of my path; an engagement to my (now) husband.

That engagement turned into marriage and the education and career I had dreamed of all my life became second priority. Because I had graduated high school as a licensed nurse I was blessed to find a great paying job very quickly and though the desire remained to further my education, the time and money to do so dwindled quickly. It’s something that I look back on and have frequently wondered, “What if?” I don’t regret the last 15 years of married life and raising three crazy kiddos and I know it’s certainly not too late to continue on but things have changed.

I was reminded of my experience when I read King David’s story towards the end of his life. Since childhood, David loved the Lord with all of his heart and one of his greatest desires was to not only see the Ark of the Covenant return to Jerusalem but for him to build a majestic home for it.

 

Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ 1 Chronicles 28: 2-3

 

Oh, what a disappointment that must have been for David. He dedicated his life to the Lord, courageously and faithfully leading the nation of Israel off to war when necessary but always pointing them back to the Yahweh. Although David does not get the chance to be the one to build the final resting place of the Ark, the Lord’s plans prevail and it’s his son that will carry on with the passion and love of his father. David’s charge and advice to his son, Solomon is beautiful and what an encouragement to all of us. Even in the midst of disappointment that his dream had ended, David could rejoice in trusting God’s ways are greater than his.

 

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”

20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, 20

 

As I look back at my own situation I can see how blessed I truly am by God’s sovereign hand of protection on my life. At the time, passing up opportunities to become “something greater” seemed foolish but it’s only by looking back that I can see God working. Had I gone further with my education, I may very easily have chosen my career instead of my family. If I had more degrees, I may have missed the opportunity to open my own business and would lack the freedom I have today because of it. The truth is, only the Lord knows but I will remember this lesson moving forward. What seems like unanswered prayers are really God’s blessings and mercies in disguise. I will keep working with strength and courage as the Lord calls me for he will not leave me until the work is complete!

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2 Chronicles 2; 1 John 2; Nahum 1; Luke 17

“The temple I build will be great, because our God is greater than all gods. But no one can really build a house for our God. Not even the highest of heavens can hold him.” 2 Chronicles 2:5-6a (NCV)

This past week, my husband has been away traveling to participate in graduation ceremonies to receive his Masters of Divinity (Congratulations Richard!) and to be a part of his best friend’s betrothal ceremony (Congratulations Anbu!).

This past week, I’ve had food poisoning…

Between acting referee to my children, listening to booboo bawls and squeals of delight, witnessing loving moments filled with hugs and kisses, trying to keep everyone busy, singing, laughing, playing, scolding for biting, for hitting, for drawing a mural on the wall with black crayon, handling one daughter’s teething pain and another’s fever and cough…I’ve been running to and from the bathroom praying that the hum of Pocoyo and Peppa Pig in the background will keep the girls occupied long enough to do my business in peace.

Throughout this week, I tried to stay on top of things. I tried to get things ready to pack for our visa-clearing trip to Sri Lanka next week. I tried to get the better of the never-ending mound of laundry, clarifying which items are clean and which are dirty after the girls mixed the two together. I tried to keep the living spaces in reasonable order, picking up toys and books, sweeping the floor at least once a day to prevent an army of red ants from coming to snack on the remnants of breakfast, lunch, and dinner that the girls pushed to the floor uneaten. I tried to manage the kitchen, doing the dishes once in five days, half of the contents of our kitchen piled up waiting to be scrubbed. I tried to make the bed…I tried to change out of my pajamas…I tried to take a ‘shower’…I tried to brush the rat’s nest out of my hair…Needless to say, best laid plans.

The Lord is good,

giving protection in times of trouble.

He knows who trusts in him. Nahum 1:7 (NCV)

In the midst, I pressed into God for His strength. I praised, scraping the bottom of my reserves offering my ‘widows mite’ of gratitude. I laid open my heart to Him, honest in my frustrations at feeling like a failure, like I can never accomplish the things I set out to do. I prayed for help getting through.

And, of course, the Lord is good. And, of course, He met me right there, in the middle of it all.

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Once more, He reminded me that it isn’t about what I can accomplish in a day. It is about what He accomplished on the Cross. It isn’t about how clean my house is or how well behaved my kids are in any given moment or how put together I am (He doesn’t even mind my stinky breath or my BO). It is about His Kingdom, the Kingdom of the True Living God inside of me, flowing out of me.

But if someone obeys God’s teaching, then in that person God’s love has truly reached its goal. This is how we can be sure we are living in God: Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived. 1 John 2:5-6 (NCV)

He reminded me that living like Jesus lived, means putting my complete trust in Him – trusting Him to give me the strength I need, trusting Him to support my perseverance, trusting Him to comfort, to heal, to protect, to provide, trusting Him to help make a way so I am able to finish tasks, trusting Him to help me love others, and even trusting Him to help me love Him.

He reminded me that in spite of it all, I prayed with my kids over and over again, reinforcing the importance of going to God for all of our needs. He pointed out that I shared stories from the Bible – The Beginning, Noah’s Ark, Moses, David and Goliath, Jesus’ Birth, Jesus’ Sacrifice – and found moments to teach the girls about how much Jesus loves them. He told me that coaching my daughters how to stand in His power against ‘monsters’ in the dark is preparing them for future ‘battles;’ it’s showing them that they can always trust in Him.

He showed me when trusting Him is the focus of my life, my children will benefit as I talk with them, walk with them, lie down and get up with them. His Kingdom will be established in their hearts and in our home, regardless of the chaotic and cluttered outward appearance.

And, that is when the messiness of life is beautiful.

Yesappa, Thank You for always meeting me right where I am every day. Thank You for being there for me, for giving me strength. Thank You for blessing me with children who help me remember that life is messy, but that life is beautiful in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 John, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekiel 27; Psalms 75, 76

Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith. You know that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you fail the test. (NCV)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (NKJV)

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. (NLT)

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? (AMP)

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. (MSG)

2 Corinthians 13:5

When Christ shed his blood on the cross, He created the path for redemption. And when I heard and believed the Good News, He renewed me, heart, mind, and soul, and took up residence in me.

I know this. I believe this. And yet some most days, when I am struggling with loneliness, or anger, or bitterness and resentment, or exhaustion, or a lack of patience, or a bad attitude, or whatever else I am getting ‘poked’ with on any given day, I question myself. I question my faith. I wonder if there is any good fruit in me.

I used to burn with passion for God, attending every prayer meeting and worship time that was available to me, even the all-nighters. I was on fire. I wanted to experience His love and give it away to everyone I met. I basked in His glory and worshipped and danced with all my might like David. I never questioned my faith; I never doubted my fruit.

Fast forward a few years, and now I just feel burned out by life. Five years as a missionary (in the field and on furlough), almost four years as a wife, and just about three years as a mother has taken its toll on me. I give and give and give, and yet I realize I am giving from the dregs of a nearly empty tank.

When I look within, I see Him there and the desire to walk with Him, and talk with Him rises up in my heart. I intend to spend time with Him, to strengthen our relationship, to worship, to pray, to read His Words…to reconnect…to refuel. Just as soon as I have a second to myself, a moment when a little someone isn’t screaming, or crying, or tugging on my leg to hurry up and get an I.want.Right.NOW.

And then I get a piece of time, a few precious moments to myself, and often, instead of relaxing in my Savior’s presence, enjoying, savoring His goodness, His splendor…I plug into a computer game or YouTube videos of “some country’s” Got Talent. I get caught up in the wasteland of needless information.

Today, once more, I examined myself, my faith, and I recognize that though I am in a different season, I have not failed, even when sometimes I stumble. In the midst of my struggles, I look to my Heavenly Father. I choose to rely on Holy Spirit for help and for comfort. And, though I may zone out in front of the computer at times to ‘escape’, I still spend time with Jesus each day.

My time with Him is no longer stretches of ‘alone’ time reading the Word and praying. My time with Him is much sweeter in a way, because it is time I share with my children too. And the fruit that comes from this time spent together is fruit that in the future will be multiplied 100 fold.

Yesappa, thank You for Your grace upon me, upon my life. Thank You for meeting me right where I am. Keep walking with me; be unrelenting in Your pursuit of me. Keep drawing me closer to You especially in the midst of life, of motherhood. Help me teach my children about You as we spend time together with You. Help me be solid in the faith regardless of the different seasons I go through. Help me to always remember that You are with me and that You will never leave me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The earth with all its people may shake,

but I am the one who holds it steady. Selah

Psalm 75:3 (NCV)

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms