When the dreams for your life don’t happen

This particular summer after my senior year of college, I interned in Nashville at a highly respected publishing company. I was also enjoying the amenities and excitement of music city and meeting famous musicians. God was giving me more opportunities as a Christian writer and I was making plans to settle in and stay a while.

During the last two weeks of my internship, the word seminary and getting my master’s degree kept coming to mind. I told my sister, brother-in-law, and parents about the idea and received nothing but affirmation to pursue further education. It began making sense.

Immediately, I applied and even received a scholarship. All the necessary details came together and before I knew it, I was driving back to the rolling hills of Virginia awaiting a new apartment and roommate, approaching my first week of seminary classes.

God had completely altered my perfectly laid out plans. He intervened at a critical part of my life and career as a single woman and unbeknownst to me, he had even more in mind than simply a master’s degree.

Taking a Risk of Faith?

It’s often in these crossroads in our lives that we want to wrestle with God and test him even more, isn’t it? It’s like we know he’s up to something but we’re just not sure we want to believe. We think:

Do you really know what you’re doing Lord? Are you serious? You want me to do what? Ugh. This is not what I had in mind. I’m a little scared. Will you really walk with me through this?

Often, these landmarks come when we’re comfortable too. We’d rather stay complacent and not step out in faith. It feels good to not have to risk anything or rely on anyone greater than ourselves. It’s easier to dig our heels in the ground and ignore those constant nudges in our heart.

But when God changes our course, it teaches us invaluable lessons and experiences:

–    To trust the One who knows us best down to the very strands of hair on our head

–    That we’re not in control of our lives even when we think so

–    To remember there’s a bigger story going on- bigger than ourselves

–    To anticipate the good gifts He desires to give us

–    That it’s okay to pursue something different if it makes us grow and change for the better

–    To depend and lean on the Lord for each step of the way

–    To position us in the best place possible for his glory and the good of others

–    To bring new people and circumstances into our lives to mold us more like Christ

Within weeks of arriving on campus, my good friend Bonnie kept telling me I needed to meet her friend and neighbor Jeremiah who was also in seminary and happened to be in two of my classes. What’s funny is I did not(I repeat not) want to meet or date any guys in seminary. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was just there to find a husband and receive my “MRS” degree. There were very few women in seminary then.

A God who is in all your details

I brushed Bonnie off multiple times until one day, Jeremiah and I bumped into each other after class. He invited me to lunch and from that point on, we were inseparable. One year later, we married in the town we met and made a promise before God to love one another for life among all our family and friends.

I’m so thankful the Lord intervened in those post-college days. If I didn’t leave Nashville, my life would’ve looked completely different. I would’ve missed the blessing of studying more about God, making new friends, serving in a new ministry to college women, and meeting the man who is now my husband of 13 years.

If you’re in a season of “redirection,” I know it’s tempting to doubt, question, and sense a loss of control. As a toddler, I know the feeling of wanting God’s answers “now!” But remember that your Savior is in all the details still. He is sovereign over your life decisions and cares about the concerns on your heart right now. He has something good in mind when plans don’t go your way.

Trust his hand even when you can’t see the road ahead.


Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;

    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.

    Run to God! Run from evil!

Your body will glow with health,

    your very bones will vibrate with life!

Honor God with everything you own;

    give him the first and the best.

Your barns will burst,

    your wine vats will brim over.

But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;

    don’t sulk under his loving correction.

It’s the child he loves that God corrects;

    a father’s delight is behind all this.

–    Proverbs 3:5-12, MSG


** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com 

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