But the Lord loved me even though I was a sinner and called me to go to school in South Carolina. In all honesty, I was looking to go to a coast. I wanted to be a marine biologist and so I would definitely have to leave the land-locked state of Missouri. How is it then that I ended up in a school in the middle of South Carolina that did not even have a marine biology program and I had changed my major to journalism before I even graduated high school?
I remember vividly the day that my parents and my sister left me on the front steps of my freshman dorm. It was the first time in my life that I saw my dad cry. The memory still brings tears to my eyes! And while my time in South Carolina was absolutely wonderful, it was absolutely hard. The Lord thankfully led me to a church -- Shandon Baptist Church. If you were wondering where Jesus lives, it's at Shandon. That's where I truly met Jesus for the first time. That church and the college minister and the college leaders where literally heaven-sent. And while I was meeting Jesus for the first time, He already knew me. And unfortunately (but really fortunately) for me, He already knew how sinful my heart was. And so He began tearing me down. And it hurt. It didn't just hurt me, but it hurt my mom who listened helpless on the other end of a telephone 2,000 miles away from her baby who was crying in pain.
But God is so good. He knew what I needed and where I needed to be in order to do the GOOD work He needed to do. And then much sooner than I would have chosen, the Lord called me back to Missouri. I changed my major to music education and transferred to Mizzou where I could get my degree and make the in-state connections I needed as a music educator.
I struggled when I first left Shandon. After all.....nothing will ever come close to comparing to Shandon Baptist Church. It was a hard transition. And it ended up costing me an extra year of school. It's interesting how very few hours transfer from a journalism degree to a music education degree......
But because of His perfect plan of 5 years of college, I met my second spiritual mentor (the first was in South Carolina) who has become one of my best friends in life -- someone who understands me like virtually no one else can. I love Him for that.
And now He has me -- in His same perfect plan -- at 29 and single and more fully in love with Him than I have ever been.
My mom said to me tonight that she wishes she had sent me to a Christian college where I would have had more of an opportunity to meet the kind of man that I want to marry (and the kind that she isn't sure actually exists in the single form).
But His plan is perfect.
This time of my life is crazy with grad school and a career change with second grade and now China. This is the first time in my life when I have literally praised God for not being married and not having a family. It would be absolutely impossible for me to balance it all.
"But if you were already married you wouldn't have those stresses. You wouldn't be in grad school or in second grade."
No. But the baby in my classroom who does not receive love from his mom at home wouldn't be able to hear me tell him on a regular basis, "I love you. You know, I love you." God's plan is perfect. That baby needs me now. And I wouldn't be here for him if I were married.
Am I happy about His timeline? Nope. Absolutely not. Am I content in waiting to see the next part of His perfect plan. Oh, my goodness. Beyond words. ABSOLUTELY.
Psalm 37:4 -- "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
My goal in life is not happiness. Does the Lord want me to be happy? YES! But what He wants more from me is to be holy -- to be set apart. There are people who I love more than life itself who only want my "happiness." I, of course, want that, too. But what I know must come first is my holiness. I want those people to want me to be holy over being happy. Struggles and hard times and loneliness -- it's a part of living in a fallen world. It's part of the curse of Adam.
But this I know.
God is good.
God has a plan for my life.
I trust Him with my future.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declare the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11