Not long after reaching high-school age, I began to dread the questions my relatives, friends, and acquaintances frequently asked. “So, what are you going to do after graduation? What do you want to major in? What are your plans?”
It wasn’t that I resented kind inquiries, but those questions always brought uncertainty and confusion to my heart about where I should be headed in life. I knew I wanted God to be in control of my life, but I was unsure of His direction. How was I supposed to find His guidance?
After praying for a while, I felt that God wanted me to receive training for working with troubled young women. Since I’ve always heard about God confirming direction through authorities, I decided to present my plan to my parents for approval. I assumed my idea was something they would highly approve of, and I confidently told them of my plans.
To my startled chagrin, they responded with another idea. “Well,” they said, “we think it would be more important for you to spend this next year developing a servant’s heart here at home and catching up on some studies that aren’t completed yet.” This response was terribly disappointing for me. I was sure I had received God’s guidance, but my parents didn’t approve of it. Knowing God’s design for me to honor my parents, I stuck it out through the year, biding my time until I could again ask for their blessing on the plans I had made.
Finally the year ended, and once again I approached my parents with my plans. My heart fell as they gave me the same response as before. I felt so frustrated! I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Hadn’t I heard from God? Were my parents not hearing from God? Why didn’t God make them agree with what I wanted to do?
Discovering Purpose in God’s Placement
God’s plan for our lives isn’t generally like a vacation. He often asks hard things of us, takes us through valleys, and stretches us beyond our comfort zone. My experience with His guidance has been no different, but I have come to see the beauty of God’s choices in leading us through these difficult places. If we did not follow Him through these experiences, we would not know the depths of His wisdom and love.
After my parent’s second response, I realized that even though it might not have seemed like it, God truly was still in control over my life. I believed He was directing me through the wishes of my parents. At that time, I purposed to put my whole heart into living where He placed me. I didn’t need to understand why He wanted me at home to be able to serve Him effectively there; I just needed to trust Him.
I spent the next several years serving at home and participated in a number of short term courses. As I struggled through various areas of surrender to God, He took me through a school of His own. He created within me a deep desire for Himself. He had removed distractions from my life and was teaching me how to focus on Him alone. My relationship with God became more and more important in my life, and I started actively seeking Him. Jesus Christ became more important than my goals and plans.
Seeing God’s Faithfulness Unfold
When I experienced the pain of letting go of my plans, little did I know what God had in mind for me! As my Creator, He knows me more than I know myself, and He knows where I will be most fulfilled. After I learned to accept His direction through my parents and put my heart into serving where He wanted me, God began to open up opportunities that now fulfill my heart’s desires in ways far beyond my expectations. One of these opportunities involves serving home schooling families in North Carolina and Virginia.
Assisting these families is the most rewarding and fulfilling privilege that God could have given me! Through this ministry, I am also encountering opportunities to mentor younger women and thus fulfill the calling God placed on my heart when I graduated from high school. The journey I took to develop this ministry was different than the one I first envisioned, but God has fulfilled His promises to me.
Nothing in the world can compare with the sweet relationship I developed with the Lord through those years of trusting Him or with the knowledge that I am exactly where the He wants me to be. As I have surrendered my future to God, He has shown me His character and I know I can trust Him with every area of my life. When I become discouraged or begin to wonder what the future holds, I continually come back to the theme of what I have learned in the past few years. God is able to do the impossible. He is trustworthy. The One who made the axe head float and the sun stand still1—He is my God, forever and ever!
1See 2 Kings 6:5–6, Joshua 10:13, and Matthew 19:26.