In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
As our kids were growing up, we always loved hearing their plans for the future. They changed many times through the years, but after they became young adults, they seemed to have a path mapped out, filled with hope and good things ahead.
We did the same – our plans were to get married, have kids, buy a house, send the kids to college, retire, etc. But in all the dreams and plans I had, God far exceeded my own expectations. There was so much more joy, pride in overcoming challenges, unexpected surprises, the most amazing blessings, and more love than I could have ever imagined.
Yes, there were difficult, sad, and painful times, as well, that I could have never fathomed, but with God’s grace, we overcame them. And this, in reflecting back over those years has to have been the greatest and most unexpected gift of them all – God’s presence.
From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a teacher, one that could inspire kids to have a love of reading and learning. But beyond this plan, with all my heart, the only other thing that I wanted was a family to love and care for, and for us to be happy. Beyond that, I really didn’t care for wealth, success, or notoriety, nor did I plan on what that “happiness” would entail. Nor did I ever imagine that God would be such a significant part of my life and happiness.
I had my plans. I plotted the course, and I learned about God along the way, and the years slipped by. But the places he carried me, “the steps He determined” for me were far beyond my own simple plans. How grateful I am that he directed my path and filled in the twists and turns and “decorated” it with such color and joy along the way.
Life is good, and as for the future? The last few years for Bob and me have made it much harder to plan – unexpected heart issues seem to make all plans unpredictable and unnecessary. But it also puts much more emphasis on today and making the best of each one and just enjoying every moment. Besides, we have the confidence of knowing that God too will determine this path, and wherever it takes us, His grace and presence will be with us.
So my advice to my children and to anyone else would be to simply include God in your plans. When you chart your future, when you dream and plan, know that God has something in mind for you. He will determine your path and it will include more than you could ever hope for. Look to Him for guidance and direction, and no matter where He takes you, know that His love and grace will follow.
Dear God, how grateful I am that my life was never in my hands. What a mess I would have made of things, and how boring and predictable it might have been. Thank you for the path you have provided and for all the joy along the way, especially the joy of making this journey with you. Thank you for all the many blessings of life and for your loving care. Amen