My Plan: I will never marry a pastor. My dad was a pastor, and although "most" of my memories of growing up as a PK were positive, there were also some very painful times my family went through being in the center of ministry. So, I pretty much decided that being a pastor's wife was out of the question, and I would marry someone who has a "nice, normal job." (You know, Monday through Friday, 8-5, with a cherry on top).
God's Plan: Well, in our 8.5 years of marriage, my husband Micah has held not one, but TWO pastoral positions in two different churches. He is currently the Executive Pastor at Harvest. And God has blessed us as a pastor's family.
My Plan: I won't attend a small church - I was done with small church politics. When Micah & I met we were both attending Word of Grace, a mega-church in Mesa, AZ. Perfect.
God's Plan: Within the first two years of our marriage God moved us out to the middle-of-nowhere in San Tan Valley, AZ, and we were faced with the prospect of driving over an hour to church every day, or helping to plan a brand new church in the area where we moved. We opted for the church plant and began our adventure with LifePoint where Micah would come to serve as the Youth Pastor. And God blessed us at LifePoint.
LifePoint Groundbreaking Ceremony
My Plan: I will not be part of another church plant, this was hard. I am ready to go to church in an actual church building. Fortunately, LifePoint was in the process of building a building so this was looking good!God's Plan: Through a series of God-orchestrated events, Micah and I felt called to help plant Harvest Community Church in Mesa, AZ - Micah was brought on staff as the Executive Pastor. We now drive 35 minutes to church each week (we still live in the middle of nowhere) to be part of a "small church plant" (which is growing!) that meets in a movie theater. It has been so many years at this point, it now feels strange to me to attend a church service that is held in an actual church :) And God has blessed us at Harvest.
My Plan: After our son Eli turned two, God began pressing on our hearts that our next child would join our family through adoption. This seemed a little far-fetched, but we started doing our research and knew we would adopt from the foster system... after all, we could never afford to adopt internationally.
God's Plan: Within two years of attending our foster-adopt orientation through the state of Arizona, we brought home our beautiful daughter Mikayla from Ethiopia. The Lord provided in ways we never would have expected. And He blessed our family.
So, you would think that after watching this play itself out in my life over and over again, I would eventually come to a point of no longer being surprised when God's plans differ from my own. But, not quite. I still often fall into the trap of thinking I know what's "best," or I know "how" something will occur. Can anyone relate? Anyone? Anyone?
Fortunately, God has a way of nicely inserting himself into my plans each time and getting my attention. The most recent example of this began this past fall, as I started thinking about my career. You see, I have worked in education since I graduated college. I obtained my Masters degree early on, and thanks to being in the right place at the right time (another God-thing), I advanced quickly from being a teacher to a school administrator to holding a position at the district office. Even after Eli was born, I was eager to get back to work after my maternity leave (though I did cut back to working part-time).
MY PLAN has been to work part-time while my kids are little, and then once they enter school build back up to working full-time and eventually take the steps to become a school Principal.
Well, here we are... my kids will be entering Kindergarten in the fall... it's finally that time when I can re-focus on my career and work toward advancing in my field... YES! Just want I've been waiting for!
But something happened.
My HEART changed.
All of a sudden I found myself with new priorities for the year ahead, which pretty much involved a complete "180" from the direction I was going. I can only attribute it to the Lord. He had other plans, and He knew that in order for me to "get in line" with His plans, he needed to start with changing my heart.
And I just needed to LISTEN.
After all... if someone would have mentioned to me a year ago that I would be STAYING HOME from work to HOME SCHOOL my kids next year, I probably would have died of laughter and then passed out in shock. But, it's funny how the Lord works sometimes, isn't it? So yes, you heard me right... I'm going to home school... and I'm actually looking forward to it!!
And after all, who could resist hangin' with these two every day? :)