Sunday, May 18, 2008

Holding On

Today at church we had a service for the seniors graduating from high school. As I sat there, I thought about life and how different mine has turned out to be from what I thought it would be. I remember my senior year of high school and all the plans and dreams I had. I wanted to be the next (and don't laugh) Debbie Gibson. For those of you too young to know who that is...think Miley Cyrus today. Seriously, I did want to sing and travel and tour and record and all that goes with the music business. I thought I'd be married by 30 and on my way to having the 10 children (yes, I was crazy) I planned to have. I knew I'd be out on my own in my own house. I thought life would be much different from what it is. Sure didn't think I'd still be living at home. Didn't think I'd have my heart broken as badly as I did. Had no idea I'd be doing the work I'm doing now. It makes me wonder about those students from today and how different their life is going to be in 10 years from what they think it will be like today.

However, as I look back over the time since graduation, I realize that even though my life isn't what I thought it would be that it is what it is meant to be. Now, I don't always like the turns my life has taken or the lessons I've had to learn. But I know that each moment has been part of God's plan for me. Even the moments I don't understand.

I have a hard time with waiting. I'm not the most patient person. People think I am because I work with people with intellectual disabilities. And in that respect, maybe I am patient. But in my own personal life, I don't like to wait. God promised that if we delight in Him He would give us the desires of our heart. But I want those desires right now. Not later. I'm also a worrier...although I've gotten better about that in the last year. But put impatience and worry together and a lot of times you get a big mess.

I've been reading "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. It has been an amazing tool God has used to help me see who He is making me to be. They talk about becoming the woman God made me to be and seeing my beauty (which is VERY difficult for me because I don't look at myself as beautiful) and how we need to trust in God for what we need in our lives. But there is a part that has hit home really hard with me. And it is about taking risks, trusting and striving. I don't like to take risks. I don't trust easily. And I strive to try to make my life what I want it to be and worry about things that are out of my control...rather than letting things just happen.

But I'm learning. And I'm getting better at those things. I love to read from "The Message" Bible. The translation is in today's language and makes things so clear. There are a couple of verses that I read almost every day. They are in Ephesians 3. "God can do anything you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." Wow! That is a pretty cool thing...to know that God can blow our minds with what He can do and that He delights to do it. But there is another verse further up in that passage that is what I fail to remember a lot of times. It says "God handling all the details."

This is where I have a hard time. I love to think that God can give me more than I could ever dream...but I don't always leave Him alone to let Him work it out. I know God is in control. I know He'll do what's best. I know He'll give me more than I ever dreamed. But still, I strive and struggle and beg and plead and try to take control rather than leaving it with Him. No matter how many times He proves faithful and works things out better than I ever could, I still slip back into wanting to take control. But I'm learning. And I have found that a lot of times, if I'll just wait on Him, He gives me not only what I need but also sometimes what I want. I'm also afraid to take the risks that He asks me to take. Even though I know He is with me in the situation and will work it out for my good, I still fear to hope that the risk will pay off and that good things will happen. But again, I'm learning.

And that brings me back to how life has turned out completely different from what I thought it would. I never did get to do the music thing professionally. But I got to become a music therapist and still use music to touch lives and change them. Do I still wish I could sing and travel? There are days I do. But knowing that I'm doing what God put me here to do is much more fulfilling. And who knows? One day He may grant me that request. I still live at home and don't have my own house. But I've been able to develop a good relationship with my parents that not everyone has. I'm not married and I sure don't have those 10 kids I once wanted. But that's ok, too. I'm a different person than I was 10 years ago, and I'm glad I've been able to grow into who I am becoming. And hopefully one day the Lord will bless me with a wonderful man that I can grow old with and with children (although I'm good with 2 or 3 now).

Life has not turned out quite like I planned it. It never does. Maybe yours hasn't either. Maybe like me your career has taken a different path. Maybe you are single and wish for the day someone would love you. Maybe you're divorced and you don't know if you can trust anyone to love you again. Maybe you have health issues you never thought you'd face and life has completely changed. Maybe you've had your heart broken to the point you don't think you'll ever feel you can let anyone in again. Maybe you've lost a child, a parent, a friend way too soon. I could go on and on with a list of ways life has taken the breath out of you. Or maybe your life has turned out how you planned and everything is great. But trust me, at some point life will hit you hard and you will wonder what it's all about.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of mine. It says that the Lord knows the plans He has for us, plans for good and not for evil. Plans to give us a future and a hope. He knows the plans He has for us. They may not be the same plans we have for us. But I can guarantee you that when you get to the end of your road, you will be able to look back and see that His plans were best. I've also found that sometimes those things I thought wanted actually turned out to not be so great. There are days when I question Him a lot and wonder what in the world He's doing. There are days when I think He's left me out here to fight for myself. But He hasn't. And He knows what He's doing. And even though He's proven Himself faithful, I still have a hard time trusting Him to do what's best when things seem to fall apart. But He understands that, too.

So no matter where your life has taken you, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, you can trust that God is there with you. Even when it's scary or hard or confusing, He knows what He's doing. Sometimes the hardest things we have to go through turn out to be blessings in disguise...preparing us for something greater and more wonderful. And if we will just rest in Him, trust Him and be willing to take the risks He asks us to take, life will turn out as He planned.

FFH has a song on their latest CD called "Holding On." The lyrics have really spoken to me and have helped me see how I just have to hold on to Him and He will provide all I need...and sometimes what I want, too. So hold on to Him and trust Him to work out all the details and to give you the desires of your heart.

"Holding On"
Lord, the wind and the rain are stronger today
Lord, the risk and the pain are scaring me away
But You call me just the same
You call me by name

Lord, I know I could stay but I would never know
Or have the power to stir the deep waters of my soul
So it's a chance I have to take
So willfully I go
Because I know

That when I'm weak
You are strong
Though this road might get long
You are near
And I'm right where I belong
In Your will
Holding on

Lord, you know what I need
And You will provide
Daily bread just for me
And I will survive
This desert of uncertainty
And You'll be my guide if I abide

Cause when I'm weak
You are strong
Though this road might get long
You are near
And I'm right where I belong
In Your will
Holding on

Lord, I'm steady and holding on to You
Lord, I'm steady and holding on to You
Lord, I'm steady and holding on to You
Lord, I'm steady and holding on to You

When I'm weak
You are strong
Though this road might get long
You are near
And I'm right where I belong
In Your will
Holding on

In Your will
Holding on

1 comment:

Jenn said...

You are so right!!!! Life is full of surprises but you learn to deal with each one accordingly. There have been times when I've wondered, "God why is this happening?" I may not understand it at the moment.. but a month, year, or even 10 years later I realize THAT'S why I went through that trial! The Lord has a plan for all of us and we just have to trust in Him and His timing. Everything happens according to His will!
Love ya! Jenn