Monday, September 3, 2012

Jesus Writes My Story

In my teens and early 20s I had a lot of plans. Plans for exactly how my life was going to go and plans for when it was going to go that way. In trying to make my plans my reality, I compromised my values and lived a life that did not glorify God.

I was active in church playing piano, singing, teaching Sabbath school… I was the pastor’s daughter. I had a solid intellectual belief in God, but the journey from the head to the heart can be a long one. So while I believed, I did not surrender.

So here I was with all these plans. And one by one through many failed relationships and unemployment, lack of friends, loneliness… God brought me to a place where all my plans had failed over and over again and I had nothing left except to say “I give up.” I was tired of hurting, I was tired of compromising, I was tired of the guilt and the shame that followed compromise… I was tired of the seemingly never-ending cycle of failure.

God was teaching me through many different ways that He can be trusted.
But while God was working in many small ways to teach me that I could trust Him and that if I surrendered to Him He would not fail me, He was also showing me in a really large way.

It was my first job as a dental hygienist. I was asked to do things on a daily basis that were not only unethical, but illegal. I was looking for another job and saving money in case they fired me for insubordination, but in February 2011, I’d had enough and quit. I’d like to say this was a step of faith, but it really wasn’t because I had plans and a savings account.

This is where God really began to work. Once again, the plans I had didn’t work out and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a plan… I didn’t even know what I wanted. My mom said to me, “Amber, just fill-in. You don’t have to have a plan right now.” As a hygienist I can fill-in for hygienists in any office when they need to be off work for any reason. The work is not always steady, and you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

I was living with my parents at the time in Statesville, NC, and because my dad is a pastor, I knew that it was only a matter of time before God called him to pastor another district and my parents moved from Statesville. I didn’t want to be stuck in Statesville with a new job, but no family and no friends. I felt God calling me to just fill-in and wait on Him and His timing and His plans and even turned down job offers. Though it made no sense, I had peace knowing that I was doing exactly what God wanted me doing at that time.

I didn’t plan to not look for a job and just fill-in for a year, but in waiting on God that’s what happened.

Month after month I would look ahead at my calendar and have nothing scheduled… but by the end of that month I would look back and see that God had provided me with more than enough work to pay my bills and He even gave me extra. There were many months when I was working the equivalent of full-time and having to turn down work because I had too much. Of the entire year that I filled in and didn’t look for full-time work, there was only one month that I did not have enough work to cover my bills, and I had my savings account for that.

God showed me over and over again that He could and would provide for my every need. In February of this year, my parents moved to Gastonia, NC, and I began looking for a job in the South Carolina upstate to move back to Spartanburg. I prayed, “God please put me where YOU want me.” I had a lot of leads, but God very firmly closed doors. And then I interviewed with Dr. Bragdon. It was not the best interview I’ve ever had, but when I left the interview I felt complete peace that it was the job that God had for me… but still I waited a month for the job offer to come. I have now been working for Dr. Bragdon for 3 months and still believe that this is exactly where God wants me.

Because God provided for my every need and ultimately gave me the job that is the perfect fit for me, I know that I can trust that God knows the desires of my heart and He has a plan for me in every aspect of my life.

In the past, when life didn’t go as I had planned, I fell apart. Now I know that when life doesn’t go as planned, I can fall on Jesus. I have peace in my life that I never had before. I know that God is still good, because He is still God.

My dad used to tell me, “Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.” Though it is now God who writes my story, I still have hopes and dreams. But my hopes and dreams are written in pencil and God holds the eraser and I’m ok with that, because when He erases mine and rewrites His story into my story it’s always so much better than anything I had planned.

I can look forward to the future with hope, knowing that the same God who provides for my physical needs, can be trusted with my heart and my hopes and dreams.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
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