I have been helping out at Gracepointe with Vacation Bible School. Our Children’s Director Wendy, put together such an amazing program based on the show “Duck Dynasty.” She even got me and Stephanie to wear camo. Not an easy task. Not the only difficult task that I’m sure she had to face all week, but she and all the leaders did a great job. The end result, after Pastor Lee shared the Salvation plan on the last day, 8 kids gave their lives to Christ. This made the whole week worth every second.
God had other plans…
I am a very detailed person. I have to know the plan from beginning to end, left to right, point A to point B. It’s just the way that I am wired. I don’t do well with the uncertainty of chaos and disorganization. So I used to do lists, online notebooks, calendars, etc. just to keep things going as planned. With the number of projects that I have at work, this is pretty much a have to, not a need to. There are vendors to contact, equipment to order, designs to finish, etc. Throw in computer problems and a long list of things my boss needs me to do and it’s enough to drive you batty.
I have to plan out and detail everything that has to get done.
This has spilled over in to my personal life also. I know what needs to happen each week and when I have to get it done by. Each week, the yard needs mowing. Each week, checkbook and bills have to be done. Cars need to be washed. Laundry needs to be done. It never ends so I always have a plan for getting things done.
Since Dad passed away, Steph and I had a plan for that as well. We knew that we needed to move closer to mom to help take care of her. We knew that it’s a long drive for her to come here. We knew that we could move midway from her parents to mom and make it work without too much trouble. WE planned to sell our house. WE planned to move closer. WE planned to build our own house. WE planned for Steph to find a job in our new area. WE felt like this is what WE needed to do and what WE felt like God wanted us to plan for.
I’ve heard it said many times, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!”
So WE put our plans in motion. WE minimized our stuff and had a yard sale. You never realize how much stuff that you have until you start boxing up what you want to keep and putting everything else in a pile for your neighbors to come through and take stuff off of your hands. WE did a lot of repairs around the house and cleaned up what we had been putting off for a while. The house looked great. The yard sale was a success. WE were on OUR WAY!
WE put the house up for sale and waited on a buyer. The whole time we are moving things and putting in storage in the basement at mom and dad’s.
And WE waited….
And WE waited….
The house was shown 1 time in the first 70 days with our first realtor. Not one single offer. Around this time, Steph was laid off. She had done the right thing and told her boss that she would be moving soon but the workplace for her because impossible. So now our plans would change even more as we would have to make financial changes to compensate for the reduced income. We would be ok
The house didn’t sell…
Steph had not found a job in our area and couldnt look in the new area until we moved….
WE decided to take the home off the market during the holidays and WE relisted it in April following even more repair work and painting.
And WE waited….
And WE waited….
God had other plans…
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
Around this time, we started going to Gracepointe Church. It’s an amazing church with the most loving and caring people ever. I plugged in with the worship team and I play guitar there every Sunday. Steph is plugging in with the Children’s department and is co director for VBS.
Even while we are plugging in at Gracepointe, the idea of moving is still in OUR minds. Once WE sell the house WE will find a new church…
God had other plans….
A few weeks ago, I met with our pastor to talk about ministry and where we fit in at Gracepointe. I told him that for a long time I have felt a call for church planting and that I want to learn how to do that from him since he had started Gracepointe as a church plant. He wanted us to consider taking over the youth program there.
God had other plans….
This past Sunday, after Stephanie and I had met with our pastor again, Stephanie and I walked through the door that God has opened for us. Lee several days before had asked us to pray about me accepting the position at Gracepointe as Associate Pastor and Sunday, I accepted. God had other plans for us and we couldn’t see them. WE were so focused on trying to do what we felt that we needed to do to move closer and take care of mom, that we were about to move out of His will for our lives and miss an amazing opportunity and an incredible blessing from God. We aren’t real sure about what this role is going to look like but I know that had we pushed to sell the house, we would be out of His will.
but…..God had other plans!
In my stubborn ways, I push ahead to get things done. I push and push to do what I feel is right when all along, I am going in the direction opposite to Your plans for our lives. Help me to see the forest even through all of those trees in the way. Help me to seek Your plans for our lives, and not my own regardless of how noble and right they may seem. Thank you for the plans and the call that You have placed on my life and on Stephanie’s. Help us to never lose sight of Your plan.
In God We Trust….
In the company that I work for, there are a lot of promises made to customers. We tell them “I’ll get someone on the way…” or “Once we have the parts that we need, we will be there…” We make……commitments. As hard as we try, not all of the commitments to all of the customers can be kept. There are only so many hours in the day, so many technicians to do the work, so many resources to fix what is broken. When we are unable to keep a commitment, we try to explain why we can’t keep our commitments.
This week, I have thought a lot about the word commitments and what that means to me exactly.
What commitments have I made and kept?
What commitments have I made and been unable to keep?
What commitments have been made to me and kept or not kept?
One simple commitment that came up in conversation with a coworker this week is the simple decal that some of us in Georgia put on our license plate. We put the small sticker “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the license plates of our cars for all to see. The question becomes, if you put that on your car, do you really trust in Him or is it just for looks? Are we committed to walking with Christ and living for Him or do we just want to look like a Christian?
I have one of the decals on my truck. I even have a window decal for Gracepointe, (the church that I am a member of) I also drive in Atlanta where the traffic usually one the way home is awful to say the least. People forget how to drive especially in bad weather. Just yesterday alone, I saw where a Georgia State Trooper hit another car in the rear. I have seen more road rage and had more road rage than I would ever admit to. Each time, I have to remember that when I put that decal or window sticker on my truck, I am committing to taking the higher road and being Christ like, even when the car in front cuts me off. I am committing to thinking of the other person before myself.
What about when I am not in my truck? What holds me accountable? What is the decal on my life that says, “IN GOD WE TRUST”
I believe that it is in the choices that we make. The choices and their results are the decals of our lives. The choices in who we are friends with, where we like to go, what we like to do, say so much about us to others. If people constantly see me coming out of a bar, chances are I’m not going to be thought of as a Christian but more likely a drunk. If I am seen coming out of a casino week after week, I’m a gambler. If I hang out with people who are always having parties or going to parties……you get the picture, but it’s more than just appearances. People need to see that I have Christ in my life not just a decal on my truck. People will see what they want and have their opinions of who I am, but people need to see us for who we are, inside and out, and not what the world makes us out to be.
Our choices can also affect our walk with Christ. If we choose to let simple things bother us, our choices can damage our walk. It can steal our passion. Even in church, frustrations and emotions can cause our lives to look a lot less Christ like. As I told a friend of mine this week, I have to be careful about letting satan get a toe hold in the door. If he gets just a crack in the door, he can kick it open and cause havoc in my life. I can’t let the frustrations of what someone else does or does not do, affect who I am. I need to turn the other cheek and walk away more realizing that regardless of the situation, God is still God and He has got this as all part of His plan, not Keith’s.
I need to be more committed to God’s plan, not my own.
After all, “IN GOD WE TRUST”
As I drive to and from work, I notice the cars with decals on their cars. These decals tell a lot about a person but so does the way that they drive. Help me and keep me safe in my travels, but more importantly help me live a life worthy of the life You have given me. Help me live a life that shows that I have You in it and that it is not just a decal for show.
pause – noun ˈpoz : a temporary stop : a period of time in which something is stopped before it is started again
For about the past 5-6 years of our marriage, that has been life for me and Steph….
Every waking minute of every day, every extra cent that we had, we put in to the idea of growing our family. We wanted what we wanted. We wanted a child, (and still do), more than just about anything else. We wanted this more than….
remodeling our home….
saving for retirement….
This is what we both wanted. We were more than willing to sacrifice everything that we had to get there. We talked to specialists. Steph took shots over and over and over. Often those shots, I had to give her which brought me no joy regardless of how much you might think it would lol.
We did research. We tried adoption which God watched over us and protected us from being scammed out of a lot of money. (It kills me to know how many wonderful kids are out there that we could give a loving home to, but because of supply, demand, and greed, agencies charge so much for adoption that it is out of our reach as well.)
We prayed numerous times, together and apart. We have had so many people praying for us and yet we have gone through not 1 but 2 miscarriages and yet another failed IUI procedure. One couple that we are friends with went through the same difficult times but yet Steph still reached out and recommended our doctor to them and now they have their first child.
Each time that we tried, each time that we prayed for God to “give us the desires of our heart…..” it only ended in heartbreak and disappointment.
We made one final push. We found an embryo donation center in Knoxville, TN and went there believing that this is going to work only to have more requirements and that would mean more time. This put a HUGE amount of stress on Steph which in turn, did the same for me. Our lives centered around what it was going to take to get us accepted for this program to grow our family.
Enough pause. We have put so many things on pause and on hold and even written some plans and dreams off for so long. We have an amazing marriage but even great marriages can be affected by so many negative things and disappointment.
We sat down together and talked about “our plans.” Our plans that had stolen our focus from the important things. Our plans that had taken a front seat to God’s plans for our lives might be. Each time that we tried to force the issue of us having a child, God put up a wall, a stumbling block, or what ever He needed to, to stop “our plans.”
Together, Stephanie and I have made the decision, to stop trying to “push” God to give us a child. We have realized that maybe, God’s plan for us, is not to be parents. If that’s the case, then He must have something really amazing for us because His desire for our lives will always be more than we could ever imagine.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matt. 6:33
You might be thinking, “That’s a pretty tough call to make…” and yes you are right. Going through life without the blessing of being parents is a tough choice but it has been amazing since we are getting out of His way. Our marriage has TAKEN OFF! We hold hands more…Stephanie smiles more….it feels like a huge burden has been lifted. The pressure is off.
Think about it. Each time you start a new movie, new cd, new song on your ipod, you have to press play. If something distracts you and steals your focus, it puts your next chapter, next song, next idea, on pause. In 2006 we started a new life together and we let our lives be put on pause.
Not anymore, we have moved from…..PAUSE….to PLAY.
We are talking about where we want to go, what we want to do. We laugh and talk with each other more than we ever have. The future is bright not stressed with a lot of tests, procedures, etc. coming up. We are still wanting to move and build OUR home and the hope of us one day being parents regardless of how God works that out, but that’s not up to us. When God is ready for us to move, He will sell our home. If He has children in the plans for us, He will work it out. We are going to continue to work toward plans that we believe God leading us toward but now, we are moving forward, not sitting still, and letting life pass us by.
There are so many blessings in life that I am sure that I have missed out on because my plans got in the way of Your plans for my life. I am stubborn and try to do everything on my own. Help me to see the path that You have for me so that I don’t miss out on anything. Help us to never put our lives on PAUSE again, but to always strive to move closer in our walk with You. Help me learn to make my desire to be Your desire for my life.
Show me the way.. to press PLAY
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