A few months ago, I received an invitation to be the speaker for the Spring Fling at West Hartselle Baptist Church. Last night the event took place, and I realized what an incredible opportunity I'd been given. For 30 minutes, I had a microphone and the listening ears of about 75 women while I recounted the events in my life that God has used to mold me into the person I am today. But in reality, it has been the time between the initial invitation and last night's event that was most beneficial to me.
Using the theme of "Embracing the Seasons of Life," I started reflecting back upon my childhood, my salvation, my family's years with the Alabama Baptist Children's Home, my days at Samford University, meeting and marrying Steve, establishing his veterinary practice and my music teaching career in Hartselle, the joys and challenges of parenting three children, reaching a pinnacle of success and having an empty nest before God called us to the mission field, starting a totally new career as a travel writer, and on and on.
I realized how many times I had my own plans carefully laid out when God intervened and set me on a completely different path, a better path, a path that would allow me to accomplish the purposes HE had for my life.
Proverbs 16:9 rang in my head over and over as I prepared to share.
"The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." (New American Standard Bible)
"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (New International Version)
"A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps." (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (New Living Translation)
I am a control freak and an over-the-top planner. I'm hopeless in the grocery store without my list. Before any trip or Cousins Camp, my Clipboard of Fun is carefully filled out. I'm not particularly fond of surprises. I like to know what road I'm going to take, how long I will be on it, and what I'll see (and eat) when I arrive.
I wonder just how many times God has looked at MY plans and thought, "Well, bless her heart. That's not at all what I have in mind."
I had a picture-perfect childhood in Athens, AL . . . . but God put my family in the middle of a Children's Home campus.
I loved being a student at Samford University . . . . but God put Steve Pearson in my life who was at Auburn.
I thought I was going to be a concert pianist . . . . but God wanted me to be a wife, a mother, and a music teacher.
I was living in my dream house at Cedar Cove on 10 acres with a pond in front and a pool in back . . . . but God said, "It's time to go to the mission field."
I thought we might have 6 or 7 grandchildren . . . . but God has given us FIFTEEN.
I was loving being retired from teaching . . . . but God said He wanted me to be a travel writer because there were people He wanted me to meet and share with in that setting.
Next week I will turn 73. I will continue to make my lists and plans, but I can't begin to imagine what Grand Plan God still has that will be fulfilled before my final breath. I'm confident that whatever steps HE directs, determines, and establishes will ultimately be what takes place.
Happy Mother's Day on Sunday! If your Momma is still alive, please go spend time with her and make her feel special. You'll be so glad you did.
Happy May to all who have been eagerly waiting for spring to finally come and STAY.
Happy Graduation to all the Seniors (including our grandson Luke).