We all know that familiar verse in Jeremiah that says: 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. I’ve watched my two college aged children walk out this verse very differently. My son seems to have everything just fall magically into place. He was able to attend college of his dreams (Texas A&M), received a scholarship that was a last minute submission. Even when he changed majors and the new degree plan required he come into the course with a 4.0 – he did it! It all seems – effortless. Yet – from his own declaration – he says he can make plans and begin moving in that direction and be happy. Then, if for some reason God intervenes and changes the plan – He trusts that God has a way better course laid out for him and he’s content to follow the new path. For Daniel, it’s about attitude and acceptance in sovereignty of God. He never really sweats the small stuff. It’s all a matter of fitting into God’s plan and trusting said plan.
My daughter Beth –well -her path never turns out the way she wants. She once said – God always has me do things the hard way. Her junior year of high school, she had her plans all written out –literally – for where she would attend college (Texas A&M), her major, her required classes for first year, her roommate, back up roommate, the apartments – all neatly laid out in a detailed spreadsheet. Then one by one, she saw each piece unravel and fall apart. Sometimes we forget to take into account free-will of others involved in our plan. By this – parents of said potential roommate who, at last minute, decided their daughter would not attend same university as Beth. Good thing she had a back up roommate right. Well – plans changed there and that young lady needed to make decisions. All leaving Beth out in the cold – so to speak. So – she set a new course to attend the local Jr. college her first year. Which – as it turned out – worked out well since my husband changed careers to where he was not available to take and pick up younger sister or run errands. That fell upon Beth — who also “just happened” to be offered youth intern job at her church. Yep – God knew the big picture. Well – Beth made a new plan that after a year at the Jr. college, she would attend the university where her best friend goes (the original roommate). So – out comes the detailed spreadsheet with apartment choices, degree plans –the works. We sent application letters, and all the required details and she was accepted. Then came the family trip to see big brother at his school, Texas A&M, for his Ring Ceremony. The big event in an Aggie’s life where they obtain their class ring. Anyway- we walked the campus, she tells me later, this sinking feeling came over her that she wasn’t suppose to go to school with her friend – that she was to attend A&M. As the weekend progressed, that feeling continued. Even her Dad and I knew her “2nd choice” was not going to happen – but neither of us wanted to say anything because we wanted her to hear God herself. So- on the ride home, with tears in her eyes – she tells us “I’m not suppose to go to UNT, but A&M.” Confirmation came as her Dad told her our thoughts about it and the most tell-tale sign came when her best friend came home Spring Break. She had changed and they no longer had shared vision. Beth tells me that it shouldn’t surprise her that God knew this all along – but once again –her plans unraveled before her eyes. Now –the new plan is set in motion –this time by following God’s lead –and she is planning on going to Blinn – a jr. college in Bryan, Texas – with the goal to transfer to A&M in the Spring. Her roommate –will be a surprise because it’s going to be potluck –once again trusting God to provide the right matches. Friends? Well – big brother and his crew is there –but –Beth will have to trust again that God will provide those lasting friendships too. This time her plans are not her plans –she’s going in a little blind –but isn’t that faith too? Sight unseen, trusting someone far wiser than you to direct your path? Meanwhile – as her momma – I want things to work out easily for all of my children –but I too need to trust God because it’s more than just plans for their college paths and future. The bottom line is their faith and how He provides those unique opportunities to build and deepen their faith –in turn —deepening and building mine as well.