Plans Change When You Least Expect It

When I was younger, I had a plan.  I was going to go to college, get a career, find a husband and live happily ever after. Now that I think about it, there was a major component in this equation that was left out.  Be a follower of Christ.

plan

God created and cares for everything on this earth.  Just think of the sparrows.  Since God cares for everything on this earth, then how much could He possibly care for us? This is His plan. When I think of love in this context, I remind myself that I am worthy. Although the road of life changes unexpectedly, there is no reason to be afraid.

“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31 NIV

Being worthy was not something I always saw myself as. Perhaps a burden, or high maintenance, even a snob. But those are not the words God uses to define me, so why would I allow other people to place those tags on me?

Failing does not give you an excuse to never try again

The thought of not being successful at marriage put a huge weight on my shoulders.  I had a plan, what went wrong? How will I ever pick myself up from this? How could I fail at something so crucial? Weeks, months even years went by, where I beat myself up for every little thing.  Rehearsing scenes and situations I was in and how I should have or could have acted to make the outcome different.

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I knew, somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind, I would be married again. I would find a man that loved me limitlessly.  But I also knew, in order to make this happen, I had to change my plan.  If I truly wanted to live happily and be a woman of God, I had to accept nothing less than what God says I’m worth.  I had to change my mindset, and I had to change my environment.

There was always a shimmer of hope I had.

I started attending women’s bible study groups.  Anything to get myself out of the negative space I had created for myself. I had given up on ever being a wife again. I had given up on the notion of having a successful marriage.  For a while, I never thought anyone would want me, a divorced person. I would later learn not to identify myself with that word.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

A complete vulnerable moment here–I had requirements, which I still have written on a dry erase board in my bedroom.  Some of you have seen this list of mine, and I share it shamelessly.  Hey, a woman has to start somewhere, right? Here’s the list, you can laugh at me when you see me again:

  • Common social life with God first
  • Fun and exciting
  • Openness and trust
  • Willing to grow together and experience new things
  • Secure in themselves both physically and mentally
  • Carefree and adventurous
  • Common friends, share common interests
  • Love of music
  • Romantic and appreciative
  • Easy to talk to
  • Has a sense of humor

Sometimes things don’t take meaning until you write them down and have a chance to see them from a different perspective. That’s right, I had a list. A list I often referred to and refused to bend on.  Because doing this a second time meant I had to change my original plan and truly let God plan it this time.  I went to prayer on my list, and, while it may seem petty, a lot of these things are important. When you know what you want, it’s very important that you not allow anything lesser in your life.  We often times don’t appreciate our own self-worth.  Let me remind you–you are worthy!

Don’t ask, don’t get.

If you don’t pray for what you want, how can you expect to receive it?  It may seem counter-intuitive, but we have to tell God what we want.  His answer may not line up with our request, but you’ll never know.  Not only do you need to go to God in prayer for the desires of your heart, but you need to make sure you know what you want.  Or at least what you think you want.

The above list didn’t start out like this, I had some of the silliest things on it.  It wasn’t until I prayed and refined the list and truly came to understand what marriage was about that I got to this list.  It’s still not perfect, but it was perfect for me. And trust me, it’s not like I wrote the list, prayed for a husband and then one appeared. It was a process. It wasn’t all about what I was looking for; it was about what God was looking for inside of me.

Can you be trusted with such a heavy responsibility for the rest of your life?

How consistent are you with going to work and giving 100%? Does that question sound silly? Think about it. Marriage is a lifelong responsibility. If you are not able to commit to your job 100%, how can God expect you to commit to one person for the rest of your life? When you get frustrated with your parents, or your friends and family, do you ignore them for a week? Do you hold out on apologizing because you think you deserve to hear it first?

Marriage is not about right and wrong; it is not about you as an individual.  The main thing marriage focuses on is “us” and doing whatever it takes to keep “us” whole.  Marriage does not point fingers, no matter who is at fault. Does that sound like something you can do? Start some of these behaviors now, so you model the characteristics a spouse may be looking for.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

Whether you’re single, divorced, widowed or back on the dating scene for any reason, what does your list look like? Do you have a list? What are you looking for in a spouse? If you don’t have a list, why not start now?

Written by Virginia A. DePratter

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than to stand with the world and be judged by God. My mission in life is to help others see their full potential and help people maximize their talents.

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