When God’s Plan Looks Different Than Ours

I thought I would be married by this age. I thought, maybe, that there would be kids. No such luck yet. There has been so much pain in these years. Some of it I caused myself, for sure. But a lot of it was done to me — by people I would have never expected to do such things. So these years have carried a lot of hurt and sorrow, shame and darkness. They have also carried healing — and most importantly, the closeness of God.

I had great plans for my life, I thought. And now I am discovering that God’s plan for my life is different than what I wanted. Than what I dreamed.

So how do you reconcile these two things? Or can you even do that? Are you allowed to be disappointed when life did not turn out the way that you wanted?

God's plan

No matter how far I wander, no matter if I run mile after mile looking for the answer in different places — I come back to this. Trust.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)

I find it is in these places, where we come to look at those dusty corners of our dreams and realize that there is empty space — that we easily feel like we have been forsaken by God. We didn’t ask that much, now did we? So why is God keeping these things, these good things from us?

Disappointment and doubt need to be spoken out loud. But we often forget that; we rob the permission from ourselves and quiet those voices. There — bitterness takes ground, it plants a seed. We come up frustrated, feeling disappointed, even betrayed.

But God has not forsaken us, no. We have a relationship with Him; we know His name as it is written on the walls of our hearts. Though our prayers seem to have gone unanswered and we still feel the sting of that, we have a relationship with the living God. Surely, then, that must mean that it is a living relationship, too.

Trust is not easy, though. Trusting when we are not yet seeing answers is even harder. But here is the thing: we can look back. We can always look back on our lives and we see — the Lord has been good to us. He has brought us into light at least once. He has given us more than we deserve: a new heart and an eternal life. So God’s plan for us now must be good as well.

“…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:3 NLT)

This is not an easy fix, I know that. It is hard to walk by faith and not by sight. But we know this about our God: He does not change. He has been good to us before. He will be good to us even now. As we lean into this truth bit by bit, we discover that it stands through all seasons of life. God is good.

Can I tell you something, friend? God has given me so much that I didn’t even dare to dream about. Things that didn’t fit in my dreams because I thought I couldn’t do them.

I lead a small Bible study for girls. Some of these girls are new to faith, still trying to find their way about how to study the Bible. Some of these girls know how to do that, yet want the accountability and time together. In all honesty, I don’t know if there are any miracles being born in our group. I don’t know if there are any revelations. But I know, that little by little we are growing — closer to God and closer together. And it is beautiful.

Many Sundays, I sit on the floor of the the Kids’ Ministry room at church. Most of the time I teach kids from ages three to five and oh, what joy these kids are. There is always a child pushing into my lap, filling my heart with joy (and usually my hands with pencils or toys). There are moments of laughter and giggling, of discoveries and disappointments. We live life, these kids and I — all while we learn about Jesus.

As a(n almost) speech therapist, I walk with families through their season of confusion, questions, and hurt. No matter whether it is our first child or your fifth child — hurt twists the strings of your heart when you learn that everything is not as you would expect with your child. So I get to be there with these families, process the pain with them — although from a certain distance. Here I see how God has given me the gift of listening. Because many a times, I listen to the unspoken broken, the questions that just will not spill though they take a large space in the heart.

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.” (Oswald Chambers)

These are not necessarily ministries I would have chosen (although I might just have). But I am incredibly thankful that God has chosen me for them.

Linking up: Tune In Thursday#HeartEncouragementGrace at Home

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13 Comments

  1. Ronja,
    I’m reading your words here that even though your plans for your life aren’t quite coming to pass in the timeframe you imagined, God’s timing is impeccable. I’m so excited for your new job and opportunities coming your way that I have no doubt that God will surprise you in ways you can’t even dream of right now! God is never late and his miraculous ways are so far above our own. Praying for you and sending much love! xo

    1. Yes to all of this, Valerie! God’s plans are perfect and He knows the best timetable for everything. I trust that He has amazing things in store! God bless you, friend!

    1. Aren’t those the best of words: but God! I trust that His plans for us are good and perfect, though at times it is hard to see that. Thank you for visiting here and God bless you!

  2. Ronja, what a joy to read your words today. I was single until one month before my 42nd birthday. — You get a big AMEN to everything God has impressed on your heart during this season. I don’t regret one moment of my “extended” singleness. I know that His purposes for me are perfect, and that every day I get to live for Him — so live to the hilt as the missionary Jim Elliot said.

    Blessings to you, my sister. Loved having you at #FaithOnFire today and hope you will share more in the weeks to come.

    Lyli

    1. Lyli, thank you for sharing this with me! It is hard to be a single in a society and culture like ours — it seems like we are somehow less when we are single. Yet I am so thankful to hear that you do not regret your season of singleness! That is such an encouragement! Thank you so much for this, Lyli. God bless you!

  3. I love how you come back to the goodness of God as you contemplate all of this, Ronja. I don’t understand how this all works, of course, but I draw great comfort in knowing that even when God’s plans don’t match ours, His purposes are always filtered through His goodness. Many blessings to you as you complete your speech therapy training … you will have the ability to touch many lives with a degree like that!

    1. Thank you, sweet friend! What a lovely image that is — that God’s purposes are filtered through His goodness. His heart for us is truly so great. Thank you for visiting here and taking the time to comment! God bless you

  4. Excellent post, and I love especially this: “It is hard to walk by faith and not by sight. But we know this about our God: He does not change. He has been good to us before. He will be good to us even now. As we lean into this truth bit by bit, we discover that it stands through all seasons of life. God is good.”

    Amen. It is indeed all about trust.

  5. I often feel God leads me to the posts I need the most. So thankful that He led me here today, Ronja. It is encouraging to read of your faith, and your trust. Love this – ‘No matter how far I wander, no matter if I run mile after mile looking for the answer in different places — I come back to this. Trust.’ Praying God’s blessings on you as you learn to trust Him more and more.