I would definitely categorize myself as a “planner”. For as long as I can remember I would cherish my school planners and make additional notes, plan out my days to a very specific detail. My obsession with planning stemmed from my out-of-control childhood, making lists and planning things out gave me a sense of control.
My life plan went a little something like this: Graduate high school. Attend Eastern Michigan University. Graduate with a degree in marriage/ family counseling. Get married at age 23. Have my first baby at age 25. Work hard in my career so that when the day of motherhood approached me I could tackle it full force by staying at home. This. This was my ten year plan after graduating high school in 2011. I was so mentally dedicated to this plan that when my sweet husband proposed to me I considered saying no! I almost asked the man who was down on one knee to wait another handful of years! I convinced myself we would have a long engagement and said YES. That event was when “MY PLANS” started to become obviously second to “GOD’S PLAN”.
During my engagement I shed many tears at the feet of Jesus asking Him if I was really ready to be a wife. I held tight to the declaration made when we were younger- God has put us together. I believed this to be true, but I didn’t necessarily trust this timing. It wasn’t until one Sunday morning when a trusted women had a special word for me: “He is making you into exactly the wife Kody will need”. Now don’t get me wrong- if you are in the church and someone has a “word” for you, take it with a grain of salt! Even if it is someone you TRUST whole heartedly you need to write that word down and pray on it! I am about to reference a few more “God given words” but please know I am not sharing this lightly. Anything I receive out of prayer or worship is written down so it cannot be twisted by my forgetfulness and I chew on it a little bit more. The Holy Spirit has a way of letting you know that IT IS HIM and IT IS TIME! Anyways, to move forward I followed God’s gentle nudge and married my husband at the tender age of 19.
“I heard the words “I love you more” from somewhere deep inside me and I knew in that moment, that God was telling me it would all be alright.”
I got married at age 19, became pregnant on my honeymoon and had my first child at age 20. I stopped going to school so that I could work full time and prepare for the baby while my husband was interning and not working many hours. I climbed the latter of success at the bank I was at, when my beautiful baby arrived we were nowhere near ready to lose my income. My marriage was weak, and I found myself pregnant again… All before the age of 22. In the midst of all these events there was constant evidence that God had something else planned for me.
When I found out I was pregnant I was actually filled with fear. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I was married, we had our own place, ect. I was afraid to tell anyone! Let me tell you friends, FEAR is NOT part of any blessing God has for you! FEAR is the enemies way of distorting what God is about to unveil! So I tiptoed around frightened of what our parents might say or do, worried what my boss might do with my hours at work when she found out, worried if my husband would find a job quickly enough after his internship was complete to support us… the list of uncertainty went on and on! THIS WAS NOT PART OF MY PLAN! I was not prepared to have a baby this early in my life! This was nothing short of GOD’S plan. I was on birth control, taking that horrible little blue pill each night before I went to bed, and I still conceived a precious baby girl. I will never forget standing in the youth chapel that Wednesday night, sobbing with everything in me. I mean ugly crying here- shaking and snot and runny mascara! That was the moment I felt God’s hand over me and my baby. That was the moment He reviled to me how much He loved me! I remember thinking how much I loved the little baby within me and how I wanted to make sure he or she never felt the pain and neglect that I felt from my biological father. I heard the words “I love you more” from somewhere deep inside me and I knew in that moment, that God was telling me it would all be alright. He was letting me know that He loved the baby within me more than even I loved it and He loved me more than the emotion I had stirred up for this unborn child.
Roughly four months after our daughter was born my husband received his first full-time ministry job offer. It would take us to Cleveland, OH. just a few hours south of our Downriver roots. The bank I worked for let me transfer so I could keep working, and the church offered free childcare for our baby. We moved when she was six months old, in December of 2012. We had absolutely no problem finding a place to live and everything else seemed to follow suite. It is easy to feel like everything is going seamlessly when you are looking at it through your own eyes. We had our resume out for nearly six months and had nothing more than a Skype interview. By the time this position appeared we were hungry to get into ministry and help teenagers become on fire for Jesus. We accepted it without really praying together and convinced each other that this is what God had called us to do. We were not entirely wrong, God HAD called us into youth ministry BUT I still don’t think He had navigated the path to Cleveland. Being in ministry is hard, but being in ministry where God has not placed you is nearly unbearable. This chapter is where I learned how to conquer loneliness, depression, anxiety, and find out just how strong I really was.
When we got pregnant with our son I was not afraid in the same way as I was with my daughter. I was worried my marriage couldn’t handle it. Things were already so hard, I wasn’t sure we would survive. I was so sick throughout this pregnancy, I had constant blood clots, my placenta kept ripping, it wouldn’t grow enough to keep up with the baby, and I was in excruciating pain all day every day. I spent my pregnancy on bedrest and crippled in fear that one of two things would happen: 1. I would soon become a single mother, or 2. I would lose my son. This time in my marriage was full of fighting, verbal abuse, un-loving characteristics and actions, lies and secrets. This time in my marriage is when God stopped being put first and church became first. I started planning for my deepest fears to become reality and prepared myself for what seemed to be inevitable- divorce; but divorce wasn’t God’s plan for me.
God made a way for us to come back home and live in a safe environment with good paying jobs, taking a break from ministry until we learned how to love God and love each other the way He intended on us being loved. God opened the door for a renewed and healthy marriage. God saved my son from a fight for his life inside my womb. God placed us in a new church with a fresh start back into youth ministry, part-time.
Now, God is calling us out of our comfort zones again. As my husbands secular job is growing more pleasing to his flesh each day, as promotional email offers roll in, as his manager makes him an offer that would allow me to stay home with our two beautiful babies, as our flesh so deeply wants to accept these offers… The Holy Spirit is whispering something so much more. God has not called my husband to work high up in the federal government area, but He has called my husband to work high up in furthering His kingdom. Within the next 30-60 days we will be faced with a new life changing decision. Staying with his current job will put him on afternoons and he cannot lead youth group on Wednesday nights (or any night, really), so we must now decide if we will do youth ministry full time or not at all. We are choosing to follow God’s plan this time, not our own. We are choosing not to look at what is pleasing to our eye, but what is pleasing to the spirit.
We are not making this decision independently, like we did in the past. We are seeking God’s direction together, praying together, crying at the feet of Jesus together. When I last stood at the altar demanding a directive answer from God, I got it. Words like “I am taking you to new places”, and “your first ministry is to your home” were raining over us just as we wept about moving on and letting go of children’s ministry (I currently run children’s and help my husband with the youth. I wasn’t sure I was ready to let that go until this night).
My hope is that when you finish reading this you see that I had a specific plan for my life, but God had something entirely different. When we fight God’s plan, it simply doesn’t work out! Doing things our own way causes friction in all of our relationships. I leave you with this scripture, and I pray you lean on God for the chaotic waters to finally be still.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails”
XOXO, The Noble Life