Saturday, August 8, 2009

it just so happens (my path - part two)

"In your heart you plan your life,
but the Lord decides where your steps will take you."

Proverbs 16:9 (NIRV)

this verse can often be taken out of context. matthew henry's commentary explains it like this : when God's glory is our goal, and His will our rule, then He will direct our steps by his Spirit and grace. again, Praise God that He is now the director of my steps, my path, my life.

[if you missed the previous blog, you'll want to start here: part one.]

i had a little over a year left on my BA in Communications/Public Relations when we moved to Atlanta in 2001. college was, like everything else, something i felt i was supposed to do. and, like so many other things, i did it half-heartedly and was quick to abandon it when my life as a full time wife/mother began. that said, i had laid the groundwork for my return to college early on this year. i changed my major to health/fitness, reapplied for student loans, pre-registered for fall. it was a done deal. in the months that followed, as i began - for the very first time - to truly surrender my life to Christ, i didn't give school a second thought. after all, i had already decided what i was going to do. not only that, but it was the first and only in time adulthood that i'd felt i had made a firm decision about what i wanted to do. God would totally be on board with that, right?... right?

i didn't dare ask Him
. in hindsight, the fear that He might not was too great...

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:5-6

as the semester drew nearer, my uneasiness intensified. what began as anticipation had slowly turned to anxiety and anxiety to dread. the longer i ignored - and justified - my unease, the more intense it became until at last, i prayed about it. at this point, it was - literally - the only facet of my life i had not completely surrendered. i prayed something along the lines of: "really, Lord? really? because, you know, i already have this figured out, plus school starts in, like, four weeks! so if you could just give me some peace about it, that'd be great! and you know, i'm sure you can bless me and use me in the health/fitness thing because our bodies are our temples and all that, right?".

((silence))

God speaks to us through His word, through prayer, through the words of Godly friends and sometimes, through tiny impressions that His Spirit presses upon our minds and hearts when we reflect on the words we speak to Him...

as i waited for His answer, i waited for the knots to untie in my stomach. instead, they seemed to intensify and conviction swept over me. i reflected over the prayer i had just blurted out, not completely like the spout on a boiling kettle of water... only in my reflection, what had spewed out as statements to the Lord in my prayer were now questions to myself: "i already have this figured out?"; "i surrender to you, Lord but meanwhile - i invite you?... to come and be a part of my plan for my life?"...

i laughed out loud. literally. a sigh of both relief and disbelief with laughter at the sheer absurdity of my prayer in hindsight.

"Lord, i confess my selfish desire to control my own life. we have all seen my track record with controlling my own life. i don't trust myself to make new plans. i confess my need for you to do that for me. align my heart with yours, my desires with yours and my life accordingly. and if need be, change my plans according to your will."

the specific answer did not come sweeping over me in that moment. but the sense of peace did.

a week later, sitting in my advisor's office, she glanced over my transcripts and my schedule for the fall. "are you absolutely certain about this [this meaning the change of major i had made earlier]?", she asked, almost incredulously. "well, actually, I'm not", i confessed, "that's why i'm here". "i wouldn't advise deviating from your progress towards your current degree unless you are absolutely positive this is what you want to do." she went on to explain what i - in my haste - had not discovered, which was exactly how many of my credits i was going to lose, how much more time it would take and concluded with proverbial nails in the coffin on that plan, 18 of them to be exact: i would need an additional nine credit hours of math and nine credit hours of science. the two subjects that, frankly, i'd rather endure the pain of a thousand tiny paper cuts that have to go through. math and science were the reasons i was an "Arts & Humanties" major to begin with.

i was suddenly 17 again. figdeting nervously in the chair in the advisor's office, weeks before fall semester begins, having no clue what i was doing. only at 32, i'm probably the same age as the woman sitting across from me. "well, what do you enjoy?", she asked. at 17, i couldn't have answered that one so confidently. "i love writing, but hated journalism. i love photography, but am bored by the technical aspects of it and i do love fitness, but feel called in an opposite direction. oh, and i love blogging. can i major in blog?" she studies my transcripts once more. "English..." she said. I couldn't tell if it was a question or a statement. i reiterate my disdain for journalism, forced subject matter and fiction.

"well, it just so happens..." she begins.

this is it. i don't know how i know, but i know. just weeks ago, as we studied the series of Ruth, David Platt spoke of the providence of God and used the illustration of their son Caleb's adoption: "it just so happens", he began, "that God had not allowed us to conceive and it just so happens that we began to pray about adoption and it just so happens that God spoke the country of Kazakhstan and it just so happens that David & Heather, after being displaced by hurricane Katrina were now living down the street from a family who just so happened to helped facilitate adoptions from... Kazakhstan".

she continues,"that UAB's Department of English is now offering a new concentraion for English majors, it's called Creative Non-Fiction". its not majoring in blog, i thought, but its the next best thing. "and the best part", she says, "is that all of your Public Relations coursework can become your minor. all you have left is your major courses. you could graduate next December."
shut. up.

and so, it just so happens that i am returning to college at thirty-two. it just so happens that i surrendered my life to Christ just prior to returning to college at thirty two and it just so happens that, even as everything changed as that journey was about to begin, i have complete and total peace about it. in fact, i am thrilled! and when people ask, "what are you going to do with that?" my answer is the same as it would've been at 17, "i have no idea"...

but God does.

"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.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Nadia. "Commit you ways to the Lord and HE will direct your path." Seems that this is what happened.

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