We all have heard God is faithful to us, but sometimes we can doubt his faithfulness when we go through times of suffering. Today I want to remind you that no matter what is currently going on in your life, God is walking alongside, ahead and behind you. You are surrounded by his presence, and love.
The past year has been a whirlwind. Last fall I started a new school, and I remember going in being nervous and anxious. Would I make new friends? Would I fall behind academically? Would I like my school? All of these questions filled my head, and put a weight on my heart. I knew God had a plan, and that I was surrounded by his presence, though at times I couldn’t help but feel alone. I mostly missed my friends from my previous school, along with the comfort of seeing familiar faces. Having so many people who were coming up to me and introducing themselves, or saying hi to me in the hallway by name, when I had no clue who they were, was all a bit overwhelming at times. I was excited at the thought of why God had placed me in this new school and prayed constantly to see his will for me, but at times my vision of his will/plan would cloud because I was so focused on my own. Even though I thought I new what God’s plan for me was, I’m just starting to realize, it may not have been the same as I imagined.
I’ve definitely learned a lot this year, and number one being, friendships take time! Boy how I wish I knew this when I was coming into my new school. For some reason I had this idea that by my second week of school I’d be besties with everyone, and that the 9 years spent apart at other schools would be made up for in a week’s time. I kept comparing my friendships in my new school to the ones I had since kindergarten and what I also was forgetting, was that most of the friendships I strived after had also been formed long ago. I’m not saying if you weren’t friends in elementary school, then you won’t be now. What I am saying is friendships are made stronger by spending more time together, that’s more conversations, laughs and memories being formed. As humans it takes us time to warm up to new people, to really be ourselves. No one acts the same way around someone they just met, compared to someone they’ve been friends with for years. I also learned that you have to pursue others and not just wait to be pursued. Stop waiting for your new friend to invite you over and invite them over instead!
And because I wasn’t making as strong of friendships as I was hoping to, I started to doubt God’s plan. How silly is that! I failed to notice my incredible teachers, how lucky I was to go to a Christian school, where I had bible class and chapel, where we talked about God in our classes, where the students were focused, respectful, and so welcoming (I’ve never met friendlier people in my life). And I even missed the fact of just how many of my new friends were actually pursuing me, isn’t that crazy! Sometimes our vision gets clouded because we overthink things to much, which makes us start doubting God and only later do we see He was with us all along.
I remember one day I was taking a math test. I had studied for hours and hours. I spent my flex (break time) and lunch sitting in my math teachers class reviewing problems. Half way through lunch I decided that I needed to actually eat and headed over to the dining hall to get some lunch. Unfortunately there was barely any food left as it was chicken tender day, which is very popular amongst our school. Even the salad bar which I normally ate from was pretty much cleared out. I managed to put together a small salad out of what was left and didn’t even sit down to eat. I barely ate anything because I was so worried about the test and continued reviewing. I started to notice myself forgetting how to do the problems I felt so confident about ten minutes ago. Shear panic settled in me as the rest of my class began walking in. I remember feeling like I was reading a foreign language and I kept jumping from one problem to the next trying to see if I could make sense of at least one. Slowly one by one hands started going up to get the calculator active portion of the test, and still I was stuck on the first problem. Then hands started going up to turn in their tests and mine was going up to get the second portion. I’ll never forget the look on my sweet math teacher’s face when I told her I indeed wasn’t turning in my test, but asking for the calculator active portion. “Oh Sasha” were her exact words I believe. I had five minutes left of class to complete 25 problems, and both of us knew there was no way I was going to finish. She tore off the last page and told me to do as much as I could on the first page only, and that I could come back and finish the rest later. I could feel a lump in my throat as I tried to hold back my tears. I was tired, hungry, and so upset, how could I have blanked! As the next class filed in, my sister walked up to me and told me every thing was going to be ok, which of course made me know it wasn’t ok. I scrambled to finish the last few problems on the page and turned it in to my teacher who told me to come back and finish the rest after school. When I came back after school I was still shaken and couldn’t remember how to solve the problems. My sister walked in and asked me how long it would take me, when I told her at least half an hour she began to get upset as we had a personal training session after school. As she was talking with our math teacher about their weekend plans. I began to cry a little, only a sniffle, but noticeable enough. I was so overwhelmed and worried that I could’nt contain it any longer. I heard my teacher whisper “is Sasha crying?” “I think so” said my sister. “Oh no, I don’t want her to cry!” The next thing I know my teacher is giving me a hug and a box of tissues telling me it’s ok, and reminding me of all the work i’d done before, she then brought me a pepsi from her mini fridge and a pack of cupcake goldfish, “Here why don’t you have a snack” she said sympathetically. My sister apologized for getting upset and told me we could reschedule our personal training session. She asked if I wanted for her and my dad to bring me some chickfila since I didn’t get a proper lunch. I ended up doing fine and got a 89. Apparently I knew the material just fine and how to do it, but just doubted myself.
God knew this was the right place for me even when I did not, he guided me through the year and through good times and bad alike. This summer I witnessed possibly the sweetest part of his plan. First off (through another one of my teachers) I learned about reality ministries, a non profit dedicated to the ministry of people with disabilities, and spent the best week ever hanging out and volunteering there, I gained a new outlook on people in general and am so thankful for being able to spend that week the way I did. Secondly I got an internship at a bakery, as I briefly mentioned in my previous post. If I hadn’t gone to my new school, I’d never have met the owners or been able to get the internship. By Wednesday into the week they pulled my sister and I aside into their office and asked us how we felt about joining their team for a part time paid position. I still haven’t got over this and still squeal every time I tell this story. I get to spend my days baking sea salt chocolate chip cookies, rolling out dough, and decorating sugar cookies. This may not be everyone’s dream, but it sure is mine. The people who work there are incredibly supportive, loving and fun. Plus I’m constantly laughing and telling stories. It’s only been a few weeks and I already feel like they’re family! Also for the first time ever I was disappointed because it was Friday (I know I’m insane)! Which meant I had to wait a whole two days to go back to the bakery since they’re closed on weekends. God has truly blessed me with such joy I do not deserve. And all this time I was questioning his plan for me.
There’s a lot more I could go on about to try to convince you of how faithful our God is, but I’ll leave it at this. I want you to know it’s normal to have doubt, just don’t allow doubt to turn you away from Christ. He loves you and he takes care of each and every one of us because we are his sheep and he is our shepherd, and that will never change.
If you are in the same place I was in, not long ago, where you feel like you’ve lost sight of God’s plan for you, here are some reminders and scripture to hopefully help you.
Prayer in my opinion is the best thing to do when you feel you’ve lost sight of God’s plan. Whenever I don’t know where to start or what to do, I pray. Communication is important in all relationships, even with Christ. In Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Jesus tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” When you are overwhelmed and have lost hope, go to Christ and ask for help, and he will help you. Ask for guidance and for Christ to open your eyes, to see his plan. Here is some scripture to remember…
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)
2.) Remember God’s plan is greater than your own
As I told you earlier I couldn’t see God’s plan for me at my new school because I was so caught up in making strong friendships, and I failed to notice where God was leading me. If you’re in a similar place currently, take a moment to reevaluate what’s going on. Maybe God is pointing you in a different direction. Be open to change and listen to what the Lord is trying to tell you. Sometimes what He’s trying to tell you may not be what you want to hear, but remember, God’s plan is greater than your own, it may not seem like that in the moment but I promise you it is. Here is some scripture to remember…
“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 (NIV)
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
3.) Read scripture
Scripture is one of the ways God communicates to us, so whenever you are lost and have a question on your heart, open your bible and look. I bet the answer is in there 🙂 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our LORD Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
Thanks for reading!