The military lifestyle, although not without sacrifice, is not without benefits. My husband’s career took us to far away places to live: Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Arizona, Maryland, and North Carolina. He was on mission, and the adventure we had together brought excitement, travel, new food, and best of all new friends literally from all over.
The plan for retirement was to continue similar work as a civilian. My vision had us living in new places with new people. I wanted to take advantage of globetrotting travel opportunities close to wherever we would live next, and after that, and after that.
“Your will, not mine,” is the prayer of the devout. It’s Jesus’ words as he prepared to die for you and me. Dire circumstances for a profound goal. The interruption in Jesus’ life was his death. My interruption is going back to Kentucky. Not very earth shattering, and yet I’ve been struggling to let go of my will in exchange for God’s will.
Do you struggle with that as well? Our vision was set, and now God is leading us into His vision. Our plans have to be scrapped, but we know God’s plan is still going strong. Maybe like me you really thought He was on board with your plan, but now comes the interruption, the derailment, a completely different turn of events.
All those job opportunities that were available three or four years ago are gone. There’s a hiring freeze. There’s new enforcement of old rules. One by one every door has closed. Every window. There is only one way left to walk forward after my husband’s retirement, and it is back to small town life, to his hometown in Kentucky. And as much as I love our families, and our hometowns, and the idea of being close to them, this was not the plan.
Do I turn to God and say “not my will but yours?” Is my reaction positive? No. I’ve been angry, resentful, and honestly mourning the loss. No one died. No one is sick. My life has been interrupted by a good turn. I just wasn’t ready for that. The settling down was supposed to come later…in my plan.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD” (Bible book of Isaiah 55:8)
That was the verse, the first verse in my recent group Bible study. For seven weeks we have looked at Jonah’s life, at his poor reaction to a change in plans, at what it took to bring him back from rebellion. This video study was lead by Priscilla Shirer who says we can see life interruptions as “divine intervention” in Jonah’s life and in our own lives.
For the last two weeks God has been bringing me around. Gladly no time in the belly of a big fish was required. God keeps reminding me that He is good. (Count the blessings I’ve poured out on you.) That He is love. (Remember how I gave my son to die for you?) That His timing is perfect. (Remember how adopting your sons worked out, Kristin?) That His plans for me are not only for good but for the best. (Remember what you asked for and I said ‘No’ and what came next?)
So I’m giving God my sorrow knowing He will give me His joy. I’m saying “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord” (Lyrics-Trading My Sorrows). Each day I find something new to look forward to in our coming rural-America life.
Today I opened my Jonah homework and saw these words: THE INTERRUPTED LIFE is the significant life.
Before Jonah’s direction was changed by God, he was just another prophet with barely a mention in Second Kings 14:25. Now his story is one far greater, even his bad behavior is a lesson, and he’s become a blessing across the years to multitudes.
My wide cultural adventures may come to an end this summer, but embracing what God has next, what His plan is for this interruption, this turning point, this about face, is where life becomes significant. God is moving. He is preparing the way, not just any way but His way for me and my family.
I am singing, “He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, blessed be the Name.” (Blessed Be the Name of the LORD)
What comes next?
Better. That’s what.
Thanks to Priscilla Shirer and Jonah: Navigating Life Interrupted.