We Pray and Plan. God Does What He Wants.

We fast and pray for the Lord to bring men and women into relationship with Him, for men to lead in the church and in relationships, for our hearts to be soft to the Lord’s leading, and for God-honoring marriages for those who desire them.

Sometimes, life moves at the pace of a snail. Nothing seems to change. Same job. Same state. Same datelessness. Same relationship status. Then all of a sudden, everything changes—usually in a short period of time.

This time last year, I was about to turn 30, was working at an energizing organization with no intention of leaving and in a city I loved (DC) with no love life to speak of. (Need proof? Just click the links.) If you had asked me how 2015 would go, I would have said that it would have been more of the same—don’t get me wrong, I loved my life—but nothing all that radical was on the horizon.

Then, I got a phone call from a friend. She suggested I leave my job, go to grad school in the midwest, and then think about coming to work at her organization. I thought about it and prayed, and my internal thought process went something like this:

I don’t want to leave DC, but maybe I should. I can’t really afford to live on my own here, much less buy a house. I’m pretty content with being single. Maybe God’s calling me to step out, to take a leap of faith and make a new life for myself. If I follow her advice, I could afford living on my own and be involved in amazing ministry. I don’t have a significant other to consider or children. Why not say yes to an adventure–even if I might be saying yes to a life of singleness?

Now, you may be quick to point out that saying yes to grad school and the chance at a job isn’t necessarily signing up for a lifetime of singleness, but the way I was looking at it—I was making a plan for my life (with God) in a way I hadn’t done in a decade.

I was terrified, but I started taking steps towards that vision of the future. Then, shortly before I was going to take the GRE and start my graduate school applications, I took a final work-trip to Phoenix. As it happens, I met this guy, and I liked him immediately. Nothing could happen right? Sure, he was a Christian, and we had a lot of similar interests. Bottom line: He lived in Arizona and worked for a company I was leaving, and I was making plans.

I started talking to him anyway.

I flew back to DC, continued making my plans, and although nothing was really happening with that guy, we also never stopped talking. I applied for grad school. We’d text and IM. I got a graduate assistantship. We’d Skype. I accepted the graduate assistantship. We’d Skype for longer. I liked him, but I didn’t think anything would happen.

Fast forward to today. I’m two months into a two-year graduate program in a midwestern state I’d barely thought of a year ago—with a long-distance, desert boyfriend that I’m planning the holidays with. I’ve got a pretty ridiculous case of whiplash. I thought I knew what was going to happen this year, and I’ve been humbled.

I wanted to write about my whirlwind for a two reasons:

#1: We pray and plan. Whether you’ve just discovered FastPray or started praying with Connally, Anne, and the original writers, this community is about prayer. We pray out of joy, out of frustration, out of disappointed hopes, out of expectation, out of loneliness, out of confusion. We pray for men, for women, and the gift of marriage. We pray for our futures, for God’s guidance and for His will to be done in our lives. When we pray, God consoles, guides, convicts, and sometimes, is seemingly silent. Our job isn’t to decide how God answers our prayers. Our job is to bring our whole selves to the Lord—as we are—so He can meet us. We pray, and to the best of our ability, plan our course through the world.

#2: God does what He wants. If I draw one lesson out of the past year, it’s that the God we pray to can’t be cajoled or manipulated. He’s not safe, but He’s good—to borrow C.S. Lewis’s famous description. He sees us, and He’s chasing us. I prayed about grad school and my plan for my future and thought it seemed pretty great, but I’ve been humbled. We can make all the plans we want, but He’s actually calling the shots. I thought that because my love life had been following the same course that it had been—that it always would. My life seemed pretty predictable, and I was comfortable with that. I prayed, but I honestly wasn’t looking for God to bring someone into my life.

As someone who has contemplated her own singleness intentionally for years—who has endured every version of the formulaic marriage calculator, I am not suddenly going to sprout barbed wisdom. Instead, I want to offer some measure of encouragement that we cannot see what God sees and know what God plans. He sees your faithful prayers and wants to quiet you with his love.

Love,
Anna

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4 Responses to We Pray and Plan. God Does What He Wants.

  1. Neelam says:

    Beautiful. So encouraged to hear your story, Anna. And am very excited and happy for you!

  2. Helen Crews says:

    Thank you Anna for your timely message.

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