"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9
This verse has helped me through life over and over again. I'm sure I've written a post with it in it before. :) But how true it is.
This summer God was asking me make several commitments. Commitments that scared me. Commitments that meant I couldn't pack up and leave WA if I felt like it. Commitments that put me in a place of complete trust with God. Last spring, I just wanted to leave. I wanted to go to a worship school..any worship school...in order to grow in my music ability and my relationship with God. I had a friend that was planning on attending Bethel Church's School of Supernatural Ministry (and is now currently there) in Redding, California. I had another friend who was moving to Kansas City, Missouri to attend a school at IHOP (International House of Prayer). "Where to I get to go??", I kept asking God. But He kept assuring me that it was okay to not be "going" right now. He showed me that this would be a season of growth in ways I hadn't known. That as I was faithful to be obedient, He would bless me with opportunities to grow in my music. (And, oh how He has blessed me with that!! So much!)
So I committed. I committed to being a volunteer middle school youth leader for another school year (until next summer). And God blessed me with an amazing nanny job that I committed to being at until at least next June.
My life was set. I had the year planned out. I was even able to quit my part-time job at the Christian bookstore, because of the wonderful accommodations of this new nanny job. I had a place to live (rent free) on the property of the family I worked for - a place of my own, I was being paid well to take care of their 3 children three days a week, they were Christians (praise God!), my schedule worked out so I could attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF)... It was perfect.
Until one day in mid-September (after four great months of loving on their kids), I went in to work on a typical Monday morning to find my boss waiting for me at the kitchen table with a folded paper set in front of him. I wondered what was going on. He asked to talk with me for a little bit. I sat down, and to my utter surprise was told that I was no longer needed as their nanny, that "things weren't really working out as we had hoped", and that they had arranged for someone else to take care of the children from that day forward. I was stunned. Thankfully, he said that I could remain living in the apartment until the end of October so that I could have time to find a new job, and place to live.
My first reaction upon coming home was to cry...and want to run away. I just wanted to move away and start over somewhere else! But God gently reminded me that He still had my best in mind. And that there were things He had called me to Whatcom County to accomplish in this season (for example, reaching out to middle school students!). Then, I began filling out job applications. It hadn't been but about 3 weeks since I had quit working at the bookstore, so I went in and humbly asked Bill (my boss) if he would consider re-hiring me, at least seasonally. He did. And I think with great pleasure (correct me if I'm wrong, Bill.) :)
That's just one of the ways in which my plans have totally been shifted, and where I hold on to this proverb. I also rejoice in this proverb. Because it is in the great surprises of God's determining of steps that wonderful friendships are found.
In August, I found out about a "worship night" that was taking place at a local park, and decided to go. I had no idea who was leading the worship, or any other details. When I got there I soon found out that it was a church from a town about an hour away that was leading worship! Awesome!, I thought. I saw some friends from church, so I went over to stand by them, and was soon invited to join one of them to dance in the grass as we worshiped. She and I both love to express our admiration for God through dance, so I excitedly agreed. As the worship team played we just enjoyed the beautiful presence of Jesus, sang, and danced. The last song was very upbeat, and soon several young guys and a bunch of children were dancing around the pavilion with us! It was so great because the words of the song said, "People from every nation and tribe, from generation to generation, We worship You, for who You are..." and there truly were people from many nations and generations represented! Afterward, a few guys that had danced with us, and some from the band introduced themselves to us and told us about their church. After a short conversation they invited me to join them at a restaurant. I accepted.
Later on some of us became facebo*k friends. The electric guitar player from the worship band shared conversations about music with me, and we talked about hearing each other play sometime in the future. He was also in another band, outside of the church worship team. And of course, I had been playing pretty regularly at local "open mic" nights.
It wasn't until this past Saturday that I actually had the opportunity to hear Feliks' band (The Sweet Dominiques). It was really fun to hear him play, and I also got to sit next to a friend of his whom I found out also has a lot in common with me. Julie and I discovered that we are both twins, both have done YWAM, and also play musical instruments. :) It was super great getting to know her! And the last few days, I've been getting to know Feliks more as well.
I just love being surprised with the opportunity to get to know fellow lovers of Jesus! We truly don't know the plans of the Lord, but oh how good and pleasant they are!
I still don't know where my income will come from (beyond the part-time work I'm getting at the bookstore). I'll probably be moving back in with my family (which is a blessing!). Though the uncertainties of life are present, still am I filled with joy in finding security in the presence of Jesus. I have nothing to worry about, because I know that He determines my steps. And as we've probably all experienced, sometimes life just doesn't go as planned. But I hold on to these promises:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:25-27,33