I was raised by a mother who was very devoted to God. She taught me that God loved me from the time that I was very little. I had confidence in this understanding and believed that He was there for me.
Over the course of my life, this belief would be tested and challenged, to see if I would continue to trust in God and believe that He was there for me. One thing that has always helped me to stay connected to Him is prayer. Prayer brings peace, praying out loud in a private place brings understanding and comfort, praying when I am confused or upset or feeling any other emotion always keeps me grounded.
At one point in my life many years ago, I was a senior in high school. I had a serious boyfriend who I had dated for a couple of years who wanted to marry me. I knew that I was still young, but I felt that it was what I wanted, and I began to make plans for our future together. But in the back of my mind there was always something that would bug me that never quite allowed me to feel settled in this decision. I resented that feeling and would push back with my own plans and my own ideas for my future and I was very close minded to asking God if this was really what I should be doing.
As time went on, my boyfriend bought a ring and had plans to move forward in the relationship and wanted to propose. The same unsettled feeling gnawed at me even with the happiness I felt in my plans, robbing me of peace and leaving me utterly confused.
This confusion frustrated me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong – getting married was an exciting new chapter for me! I had a plan, and this is what I wanted! Why couldn’t I feel peace in the situation?
During this time, I had been focusing all my attention on my own plans that I had made. I never once stopped to take the time to bring my concerns to God. I had been very distant in prayer and had been very afraid to talk to Him – afraid to receive the answer that I feared the most. That my plan was not the one that was best suited for me currently.
That fall, I began taking college classes and loved the environment of college. I loved the new experiences I was having and started to feel that gnawing again. This time, I was a little more open to the possibilities of something more in my future than being married. But I kept those thoughts to myself.
One day, after competing in a speech and debate tournament, I felt an impression to take time to pray and ask God what He wanted me to do. I knew I had to ask Him the scariest question of all – was this the plan that was right for me?
As I knelt in an empty classroom on the college campus and poured out my heart to God, I felt a heavy burden lifted from my shoulders and a clear answer come into my mind. He did have another plan for me – to volunteer my time and to be a missionary. I felt clarity come with that thought and knew that I would have to end my relationship and pursue this course. It was a leap of faith for me but turned out being an enormous blessing in my life that led me to new experiences, friends, living in a foreign country that I dearly loved, and learning new languages. Things I would have never gotten to experience had I trusted in my own plans.
Receiving the comfort and peace that came during that prayer helped me to change the course of my life and to learn an important lesson.
God always knows what is best for His children. He loves us and will help us as we make big life decisions if we turn to Him and ask in faith, and then trust in His answers. Even when we do not fully understand, we can choose to trust in His plan with faith, and not in ourselves. God will give us an answer that will bless our lives and bring happiness to our lives.