School Psychologist and Instructional Literacy Coach
“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14
Why this verse is important to Kristin:
I am a planner. I like to plan and organize everything so I am prepared for what’s coming. I am the vacation planner in our family and it involves extensive lists and sometimes spreadsheets. For me it’s hard not to have plans for my life, and it’s certainly hard for me to trust God’s plans. What if His plans don’t agree with mine?
When I first discovered this verse several years ago I was struggling with decisions about the plans I was making for my life – especially balancing my family with three kids and working full time during the school year. Everything I wanted to do was good: helping the teachers and kids I work with on a daily basis, loving my amazing husband, and taking care of my children. I was becoming frustrated with the mismatch between with what I thought were my professional gifts and talents with the opportunities I was finding myself in at work. Was this job worth the time it was taking away from my family? Truthfully, I was full of pride about my career. I have a Ph.D. from an excellent school and have had the privilege of working with many national experts in the field of education. I thought I was too talented to be spending my time on things that I didn’t think were important. In my frustration I kept reading this verse that told me to trust in God’s plans. His plans are good. He has plans to give me hope and a future – two things I didn’t always feel I had.
I started to follow God’s direction in these verses: “you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you”. God promises that He will listen, but I didn’t always believe that or see evidence of that around me. I finally realized that God promises that I will find Him when I “seek [Him] with all my heart”. I wasn’t seeking God with all my heart. Most of the time I was asking God to bless the plans I had created for myself. I was being selfish and only wanting what would bring me happiness. God brought me to the point where I was so frustrated and unhappy that I was willing to give up everything I had planned for myself: walk away from my career and do anything that wasn’t what I was doing now. In looking back, I realize this was the change in my attitude from following my own life plans to following God’s plans for my life.
On the surface, not much has changed about my life. I see that the plans I was making for my life were similar to what God has planned for me. He has given me an incredible family to take care of, and He wants me to do that with all my heart. I have been blessed with professional gifts in my career that He wants me to share with others. I do many of the same things I’ve always done, but the difference now is that I do them with a servant’s heart. I do them not to bring myself happiness and fulfillment, but to be someone who shares God’s love with everyone around me. That small change in my attitude has allowed God to bless me with a life full of more love and more joy than I could have even dreamed for myself.
These verses are important to me to share with others because God has plans for each and every one of us. He wants to give us all hope and a future. God wants everyone to know the depth of His love for them – for you. God doesn’t want to take away the things in our lives that are good – He wants to give us more. God asks us to seek Him with all our hearts so we can find a relationship with this amazing God who desires nothing more than to pour His love into each of our lives and bless us with joy.