Have you ever had an idea in your head, that you were absolutely certain was God’s idea too? Have you ever felt hurt and betrayed when you realized that your plan was not God’s plan at all. Perhaps, God had something different planned completely, something that (quite honestly) you don’t have much interest in pursuing. If so, I’m right there with you. Well, at least I was. After taking a couple of hesitant steps onto some fresh soil, I am reminded that I am but a seed in His hand.
A beautiful Sunday morning in the brand new year of 2012. I’m sitting with my family in our home church, Shepherd of the Hills in Porter Ranch. Pastor Dudley is laying out the sermon series for the year, in order that the congregation may begin to prepare their hearts and minds for what God has in store for us.
Our Pastor asked us to pick a topic series that most interested us and then consider serving on a team that would head up the events of that weekend . When he spoke of a weekend in May that would be entitled, Imagine if every Child had a Home, my ears perked up. The service would be a celebration of life and would even include a live ultra sound done on the stage during each of the 5 services. Seeing I was 12 weeks pregnant, I thought perhaps I would be the one to show all of Shepherd of the Hills Church the beautiful baby that God was knitting together within my womb.
Well, if you have read any of my previous posts, you already know that this was not God’s plan for me. But at the time, I was certain it was. I quickly filled out my service card, indicating that this was indeed the weekend I felt lead to help out.
Less than a week later, I miscarried. And the week after that, came an email from the church reminding me of my pledge to serve on the Imagine if every Child had a Home committee. At this point, I had only shared my sad news with my family and the ladies from a Bible Study not associated with Shepherd of the Hills Church. Whoever sent this reminder, of course, had no idea of what I had just gone through. I knew it was just a formality, but it was at that moment I realized
my plan was not God’s plan at all. He knew that the excitement I felt on Sunday, January 8th would be distinguished the moment I saw this email. Why would God do that? Seriously, my plan was way better than this one.
A few days later, yet another reminder came. A training meeting was to be held that night, Jan. 23rd, for all those who had pledged to serve. I pressed delete and headed over to Facebook for a much-needed distraction. There, at the top of my News Feed was my friend, Christina Johnson, announcing that she was attending the “Imagine Meeting” at Shepherd of the Hills tonight. Some may call this irony or a strange coincidence. But right then I knew, He wanted me there anyway.
Fine, I’ll go. I have no idea how I can be of use now, but I’m sure you’ll tell me when I get there.
The hundred or so volunteers filled only a small section of our huge Worship Center. One of the Assistant Pastors announced, “We will now be splitting into 2 groups. All those who want to work with Parenting and Young Families, please get up and come with us to the next room. Those that stay here, will be dealing with the topic of Adoption and the Unborn.”
I’m not entirely sure why I stayed. Here I sit with a degree in Child Developement. I was an Elementary School Teacher for ten years before Homeschooling my own 2 children. I volunteer every other week in the 4-year-old Sunday School room. My husband, Jon, and I even facilitated Parenting Classes at our last Church. (Sorry about the laundry list, but clearly this is my passion.) Every logical bone in my body should be getting me up and moving me to the next room. The fact is: I love serving and helping families that are already established. Why am I not moving?
Perhaps it was the general numbness still circulating throughout my body after last weeks event. Or, the somewhat pitiful feeling, that I am in no position to help anybody right now. Whatever it was I stayed firmly planted in my seat.
A few speakers came up from Adoption Agencies, explaining how their programs work. I was familiar with what they had to say, from doing my own research a few years back. Jon and I, at one point, had considered Fostering to Adopt… until the 3 families we knew personally, all eventually had to give their foster children back to the birth parents. Although, it was very sad for our friends, those foster children did get to experience something very special: The love of family unity in a safe environment, while their parents were “getting their act together”. Jon felt that none of us could deal with the heart-break of losing a child we believed would be ours. Hmmm. As I write this I’m realizing, the incredible irony of that last sentence… At any rate, one day I would love to adopt, but not until, as a family, we can embrace that decision together.
Next, a woman named, Debby, from The Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) came up. She told of a story where a young girl came to PRC for a free pregnancy test. The girl was heartbroken when the test came back positive. Despite some counsel, she left the Center; abortion-minded. A few weeks later she came back with her disbelieving boyfriend for a free ultra-sound. She had already made an appointment at an Abortion Clinic, but the boyfriend wanted to see the “blob” to know if it was true or not. During the ultra-sound the baby’s body was clearly visible and upon seeing a little hand and the perfect profile of the head, the boyfriend literally passed out. Before leaving, the couple told the counselor at PRC, that she just saved their baby’s life.
I couldn’t help but think of the life saving possibilities that existed within that picture that I took of my baby (see Dear Baby post to view the amazing photo). Many young couples are unaware and convinced their baby is only a “blob” or a “small mass of flesh”. I have held evidence in my own hand that proves otherwise.
After the presentations were over I walked out of the Worship Center and bumped into Christina (who – unless she is reading this blog – has no idea God used her FB post to get me there). Christina gave me a tender smile and a warm hug. It was a powerful moment for me. It was as if the Lord, himself, was communicating: I’m glad you came.
Feeling very much “hip to God’s new plan”, I walked over to the PRC information table. I began to explain to Debby about my recent miscarriage and the amazing moment I was able to capture in a photograph. All the while, she appears to be looking at me very strangely. Before I could finish, Debby asks, “Did you write a letter to your baby?”
I couldn’t answer. I was so confused, how could she possibly have known that? I nodded my head affirming her question.
With matching disbelief, she says, “Two different people have already forwarded me your letter and photo. It’s sitting in my inbox.”
I wasn’t sure whether to feel honored or betrayed. “Who?”,was my eventual response.
Debby said the name of one of their Board Members, who I recognized as the husband of one of the ladies from my bible study. The other name I had never heard before. While I was still processing all this, she walked over to me from behind her table, and wrapped her arms around me. Her only words were, “God wants to use this.”
Actually, I could have stayed home that night, and the Director of The Pregnancy Resource Center would still have my letter and baby’s photo on her computer, ready to be used. The seed had already been planted, so why did He want me to be there?
At that moment I realized: He still has a plan for this life, and that plan will be fulfilled, with or without me. People say that I am so brave and strong and willing to be honest. Truthfully, I am none of those things on my own. Really, all I did was allow myself to grow where God planted me. And like all young seeds, growth happens over time. The process of being split open and shedding that once protective layer, is not easy. Knowing, it will seem like forever, before the fruit from this little seed will appear. Roots,hidden from our eyes, must form first. We don’t see them forming, but when growth takes off we are certain they exist.
That night, I asked Debby, how I could get involved with her program. ( I had already shed my protective layer and un-beknown to me, a root was beginning to take hold.) Now, 4 months later, I am finishing up my 6 week Volunteer Training Course at PRC. Starting in June, I will begin counseling women who come to the Center with an unplanned pregnancy looking for help and guidance. Surprisingly, I’ve learned that the main goal of PRC is not to save the lives of the unborn, but to save the lives of these confused girls and women. The bi-product, of that, is that their babies are saved as well.
This is not something I ever would have pursued on my own. But yet, this is where I’ve been planted. I do still think that my original plan was good, but I’m starting to see how His plan can be even better. Now watch me grow…