“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
It’s going to sound weird, but I love the smell of stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Menards. It’s a place of possibilities. Projects and plans on the verge of being completed. Just the idea of it makes me smile right now! My Dad and my Grandfather were both excellent craftsmen and did most home improvement projects themselves. I’m sure this is where I inherited my love for home improvement stores. Visiting those stores with my dad always meant something fun was going to happen. I love finding ways to make my home more functional and aesthetically pleasing. It brings me joy. It wasn’t until I was older, and trying to do those projects on my own, that I realized they weren’t always as easy as I remember them from my childhood. The planning phase always seems easier than the execution phase, doesn’t it?
That can be true in all areas of life, right? How many of us made a master plan for our lives when we were younger, and the life we’re living now is from where we thought we would be?
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
My life direction stayed on course until I met my husband. Surprise! I had a few surprises before then of course.
I never anticipated being an art teacher. It’s a profession I fell into on a visit to Concordia University in Seward, NE. Before my visit, my high school art teacher had encouraged me to bring a portfolio of work to show the head of the art department. “See if you can get a little money,” He said. So I did, and what I received was the largest amount they awarded students. Suddenly I was on my way to be an art major and eventually teach art to high schoolers. It was not in my master plan. Who knew I’d be an art major? God did. And I can’t imagine my life without having served in that way. It wasn’t always easy, though.
Embracing being an art major meant sacrificing time with friends, spending lots of time in the art building, and many, many, MANY late nights. It meant starting projects, changing the plans for projects, and sometimes completely redoing projects. What sometimes seemed simple in the planning phase was often not simple when putting the plan into action.
The planning phase always seems easier than the execution phase
Fast forward to later in life. I was teaching art, working on my Masters in School Counseling (this was always in my master plan), and then I met my husband. Jason is in the Air Force, and that meant moving. Six times in nine years, in fact. That was never in my master plan. Moving to Okinawa, Japan and having both my daughters while living there was not in my master plan. Who knew? God did. And He provided an incredible village of people to help us transition into a family of three and then four.
Moving is hard. You have to have a plan, but often that plan changes twenty times before you even begin the actual process of moving. It can send anxiety through the roof! More than once I turned to 1 Peter 5:7 where I was reminded to, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Reading it now gives me a greater sense of peace. In all of the moving we have done, we have learned to create plan A, plan B, plan C, and then finally, not to be surprised when plan D is what takes place. As for the ease of execution? Nothing about moving is easy. But it is incredibly rewarding to finish the process and look back at all the little ways we see how God carried us through it.
Ultimately I think the most rewarding part of life is looking back at how I made all sorts of grand plans. How they didn’t work out how I thought they would. Sometimes painfully so, but then I see how God’s plans were so much better then I what I could have put together.
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About the Author
Kari Johnson is Groups and Events Coordinator at King of Kings. She is married to Jason and has two daughters.