by Christina Rose
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 ESV
After leaving California a few years ago I was excited to return home for a visit. I looked forward to driving down the coast to see my daughter and old friends, to visiting the redwood forests and all my favorite places. I had been desperately homesick for California since I left and had planned this trip for a year.
And then in the early hours of my prayer time, I heard, “Go to Maryland.”
I pouted. I didn’t want to go to Maryland. I wanted to go to California. “God is that you?” I asked. “Or is that the devil trying to steal my joy?”
Again, I heard God speak to me, “Go to Maryland.”
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, but he didn’t want to. God had a purpose for Jonah in Nineveh and chased after him until he went to Nineveh where he preached to the people and saved them from destruction. We can run but can’t hide from God and his purpose for us, so I postponed my trip to California and paid the $80 fee to change my ticket to go to Maryland.
Many years ago, I had left Maryland after my father’s suicide. It had created dark times for our family, and my youngest sister never truly recovered. While she was now living in Denver, her 7 adult children and 12 grandchildren now lived in Maryland near their fathers.
When I arrived in Maryland, I was blessed to visit my nieces and their beautiful young families. I recalled many years prior when I was a young mother and needed my mother’s help, but she was far away and absent, just as their mother was. I had felt lonely and abandoned. I then vowed to spend more time with my nieces and their families. After I left, I got a text, “So good to see you, come back soon.”
I called another young niece who was just a year old when my sister lost custody of her. She grew up many miles away from her mother who was absent for most of her young life. She shared she wished her mother would return her calls and asked if she could call me if she needed me. “I would be honored,” I answered, “Please call me any time.”
My cousin Susan and I visited her mother in the hospital. As I was about to leave I realized this would be the last time on earth I would see my beautiful aunt Becky. I kissed her on the cheek and said, “I love you.” She smiled and her big blue eyes looked into mine as she whispered, “Forever.”
Later that night Susan appeared at my door, “I can’t sleep thinking about my mother – I’m so glad you’re here.” We spent hours talking about life till the early hours of dawn as we had done since we were little cousins.
Anita was now 103 and had been like a mother to me. As I held her frail hand she said, “Honey, I wish you were closer, I worry so much about my family.”
I said “God hears your prayers and he will take care of you and your family. I promise I will come when they call me.”
She looked into my eyes and said, “I love you.” I answered, “I love you too, forever.”
While the trip to California would have been a blessing, I was sent to Maryland for blessings that were far greater than I could have ever imagined. When I changed my plans for God’s plan, his purpose for me was filled with such grace and favor that I am forever humbled and grateful.
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership. She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.
Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.
Join the conversation: Has God ever given you a change of plans? Please share!