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Reflections on a Snowy Night

As I’m putting this blog together, it’s late at night and I’m looking out my window watching a beautiful snowstorm outside of my window.

There’s a part of me that’s wishing I had boots (or any coordination at all) so that I could go outside and play in the snow. Being that I have neither, for tonight, I am content to watch. And while I watch, I remember.

There’s something about snow that makes me nostalgic…

….I remember the night my Mom and I went for a walk in the snow only to find that the drifts were almost as tall as we were.

….I remember Jamie and I going around the neighborhood as kids shoveling snow for the neighbors to earn extra money. (I guess we were always destined to work together LOL)

….And I’m remembering cold winter nights over twenty years ago when my best friend and I would have taken advantage of a night like this, bundled up, and walked all around the campus at our college. While we walked we’d talk about the future….what we hoped would happen…what we were pretty sure was set in concrete would happen….and all of the big dreams and plans that we had for our lives.

The funny thing is that if you asked either my friend or I if our lives turned out the way we thought they would on those nights while we trudged through the snow, we’d probably laugh and say, “Yeah, not even close.” And yet, I’m pretty sure if you’d talk to either one of us, we’d both agree (because we talked about it over coffee and chocolate croissants) that even though our lives didn’t follow the plans we laid out; they actually turned out better.

The truth is—-back then—-we were naive. There were so many things that we wanted—-things that we thought we would just die if God didn’t provide—-that we now look back on and think, “What was I thinking? Thank you God for seeing what I couldn’t see and for taking me in a different direction.”

Of course, not all of God’s plans were to protect us. Some of His plans were to push us and stretch us into areas that we never would have even imagined back then. Over and over again, God saw that we were able to do more than we thought we could do (or even wanted to do) and His plans were for us to not just try; but to thrive in these unexpected adventures.

As I’m looking out the window tonight I wonder, “What would a more mature you tell that young girl twenty years ago if you had the chance?”

Without a doubt my answer would be, “Stop stressing about everything. Stop worrying and trying to make things happen. Don’t wear yourself out trying to make life follow your plans. God’s got everything under control and His plan is WAY better than yours.”

I’d remind her of Proverbs 3 which says:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

(The Message)

Beyond a doubt, this is the best advice I could give her.

And then the Holy Spirit says, “Perhaps you should take your own advice.” (OUCH!!! I hate when He hits the nail on the head so accurately.)

Yet it was true. Twenty years later, my older self still needs to be reminded of the truth that God is in control.

…When I’m worried about how I’m going to pay a bill

…When I’m worried about the fact that I’m getting older and life still doesn’t fit into a pretty little box

…When I’m stressing about what will happen twenty years from now or considering making a plan out of panic.

Once again I need to remember that: It isn’t my job to worry and stress and try to figure everything out. Instead it is my job to listen to God’s voice in everything that I do, to obey Him and His Word, and to trust that He will keep me on the track that He wants me to be on.

It’s then that I’m reminded of another truth:

The goal of a Christian is to fulfill God’s will and purpose for their life—-not to necessarily get everything they want.

I know, this can be a hard truth to accept. However, over the course of my life, I’ve found it to be true.

Psalm 139:13-16 says,

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Take a look at those verses once again and see that from conception, throughout your life, until your very last day, God has a plan.

“All of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

You see, God isn’t up in Heaven worried about what is going to happen in your life or when it is going to happen. He already has a plan and purpose for you—-in His eyes it’s already done. What I’ve learned is that no matter how long I plan, how hard I try to manipulate things, or how many pouting, “I-need-this” bully fits that I throw, it doesn’t change God’s plans. It just wastes my energy.

The principle that I need to remember and constantly apply in my own life is that it isn’t my job to make my paths straight—-it’s my job to submit my way to God and wholeheartedly follow His path for my life.

What does this practically mean?

-For me, it means doing what God wants me to do today and letting the results and the future to Him.

-It means being faithful in the little things and letting the big problems of my world to God.

-It means that I listen to God’s voice as He speaks through the Word and as I pray, and then I do what He says even when it seems hard or I simply in my human flesh don’t want to do it.

-Sometimes it means sacrifice; other times it means taking a leap of faith, but the one common theme is that it always means FOLLOWING.

Following God’s Word. Following God’s plan. Following Biblical principles.

Following Jesus and trusting that just like He has in the past, He has a plan and a purpose that is better than what I can currently see or even imagine.

Trusting that if I submit every day of my life to Him and follow His ways that twenty years from today I’ll look back on this snowy night and think, “Wow—-You really did have everything under control. I’m so glad I trusted You.”

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