Don’t you hate when things don’t go as planned? At times, I know I do; however, gradually I have learned how to better accept these moments possibly as God’s purposeful will. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say that changed or delayed plans don’t make me extremely frustrated at times, but I’ve learned to take a step back and think, “Maybe God is trying to protect me from something, or maybe God is trying to teach me something.” Changed or delayed plans can be quite a nuisance, but maybe just maybe on the other side of that God is working things out better than you ever imagined.
Summer of 2011 was one of the worst time periods of my life. I was in the second semester of nursing school taking three classes. Amid all my classes, there was one that semester I was struggling to pass. It seemed no matter what I did my mind could not wrap around the material. I spent extensive hours studying. I bought supplemental books to help me understand the material. I made appointments to meet with the professor outside of class only to leave feeling more confused than before our meetings. Nothing seemed to help! Unfortunately, halfway through the semester I made a hard decision to withdraw from the class and retake it another semester. I was completely devastated and honestly felt like a failure. I would think, “How could this happen to me? I’ve always succeeded academically!”
The next semester didn’t seem any better. Because the class I withdrew from wasn’t offered again for another two semesters, there was only one class within my program that was available for me to take in the fall. I could only focus on everything I lost and negatively gained: losing my “family” that I started the journey of nursing school with, graduating a year later than expected, losing my work-study job because I was now a part-time student, and I developed test anxiety for fear of failing again.
Although this time in my life was not the greatest, believe it or not God utilized that fall semester to teach me lessons and build me in ways beyond what I could have ever imagined. I remember reading a book called Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. My roommate, at the time, thought reading it might encourage me in some way so she offered to let me borrow her copy of the book. I remember Priscilla encouraging the reader to see life interruptions as God’s divine plan. She also brought to light the fact that God could’ve chosen anyone else in the universe to go through “this interruption” (whatever their “this” is), but He specifically chose that individual with purpose. I’m sure you can imagine my frustration and initial thoughts. From my viewpoint, it made no sense why God would divinely choose me to withdraw from a nursing class that caused me to lose even more in other areas of my life. What I didn’t realize however was that God’s intent was not to make my life miserable, He just had bigger plans than what I could see at the time.
Looking back, I can see how God utilized fall semester of 2011 to build me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. To overcome test anxiety, I had to learn how to depend on Him academically. Previously, I would study and take test under my own strength but God taught me how to depend on Him to divinely lead me during my study sessions and test. I also believe God used that semester to provide me with rest. Anyone who’s ever been through nursing school knows how stressful it is. There were many times where I would experience a random physical complication and think something was seriously wrong with me, but later realized it was all due to stress because of nursing school. And lastly, God utilized that semester to birth a book through me. Who would have ever known that amid what I would describe as a chaotic time in my life, God would lead me to write the manuscript of my first book. When I think back on Priscilla’s words now I can smile instead of cry out of pain about the fact that I was specifically chosen by God that semester. God knew exactly what He was doing when He allowed my life to be interrupted and He does for your life too.
I want to share a scripture with you that I’m often reminded of when things don’t go as I originally plan. The scripture is found in Proverbs 16:9 and it reads “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Short and simple but important for you and me to remember. This scripture reminds me to hang on to my plans loosely because God’s plans for me may be different, and if they are different I can guarantee you that they are better. So, if you are currently finding it difficult to accept an interruption in your life rest assured that God has everything under control. You may not be able to clearly see it all now but He will use the interruption for your good because He loves you and has your best interest at heart.