August 27, 2013

Double posting from my other blog

So I have been thinking a lot about plans. My plans, Andrew's plans, God's plans, people's plans; you know that "next step" to take. Most people would agree that the best plan is to turn 16 get a car and a job, then graduate high school at 18, go to college and graduate in 4-6 years, get married in your mid-twenties, get a job with said college degree, buy a house, have 2.5 babies, settle down, work until you are in your 60's and then retire.

Well, our life isn't going exactly according to the worlds "plan" of what we should and shouldn't be doing. I have never been one to follow the crowd, never one to fall inline with the plan laid out for us kids.

In elementary school I wore weird clothes. I can even remember I had this one outfit that was silver metallic bell bottomed pants that I would pair with a turquoise glitteriffic sweatshirt. Yea, I was that kid. The kid that bought space books for the quiet kid in class because she knew his family didn't have money for the book fair. Actually, my mom bought the books for him when I told her about him. That was a stepping stone to finding who I was; my mom was guiding me to a life of compassion. I wanted to help people, be the support they needed. That year my mom bought these little name cards that hung on the back of our bathroom door. My brother and I each had a robe that hung there and above our robe the card was there with our name and the meaning of our name. She also had a card with the bible verse John 3:16 on it: "for God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son so whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Those cards hung on our door and every time I would brush my teeth, take a shower, go pee, whatever! I would stare at those cards and read them over and over. I would say, "Katlyn means pure" and then read John 3:16. That is how I memorized my first bible verse.

So what if it was unconventional and I was "odd" I really didn't mind. Middle school was tougher. I had love from Jesus bursting at the seams but was really shy about it. I would quietly tell my friends about Jesus and how much he loves us. Once again I became that kid. Seventh grade was the year I decided what I wanted to do with my life. When I told my parents what I wanted to be their answer was, "no." That was it. I didn't want to be a doctor or a nurse, not a teacher or a astronaut, neither a dancer or mom, not even an artist or musician. I wanted to be a missionary. I HAD to go to Ukraine.

Ukraine was my first plan. I watched a short presentation on the needs of Ukraine in seventh grade be believed I just had to go there. The next year I fell in love with Uganda in the same way. Seeing the little brown faces on the computer screen seemed to just call to me. I felt like I HAD to go there. Still, of course, my parents said no. Freshman year of high school I felt that Thailand was where I was meant to be. I had Ukraine, Uganda, and Thailand information all over my binders. I would pray for the countries everyday and pour of information I could find on the Internet. My heart grew again the following year and it opened up to Hungary, Ethiopia, and Kenya. That sophomore year I had a giant map behind my bedroom door and each of those countries (Ukraine, Uganda, Thailand, Hungary, Ethiopia, and Kenya) all colored and labeled. On the top of the map I wrote the bible verse John 3:16: "for God so love the world that he sent his one and only son so whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

During this time you could call me dogmatic. I was all about the rules of the bible. I didn't curse, didn't date, didn't drink, didn't dress provocatively, didn't disobey my parents (much), I was all about the RULES. Who could memorize the most scripture, who knew the most information about the bible. It was all about how many rules could I keep perfect. In all honesty I thought I was doing a good thing but part of me took it too far. I started to feel pity for those that couldn't follow the rules. I didn't think they were hard so why couldn't they do it too? My compassion for those that sinned was lacking. I had compassion for the children of the countries I prayed for but I didn't have the Jesus-like compassion I should have for all people.

I lived that way for a long time and then I started to stumble. I felt like I had to be perfect or something bad would happen. I became depressed and this notion of "being perfect" was my downfall. I secretly struggled with this for years. It made me so depressed I felt like God didn't want me anymore; I mean what worth did I have when I couldn't even go to a third world country to live poor like Jesus did and feed the hungry? My relationship with God was dwindling. I held fast to the rules and clung to the idea that God would like me if I was almost perfect.

As years past, friends came and gone, relationships came and went, boys just went, I started to realize that I didn't pay much attention to the verse that came after John 3:16... John 3:17 is, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." I realized that Jesus did not condemn us, not you or me. He came to rescue us! My need to be perfect was pointless because I could not save myself. I needed him to save me. I know I became a believer at a young age but this is when my relationship with Christ became ALIVE. Less about rules and more about love. That is my whole focus now. Jesus said the two most important commandments are to love your God with all your heart and to love others as you love yourself. Those are my new "rules" to live by. Everything else can wait.

So what does this have to do with "The Plan." Well, once again Andrew and I went against the grain. We didn't follow the rules we were supposed to. I graduated high school and went to college but then I dropped out. Then we got married and moved into an apartment; we made little money but went with it. We knew it was from God because of this sense of peace we had. I eventually went back to school and Andrew stuck it out the whole time. We got pregnant! A new chance at following the plan the way we should... instead God took our little one Home and we were left lost. This was NOT part of the plan. So we tried again, this time God took our little twins Home. What the heck was God doing to THE PLAN?! Didn't he get that this is not the way life was supposed to work? We then realized that the plan is pointless. Who cares about the rules, we never really fit into the box anyways.

Now that Jonah is on the way we fell back into the same idea of, "okay, so what is our next step?" To buy a house of course. Everyone asks us if we have a nursery ready or have we bought a house yet. Nope. At first I felt bad about it. Buying a house is what you are supposed to do when you have a baby, right?

All well, we aren't following the rules again. I don't think God is calling us to buy a house right now. If I was being totally honest with myself I would say I don't even want to buy a house at all. I want to live in our bedroom apartment stuffed with books and car parts. I want Jonah to share a room with us. I want to save all the money we make from Andrews new job because we want to adopt. This is the one time in our lives when it would be okay to stay where we are. Our apartment is affordable and in a nice neighborhood. It is close to a family who we spend time with and minister too. Sure it has its issues like a leaky air conditioner and our garbage disposal doesn't work but then I remember Africa. I remember all the countries I wanted to go to because I felt like I HAD to go. While pouting, grinding my feet into the ground, throwing fits, arguing with God, I have come to terms that my place is probably not being in a 3rd world country. However, that doesn't mean I give up my dream to be a missionary. I am a missionary right here, on the home front. Not the conventional sort of missionary but I learned I can minister to the ones right here. The kids I see on a daily basis, the new mom struggling to hold her head above water, the pregnant scared teenager, the rebellious student with no dad at home. Right here is where I am called to be. Forget the worlds plan for us; I want God's plan for us. I can't think of a better place to be than exactly where He wants us to be.

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