On changing my agenda for even better plans

This post was written on my second day in Haiti for a missions trip.

The day I had been dreading for quite some time had finally arrived. When I was a kid, I planned that I would be graduated from college and married when this day arrived. Actually, to be honest, at this time last year I thought my great life-plan would be all worked out by this time this year.
None of that has happened.
Yet, God knows better and His plans are better than mine. Today, as I turn 25 years old, I am a little more aware of this. Who would’ve said that I would be here in Haiti on August 3rd, 2010? A year ago, this place, these kids… were not even in the farthest corner of my mind. But they were in Someone Else’s mind.
This morning I woke up debating in my mind whether I would say it was my birthday or expect the team to remember it somehow. Both alternatives posed a problem for me: the first one would put me in the spotlight and help my ego, and the second would fill me with some kind of anxiety – what if they never remembered? But then again, I could not hold that against them because they’re not my very close friends…
So I prayed over it. And cried to the Lord to help me glory in my Redeemer. I decided I would tell people about it sometime during breakfast, and get over it.
Breakfast came around. I sat at the table and as every one came in, Daphne came over with a candle-lit cupcake and the team started singing happy birthday to me. Wow, such a surprise! Such a relief! I imagined God in heaven thinking “you see, my daughter…you were crying to me about not knowing what to do and look what a surprise I had for you.” I could almost see Him chuckling and shaking his head in pleasure.
The day went through really smoothly. I almost had no time to remember the fact that it was my birthday, except for the small surprises God had for me throughout the day- mom’s gracious call in the morning, a few surprising and encouraging emails from friends in my inbox which almost made me tear up, many congratulations on my Facebook wall and Twitter account. Other than that, the Lord gave me a beautiful bright day up here with the kids at the orphanage. I felt so blessed to be here and to be able to spend this day, when I was turning a quarter of a century, with these kids. I felt so blessed and happy to not be wallowing in self-pity this day, but instead laughing and kissing and holding these amazing kids. And, the most important thing, learning to trust my Father in Heaven who sees and surprises His children with Himself and His gracious gifts.
As the day is coming to an end, God gave me the opportunity I was most looking forward to- testify about His work in me and His love. I was blown away by the fact that He knows every one of my words before I speak them. And He always provides for the opportunities to make Himself known and glorified among His children.
The day I dreaded ended with many memories of His lovingkindness and grace. He taught me to rest in Him for the future and stop trying to plan everything out so carefully. After all, His plans are definitely greater and better than I imagine. This plan for me is a lot better than the one I had thought for myself. Now that I have been left with no plan for the future, my only plan is to trust Him for the future. I don’t know where I will be in a year, what my social status will be, or what friendships I will keep and have. I don’t even know if God will call me or not to serve in Haiti or some other country. I don’t know if I will even be alive. God wants me to learn to accept that He is in perfect and timely control and He wants me to enjoy this ride. And I am slowly learning to do both things, but its almost a daily exercise of faith and joy. Once I let go of my schemes, I am finally more at peace and able to enjoy Him and His present gifts and be surprised by grace.
I will glory in my Redeemer…

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