I spent this past Saturday taking part in an online women’s conference hosted by Priscilla Shirer. The day was both uplifting and meaningful. At first, I didn’t understand the importance of Priscilla’s theme on Unexpected Places. Finally, in the last hour of the conference, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Priscilla’s third discussion on Unexpected Places explained how we all find ourselves “here” at different times. The question we always ask ourselves is, “how did I end up here at this time in my life?” The “here” can be a place, person (or lack of), job, anything that is not the reality we had playing in our heads of our perfect life.
It’s actually something I have asked God about often. I live in a small community in deep south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Never in my life would I have thought this would be my home. A number of twists and turns that began in San Diego where I lived for 25 years, took me to Phoenix, Fort Worth and finally down here. I had never planned any of this beyond San Diego. I owned a home there. I was perfectly happy living near the ocean and working downtown, spending my weekends with my friends and being involved in a church I loved. Then I met a guy. God gave me this very kind, very gentle guy. However, along with this guy came change. When we moved to the Fort Worth area, things seemed to click in place. I became a nurse, found a job I loved, a new best friend. I settled in and started living my life. However, God still had other plans – plans that took us to the “Valley”.
This wasn’t a place I ever thought I would be. We’d visited many times because my guy’s family lived here. We’d come on vacation. We’d come to help when his dad was ill. We’d come to celebrate holidays. Never had I thought we’d actually ever live here. It’s not that I don’t like my life here. It just isn’t what I expected to be doing at this time in my life. I’m blessed in many ways. I’m retired now, so my routine and schedule are pretty much what I want them to be. I have the time to volunteer. I live only 45 minutes from South Padre Island and the Gulf Coast. I became part of a wonderful church family. But I still questioned my purpose. I couldn’t make peace with my life because there didn’t seem to be a reason for me to be in this place at this time.
After the conference I prayed for guidance, and I asked my heart some hard questions. Do I truly trust God? If I do, how can I continually question His putting me here? What dreams had God laid on my heart that I might be ignoring or discounting as His reason why I’m here? And finally, is it really even about me? I don’t have all the answers. I do feel I have touched lives being here. And others have touched me. People who I hold dear and would never have met or truly known except because I am at this place at this time. My guy’s family now my family, who offers support and love, and takes some of the sting out of losing my mom recently. And my writing – how often I have wished for the time to write but never followed through because of work, raising children, and whatever else was going on in my life. Would I have made the time if I lived somewhere else, and did whatever I would have been doing elsewhere? Sometimes I think too much. Trusting God is what it’s all about. What my life is all about. So, for whatever reason God put me here, in this place, at this time, I am thankful. Now, I praise Him every day for putting me HERE. Wherever “here” happens to be in the future, I know I will always be in His Presence.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV