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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Welcome to Wherever You Are"

I was recently going through old Facebook notes I had published and found one where I had filled out a survey about what is going on in my life. It asked random questions like, "What is your hair like? Who do you have a crush on? Where do you live?"

It's interesting looking back on years past and comparing it to where I am today. Several years ago, I had imagined an entirely different life for me.

When I was 17 years old, I was planning on attending the University of Western Ontario and then eventually moving on to law school to become a criminal lawyer. I was very driven and determined…I figured this plan would be a cinch.

But then I got diagnosed with a rare neurological disease that debilitated me for several months. I ended up moving to the west coast - an unexpected change in plans. Then I wound up applying to a small Christian university - Trinity Western University. The initial plan was to stay there for my first semester, so I can slowly branch out and test myself at living a "normal life" on my own. I ended up loving it there, meeting new friends, changed my major three times to human services, and through friends - I eventually met my husband.

When my husband and I got married, we were planning on moving to Toronto where I was accepted into the social work program there. But at the end of our honeymoon, I got sick again. Once more, my illness was responsible for changing plans.

So my husband and I ended up staying here in the Seattle area. He found a great job and a new career track that he loves. I ended up being the "stay-at-home" wife - and actually liked it. I liked planning new baking projects, working on house projects, and writing encouraging blogs and providing online support to people with an illness via Facebook.

Plans change. Everyone knows that. I always wonder why God allowed for me to get sick again when I had such good intentions. I was hoping to become a medical social worker, and perhaps do my practicum at the only children's clinic for my illness in the world in Toronto. Instead, God brought me here. I am still not sure what I am supposed to be doing "here," - do I return to humans services? Am I making a difference in giving hope to people online? Do people at the hospital appreciate the free baked good I bring?

Bon Jovi sings in their song, "Welcome to wherever you are….You gotta believe, that right here right now, you're exactly where you're supposed to be."

So welcome to wherever you are. Maybe you are like me and you didn't end up where you thought you would be because of an illness, or something else discouraging. I believe that God can use any kind of circumstance for His purpose. Max Lucado wrote a small devotion about the "purpose of pain." That sometimes, people go through pain so that their faith and hope in God can be a witness to people who will be amazed at their peace in suffering. Max Lucado's father died from an illness, and while he was ill, his faith brought a man to Jesus. Max Lucado's father's suffering brought a soul to God which was priceless.

Maybe right now - wherever you are - you are waiting. I am currently waiting. I am waiting for a cure. I am waiting to get the right job. I am waiting to stop my chemotherapy. 

Brandon Heath says this in his song, "Wait and See."

Still wondering why I'm here
Still wrestling with my fear
But oh, He's up to something
And the farther on I go
I've seen enough to know
That I'm, not here for nothing
He's up to something

The apostle Paul intended to speak to the nations about Jesus. Instead of accepting Paul, the people imprisoned him and chained him to hinder his mission. He did not end up where he intended to be…but he was where God intended him to be, because in his prison while in chains, he was able to share his message to the prison guards there.

"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. "
Philippians 1:12-14 

So wherever you are in life right now, it is not for nothing. God is with you wherever you go and can use you wherever you are.

Welcome to wherever you are.

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