Today's Devotional Thought
July 20, 2011 by Rachel Piferi
When I was 12 years old, I had my whole life planned out.
I knew what college I wanted to go to, what I was going to major in, and exactly what my life was going to look like when I grew up. When I turned 17, I applied to that college as part of their early decision program, was accepted, and started packing my bags to start my future.
When I got to college, I fell in love with the field of Psychology and the thought of helping people. I declared my major in my first semester and started making plans for graduate school. I read everything I could on graduate school and what you needed to do to be accepted to graduate programs in Psychology (which really only accepted about 10 students each year per program). I worked hard in college, applied to graduate school, was accepted, and started packing my bags to start the next step of my plan.
When I got to graduate school, I fell in love with teaching and with research. I loved understanding people and studying why they did certain behaviors or had certain personalities. I decided within the first year that I wanted to be a college professor. I knew jobs as a college professor were hard to get, so I started investigating what you needed to do to become a researcher and professor at the top universities. I worked very hard in graduate school, published research, wrote grants, and when I earned my doctorate, I was given a faculty position at my own university following graduation. My life was going exactly as planned.
Lest you think that all of my goals were academic and career focused, I also met, fell in love, and married the perfect man for me while in graduate school. And, because my life plan also included having a family, we had our first child as I was finishing graduate school. Life was going exactly as I had planned and by the time I was 35 years old, I worked at one of the top research universities in the world, had three beautiful children, a wonderful marriage, and lived in my dream house just outside of Baltimore.
So, how does someone who had their life planned out from the time she was 12 years old, now find herself in a small town in Southeastern Virginia, leading a women’s ministry, and preparing to go to a conference that will change her life? What causes such a detour in her life plan?
Oh how I love Isaiah 55:8: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (NLT)
I can’t even tell you how true that verse is. And as I write today, I am preparing for Proverbs 31’s She Speaks Conference that starts on Friday. And, I am simply awed at where my life has led. The thought of spending the weekend with 650 women from around the country who share the same passion as I do for women’s ministry is far beyond anything I could have imagined. The thought of sitting at dinner with leaders in the field and talking about how God is working in our lives and in our ministries is far beyond anything I could have imagined. The thought of actually having the opportunity to speak to these women and hear their thoughts on my talks is far beyond anything I could have imagined. And, the thought of sharing it all with my best friend and ministry partner is far beyond anything I could have imagined.
And quite honestly, the thought of God sitting in heaven and pointing specifically at me and saying, Rachel, I have plans for you. Plans that are far greater than you ever planned. Plans that are far more important than you ever imagined and plans that will help others find their purpose in me. Well, that is simply far beyond anything I could have imagined or planned out when I was 12 years old.
I have a few last details to complete today and then I am off to spend the day tomorrow in prayerful preparation for Proverbs 31 Ministries' She Speaks Conference that starts Friday. And, I am amazed that I have this opportunity and what an opportunity to spend three days with leaders in Women's Ministry and to just soak in their experiences, their guidance, and their love for the Lord. I cannot even find the words to articulate how much I am looking forward to the whole experience, how immensely blessed I am to be sharing it with my sister and ministry partner, and how I have been blessed to abundance by this detour that the Lord has taken me on.
As you think of your own life plans today, I beg you to ask God where he would like to take you. Because dear friends, I guarantee you that it truly will be far better than you ever could have imagined. God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (Ephesians 3:20a).