For The Woman Who….Has It All Planned Out
May 1, 2016. That was my deadline. I needed to have a ring on my finger by May Day or there would be major issues.
I was a 24-year-old woman living in my parents’ home, saving my money and spinning my wheels…waiting for a proposal that would make it all make sense.
I had always considered myself a Christian; I had gone to a Christian school and youth group and was raised in a Christian family. That being said, by the spring of 2016 Jesus was more a heartwarming idea than a literal savior.
I had compromised sexually, emotionally and mentally. Anyone who knew me knew that I was a wreck. I was completely isolated from any friendships besides my boyfriend and my immediate family. I was consumed with him and making him happy.
I would wake up from fitful sleeps in the middle of the night screaming “HELP!” or even hear my own voice asking “Who is Jesus?” This was terrifying but I continued to think that a marriage would heal all the deep and scary parts of my soul.
All the while, I maintained an acceptable American “Christian” exterior. My boyfriend and I went to church when we could. It wasn’t a priority for me and we weren’t involved in community or service, but hey…we checked that box. I had respect for Jesus but the truth is, I did not love him most. I don’t think I loved Him at all.
Although we lived this way, I wasn’t at peace. I pushed my boyfriend to talk about the sermons we heard or tried to tell him about Christian relationship books I was reading. It was not working. All signs pointed to the truth that he was in no way my husband, but I was determined to make him just that.
Time went on and May 1, 2016 loomed before me. My anxiety was raging. My boyfriend was not acting like a man ready to propose but he assured me that all was well. I thought all he needed was a push. If I set a deadline for him to meet, we could get on with our lives.
By April 22, the walls of my fantasy future began to crumble. I pushed him until he admitted that he was not ready to be engaged yet. He had a list of reasons and I had a list of solutions.
I remember talking to him on the phone, sobbing my heart out and saying out loud, “You don’t love me like Christ loves the church. You’re not willing to make yourself uncomfortable to be with me forever.”
I didn’t know much about Jesus intimately, but I did know that. This wasn’t true, biblical love.
This was the first blow to my idea that I could manipulate life to turn out how I wanted. We stayed together, but things were rocky after that.
Jesus started romancing my heart that summer. I read my Bible and listened to sermons. I started toying with the idea that maybe the Lord wanted to plan my life and it might look a lot differently than I had imagined.
I was terrified but my faith was growing. I wanted to do crazy things for Jesus. I wanted to give all of my stuff away. I wanted my life to be a mission. I wanted to pick up my cross and follow Him as He calls for in Luke 14:27. The surrendered life started sounding really attractive.
I was convicted about how I had so blatantly planned my life without consulting the Lord. I fell in love, compromised, made a mess out of everything and then started seeking the Lord and asking Him to bless my relationship.
I embodied this scripture in James, “ Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise, you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
Up until that point, I had never even considered what the Lord wanted or thought about the idea that He actually cared about my future.
From then on, I started praying scary prayers. Prayers for God’s will. I started falling in love with Jesus and He started changing me. He taught me and prepared me for the best and worst day of my life, August 17, 2016.
That day, I was informed that my boyfriend was not being faithful to me. I lost my best friend, my whole world, and every dream for the future in a single day.
When you make plans without God’s guidance, He is faithful to tear them down before they tear you down. My Father loved me enough to break apart something that would have ended in complete disaster. I’m reminded me how the Lord is deliberate in the tearing down and also the building up of His people in Jeremiah 31:28.
I didn’t know what life would be like after the storm. In my pride, I had determined to be a young wife and never forge out into the world on my own.
I stood in the ruins of the life I thought I wanted and I sought the Lord. He came through. He always does. He is a rebuilder in the broken places as referenced in Isaiah 61:4.
In less than a month, He opened up a way for me to move to Santa Monica, the city where I was born. He lavished favor. He granted me service opportunities. True friendships. He gave me a community of fellow believers who didn’t make me feel like a failure for being 25 and single. It felt like home.
I wouldn’t trade the breaking down of my weak dreams for anything because the Lord placed a bigger purpose in my heart than the one I could have dreamed in my human vision.
I got to witness first hand how His intentions cannot be shaken, just like in Psalm 33:11.
I got to cry to him, cry with Him and beat on His chest. I experienced the closeness of walking through the fire with Jesus. I think anyone who has been through something like that can testify that the intimacy of that time is sacred.
I am living what I would have considered “worst case scenario” two years ago but the Lord has been faithful to show me that what I thought I wanted would have never satisfied.
To the woman who has it all planned out, I say this – seek the Lord. Ask for His guidance with a pure heart. Lay out your plans before the Lord like King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:15.
When you seek the Lord’s will you need to be prepared for whatever it might be. It might not always be what you want but it’s what you need. He is your Father and He always knows best. His plans are always ultimately good.
I am living proof of 1 Peter 5:10. He did restore, support and place me on a firm foundation. He can do it for you too.
Ashton Buccola lives by the water in Santa Monica, California with two amazing roomies. By day, she works in marketing. She loves studying the word of God, worshipping with her people and letting the Lord do His thing with her life. She also loves Iced Mochas and Nutella….a lot.
Let’s be friends on Instagram: @Ashtttag