Exceeding Circumstances

written December 8, 2020

About a week ago, I received a phone call from my youngest daughter who lives an hour away from me with her dad. She wanted to know if she could come live at my house so she could attend a school near my home. She’s lived the past eight years with her father in order to attend schools near him; so, I immediately warmed to the idea, not believing a long-time prayer of getting to see my beloved baby girl every day could possibly be coming true. (Just so you know, I say “baby girl” as a term of endearment, not an age marker. She’ll be sixteen next week.) When asked why she wanted to change schools, she answered, “I could use a fresh start.” Who of us haven’t experienced moments of feeling “stuck” and needing a new space to clear our heads? Sounded like a positive solution to me. I knew I would have to speak with her father to confirm details, but I agreed to considering the idea. After all, she said: “He told me to talk with you about it.” That means he’s on board, right? I could only hope it’d be that simple.

Fast forward to this morning. I received another phone call. My youngest daughter wanted me to know she’d had a one-on-one conversation with her father and told me they were “going to make changes at his house to make her life happier living with him.” Wait, what? Did I hear that right? I thought she wanted to live with me. I’m now listening to this conversation confused. She continued, “Life will be easier staying where I’m at, finishing out my high school years and dual-enrollment here.” (Note: she started college this school year as a fifteen-year-old. That complicates life. That doesn’t lessen the stress.) The message being sent from her father came across loud and clear, even if not in these words: “Change isn’t worth the work it takes to get it done, and ‘stirring the pot’ should be avoided at all costs so you don’t inconvenience those around you.” Really? Wanting a fresh start and new surroundings is a negative thing? Since when? And sacrificing one’s sanity is a requirement to appease others? The disharmony of thoughts twisted my insides. Making positive changes is what’s required from everyone if you’re going to get out of a rut…to live a fulfilled life…to find God’s unique purpose for the story you are writing with your life.

This got me thinking. How many times have I ignored needs in my own life because others would have had to redefine what they imagined the situation to be? Despite all the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years, my human side kicked in and tears flooded my face after I hung up the phone, disappointment overwhelming the moment.

Pressing forward and into my day, I opened my email. A friend, who didn’t know of my morning phone call with my daughter, had sent me a word of encouragement via a devotional she had read by pastor and author Joel O’steen. Today’s scripture nearly jumped off my screen: “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27 NKJV). It went on to say, “God has a purpose for your life. He’s already planned out your days, lined up the different scenes, and established your ending. …When you feel like you’re on a life detour, when you come to a dead-end with something you don’t understand, don’t get upset or live frustrated. It’s just one scene. [Emphasis mine.] When all the scenes of your life come together, it’s going to work out for your good. What looks like a setback is really God setting you up to get you to the fullness of your destiny.”

As more tears streamed down my cheeks, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. The first post that popped up came from another dear friend. It read: “God’s plan for your life far exceeds the circumstances of your day.” Now, if that’s not God trying to get His point across, I don’t know what is! But, just for safe measure, God inspired a third friend to post a text in our Bible study group just a little while later. Psalms 57:1-2 read: “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

I don’t know what the end result of this situation will be; but, I know that when the time comes, I will look back and see that God exceeded all my expectations, because I chose to trust in Him. Have a blessed day!

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