The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9
This scripture has proven itself true in Shelby's and my life many times, even though we've only been married for three short years. The difference between the outcome of decisions we make on our own compared to decisions we make when seeking the Lord is remarkable.
The first big decision we made together, obviously, was to get married. Even though Shelby will tell you that I drug my feet at first (which is probably true), the time we spent dating and engaged was unquestionably guided and protected by God. We have to remind each other of this from time to time, especially when discussing important topics like laundry and dishes, or determining who is on diaper duty when Eli drops a bomb. Marriage is by far the most incredible, terrifying, frustrating, wonderful, and sanctifying thing I've ever experienced. Even though it hurts sometimes, I'm so blessed to have been given a wife who pushes me past my own pride and selfishness and towards holiness.
While getting married is a good example of seeking and trusting the Lord, our arrival in Greenwood was not. We had exciting plans after college, and none of those plans involved the Delta. The problem with those plans was that we made them on our own. Even once we accepted that our address would end with 38930, we thought it was just a short stop on the way to bigger and better things. The only question in my mind was, "how short?", not what God might want to show me through this situation or how I could use this opportunity for His glory. This mindset led to a pretty miserable outlook on life, and stifled my walk with Jesus. Luckily, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)
The Lord used two specific events to completely flip our outlook on living in Greenwood: finding Westminster and having Eli. We decided to try Westminster out on a whim, and to be completely honest, I didn't have particularly high expectations. We left a great church and great friends in Starkville, and hadn't had much luck finding either one in Greenwood. I didn't think this would be any different, but boy was I wrong. After hearing a style of worship that we enjoyed and a strong sermon firmly rooted in scripture, and being the very last people to leave church because so many people came to speak to us, we knew we had found a church even though we weren't planning to. Eli's birth is another example of the dichotomy of making decisions on our own opposed to seeking Godly wisdom. We spent months discussing and praying over the decision to have a baby. On October 5th 2013, we each realized individually that the time had come for us to start family. What an incredible day, and what an incredible conversation! Very few things have been more clearly revealed by God in my life, and for Shelby to hear the same thing on the same day... Amazing. Sadly, it took only three and a half months to forget that day, and decide that we should wait until the timing was "right" in our eyes. Guess how long it took for a positive pregnancy test to show up? You got it, less than 48 hours. How sad it would be if the cutest and craziest little boy I've ever seen wasn't born because of my selfishness, and couldn't bring us the joy he does on a daily basis. Thankfully, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)
I see the truth of God's ultimate wisdom and power reflected in Job 38-42. I find it to be one of the most awe inspiring passages in the entire Bible. I've included the lyrics to a song that paraphrases the conversation between God and Job, I hope it leaves you in awe of the God who guides your steps.
I said God I do not understand this world everything is dying and broken why do I see nothing but suffering
God I'm asking could this be Your plan
Sin has taken hold of this whole land
Will You not say anything else to me?
He said where were you the day that I measured sunk the base and stretched the line over all the earth and carved out its corner stone
Where were you the day that I spoke and told the sun to split the night open caused the morning dawn with its light to shine
Have you seen the armoury I hold
snow and hail are stacked up in silos
for the times of trouble and war and strife
Can you raise your voice to the storm cloud would the thunder answer and ring out does the lightning ask you where it should strike
Can you hunt the prey for young lions
can you loose the cords of orion
is this whole world bending beneath your will
I spoke of things I did not understand
things too wonderful for me
although I had no right to ask
my God knelt and answered me
Where Were You - Ghost Ship