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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: The Best Laid Plans
By Lindsay Bonilla
05/18/09


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Before I turned twenty-four years old, I thought I had my life fairly well planned out. I would marry my boyfriend with whom I was hopelessly in love and follow him wherever life would take him. As a member of the US military, I realized that could be anywhere Ė but it didnít matter. I just wanted us to be together.

All of that changed on April 24, 2004 Ė my 24th birthday. Iíd flown to Florida to celebrate my birthday with the man of my dreams. But over breakfast, instead of a nice meal, a warm hug, or a special gift, I got what Iíd been least expecting Ė a break-up. The words, ďI just want to be friends,Ē cut like a knife. I felt as if Iíd been completely blindsidedĖ I could barely speak, and it was taking the little strength I had to hold back my tears which were raging like a river-gone-wild inside of me. Feeling like a wounded animal, I packed my bags, called the airlines and got the first flight I could out of there.

Afterwards, I didnít know what to do with myself. I sunk into a deep depression and succumbed to fits of crying. All I could do was try to figure out how my future, which had once looked so bright, had suddenly taken a nose dive and burst into flames. The only relief and temporary escape from my pain came during a trip to Spain that my mother and I had planned earlier. There, for the first time, I started to come alive again.

But when I returned home, it was back to the same old, same old. Trying to fall back into routine was unbearable. I felt like nothing I was doing mattered anymore. An avid reader, I tried to hide my pain in books. Little did I know, the Lord would speak to me through the words on the printed page, opening up a bright future I never couldíve imagined.

The book I was reading was an exploration of the life of Abraham. And while Abrahamís life is remarkable on a number of levels -- what struck me the most was his call. When God told him to leave his country and everything he knew to go to a new country that God would show to him, he didnít ask questions or drag his feet Ė he just went.

In my heart, Iíd felt a stirring to move to Spain Ė to leave my job, my family, and everything that was comfortable to me Ė and just go. But it seemed impossible! How would I plan such a big move all by myself? What would I do there? I didnít know exactly. But I felt that it was time to be like Abraham and step out in faith. In less than three months, my bags were packed, and I was on my way to Madrid.

Stepping off that plane and onto foreign soil, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly had no idea that in two months, in a small church where they didnít even speak my language, Iíd meet the real man of my dreams. The man who would become my husband, my best friend and my biggest encourager all wrapped into one. The man who would teach me that love is a commitment we make not a feeling we bend to. The man whose example would teach me what it means to give and not to count the cost, to have faith at all times, and to trust, not superficially but with all your heart, in the Lord. Each day when I look at my husband, I am reminded that he is a gift -- a gift I may never have received if I hadnít been willing to step out in faith, into the unknown, like Abraham.

Before my 24th birthday, I thought that life was all about making plans. And when my plans failed, it meant the worst. But, now, with a little more life experience under my belt, Iíve learned that when my plans fail, itís often because the Lord has something else in mind Ėsomething much more amazing than what I could plan. So Iíve traded in my old plans for a new one: Wherever He leads, I will follow -- no questions asked! Because even though for a time I may have to walk through the wilderness, I know that He is leading me to the Promised Land.


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Member Comments
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Christine Dunn05/22/09
I enjoyed this insight and lesson from your life. It's true that God's plans are always higher than ours, even when we can't see it like that. Well done.
Emily Gibson05/23/09
You show so well how our disappointments are actually God's blueprints for our future. Each moment of pain is a building block in His Plan.