I was asked recently to speak at a girl’s youth group on the topic of following God’s leading in your life, and my mind has been filled with questions + thoughts on this topic ever since — have I truly followed God’s call on my life myself? Am I even a eligible to speak on such a topic? As I’ve been praying + processing on this topic, I was reminded of a certain time in my life. This picture shares a story, and it’s the story I wish to share today. So grab a cup of coffee (GUYS — did y’all see that ID released a Reece’s flavored creamer? Like, umm, all the heart eyes), and lets chat. 🙂
You see, there’s a reason we’re both doing peace signs, and not because we were teenage girls. That’s Joy, one of my dearest friends, and we had dreams, y’all. Big ones. This photo was taken in October of ’15, and we were convinced Jesus wanted us to go change the world, and our first step to that was going to Taiwan the following January. This photo was taken with the intention of it being on our “Support the Missionaries” card, or whatever the proper title to that is. I seem to have forgotten. But yeah. We had it all figured out. I mean, of course Jesus wanted us to serve Him by doing something crazy in a foreign land. We were ready and willing.
To back up even further, ever since I was twelve, I’ve had a burden on my heart for orphans, specifically orphans in China. Every one that knew me knew it. The majority of my speeches during my time at In The Gap were on the topic of orphan advocacy (side note: if you want your life to be wrecked, watch this video.) I was sure my life looked like me radically serving God in an orphanage in China, and I’d consider marriage at, say, 30. Or something. A boyfriend to tell me I’m pretty wouldn’t be too bad, but only if I met him on the mission field and we had some sort of crazy love story like “he rescued me from a prison camp” kinda thing. That could work. I could fit that in.
Okay, all joking and dramatic descriptions aside, all I wanted was to spend my life for Christ. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to leave a mark. I wanted my life to count for something. I wanted to serve and make an impact. I didn’t want to spend my life in a bubble (no matter how comfy it would be) and waste the however many years God gives to me. John 3:30 has been, and continues to be my life verse. I fail more than I succeed, but it’s my heart’s cry. I want to be less so He can become more in my life. So, although China was my end goal, Taiwan could be a stepping stone, I thought. I was convinced that’s where God was leading me next.
And Jesus said no.
A month later, something came up, and Taiwan was out of the question. Okay, cool. I can live with that. I began researching all the different mission opportunities I could embark on, because I was convinced that was the call of God on my life. I found a ministry that went to New Zealand, and I decided that was it. Boom. My next place.
I submitted my application, had my pastor submit a reference, and I was ready to go that next February. I mean, New Zealand! I was pumped!
Early December rolled around. One day, I was talking to my mom, as I periodically did (and do), and she made a comment that was laughable at the time, but little did I know that it was exactly what was about to happen.
“…who knows, you could meet an amazing man and be married in six months.”
What? No, mom. I’m gonna travel and share Jesus and change the world. Marriage is much too mundane and ordinary for me, but thanks anyway.
Christmas Day, 2015 — Enter: Thomas. We had a whirlwind romance, and as my mom predicted (without even knowing it at the time), we were married exactly six months later.
Why am I sharing this random story from my life? Well, a few months after my wedding, I started to receive texts and Facebook messages from a few friends asking, in a nutshell, what had happened to me. They questioned why I had turned my back on the dreams God had given me, and if I had thought my decision through carefully or acted impulsively. I heard that someone I look up to and has had a huge impact on my life spiritually said they couldn’t believe I turned my back on God and chose to follow my own heart’s leadings. And, well, I could keep going, but you get the idea.
My heart was shattered, y’all. I know they meant well (and if one of you happens to read this, know this isn’t aimed at you! You just played a role in my story, ’tis all 🙂 ), but there’s so much they didn’t see. They didn’t see the hours I spent praying + begging God to show me what He wanted me to do with my life, and to open the doors He wanted me to walk through. They didn’t know all the times I asked God to show me if marriage was what He wanted me to do, and they didn’t feel the insurmountable peace that flooded my heart every single time after I prayed that short prayer.
I have no doubt that God wanted me to become Thomas’ wife, exactly when I did. Did it look as spiritual as if I were to spend the next ten years on the mission field? Not to the people around me. Growing up, especially in my early teen years, making lengthy singleness vows was the thing to do. But the truth is, if I had walked away and boarded a plane to China the morning of my wedding instead, that would have been disobedience. God was not calling me to China at that time; He was calling me to the altar. And today, He calls me to serve my man by placing his needs above my own, and loving Him fiercely the way Christ loves me. Will I ever follow my dream to China? I sure hope so. But maybe it’ll look a little differently than 15 year-old Jordan planned it — perhaps I’ll have my hubby & our babies in tow.
My whole point in sharing all of that is this — don’t make your life decisions based on how others will perceive you. As Christians, we are called to follow Christ and Christ alone, not Christian culture. It’s so easy to fall into that, especially in Christian circles. Your life + dreams + circumstances may be far different than mine, but if you’re a redeemed child of God, then we are both called to the same thing: obedience. Don’t mistake the opinion of man for wise counsel. Pursue Christ, and His heart alone. I’m definitely not encouraging you to not seek wise counsel, but decipher the difference. He’ll lead you, as long as you seek and listen.
Much love to you all,
Proverbs 16: 9 – “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”