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June 1, 2015

MY “Better” Planned Outcome?

We moved to eastern Tennessee away from family and familiar because of my husband John’s severe allergies. They manifested themselves in severe coughing for 2 hours every morning – turning him inside out. His chest hurt, he would pull muscles coughing. But worse than all that, his whole body shook and his hands and feet were like icicles every day, all day. Every test was run, medicines were tried for allergies and asthma. Nothing worked. Acupuncture helped for a few days at a time, but nothing stuck for long.

Anniversary trips that started in SE Ohio and then moved to Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, began to show a pattern that maybe the mountains helped alleviate the symptoms that plagued his body. So came a job and a move to SE Tennessee. We sold the house in MI and bought a cabin in the mountains with privacy and great views. The cough continues. The shakes are gone. The phlegm moves more freely. The complexion is better and he has more energy. But the cough continues. Immunity Allergy shot regimen over next five years promises he will improve, but the cough continues for now.

Why did I just share all that? The goal of a place where my husband is completely well has not fully been realized. I admit disappointment in his struggle to clear his head and lungs every morning. I want him well. What does that mean? Absolutely no cough. What is creating this dissatisfaction with an imperfect solution to what I though would be a total fix? I want to understand why and I want our choice to move here to make us look smart and wise and all that. It is not perfect. It is not comfortable. It is not convenient. I had a better planned outcome.

God did not bring us to TN to make our life perfect. He moved us here to stretch our faith, let go of our agenda, to learn to trust God’s plan, to let HIM be my defender, to use us to share Him with others in a new place. The church family we have found has taught us so much about grace in community, openness, missional living in every area of life, letting oury brokenness hang out so the Gospel can be center. In other words, it is not about settling into what we want, but letting the Lord do what He knows will be the best for us and bring Him the most glory. This earth is not our permanent home. But the work He is doing in us here what will ready us for heaven, as well as allowing us to share Him with others whose stories intersect with our own.

MY “better” planned outcome is not GOD’S best for us. We need to need Him. He knows I will be satisfied with less than His best for us if I get everything I think I want or think I we need. He loves John and I too much for that to happen. So the cough continues, we continue to serve Him in church and in community, and enjoy our mountain home. I still pray that my husband is healed some day, but I know ultimately our spiritual growth and how He is using us here in our little (beautiful!) corner of the world to make Himself famous, is enough. In heaven the cough will be gone, but that is not yet. Of course seeing Jesus will make me and my husband John forget he was ever sick. The choice to be content and live His call on our lives, sick or well, is our goal. We are a work in progress and so are you.

What situation’s outcome has been less than you expected or hoped for? What perspectives on God’s character in relation to YOUR planned outcome need to be adjusted? How will changing that perspective affect how He can use you right where you are?

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