God’s Plan

by Shiela Hollinghead

It is now 12:53 a.m. I’ve been working on my book. It’s past time to call it quits for the night. I do have a sense of satisfaction. I hope I have been coherent in my writing. It’s so late that it’s hard to tell. I thought while my mind is still working that I would write my Wednesday post. I figure I’ll be too sleepy in the morning—well, technically I suppose it actually is morning.

I’ve had a sore throat, laryngitis and coughing spells and didn’t make it to church Sunday night. So, I asked Carl about Mark’s sermon. He said it was great and dealt with Jeremiah. Jeremiah was only twenty when God called him. Jeremiah 1:5 says:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

God had a plan for Jeremiah before he was even conceived. And he has a plan for each of us. Sometimes we have to look back over the years to see the plan God has. While we’re in the middle of it, we often do not see that God is preparing us for a purpose—for a mission. It could be we never understand his plan on this side of heaven. I think—I think—I’m beginning to glimpse some of the things in my life that have prepared me to be at this place, at this time.

For example, my father was sent to France and we followed him there shortly thereafter. I hated it from the getgo. The first night in the hotel was horrendous. A restaurant was below us and the pungent smell of garlic seeped from the very walls. For a short time, we lived in a government house. The army base we were at closed and we moved, along with hundreds more, to the tiny town of Toul. Houses on base were scarce as well as houses “on the economy.” On the economy meant a house among the French residents of Toul. We lived four months—my parents, my brother and I—in a hotel room. Then we found a house in Toul. We were told it had been headquarters for the Nazis. Holes were in the wall that were supposedly from machine gun fire. I’m not sure if those stories were true. The house had three floors, with living quarters on the second and third floors. What was on the first floor? A room with a huge furnace and piles of books. Guess what? No English-speaking TV shows in France. Only one American radio station. Our neighbors were French and I still don’t know how to speak it after studying it for three years. Not much else to do but read. I gathered up an armload of books and read through them. I began reading a book a day. And I continued that habit for years. If we had not moved to France, I probably would not have read a book in a month. That reading shaped my mind and made me the person I am today, sitting here, typing these words.

God had a purpose in sending us to France. I turned eleven right before we moved into the house with the books. An impressionable age. And I am here at this time because God knew me before he even formed me and he already had a plan for my life. Humbling and an awesome responsibility. In Jeremiah 1:8, God tells Jeremiah “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.”

And he is with me too.

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Shiela Hollinghead is a mother, grandmother, wife, writer and Christian. Visit her blog, Clearing Skies.

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