Caterpillar Camoflage

This is what the Lord says:
"When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:10-13

Ever feel like you're "in control" of your life??  Better question: Ever feel like your out of control of your life? it's spinning, crumbling, toppling over, nothing is as it should be, how you planned it, out of control...?

Me too! Both of the above, actually... Usually I feel the first... I make my plans, organize my life, your life, my job, Chris's job, everything is under control.  Then, out of nowhere, everything changes, and I'm left realizing just how out of control I really am, along with my plans... grr.... That is so problematic for me.

Meet my friend:

He's a caterpillar, he came to visit me for awhile at work. There he was, crawling around the petals of a flower, carrying the weight of his whole world on his little back. 

The first day I found him, he was just a little white guy crawling around the flower... Every morning I came in to work, there were more and more holes in the flower's petals where he was chewing them up and placing pieces of them on his back. Being a total wildlife nerd, I was fascinated by him! So we took some pictures and did some research... Turns out he was hiding, camouflaging himself from anything that could harm him or eat him, banking his whole life on the little petal bits that were weighing him down... Then, tragically, one morning I came in to find dry flowers and a shriveled up little caterpillar friend. The little cut flowers couldn't live forever to sustain him or hide him from starvation.

He thought he could control his destiny, when in fact, all he could do was decorate himself and give me something to stare at for a few days at work... Little did he know, he was teaching me a lesson with each new petal bit he placed on his back... Ok, maybe not, but you have to admit, he's pretty awesome, right??

What he DID teach me was that no matter how much we try to control the outcome of our life's journey, we're all going to physically end up like my little caterpillar friend one day. In the mean time, we may as well relax and let Someone much bigger than ourselves iron out the details of our journey...

I love looking back on my life and realizing how many great and awesome plans I've had for myself, and how most of them DIDN'T work out. I planned on marrying Michelangelo (the turtle), Macaulay Culkin, and JTT. I didn't seem to marry any of them, although I still sometimes daydream about that ninja turtle... I planned on being a child psychologist. I planned on staying in Tennessee another year... or forever. I planned on going back to school and teaching. I planned on being a housewife NOW, not later..............

The best part is THIS: Had any one of those plans I made worked out how I wanted them to, I wouldn't be where I am today! ...and in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined or planned my life any better than it was already planned long before my existence!

I've been learning a lot of new stuff about God recently, and one of the things that is really sticking out to me right now is when He asks us to do something, maybe it's not to test our obedience and see how good we can obey Him... Maybe instead it's to test our trust in His promises.

When He says He knows the plans He has for us, He's not lying, He really does! He has these big beautiful plans for each one of us, and I guess it's up to us to experience them or to screw them up... How much do we trust Him to fulfill His awesome plans for us, no matter how outrageous the path there may seem??

Personally, I've found that when we trust Him and follow Him, we experience blessings and peace beyond our understanding! ...but when we try to do it our way because we haven't fully trusted Him with our future, things never seem to work out how we "planned."

Does that mean that when we go astray and choose our own way, then so much for His great plans for us?? Of course not! God is always faithful to bring us back on track and no matter what our choices have been, He is ALWAYS able to fulfill His plans for us! He is a GOD OF REDEMPTION! How awesome is that?!

I LOOOOVE this part: "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."  What a promise! 

We WILL find Him! We WILL be in His presence, we WILL experience His life-changing peace and joy, He WILL fulfill His perfect plans for our lives!

I am really learning this year how to trust Him and His perfect timing for His perfect plans... It has been a loong and slow learning process, one that I'm sure will never fully come to completion, but one that is so exciting to be in the process of LEARNING. 

I hope that each of you will join us in this process... it is sooo good to lay your plans in the hands of the Almighty and accept His perfect plans in their place!

Over the years, y'all have continually lifted us up in prayer, and that has meant more to us than any of you will ever know. Today, I ask you again to lift us up in a special prayer for discernment.

The Lord has brought a child into our lives and I'm asking you to join us in prayer as we seek Him with all of our hearts. He WILL direct our steps, and we have no doubts about that.

Three years ago, I worked with a 13 year old at the Methodist Home for Children. I fell in love with her, I emailed you requesting prayers for her several times. When I left MHC she asked me to adopt her. We couldn't, she has sisters and had a foster family waiting for her. We WANTED to, but the timing wasn't right, OUR timing was off. Two months ago, the Lord TOTALLY surprised us and brought her back into our lives, and the last two months we have found ourselves praying about our future with this now 16 year old child who we love. She spent last weekend with us, and will very likely come home to Georgia and South Carolina with us in a couple of weeks. Oh man, I have tears of excitement in my eyes just typing this!!! We are SO excited about all of this, but not certain of where the Lord is leading us post-Christmas. Please join us in prayer as we seek His will for this child's future! Please pray that we don't get distracted when we think about the changes that will occur in our lives as we move forward. Our lives are not our own, we know that we are here to serve our Creator and love our neighbor, pray that we won't get caught up in the false belief that our life revolves around our happiness and comfort... it DOESN'T, and this Christmas will be such an opportune time to seek HIS face and HIS plans, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

Thank you so very much for your prayers and your love! Again, they mean more than you'll ever know!

I love you all so so much!

"I thank my God every time I remember you!
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
-Philippians 1:3-4