My Plan and God’s Plan
by Megan Lehman
Have you ever heard that phrase, When we make plans, God laughs? Well, I have never felt more defined by something as I have started to feel recently by this well known phrase. There are two very specific times in my life where I made a plan and, looking back now, I can almost hear God’s laughter as I thought the very words. Both of these experiences happened when I was in junior high school. And now, as a recent college graduate, God is using these experiences to open my eyes to the life He is graciously providing me.
Every Sunday, I would sit in the back of the church, against the wall, next to the windows, in cold, gray folding chairs. My friends and I would run from Sunday school to those back chairs, claiming our seats before our mothers could argue. As the service would start we would whisper, pull out our cell phones, and do anything except pay full attention to the sermon. But this day was different. This day, we had missionaries that the church supported visiting from the Middle East. I listened to them explaining about their lives, their struggles and successes in this world I could never imagine living in. And that is when I decided it. Being a missionary is great…for someone else. It’s certainly not for me. Nope. No thanks, God! I’m happy in the beautiful Midwest.
Just a year or so later, it was the summer before starting my freshman year of high school. I was in the midst of a passionate debate with my mother, insisting that I would most definitely not be taking Spanish. The Spanish language was stupid. I hated it. I would not subjective myself to that nonsense. You can find me happily ensconced in the orchestra instead, thank you very much. I did not win that argument and just a few short weeks later, I found myself sitting in the middle of the Spanish classroom.
Well it turned out that I loved Spanish and excelled in the course. I was one of four students in the Spanish four class my senior year and could hold an entire conversation in Spanish. My teacher, a former Peace Corps volunteer in the beautiful country of Guatemala, took students from her Spanish courses to the country every other year and I somehow convinced my parents that traveling to Central America was a very good idea. And I was right. Now I have a minor in Spanish and nearly 10 years of study under my belt.
My first trip to Guatemala changed my entire life. The incredible country left a mark on my heart that nothing could cover up or replace. In 2017, the church I began attending during college announced that a mission trip team heading to Guatemala was assembling and applications to join the team were being accepted in the office now. I felt a very distinct, very clear squeeze, as if someone had their arm around my shoulder and was giving me an affectionate, knowing nudge. I was going to apply for that trip.
Three years later, I’m a missionary, preparing for the church’s third mission trip to Guatemala. I’m a team leader this year, in fact, and God has provided a passion for fundraising in my heart that I never would have joyfully accepted before. But this does not surprise me! In both the situations I described above, I made a decision and I had every intention of sticking to it. And In both of those situations, God had his arm around my shoulders, giving me a loving squeeze and whispering, You think so? We’ll see.
God turned the two things I said I’d never do into the one thing that sets my soul on fire. And I pray that no matter what life brings me, that He continue to fuel this fire. Here’s to another fantastic trip to Guatemala and another beautiful journey into what God is doing in this beautiful country.