Saturday, December 23
Emily Smith, RPC member since September 2002
"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." - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Wait-listed. I was dazed by the powerful punch the seemingly trivial word pounded to my ego. At twenty-two, my life thus far had been one where I'd always seemed to accomplish whatever I'd wanted, but now I stared through tears at the letter from UGA Law School. Wait-listed? I had failed. I was embarrassed and heartbroken. My plans were devastated. Instead of sharing an Athens apartment with my friends and finding a summer job at a litigation firm, now I was headed to my parents' house to work a summer job with a boring real estate attorney and wait to hear from UGA. Tail between my legs, I trudged home and spent the next ten weeks waiting. Despite my frequent calls and supplemental letters of recommendation, UGA's decision at registration two months later was changed - to "denied." Rejected. I was overwhelmed. I wondered what God could be trying to accomplish through this. Feeling lost, I began journaling daily during this time, making my entries recaps of my days and prayers to God for guidance.
I continued working at the real estate firm and kept explicit notes about my work. Gratefully, the attorney I worked for took an interest in me and sought to teach me the vital basics of the field. In addition to my daily tasks, he assigned me legal articles to read and quizzed me about them. He relished in the teaching moments, and I loved them; it felt like mini-law school. My daily journal entries detailed the cases I read, the rules of law I'd learned, as well as the client work I did. It felt rewarding to write it down on the page each day, proof of my growth.
One evening, I went on a date with a guy I had been seeing, and ran into an old friend. Actually, he was a friend's ex-boyfriend. I had always thought Brandon was a great guy and had regretted the way it ended between him and her. Brandon and I struck up a conversation, and he asked if he could call me for lunch. Despite the apparent unhappiness of my date, I gave Brandon my number. "Seriously," I told the guy, "what could happen at lunch with an old friend?" Soon, my journal entries expressed infatuation and admiration for this person, and I was asking God how He wanted me to proceed in this new relationship.
Months later, another letter from UGA arrived, and, shockingly, it bore the same news as the one before: Wait-listed. This time, however, I wasn't devastated. Instead, I felt peace. Holding the letter, I reflected on the past year and the conversations I'd had with God in my journals. I realized that waiting had revealed options and a life I'd never considered before. My time at the real estate firm had exposed a passion and interest I'd never known. With Brandon, I could see that while my career was important, sharing my life with someone was even more so. This was not what I'd planned, nor what I'd expected, but I sensed that during my time of waiting, God had been preparing me for something different. Gratefully, I believed it would be better.
Holy God, you tell us you know the plans you have for us and that those plans will bring us a future and a hope. Your plans are not always clear to us, Lord, and in our ignorance and fear, we worry and doubt. Help us to put our trust in you, Lord. Help us to be patient as we wait, and guide us to do the work you require us to do so that we may grow into your plans. In your name we pray, Amen.
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