The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

For I know the plans I have for you…

[I was just going through some files on my computer and found this.
It was written on December 2nd, 2014.
Almost exactly a year ago.]

“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 a hope and a future.”     Jeremiah 29:11

I am the kind of person who imagines situations and circumstances a million times over before they actually happen. I make plans and have expectations – which almost always differ from how things actually turn out. Giving my plans over to God has been one of the hardest struggles in my life….and it’s an ongoing, almost constant struggle.

Example: I have always wanted a big family; four kids sounds good to me (And, luckily for me, David is in agreement!). My plan was for my kids to be close together in age. My ideal: no more than 2 years apart. Honestly, I think Bethany was less than 6 months old when I first decided “Ok, I could be ready for another one right now!” But financially we were not in a place where we could have more kids. So we waited.

I was all too aware when the deadline passed and suddenly my kids would be more than 2 years apart. It. was. hard. I had made plans that were not being fulfilled. We decided to set some goals that we needed to reach before we would be ready to have more kids: 1. A car. 2. Better financial stability (David and I were both working “freelance” and at the time David’s business was not doing well.) 3. More space in our house.

Slowly but surely we achieved those goals. We bought a car last year; at the beginning of this year David’s business picked up (to the point where he averaged 12 students a month); and we started to build an addition on our house to give us the space we needed.

Check, check, check. Ok, time to have more kids. Right?

Well, I got pregnant in July… and then miscarried at the beginning of September. I was pregnant again at the end of October, and miscarried again mid November.

“Um, what the heck, God? We had a plan here. We had goals. How is this part of Your plan ‘to prosper and NOT to harm me’? How is this giving me ‘a hope and a future’?”

Do you see the problem here? They were my plans and my goals. Somehow along the way, I left the “big picture/long term” plans up to God, but I decided to take on all the short term planning myself.

And last week, as I sat in front of my computer reading article after article on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, while trying not to self-diagnose but at the same time totally self-diagnosing, and wondering why this was happening to me, I suddenly had a revelation…

I need to read all of Jeremiah 29. Not just verse 11.

Here’s what i found:

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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.”

God is talking to His people while they are in captivity. They have been taken out of their own land and forced into slavery. I’m sure none of them planned for this to ever happen, but it did! And check out verse 7: It says “seek peace and prosperity in the city to which I have carried you to exile”.

I.e. Don’t wait until you’re through the mess to find peace, find peace and prosper in the midst of the mess.

This is what I hear God saying:

“Hey, guys, clearly this wasn’t the plan you had for your life. (I mean, who plans to be taken captive, right?) I know you’re feeling down about it, but it’s not the end of the world… keep doing life! Build your home, find a spouse, have kids, have grand kids! Make the best of what you have right now in this moment, instead of waiting for something better. Enjoy the place where you are living even though it’s not your real home. And when 70 years have passed, I will bring you back home. Because I have great plans for you!”

So, that was some serious paraphrasing, but I hope you get the point. Just because at this moment in my life I think things aren’t going right or according to my plan, doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan. He sees the BIG picture, when we just see little snippets. I know that God is saying to me “I know that this isn’t what you wanted, but keep on going! Stop waiting for something better, and enjoy what you have right now in this moment!”

Does this mean I’ve figured it all out? No. Am I all better? Definitely not. The losses are still fresh and the pain is very real. But am I going to give up? No. I am going to make the best of where I am while I’m here. Because, really, we’re all in exile, aren’t we? This world is not our home, and we are all waiting for the day when God takes us into His Glory.

I am trying daily to remember that God is in control; of the big and the small; of the important and the [seemly] insignificant. I need to stop worrying about infertility, and the age difference of my kids, and focus on living right now. Because, His ultimate plans for our lives are for good, but that doesn’t mean we won’t trip and scrape our knees along the way.


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