Have you ever spent a significant amount of time planning for an event? You prepare every detail: the time, place, people, supplies, and everything in between. Then you wait in anticipation for the event to happen, the excitement building as the day gets closer and closer. Finally, the day arrives. Everything is ready. And the event doesn’t go in any way as you planned.
What do you do now?
This scenario describes the process of starting SMM at Lakeview Middle School. The whole idea was a bit of a whirlwind. My girls at Jefferson Elementary were getting ready to move on to middle school, but I wasn’t ready to stop teaching them. With the help of my mentor, Nicole, the two of us made plans to bring SMM to middle school.
The planning began. We needed to contact the school, obtain a classroom, think of activities to do, gather lessons to teach, the list went on and on. From January through August we worked and planned and prayed. Sometimes life got the best of us, and we would get distracted. But eventually the plans were set, and SMM at Lakeview was set to begin on November 1, 2016.
My heart was jittery with excitement when the day finally arrived. My roommates can attest to the fact that I was pacing in my room an hour before I left, praying that everything would go well. When Nicole and I got to the middle school, I nearly burst with excitement because I just wanted to see my girls.
We were led down to the cafeteria, set all our belongings down, and then waited. And we waited. Fifteen minutes after the final bell had gone by, and my heart slowly started to sink. Then from down the hallway one girl wandered over to our table. I recognized her from one year at Jefferson Elementary, and she sat down beside me. Another five minutes had gone by and I realized that this one girl was the only one who was going to show up that day.
My heart sank. After months of planning, preparing, and praying I felt like I had failed. As a senior in college, hoping that plans work out is currently a large part of my life. I was so nervous because I had never started a program like this in a new place, and then my hopes were let down because I thought none of my other girls would ever show up. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to lead a new ministry program.
These feelings of insecurity and discouragement did not last long. God came to my side instantly, and I was overwhelmed by His presence. And then a message was pressed so heavily on my heart that said, “Just wait. This is for a purpose. Trust me.” Those words resonated so deeply with me. For the rest of the time we were there that day, I put my whole heart into teaching and loving our one girl. She was talkative, energetic, and genuinely happy to be at SMM. Even though the day didn’t go in any way like I had planned, it was an incredible start to middle school SMM.
God has an interesting way of working with plans. I can try and plan all the big and little details of my life, but ultimately things are going to go according to His plans. Starting SMM at Lakeview has given me a new perspective on placing my trust in God. In order to teach these girls in the best way possible, I need to rely completely on God’s direction and guidance. After all, I am teaching them all about Him. Instead of getting discouraged, I felt humbled and encouraged to know that God had a purpose for my disheveled plans. And that’s how I want to live out my life, by trusting Him completely to lead me in serving these girls and teaching them about His love.
Things may not always go as I plan them (again, this is so encouraging to an almost college graduate). I must constantly remind myself that it’s not my plan that I’m living by, it’s God’s. Let this be a reminder and an encouragement that when things don’t go exactly as we planned, they are going exactly as He planned.
So, Nicole and I went back to Lakeview the next week. My heart was overflowing with happiness when, not only did our one girl show up, but so did all of the other girls whom I’ve previously taught. All of those girls continue to come on a weekly basis and have even started to bring new friends. Wow, when God says to trust Him, He truly provides. The girls are going through a bible study called Seamless, and each week they bring their books and endless amounts of energy, ready to learn more. Oh, they make my heart so happy. And now, as Nicole and I both continue on this journey, I’m staying tuned for what God has planned next.