Uniquely Inspirational

The Problem with “Dreams”…

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.”  –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIRV)

Over 20 plus years ago I stepped onto the grounds of Southern Nazarene University. Little did I know that during my years of study there my life would change, my experiences would shape me, events would break me and God would rebuild me.

I went in with the illusion and dream, as many high school grads have… that I knew what I wanted to be. I thought I knew what would become of me after my studies. I had my life planned out. I pretty much had my priorities all down. I had a car, and a job, and now I had a pathway to my future. I was in a great university, and so far, people liked me. Everything would be great. I would get a B.A.  in Religion with a Psychology Minor, maybe add on theater… I would find the most amazing, handsome and God-loving 6 foot tall “Superman” I could during that time. We would get married right after I graduate. W’d move to the mission field in some other country, have our children there, 4 of them, and live happily ever after.

Yeah…NOPE! That did not happen…

I did get my B.A. in Religion though, and did marry a shorter, but not so perfect version of “Superman.”  But that is all that went along with my plan. Within the grounds of the university I found passion in Mission Studies that replaced the minor in Psychology, and I even saw the opportunity to get a second minor in Spanish. I responded to those changes with glee… but then…

walking on old rails
Walking on old rails laid down in Thailand by the Japanese

I got derailed…

My life got derailed…

It wasn’t all for the bad… for God had other plans for me within the events of my life and maybe even as a response to the “tragic times” of them. Little did I know that God would create a pathway that would carry me in different directions.

Between my junior year and senior year I lost my Mother to cancer. I was more than heart broken. I was lost and walked through a tunnel for months. My studies had already suffered as she had been in the hospital during my sophomore year, and this was worse than that. I thought to myself, as my 4th year began, why should I continue them now? I can’t even focus! I had amazing professors and a fiancee who believed in me and helped me get through that year. I got married during the final year, right after Christmas. And we began a life completely off my plans. We entered the pastoral ministry in the USA. “Surely this is temporary…” I thought to myself…

Yeah… NOPE…. it wasn’t

So my plan, that I had envisioned, that I had laid out, didn’t go well. I was now more derailed than ever…

I was wrong. I was so wrong. God had taken aspects of me and re-molded me to do far more than I thought I could. He taught me to find a new “plan” regardless of the different pathways our life took us through. God worked within our derailment and placed us in different rails that would still work within His Plan. And the more control of our lives we gave God, the more interesting, exciting and new pathways He would provide. It became God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” for us.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”   —Romans 12:2 (NIV)

In the process of it all I wound up working in my mission field here in the USA. Not what I planned or dreamed of, but it was God’s plan and dream ultimately. He opened the doors when others closed some, and kept us moving us forward through life. Through experiences that where great, to the painful ones, God kept rebuilding, strengthening us and placing new rails towards new destinations that we never thought of.

We have ministered in the middle of nowhere, to small towns, small cities, large cities. inner-city areas, multi-cultural areas and more.  I have learned the differences within the American/White culture as much as I have learned the differences within the minority cultures. I have experience a life that was not even, remotely, close to my dreams.

As I look back at that excited, perfectly planned, determined and dreamy girl… I can only smile and see still all those characteristics even today.

New things still excite me, I still plan, this time knowing that it will change. I am still determined, and I still dream. The difference is that I rely on God more than ever to create my pathway, to set my rails down according to His will. Then I get on His path and pray that there is no derailing. And even if there is, God will place us back on track.

Life goes on… as God creates unique pathways in our lives that may not be what we expect but we ride with willingly.  For we have accepted that our lives may not be “happy ever after” but it will be unique and full of JOY, LOVE, GRACE and more. For we ride on the rail of Life that God has placed before us, regardless how odd, difficult or painful some of these stopping grounds will be. In exchange you never know how often an amazing and unique that journey will be as you ride on the rails of God’s will.

So, sit back an enjoy the ride. Let God lay your rails down for they will be unique just for you. Let go of your plans and let God be in control. You will be amazed at the unique journey you take when you are in His will.

We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose.  We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory.” –Ephesians 1:11-12 (NIRV)

Uniquely Inspirational

I Am a Cloud

“I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven, and I will look down on my beautiful life.” –Yayoi Kusama

As I fly through the clouds and watch the world pass beneath me. I find myself contemplating who I am. Not before man, but before God. It is amazing to me that my whole world depends on a daily living, living it as only I can and know how. Living it among so many. A daughter of Eve, I believe it is the correct reference… at least according to “Narnia.”

Raqui on plane blogging

Yet, I am amazed at the world above us. We walk and search the grounds without even searching the skies. To see the beauty of it all from above reminds me of Ecclesiastics: life is meaningless. It is meaningless because without having a purpose, our life is meaningless.

What then gives meaning to a life that walks the earth? Could it be the infinite love of the creator who placed us here? Or could it be just a coincidence? But one who truly searches for answers will not agree with the answer being coincidence. It is more than that. Because if it was so, then how can you look at the clouds alone and see their amazing infinite forms and think of it all as coincidence? There is something bigger, more amazing than it all.

In this sense, if the clouds can be so overwhelming in their beauty and form, how much more can life itself be? If the clouds can have a unique purpose and be constantly changing and reforming, yet meet their purpose. How much more can one life be unique in its form and purpose yet continue to change to meet that purpose? Even the clouds have meaning.

IMG_0749Then, what meaning can my life have? Even a greater one. A greater, amazing, infinite meaning. A meaning with even greater purpose. A meaning that I can only have if I allow myself to see it from the Creator’s point of view. Meaning, if I allow Him to change me and form me to meet His purpose. If God can see significance in the clouds that we fly by, how much more significance is my life to Him. And if my Life is important to Him, so is everyone else’s.

Then I wonder, how many lives are walking on the ground feeling helpless? How many lives walk as if they have no meaning? How many lives walk the ground without looking up? Without searching beyond their daily living? Do they find their lives busy, but empty? Maybe used and empty. Maybe they just survive but do not enjoy living?

If the lives that are on the ground are as endless as the clouds of the sky… can they be formed in infinite ways? Imagine how many beautiful unique lives God created. Each with meaning, each with purpose each formed and reformed specially to meet His purpose. How does our Creator God fit in it all of this? What is His purpose?  Well, He gives meaning. He gives us a solid purpose (unlike the clouds). He gives us LIFE. He allows us to walk the earth to live a life of freedom. Hoping that we will in turn allow Him to reform us to live for Him. I believe that in forming us, He hopes that at some point we look up and find an infinite God who sees us, who loves us and who wants us to live with meaning. To find meaning in all that we do and learn from those life decisions that we didn’t do well on. To see Life as He intended it, through His son Jesus Christ. And to reach for the skies in pursuit of Holiness, constantly reflecting His Holy love on this earth. To LIVE for HIM.

Clouds & rainbowWhat then do we do in return?  To be a cloud. I myself can only use the life that He has given me in a way that it can fulfill His purpose. Allowing God to form me constantly, so that I may walk the earth serving Him. Loving my Creator God with all my being. Showing Him how grateful I am for the Life He has given me. To live my life for Him as uniquely as He has formed me to be, being His cloud and rising above…