I’m always looking for new books to read, and I recently came across a book by Jenny Simmons called The Road to Becoming: Rediscovering Your Life in the Not-How-I-Planned It Moments. Jenny was the lead singer of the Christian pop/rock band Addison Road. Even though their band had their final performance in 2012, I still love their music. Their song, “Hope Now” continues to be one of my favorite songs.
Jenny’s book was actually part of a package deal – I would receive an autograph copy of the book, Jenny’s solo album, and a handwritten note from her. I was planning on buying the book anyways, so this was an easy decision. Sold!
I must admit, I was expecting the handwritten note to simply read, “Thank you” or maybe, “Thank you. I hope you enjoy the book and CD.” I mean, what author/singer has time to write personalized notes of encouragement to her fans? So, imagine my surprise when I opened my package and saw the above note. Jenny also included my name when she autographed the inside cover of the book. I was impressed by these personal touches, and it reminded me that God knows us by name and cares about all the little details.
In The Road to Becoming, Jenny Simmons shares personal stories from seasons of her life that she refers to as: The Dreaming and Destruction, The Burying, The Lostness, The Waiting, and The Becoming.
“The death of a dream, plan, or person we love dearly is not the end of the story. It is, however, the starting point on our road to becoming. That place where eventually, somehow, someway new life is birthed.” Jenny Simmons
Jenny talks about the importance of acknowledging and grieving the losses in our lives, but also shares how God can bring something good out of something we might never expect. You'll have to read the book to learn how God did this in Jenny's life.
While my life experiences are very different from Jenny’s (I have never traveled the country on a tour bus, performed for thousands, or had a song on the radio), I could relate to the fact that my life now is very different than how I imagined it to be years ago.
Growing up, I envisioned a life full of happiness. I dreamed of getting married, having a house full of kids and pets, living close to my family, and becoming a teacher.
What does my life actually look like? While I have experienced lots of happiness, I’ve also experienced quite a bit of heartache. I’ve never been married, I don’t have any kids, I’m allergic to cats and dogs, I had to drastically change my diet when I discovered I have a gluten sensitivity, and I live hundreds of miles away from my family. The only thing that worked out as I had planned is that I’m a teacher.
When life doesn’t go as planned, I remember these verses:
Isaiah 55:9 - “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Jeremiah 29:11 – “ 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.”
How has God brought something good out of my unplanned moments? He took my heartache and used it to give me a passion to help those who have experienced abuse and motherloss. Being single has allowed me more time to volunteer and serve in various areas. Going gluten-free helped me gain back my health. While I live far away from my biological family, God has blessed me with amazing friends from work and church who have become like another family to me. If my life would have gone as I had initially planned, I would have missed out on all of these things.
We won’t always understand God’s ways and that’s ok. It’s in those unplanned moments of life that we often learn how to trust God the most. We may be caught off guard by what’s happening, but nothing catches God by surprise. He can use those unexpected moments to help prepare us for a future He has lovingly planned out for us.
Is your life different than how you imagined it would be? What might God want to do through your unplanned moments?
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.