When God’s Plans Reign Supreme
If I had seen the title of this post merely 2 years ago from ANY OTHER author, I would’ve felt nauseous, freaked out, closed my tabs and probably gone for a run just to shake off the crippling fear thinking “I am so glad I’m not that author… maybe if I forget I even saw that article, my fate won’t be tied to them in any way.”
But going for a run to deny a life path is no longer in the picture. And it is 100% my fault. You see, I made a really bold move about 12 years ago. After struggling with life-threatening bulimia for several years and a host of other detours, rehabs, and Eating Disorder treatments; I had given up completely. And then, through no redeeming action on my part, God showed up. As the chains of a disordered and addicted life began to be removed by the hand of my Heavenly Father, I felt something I had never believed before: undeniable uncompromising wholehearted LOVE and PURPOSE.
I lost ALL “Jennie” desire to plan the course of my life and boldly proclaimed to God, “I failed. You are all-powerful. I can’t do this so I submit everything to you. Just take all of me. I’ll do anything. I vow to dedicated 100% of my God-given gifts, talents, and LIFE to whatever you want. If I stray from that path, bring me back clearly. Amen.” And just like that, my “bold” move was set in motion. Today, I picture God smiling and rolling up His sleeves stating “Finally. Now just wait and watch me weave…”
It didn’t take long for me to take back my own life under the false assumption that “God was still in control.” In fact, He had me doing things that (to me) were AWESOME!
After that, I believed I was done with the “hard stuff” and was being rewarded with jobs that took me to the Middle East, Africa, multiple countries and got me on radio and television interviews.
I would lement that “law school” was “my Nineveh” which is a term I use to describe that ONE thing God calls us to do, give up, or tackle that we just cannot fathom.
Certainly, I never sought to be in broadcasting or garner any sort of fame, but I rolled with it and it was fun. Sure, I was bummed that my path seemed to be remaining single, unmarried, and childless; but I felt a peace about that. After all, a husband and kids wouldn’t really fit in with my “front lines” traveling and crazy work schedule to research, learn, travel, and expose facts of US foreign policy and issues.
I would lament that “law school” was “my Nineveh” which is a term I use to describe that ONE thing God calls us to do, give up, or tackle that we just cannot fathom. And since I had finally headed to “my Nineveh” I was in the clear. It would be smooth sailing from here while God just kept doing awesome things because I gave my life path to Him! Right? Ha… Ha….
I didn’t realize two things about our “Nineveh’s” – or more accurately, MY Nineveh. (1) There’s rarely ever just ONE Nineveh; and (2) There is a difference between “scared and feeling ill-equipped to do something” AND “I absolutely will NEVER do that.” Law school wasn’t the latter. FARMS were. KIDS were. To me, living on a farm indicated being trapped and subject to a lifestyle that I wouldn’t be able to handle. One that was cut off from the outside world and unaware/unattached with global affairs (my heart’s desire).
Kids seemed great for many people and I’d continue fighting for human rights with children; but for me, I believed that I could never work AND be a mother-figure to kids. It had to be one or the other in my head so that would never be an option. If I ever had kids, it would be through an adoption in like 20 years. So farms…kids…mainly farms… that was my “off limits” path. That was my Nineveh.
The Pinnacle Chapter Begins…
One of the radio shows I was featured on as I started out in journalism and NGO work was with Angie Austin’s Daybreak USA: a show featured on numerous radio networks throughout the US. Her show had me on weekly which led to frequent conversations with the show producer and sometimes co-host, Jon DeMaster. I created Jon’s looks in my head based on his radio presence and the fact that he was divorced with 4 kids. In my head, Jon was at least 50 – 60, balding, definitely short and far too removed with his baggage to be considered a “threat” to my single lifestyle; so I allowed this “non-threat” to become a friend. We shared the same faith and values and it felt good to have someone I could be honest with. I offered to meet Jon in person to help him out and pose as a “date” to a wedding he was dreading in a small-gossip-type town he resided in in the Midwest.
I never thought of “having kids” as gaining new allies and watching young humans learn to become Spiritual warriors in this broken and fallen world.
When I showed up in what was certainly a “nothing trip” in my litany of plane travels, Jon was not 60, nor bald, nor “non-threatening.” He was different from any one I’d ever met. He was charming, HILARIOUS, honest, and one of the most genuine and kind-hearted men I’d ever known. Since my brain still considered him a “non-threat” despite my heart beating a billion miles an hour, I gladly left the hotel to come to his house and meet the 4 kids. Except they weren’t this concept of “kids” I considered scary and suffocating.
They were 4 individuals humans – growing up, learning about themselves, SUPER cool, AND they were interested in my Mid East stories (which generally scared people off pretty quickly). In fact, these 4 kids were just awesome. I genuinely wanted to hang out with them and get to know them and talk to them. It was like having 4 instant friends that all cracked me up! I never thought of “having kids” as gaining new allies and watching young humans learn to become Spiritual warriors in this broken and fallen world.
I’ll spare the details of how fast the marriage happened after I just knew Jon was the “one” and how – if it wasn’t for my mother and a few choice bridesmaids (Allison & NP small group girls shout out) – my wedding would’ve been a garbage heap of ruins in the record of “most extravagent fails ever.” But it was amazing and perfect. Bags packed – I left Atlanta after living in Washington DC and headed to a Dairy Farm on the Midwest where Jon’s parents had continued the family business since the Civil War. Unswayed by the market conditions for dairy farmers, Jon’s parents maintained their legacy until the milk machines shut off for the first time in 2018. As the dust settled, it took me about a year to grasp that, SOMEHOW, since I refused to see that I was approaching my Nineveh meeting Jon, God allowed me to be blinded by my own whale of romance until he let me be spit out to deal with the reality.
Now, two years later, Jon and I continue to learn the hardest lessons we’ve ever had to learn in our respective lives, but God loves us so much that we get to do it together. I’ve woken up every morning either a Llama in the kitchen window, cows in the back windows, or the sound of a donkey giving a warning “hee haw” far louder than I ever thought donkeys could utter. I have fallen totally in love with my 4 incredible stepkids who show me every day how rewarding it is to watch young men and women grow in their faith, learn to manage emotions, and struggle with life’s challenges as God molds them into the warriors He has willed for them to become.
I rejoice wholeheartedly because if our heart truly desires to follow God, but our feet seem unable to move, God still uses His own “big fish” to take us to Nineveh.
So, while I’m not out of the woods yet in terms of my fears, I’m learning that God will never allow me to be content in hiding fears and shutting doors; He will never let me think it’s smooth sailing; and He’ll never ever let me believe that I have any power without His voice to resolve issues for a better path that I find more suitable. Because the point isn’t “God, I’ll follow you so I GET the desires of my heart.” The point is that I need to truly know God. I needed to SEE Him, lean on Him, run to Him, and watch Him unfold something that I would never have chosen on my own. That is the entire point of this life. THAT LOVE is the only thing that can make a city-girl globetrotter into one that walks the land, appreciates its beauty, and quietly waits for God’s voice as He manages the chaos that I used to feel responsible to fix and control.
I still feel guilt that I’ve essentially lost all my friends and much work trying to get accustomed to being a stepmom and wife and live on a farm in a tiny town; but at the end of the day, I can’t imagine my life without this new reality. Without these kids. Without Jon and my new in-law family, and even without the llamas in the backyard. I rejoice wholeheartedly because if our heart truly desires to follow God, but our feet seem unable to move, God still uses His own “big fish” to take us to Nineveh; and in the end, Nineveh is exactly where we need to be to make an effect on this world.