Sunday, January 20, 2013

Immeasurably More

 Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

   This time a year ago, I was in my junior year of college. My plans for life after graduation included moving to Nashville and applying to Vanderbilt University to continue my studies in their graduate program. I wanted to teach in metro Nashville, I wanted to live in a cute apartment with original hardwood floors in downtown, I wanted a chocolate lab, and I wanted to travel during the summers. I felt like this dream was in line with what the Lord had in store for my life, and I was greatly looking forward to graduating and starting the next chapter of my life in a trendy city that I love.

  But God, in all His infinite wisdom, had other plans.

  This time a year ago, Ephesians 3:20-21 became a verse that I clung to and claimed for my life. I knew that God, in all His infinite wisdom, had plans bigger than I could ever ask or think. I knew that God, in all His infinite wisdom and love for His daughter, had plans to prosper me and not to harm me (Jer. 29:11) and to bring glory to his name (Psalm 23:3). I have always been a dreamer, I have always looked forward to life after college and greatly anticipated what it could bring.

Oh, I could have never imagined all the greatness Jesus had in store for me.

This time a year ago, I went to Peshtigo, Wisconsin for a SWAT weekend and met the most wonderful (and handsome!) man. I had no clue what was in store on that weekend, and I certainly was not expecting to meet my future husband.

But here we are, a year later...and Dale and I are engaged! He proposed in October, and we are in the wedding planning season! It is such a blessing and such an exciting time. I am greatly looking forward to married life with Dale. :)

 When I was sixteen, my dad and I were on a road trip to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving. During this trip, my dad had me write down ten "non-negotiables" in my future husband. My dad told me that any man I dated would be held up to this list, and if my dad felt that the guy I was dating did not meet my list of requirements, he would lovingly talk to me about it. I am so thankful to have a father who cares about the well being of my heart during my dating experience! There were a few times that some guys crossed my path who did not display the things that were on my list. The ten things I had written down were not surface level desires like, "He must be muscular!" But they were deep-seeded, divinely appointed, engraved into my being needs such as, "He must be a man of God. He must have a strong group of male friends around him to hold him accountable and encourage him. He must be adventurous." I felt like the things on my list demonstrated my core beliefs and reflected the kind of man that God had in store for me.

I was right!
But I was only scratching the surface.
Because God, in all of His infinite wisdom and great love for me, HAD IMMEASURABLY MORE IN STORE.

There are qualities in Dale that I anticipated and wrote on my list. He meets every single one of my "ten things" on the list my dad and I created when I was sixteen.
   But there are also qualities in Dale that I didn't even know that I desired in my future husband. How cool of Jesus! The Creator of the universe knows me so intimately well that when He created Dale, God said, "In my book are all of Amberly's days, and all of Dale's days. And I have ordained the day they meet, the day they become engaged, and the day they marry even before they enter into the world. I have created Amberly to be adventurous, and I have created Dale to be adventurous. I know they will enjoy many, many adventures together. I have also created Amberly to love the little things in life. And I know that I have created Dale to be incredibly attentive to detail, which will complement Amberly's enjoyment in life's small wonders. I know Amberly will love that in Dale."

To all my single friends, discouraged friends, or distraught friends who might be reading this, TAKE HEART.

Because God, in all His infinite wisdom, has IMMEASURABLY MORE in store for you.

 I remember what it's like to be surrounded by [seemingly] everyone who is engaged, happily dating, having babies, or going on adventures. I remember what it's like to be dissatisfied with a season I was in. I remember what it's like dating bozos and becoming discouraged by the [seemingly] dismal prospects of men in the world. I remember what it's like having my heart broken.

But TAKE HEART. God is all powerful and His timing is perfect.

I realize you may be thinking, "You are engaged. It's easy for you to say that God is good, and He has immeasurably more in store, because you are living in the immeasurably more."
And you know what, friend? You're right. It is easy for me to say that. Because I am living in the season of immeasurably more. But I am also claiming the promise we see in Ephesians 3:20-21 for the next chapter in my life, and all the chapters after that.

Because I know my God to be FAITHFUL AND TRUE.

Dale and I are currently praying/seeking/asking the Lord for direction in the next chapter after graduation. We are making decisions on where to live, work, and the like. Satan likes to get in my brain and heart and attempts to plant seeds of doubt about the Lord not providing for this next chapter. Satan likes to try to convince me (and sometimes he does, for a time) that God will lead me into the next chapter and then leave me hanging.

But you know what I am doing? Clinging to the promise that God will do IMMEASURABLY MORE in my life, in Dale's life, in our life as husband and wife, and He will do IMMEASURABLY MORE through our marriage.

So we are to take heart because JESUS has overcome the world (John 16:33), remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and cling to the promise that God will do IMMEASURABLY MORE (Ephesians 3:20-21) than all that we could ask or think.

Now. That's some crazy cool, divinely powered, strength to get through tough times!

Walk in peace and the knowledge that God will do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we can dream, think, or ask.