It was a cold December winter evening many years ago. I had finished walking an outdoor holiday festival light show and entered into the gift shop following my mother and daughter. We were “window shopping” if you will, the gifts of Catholic home goods, tools, sacramentals and decor. I had nothing in particular in mind to purchase. I walked in and looked around, glancing at different items. With a complete stirring of my spirit I was prompted to look to the left at an engraved scriptural stone. My spirit froze. The words penetrated my soul. My heart began beating exceedingly fast and I began to shed tears. Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” God spoke these words so clearly and so profoundly to my heart that they penetrated to my core. There was no denying that that message was meant for me. There was no questioning if God had truly spoken to me. He had. He spoke right to my soul, right to my core, to my essence of being. Jeremiah 29:11, from that point on I would “coincidentally” find that verse enscripted on journal covers, on stationary, on biblical tools. It soon became a part of my email signature and a part of a blog line. Jeremiah 29:11, I memorized it and tattooed it in my heart. God had plans for me. But what were they? When were they coming to pass? What did they entail? I waited for God’s plan to show up. I waited for the spectacular and miraculous to take place. I waited for something. After a while I just continued to live life.
“I’m not sure what God’s plans are. I’m not sure He has the things that are in my heart as of relevance to him. What if He forgot about me? What if He just wants me to be lonely, bored and miserable? What if He wants me to live a life of solitude and depression and take away my hope and excitement?” Does this sound like you?
It’s been the soundtrack of my life of doubtful faith for quite some time. Feelings and thoughts that fluctuate as often as my human condition. Lately however, 29:11 is reaffirming itself in my life. It shows up when my faith is tested and God merely asks that I take a leap of faith and reach out to him and trust in Him. 29:11 shows up when I wonder how I will successfully complete an interview after three days of laryngitis and then miraculously wake up to having my voice returned only hours before my interview. It shows up at moments of overwhelmth as I stood in the pharmaceutical line praying, the pharmacy miraculously reducing my son’s $900 prescription cost to $75 dollars. I see it when I receive tokens of appreciation from people who I didn’t even think thought of me at all. Tokens of appreciation that give me hope and mirror back to me the beauty that I possess deep inside.
More often than not, I will have these thoughts. Thoughts that consume me and agonize my mind. “I’m not good enough.” “I’ll never be able to do this or that.” ” I’ll never amount to what so and so is.” It’s a constant battlefield of the mind.
29:11. God saw I needed a reminder. Years and years and years from my first 29:11 experience in that quaint gift shop and the signs that followed by seeing the constant influx of items with that verse, I encountered my most recent experience. I started praying for a few things in particular, a few intentions specifically. This past week while at a church celebration function I asked God to give me a sign if my prayers were being heard. I said show me if you are hearing my prayers and working on a plan for me.
” número 15″ my friend called out. We had just began a raffle. My friend to my left had just won for number 15. My number was 18. Though not looking to specifically win for the purpose of winning a gift I said to God “show me a sign, if you hear my prayers and have this plan in the works let me win. Show me.”
“Número 18” my friend called out.
My number. Number 18. God gave me a sign. 29:11. He is working on a plan. As if that were not enough of a sign the details continue.
As a self proclaimed organizer and planner and goal getter I have always maintained a planner. My appointments, events, work activities and engagements in addition to all of my kid’s engagements are written in my planner to assist me in staying on task and organized. Having a planner gives me a sense of order and control in maintaining a family, home and social as well as religious life. As a writer and blogger by nature it allows me to jot ideas, creativity and manage just about anything else. Writing is a part of me as much as a daily coffee is to many, essential and vital. Hence, when my supervisor and colleagues began teasing me about being old fashion because I don’t use my phone as an agenda I decided that perhaps I should purchase a small almost pocket size version in an effort to maybe breakaway from the traditional larger size agenda.What I failed to realize was that it did not complete the entire of 2019 and therefore I would have to purchase another. “By this time next year Channel we will wean you off a written agenda and into an electronic one” my colleagues stated. “But it’s not me” I thought to myself “it’s not the kind of person I am”.
Fast forward a few weeks later and here I am at this event. At this raffle. My number was just called. “Number 18″.
29:11. And so God reconfirmed to me that I’m walking in the right path and He is with me. We just have to ask and pray and watch for signs. And so I won the raffle.
I won the confirmation that my prayers are being heard, that I am not alone and that God has a plan and the material item that I won?………
An agenda book. A complete 2019 agenda with ample room for writing, creativity and organization. And the verse or quote enscripted on the cover? Well 29:11 of course. A reminder and confirmation that among many others there is no need to wean off a tool that God has given me that serves to aid in my progression and my talents. He created me perfectly even if all I see are all the imperfections. He has a plan and His plan is unique to each of us and a reminder that God is constantly talking to us. We simply need to open our ears, eyes and mind and be attentive to what is being said.
Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
There is so much packed in this verse. There is so much to learn and love and believe and the first starts with the dismissal of doubt that God has forgotten abandoned or misled us. The misconception and human failure in the belief that He is against us if we are not perfect and He is ready to punish us and cast his judgement as we are wretched beings or that He will destroy us and make us so unhappy and miserable for his sake. The belief in the father of lies and the lies he feeds us.
Though we may not know or understand the plans, let us ponder and meditate and tattoo this verse in our core and believe. Believe in 29:11 and that God is for us and not against us.