I look down at the ratty and worn out bookmark, the tassel frayed and unraveling. Then, I look at the words printed on the front of the bookmark, and tears begin to stream down my face. How appropriate those words. How real they would feel one year later. How convicted I would feel by the truth in the words. Printed on the leather purple bookmark, still tucked away in the Joyce Meyer book that was a graduation present from my mother: “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.”
Oh, how true indeed! The Lord has always known the plans for me and it brings me such joy to know that while I was worried about my future, jobs, relationships, etc., He already knew those plans. When I first got the bookmark last May, I remember looking at the words, and thinking, hmm that’s a nice little bible verse. However it didn’t change anything in my heart. I continued to worry and stress about jobs and where I would be living and what I would be doing. Looking back on it now, I see how minute my worries were. I see how small my stresses were to an almighty God, but at the time they were all-consuming. I defined my identity in worldly success. So, I looked at the bookmark with some merit, but gave it no merit in my life. A few weeks later, I was in Memphis for Memorial Day, which ended up being a life changing week, and I was at Cracker Barrel with my little sister, and as we walked through the country store, I glanced a plaque with the same words printed on it. I said to my sister, “Maya, look it’s that same bible verse.” She said it must be following me around for a reason. I told her if I got the job that I was interviewing for on the next day, that they must get the plaque for me to hang on my office wall.
I did get that job, and for the next two or three months, I would see this bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11 printed everywhere. As if it truly were following me around. From looking for decorations for my new apartment, to buying a journal from the bookstore, I saw those words everywhere. Finally, I began to wonder what God could mean. In my mind his prophecy had been fulfilled. I was desperate for a job, and he blessed me with an awesome job around an amazing group of uplifting Christian people. Weren’t those his plans? Hadn’t he prospered me? It never really was about the job though.
Months later as I reflect on the past 12 months, tears stream down my face as I reread those words printed on the purple leather bookmark. When I think of the plans that I tried to create for myself, the jobs I applied for, the cities I attempted to live in, the relationships that I wanted to form; they are crumbs compared to the feast that the Lord has been preparing for me. One year later, I realize that all of the doors that had to close, all the sadness I had to endure, all of the confusion, all of the frustration, all of the things I had to turn away from, so I could turn to the one true and Holy God. The past 12 months have changed me. I trust God because I believe that his plans for me will always surpass any plans I could ever make for myself.
I can look at Jeremiah 29:11 and know that the Lord is good and sovereign and his promises always come true. I can substitute the word “plans” for job, husband, house, friends, city, tomorrow, etc. He knows my future, He holds my future, and his plan are to give me hope and a future Something I couldn’t foresee a year ago.