Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Are You Missing God's Big Plan For You?

‘How do you know?
You can’t know that for sure.’

The words came clear and crisp, right on the heel of my declaring a ‘blessing’ – ‘The Lord has big plans for you.

Coming from one who doesn’t often have much to say, they took me by surprise.

Perhaps if I wasn’t a mother, I would learn it a different way. Master the lesson God has been desperately trying to teach me.

But I am convinced that God is using my children, the ones he chose specifically for me, to mold me and shape me... to chisel away the dross that keeps building up... to reveal His truth to me and to make me more like him.

The hardest lessons come through the mistakes I’ve made. But those are the best.

Have you ever made this mistake? The mistake of implying to others that God’s big plan of grace isn’t enough? That what he has planned for them is more important than ‘Who he has planned for them? That somehow there is something that God needs for them to do?

Perhaps you haven’t. Perhaps you have always relayed the truth of the gospel in all of its glorious, beautiful simplicity. No additions. No conditions. No traditions. Nothing but the gospel... nothing but the reason Christ came. 
'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' John 3:16
'Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.' John 5:24 
As I sat there pondering my son’s words, I climbed behind his eyes for a bit and tried to see things the way he did.

Within the last few months he had lost both his young, carefree, fun loving uncle who by the world’s standard had not yet found God’s big plan for his life and his ‘I’m-on-the-verge-of-my-life’ soccer mate who was just 19 when he ‘missed’ out on God’s big plan for his life.

And now here is his mom telling him that God has big plans for his life.


And with those four simple words – ‘how do you know?’ – the chiseling began.

What is God’s big plan for our lives? How do we ‘know’ what His plan is?

I think, perhaps, God likes to play ‘connect the dots’ with me. I’m just not always good at the game. But he keeps saying... look closely and you’ll see... the picture will slowly come into focus. My ‘will’ will become clear and one day... one glorious morning you will ‘see’ the big picture clearly.
''For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.'' John 6:40 
Looking at life from my son’s perspective reminded me of a conversation I had had with another young man very dear to me.

A week before my brother went missing at sea, God blessed me with a wonderful gift... an unplanned conversation that gave me a glimpse into my brother’s awareness of God in his life.

As I listened to him, I had said, ‘Carlos, God is relentlessly pursuing you; it’s up to you now to...

And then I had paused... to do what... what were my ‘good intentions’ and ‘well wishes for my brother’s future’ adding to the gospel...
  • to get your life together
  • to start living for Him
  • to go to church
  • to...

The list goes on.

Sometimes without realizing it we become stumbling blocks to those (of us) who desperately need the grace and mercy Jesus offers.

My brother didn’t need anything else. We don’t need anything else. 

In a week's time my brother was gone, and in my grief I had accused God of not giving him a chance. 

But he did have a chance. A chance to believe.

God simply wants us to believe.

To believe that before I was even born he knew me... knew I would wander from Him.

To believe he had a plan... a plan to bring me back to Him.

To believe that this plan was achieved through Christ living a righteous life... a life that I could never live, willingly suffering the punishment I deserved for my willful rebellion and offering me His clean slate...

To believe that I’m forgiven, justified and brought back to God... to know Him... my treasure and my joy... all through what Christ did for me.

To believe that God’s big plan for my life is simply to know Him.

And that is enough!

Oh, my friend, sometimes we spend so much time waiting for God’s big plan to unfold in our lives... in our children’s lives... in the lives of our loved ones... convincing ourselves that God has something for us to do for Him.

But what if...

What if we’re sending the wrong message? Inadvertently painting a misguided picture of God’s plan for our lives... like it must show up in a big, visible way or else we’re missing out.

What if God’s big plan for our lives is simply to receive His offer of grace?
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6: 28-29 
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John17: 3
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. Jeremiah 29:11 
I love that verse, that verse about God’s plans for me, but I also think it just may be one of the most misquoted verses of all time.

The more I connected the dots the more I realized something... here on this side of eternity, not every one will be a king but everyone can know the King. And that, my friend, is huge. Bigger than any plan you can envision... a big, shining ball of hope that promises an eternal future with Him.

That night talking to my brother, I had stumbled over my words, but eventually I landed on this one simple, yet profound word – ‘respond’.

God is pursuing you with His relentless love... you simply have to respond.
'...but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.' John 20: 31
'...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”Romans10:9-11

As we celebrate my brother’s life... I am sharing with you a video clip from 'Anthem Lights'... one that he shared with me... songs of redemption that had moved him in such a way that he struggled to describe it... moved him to sense anew in an indescribable manner God’s closeness to him.

I am overcome by emotion each time I listen to these songs, but I’m grateful... grateful to a God who helps me connect the dots... grateful that He mercifully gave me a glimpse of my brother’s response... grateful for His love and mercy that reaches out and says trust my plan... my big plan for you...  my plan to bring you back to me.

Grateful for each new breath that draws me deeper into him, each new opportunity to share His message of hope with you... with my children... with all those who are still desperately searching for God’s big plan for their lives.

And grateful that I can say - 'Yes, my son, I am sure. God does have a big plan for you!'

May God bless you,

Remembering Carlos


  1. Carlie, you have no idea what this means to me. This is so well written and honest. Your words spoke straight to my heart, because a year and a half ago I was quoting the Jeremiah verse with my Bible study the morning of the day my brother-in-law died (of natural causes). He was young and healthy it came as a huge shock. I have a lot of peace about his death now, but I still struggled with that verse...until you cleared some things up for me. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart and pointing directly to the simplicity of God's desire for us to know him and Jesus. I'm so sorry for your loss, and so thankful you stopped by my blog today! ❤

    1. So grateful, Laura! Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful comment.

  2. Carlie -

    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, but I am so glad you know the KING and that He is giving you comfort a this time. I love that your brother shared this anthem lights video with you - God was working in his life and touching his heart and that is such a powerful thing to cling to. I love your declaration over your son, and also how you shared your thought process of wrestling things through with God. I am praying for God's strength and comfort for you today- Blessings to you, I am your neighbor at #RaRaLinkup this week

    Your neighbor at #RaRaLinkup this week.

    PS.. if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday's I would love if you would consider joining my new linkup #TuneInThursday - it opens Thursday 3am PST and runs through Sunday night. you can find it at debbiekitterman.com/blog (Please feel free to delete the link if you think it inappropriate).

    1. Thank you, Debbie, for your kind words and prayers. So appreciated! Thanks also for the invitation to link-up. Will see you there. :)

    2. Carlie, I'm so glad to see you on my linkup #TuneInThursday this week. Hope to see you next time!

  3. I'm humbled by how God is using the pain in our lives to unravel some deep truths He wants us to grasp. It just reminds me that light shines brightest in the dark.
    Hugs to you, my sister!

    1. Humbled. Yes, that sums up this whole learning process for me. Grateful for a patient, ever-present God and for the support of family as we walk together. Hugs and kisses!

  4. Carlie...what a touching message! It's so hard to try to understand everything, but if we realize that we aren't in control, we can relax with the understanding that He will take care of us!

    1. Thanks, Jodie! God has definitely being reminding me that I'm not in control. Still working on the relaxing part to be honest. Somedays are better than others. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  5. Appropriate words for me today, as I wrote the words of Jeremiah 29:11 in the graduation cards for my twin high school seniors. I'm encouraged that God's purposes are grander than anything we can imagine. The simplest act of kindness has far-reaching affects in His Kingdom. Carlie, praying for you and Marva as you continue to walk the path of grief ... that God will continue His work in your lives and accomplish His purposes as you point back to Him. xoxo

  6. It must be such an exciting time in your lives, Dianne, filled with so much hope and expectation and gratitude. Praying for God's continued blessings on your family as you move into the next phase. Thank you so much for your prayers - they are truly appreciated. Blessings, my friend!

  7. Oh, Carlie, may the Lord fully comfort you and your family concerning your brother. What you shared here is so profound.

    "God’s big plan for my life is simply to know Him.

    And that is enough!" And that boxed scripture: John 17:3. The weighty things of faith are really so simple if we can only look closely. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughtfulness, Aunty Edith!

  8. Thanks Carlie for this truth-God's plan is that we know Him and share this with others. Great reminder to never lost sight of this! Amen!

    1. Thanks, Jill! It's as simple as that, isn't it? Blessings to you!

  9. Carlie, This is powerful! Thank you for sharing the truth of God’s message in such a beautiful way. I’m sorry for the loss of your brother and pray that you will continue to feel uplifted by Him as you navigate life in a new and unexpected season.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers, Leslie; they are really appreciated.

  10. Hi Carlie, it was good soaking up your encouragemnt over at Marva's...even better to visit *smiles*.
    I am so sorry you lost your brother. I like that yoyu focus on the powerful lessons he left you with.
    Thank you for sharing them with us.
    Many Blessings to you

    1. Thanks, Ifeoma, for taking the time to visit and for your kind words! You are always such an encouragement!

  11. Thanks for sharing. So often we may make plans, but God may have other plans for us. You mentioned great points Carlie. Thanks or stopping by anointedtoday.blogspot.com.


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