Jeremiah 29:11 has always been one of my favorite verses. Most of the time it is probably used as a reminder that God has a plan for every one of our lives – "His thoughts and plans are for our good, to give us a hope for the future."
Before Dennis and I started singing with the Messengers Quartet in Kansas, I did a year-long stint on the speaking circuit for Christian Women’s Clubs. In that presentation I told about all the jobs I’d had and how God used them in my life. I was only twenty-four years old at the time, so the fact that I’d already experienced about six different jobs since high school, culminated in a pretty humorous talk. But my main point was that God will take a circumstance or situation we are in and use it help lead us further along the path He has planned for our life.
I eventually found my niche – the library. God blessed me with a job I loved and friendships that have lasted, even though I now live in North Carolina. Some of my jobs over the last thirty years I enjoyed very much. Some I did not. But they were all learning experiences and in the place I am right now, today, I can see God’s hand in placing me on every path. It amazes me how I use things I learned on each job, and in every life experience, in what I am doing today. My current “job” is the one that I love the most and the one I know I was meant to do - at this time in my life. Now I am an honest to goodness published author and I thank God for the opportunities He has provided. I want my books to be like the ones I read as a kid - if you are a reader, you know the kind I mean - the books you'd hide under the bed until lights out and then crawl under the covers with a flashlight to finish them. And that’s a good thing, because if kids are going to learn to love to read today, they need to want to turn the page and find out what happens next. (OK - or touch the screen and see the page flip over by itself!) But I also want my stories to delight readers, touch hearts, and point to Jesus so others can know Him and discover His special plan for their lives.
I've heard many sermons and read books about finding and pursuing the destiny God has planned for you. I’m doing that and I can tell you it is an adventure. I didn’t consciously dream of being a children’s writer until a few years ago. But the seed was planted by those books I checked out at the library as a child and finished reading by flashlight. The seed grew when I was a library director and watched my love for books and reading being passed down to my young patrons. And the dream was born when my life and job situation changed a few years ago and some friends encouraged me to start writing down those stories dancing around in my head. God speaks to us through His Word and our circumstances and often He uses people to encourage us to step out and pursue the dream He puts in our heart. (Thanks to my past and present "encouragers" -you know who you are.)
If you haven’t figured out what your dream is yet, don’t be discouraged. Ask God what His plan is, get into His Word, see what He has to say about it and network with some “encouragers!”
And remember, as C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis for 43 years, enjoys living near the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.