At the Center of God's Will

My fridge is flooded with graduation announcements and invitations. It's the joy of past youth work and of being a teacher. I love it.

As I've been asking these young, spry graduates how I can pray for them, one answer is always, "Pray that I would know God's will for my life."

And here is my response...

With each passing year, I'm grasping a little more that "God's will" is His word and commands. Yes, you have to seek His face in prayer, and yes, there are the BIG decisions to make, but I'm confident that our Americanized Christian culture has cushioned this term for our own definition, rather than the Father's.

When Jamie and I set out from Briarwood, we were each so confident and arrogant in our own disgusting ways. We were "seeking God's will," and because of that we were entitled.

We said and did the roles very well, and even prayed the words that we were told to pray, without understanding, "God lead us in your will. Break our hearts for what breaks yours. Make us different."

If I'd only known what I was praying...

From there God began chipping us, slowly shaping us into His image, and it was painful. For the longest time I fought it and continued wondering if I was "outside the will of God" because things just weren't working for me. I wanted "God's will" in my context.

And on the day of my youngest sister's high school graduation, I broke. Jamie and I were falling apart (in our own eyes. We didn't realize God was breaking us to mend us more beautifully). And as I was wondering where we went wrong, I slammed into a Briarwood board member's SUV on the way to graduation.

And there I said it before I even stepped out of the car, "I'm done trying to make my will, yours, God. Help me embrace wherever you take us."

If I had known that, that prayer would lead through the valley of the shadow of death, literally...

If I'd known that God would close the door to more biological children...

If I'd known, it meant taking in a teenage Chinese daughter who couldn't speak English or girls who have been "damaged" from the sins of the world...

If I'd known that it would mean a lifetime of loving, to only let go, of being messy, of facing my sin head on...

If I'd known my boys would have to do hard love right in their own home...

If I'd known I'd bought into a lifetime of holy grieving,

If I'd known God's "will" for us at the time, I honestly never would have prayed that prayer.

But God knows my heart is deceitful, and He knows my thoughts are finite, so He doesn't reveal all His words and commands to me all at once, but one day at a time, one item of paperwork or class at a time, one YES at a time. And each time we follow Him, we are terrified, but He is always faithful.

The reality is, as Sara Groves sings, "Pain is no measure of His faithfulness." I believe every disciple can attest to that. But if we know the depth of that valley at the very beginning, I think many of us would flee in the black of night.

But as we follow one day at a time, we suddenly look up and realize His glory is seeping through our wretchedness, and our broken messy lives are proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus from the rooftops. And God's will is no longer about the house I should or should not buy, or the career, or the schools (though the Father cares about all those things), but it's about the fact that I am really being formed into the image of Christ, and in the process others are seeing Him face to face.

And so I say YES to the chipping away, to the discomfort, to the true joy, because that is the Will of God.


  1. Thank you, Catie. I love you, and I love the heart the Father is giving you.

    1. I love you, Anna Beall. You won't know how much more you make me want to taste Jesus.