When God Doesn't Lead You Where You Thought You Were Going

I Didn't End Up Where I Thought I Was Supposed To

But I ended up right where I needed to be.

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The summer before my junior year in high school, I was at the crossroads where many teenagers my age found themselves — what was I going to do with the rest of my life when I graduated. the history buff in me wanted to be an archaeologist, but my Dad said I needed to do something that would actually pay me money. I stumbled across architecture while searching the internet, and it sounded like a good fit. Architects needed to be creative, problem-solving individuals who had artistic skills to sketch ideas for homes and buildings. I loved art, I had been taking art classes for ten years, and I had always been interested in design and the architecture of homes.

So, I prayed.

My faith is a huge part of my life, and I believe that God has a specific plan for my life that I continually seek and try to follow. I felt and believed that God was leading me in this direction, so I followed it. My art teacher taught me how to do perspective drawings, and I began taking classes when I graduated that aligned with what I would need to enter the degree program. Auburn University is the only college in Alabama that has a degree in architecture, so I applied. I was accepted into the program and began preparing to move and begin classes. Little did I know what I was really getting myself into.

Transfer students had to begin in the summer workshop which was an intense five-week course that lasted 7 hours a day, five days a week at the end of which students were evaluated and either allowed into the next course or dropped from the program. We were given an assignment each day to be finished by the following day and a larger project over the weekend that had to be finished by Monday. This meant that we had to stay till midnight each night to finish the work because everything had to be done in studio, and I hated having to stay so late. The professors were also brutal. None of the work I did was good enough for them, and they even used my work as an example of what not to do. I had always been a straight A student, and this devastated me. I worked my butt off doing the best I could, and it still wasn't enough.

I quickly succumbed to the stress this was causing me. I couldn't sleep or eat, and I was emotionally on edge and would cry at the drop of a hat, which anyone who knows me knows that that was highly unusual for me. The weekend project broke me. I received an unsatisfactory grade and had to meet with the professors to discuss it. I called my Dad squalling, and it was decided that my parents would come down that evening to decide whether I should quit the program. We decided that it would probably be best if I did, again after much prayer, and I dropped out the next day. I had only lasted a week.

Even though I believed that I had made the right decision, I still felt like a failure, and I became stuck in my despair. My Mother was afraid to leave me alone, not that I would have done anything rash, but she was concerned for my well being. I had felt so sure I was doing the right thing, and it now seemed all for nothing. I felt like I had failed God and others and was ashamed to face people at home.

But, through all this, I learned a few things. The people that love you just want you to be OK. I received nothing but love and support from my family, friends, and church family when I came home. One must be careful to not let one's plans overtake the Lord's plans. In that meeting with those professors, they had suggested that I look into the environmental design program. This made me think back to a moment when I had initially wanted to go into this field but had decided on architecture instead. I eventually realized that I had been listening to what I wanted and not what God wanted and had rejected His plan for me. Failure is not turning around and going in the right direction. Failure would have been to stay where I was.

If I had stayed in the architecture program, I would have been going against God's will for my life and not living up to my potential. I did end up making the switch, and I am now a senior at Auburn. I have found something that I love and have not regretted my decision. I would never go back and repeat the experience, but I do not regret the lessons it has taught me or the growth in my relationship with God it caused.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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If You Want Proof That God Exists, Just Look Around You At The World He Created

None of it is an accident.

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It has always baffled me that people can truly believe the world was created by accident. It's like saying that Leonardo Di Vinci closed his eyes, tipped over a few cans of paint, and miraculously created the Mona Lisa. Nothing that beautiful is an accident. I believe that the truest and rawest testimony to Christianity is the universe itself. A proclamation of its creator.

When I need to be reminded how great our God is, I simply just look around me.

Romans 1:20 says, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God."

The Bible is telling us here that everything has a purpose. The world is not this beautiful by accident. Every purple sunset was intricately designed. Each rise and fall of the tide was crafted by the creator.

Look around you.

The Northern lights are not simply a coincidence. It is no accident that people's hands are gifted with such divine talents to create wonders like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. There is a reason that your favorite song has such transcendent and heavenly beauty, as it escaped from the lungs that God created and gifted with talent. It is all of him; it is all from and for him.

He doesn't make mistakes.

There is a reason that we yearn for these beautiful things. That we long to glimpse sunsets and travel the world and hear beautiful music and see beautiful people. It is because we are heavenly creations, and seeing these marks of God's wonder bring us closer to him and remind of our true and divine pace in his kingdom. These beautiful things are little marks of God's divinity, and they remind us where we belong.

They are the reason our hearts constantly ache for something more.

And you are a mark of his beauty as well. The fact that of the billions of trillions of atoms that make up the matter that make up the universe were brought together in an intricate and perfect enough way to create a unique human being who could never be copied are replicated. You are a miracle. And your very body and soul are living proof that God exists. Nothing is an accident. Nothing.

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