Image by Thomas Allsop
Image by Thomas Allsop

Jeremiah 29:11

"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."

Today I was sitting at my desk in Madrid, Spain, having my morning tea with God and talking about my future and the directions he has for me. The verse from Jeremiah “for I know the plans I have for you” popped into my head, and I just had to laugh and thank God that He doesn't tell us all those plans up front. My mind goes back to the high school junior Jolene who was preparing to head to interior design school, and who projected her future in some quiet American suburb. If God had told me at that point what my life was ACTUALLY going to look like, it would have completely paralyzed the poor little 16-year-old-me with fear. Thankfully, God doesn't allow us to see our whole life story. Instead, He allows us to see His faithfulness in each little step of our lives as they unfold. The past seven years have been an exercise in living “nearsighted in Christ”--allowing myself to focus on the here-and-now of where God has put me, and trusting in Him to show me the next step at His timing. HE knows the plans that He has for us, and that is more than sufficient for what our little human brains can handle.

By: Jolene Harbach

Jolene Harbach is an ESL teacher and freelance illustrator with a heart for the European mission field. After graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2017, she moved to Madrid, Spain to work in a bilingual school and serve in ministry at a local church plant. In her free time, she can be found baking up new recipes for friends and family, studying languages, strumming ukulele, cafe hopping with her sketchbook and watercolors and, of course, digging into God’s word.

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