We all make plans for our lives. We have ideas of what we want to do, what we want to be, and how our lives should go. But what happens if our plans aren’t the Lord’s? Bonnie Leon shares with us her experience…and how God’s plans led to her calling.
But first, a giveaway! Bonnie is graciously giving away a paperback copy of her book, To Dance With Dolphins. To enter, leave a comment below. Enjoy this piece from the back cover:
Twenty-two-year-old Claire Murray has suffered from a mysterious disease for years. Her social circle has shrunk to a small support group for people with chronic illness and disability. But what if life could be about more than doctors, pain, and medications?
Claire and three others—old grouch Tom, hippy-holdout Willow, and moody Taylor—hatch plans for a cross-country trip to swim with the dolphins in Florida. Only a day into the trip, they unexpectedly need help. And who happens to be hitchhiking along the highway but a young, good-looking loner named Sean Sullivan? However, the last thing he wants is to be harnessed to a bunch of ailing travelers.
Though the journey proves difficult, following God’s plan might be even harder. Will they find the courage to follow their dreams and dare to live again?
And a fun, pre-devo note: Jennifer Slattery’s next release, Breaking Free, a novel that is getting some great early reviews (read those HERE), is available for pre-order! You can get that HERE. You can read a free, 33-page excerpt HERE.
Sidelined? by Bonnie Leon
The day after I wrote a blog about my new and healthier perspective on being “sidelined” I had to leave church because I couldn’t stop crying about the life I’d lost. Something small set me off—the introduction of a pastor search team.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much.
I don’t want to be part of the search team, but I do want to be part of my church … the way I once was. My disabilities have benched me.
I couldn’t stop the tears so I left church. Once in my car, the tears turned to sobs. What was going on? I prayed and cried some more. I decided it couldn’t be hormones—I don’t have any of those left. I knew the culprit something I thought I’d worked through—my feelings about being sidelined.
Evidently those feelings were not resolved.
June 11, 1991 a log truck tipped over on a corner and hit my van. I was alive but at thirty-nine my life had been permanently altered. We, my body and I, have been through a lot. We’ve been through numerous battles—won some, lost some.
After years of struggle I finally reached a place where I could be involved in my church and community. And I knew my boundaries.
My life was full—family, baseball games, volleyball games, basketball, track and football. I made it to nearly every competition for my children and grandchildren. I relished the concerts and parent nights. I taught Bible studies, led women’s ministry, worked alongside my husband in small group ministries. I also taught at writing conferences and shared my heart with women’s groups. It was a privilege and a joy.
In recent years all that has changed. I’ve had to curtail most ministries and special activities. It is a heartache, a disappointment.
I’ve been “sidelined”.
The word, sidelined, is not accurate. But there’s a voice in my head that tells me it is. Until last Sunday I thought I’d shut off the lying voice.
My life matters to me and others. It doesn’t look like it once did, but I have a lot to give. People love me and count on me. I have prayers to say, hugs to give away, and love to share. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, one who stands shoulder to shoulder with those I love. It is a precious calling.
And I have books to write. I even wrote a novel about this topic. To Dance With Dolphins is a story about a unique group of friends who live with disability. They taught me about the possibility of finding hope and joy even in the midst of disappointment.
We never arrive, at least not this side of heaven. Insecurities and struggles have a way of returning and taunting. But they can only have as much power as we give them. God is bigger and more powerful than all of it. Everything is possible. If we stand with God, if our hope is in Him, and if we surrender our will to His we will discover lost hopes and dreams, new paths and callings.
There is a lot I do not understand in this life, but I do know this—I have not been sidelined. And neither have you. God uses all who are willing to listen and hear and see the possibilities.
I am disabled, and my life is rich.
The Lord will never sideline us, we can only do that to ourselves.
Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-one novels, including the recently released To Dance With Dolphins, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons.
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Let’s talk about this. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We’re not promised that our plans will work, but we are promised that the Lord’s plans will be His best for us; we only need to trust Him.
Are you able to relate to Bonnie’s story? Has God ever changed your path? If so, how did you react? What helped you through those changes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.