When Life Isn’t What We Expected {Finding purpose}

God's purpose-2.jpg

We all have fantasized about our lives and who we would be when we grow up.  We have set goals and made plans. Maybe your dream was to graduate high school and move on to college. Then marriage, a house with a white picket fence, and 2.5 kids ( half of a child, I never quite understood that statistic). Your husband works 9-5 while you prepare gourmet meals served piping hot as your family gathers around the table.

Minus the college and this scenario looks a lot like a 1950’s sitcom.

Maybe your dream was to save the world. Enter into full-time missions. Run a non-profit for battered women. Shelters for the homeless. Start food banks and shoe drives. Direct a womens’ ministry or coordinate programs for wayward teens. All this while having the marriage with the 9-5 husband and the 2.5 kids.

Seems like the perfect christian life, right? But wait…

The reality here is this, we grew up. And life may look like four walls and a bed, fast food, and streaming church services. Living in neighborhoods far removed from friends and family. Life may look like chronic illness and special needs —and that perfect marriage is not so perfect.

The dreams we once had have been kicked to the curb and we are left paralyzed and wanting. We feel barren, unable to serve those we love, unable to serve our God. We feel worthless. We feel not enough. 

I know this because I have lived it. I watched all the dreams I had as a child slowly fade. At 42 years old, my daughter was diagnosed with autism. I had been sick all my life with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. It would take almost another year before they found it and for the healing to begin.


I was healing, but my life was forever altered by illness and special needs children. Friends and family were going on mission trips, teaching classes, starting programs, and volunteering and I wanted to be right there along side them. I begged God to make us better, to fully heal us. Because didn’t He know what I could do for Him if only I wasn’t stuck in this bed? In these four walls?

He didn’t heal me. He didn’t heal my daughter. I wondered where was God in all the mess. Perhaps He had forgotten us.

Do you feel this too? Do you feel forgotten? Small? Not enough?

These thoughts consume us. Yet they are false.

As believers in Christ, we are created in Christ for good works. God designed us for His purpose before our birth. We are chosen. 

Hear Jesus’ words,“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16 (NIV)

Please do not miss this!

Jesus chose us. We are planted in Jesus himself, a fruitful soil, that we might shoot up and bear much fruit and that fruit will last. (paraphrase Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

In 1 Corinthians 7:17 Paul, writes  “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (ESV)

What is this telling us?

God made no mistake when He placed us in this life. He made no mistake with the diagnosis, the job change, the move across country. We can be assured that in Christ, we have been set apart with a purpose, a calling and we are equipped for this purpose. 

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire of the Bible puts it like this, “Christ allotted his portion to each Christian, God hath called each man; that lot and that call are to guide his life.”

We are chosen.
We have purpose.
Our place in life is perfectly set apart for us.

Let’s not forget this.


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10







2 responses to “When Life Isn’t What We Expected {Finding purpose}

  1. I often have days like the ones that you have had. I question and sometimes complain, but I am slowly learning that ministry isn’t about out there…it is about right here. We tend to desire someone else’s lot in life, not appreciating the joyous things that aren’t so evident in ours. Sometimes all it takes is a particularly difficult trial to bring us to a place that we can see the beauty and experience the joy that should have been there the whole time. I still struggle….sometimes daily. But I KNOW that if I am here…it is where I am supposed to be – And that is perfect!
    Thank you Shelly for the wise words and for sharing your struggles. It means so much to know that we are not alone in those….


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