HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
May 21, 2007, Herald Journal

What’s in your plan?


Jo Bender, former Miss Minnesota and meteorologist, was this year’s Mother’s Day speaker at the PAC. Although there were a lot less tears shed this year than last year, the message was still influential.

Bender spoke about giving up control of one’s life and letting God lead you to your destiny, even though it may not be in your plans.

When she was a young lady, Bender decided she was going to be Miss America. Well, she got halfway there by becoming Miss Minnesota, but unfortunately, she wasn’t lucky enough to be crowned Miss America. Now what was she going to do? Not winning wasn’t in her original plan. So, she decided to go to law school.

Just weeks before she was to go to school, she received a phone call from a pastor she worked with on a mission trip in Mexico a year prior.

He wanted her to come down again and coordinate other mission trips.

Now she was in a predicament. Does she go to law school and put away criminals, or should she go in Mexico doing missionary work.

Her mother told her to pray about it and ask God to send a specific sign to direct her. She asked God that if He wanted her to go to Mexico, she would receive a letter in the mail on Tuesday. Well, she got a letter on Monday instead. What other sign does she need right?

Sometimes, we are so busy looking for a sign and trying to be in control of our lives that we miss the sign completely. That is when we have to just let go and let God guide our way. But how do we know if we are doing the right thing?

Throughout my 26 years, I’ve had several difficult decisions to make. Where should I go to college? What do I go to college for? Where should I live? Where should I work?

My decisions have taken me many places and I’ve never had any regrets. I guess God was leading me even when I didn’t realize it.

The other part of Bender’s story was, that transformation takes time. When she was a little girl, she loved to find smooth rocks in the lake. One year, instead of giving her the newest Barbie doll, her mother gave her a rock tumbler. The rock tumbler smoothed out rough edges on a rock, similar to the evolution of a rock in a river or a lake over time.

But a rock doesn’t get smooth overnight. Like anything else, change and transformation takes time. Sometimes, it takes a person a longer period of time before they shine like the rock Bender spoke of.

Our lives are meant to evolve and change. They are not static. We each have our own talent or gift given from God to share with others. We just have to recognize it. Bender hadn’t meant to become a lawyer, God had other plans for her.

If a person finds themselves and their lives in somewhat of a stand-still, maybe they should chose a different direction. Maybe it’s completely the opposite direction you were going, but maybe it is right where you are meant to be.