The plans God has for you

Originally Appeared in : 9824-11/22/18
The president of France, Emanuel Macron, really stirred the pot a few weeks ago when he was speaking to a group at a Gates Foundation event in New York.
“I always say,” Macron said, “‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children.'” 
President Macron was addressing the education restrictions for girls in impoverished countries, adding, “Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.”
Unfortunately for him, the second part of that quote isn’t what most people heard. In my social media circles, a fun campaign started to present “Postcards for Macron,” showing the French president all the women out there who have chosen big families while also pursuing higher education. It was impressive to click on the hashtag and see so many beautiful families being nurtured and cared for by women who have also invested in college and graduate level degrees. 
Despite having only six children (and not the seven, eight and nine Macron referred to), I posted a picture of me and Paul and crew. I added that I have a masters in journalism from the University of Georgia, and I’m currently praying about getting my PhD.
I shared my post, chiding the president for his shortsightedness. But I also recognized that the true sentiment behind his words was true: there are girls in this world who don’t have these same opportunities, whose impoverished countries greatly limit the resources of their people.
But I also realized, from a personal point of view, that talking about motherhood and career doesn’t have to be an “either/or” or a “then/now” – we should all be considering what God is asking of us and doing it. Right now. In this moment – right here where I am.
Each one of us should be asking ourselves, on a regular basis: Am I doing what God has asked me to do? Am I using the gifts God has given me? Is what I’m doing serving my family and bringing peace to all the things God wants me to do?
If we aren’t careful, we can get too caught up in just doing the next thing, taking the next opportunity, that we miss God’s perfect plan for each one of us. And that looks different for each of us. Our job is to open ourselves to God and let him know we will go where he sends us and do what he needs us to do. And all of that, if we really are staying in the center of his perfect will, should bring us peace and joy and freedom, while also drawing us closer to him.
In my own life, I’m continually amazed at God’s great love for me and his plan that seems far more exciting that I could have predicted. Back when I was a young college student trying to figure out what my future would hold, I never imagined I would get married right out of college and eventually have six children. Once I started having kids, I thought I was saying goodbye to my professional hopes and dreams. 
Somehow saying yes to God and yes to life has still given me time to write two books and be on a talk show and now, out of the blue, be teaching college classes with the masters degree I got and then tucked away while I had those six children.
My point here is not to share my resume with you but to encourage you, and to remind myself, that God dreams bigger than we do. He has plans for each one of us, and has so much more in store for us than we can imagine. If we try to figure it all out right now in this moment, we will limit ourselves. And we’ll get freaked out.
Our job is to be open to doing what God asks and using the gifts he’s given us. Those passions and abilities and brains are an important part of what you have to offer this world. 
Perhaps in some seasons it will seem like you only share those gifts with your children and spouse and neighbors and sometimes you will share them with the greater world around you. 
Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity Church, Augusta. She can be reached at
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