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When Our Plans Fail

January 13, 2014

When Life Plans Fail


By Katie Van Dyke

My life has not at all turned out how I thought it would. In fact, where I am in life now is pretty much the complete opposite of what I had wanted and planned 10 years ago. I have no husband, no kids, and I work in a corporate office. These are all things that I definitely was not expecting at this stage and age in life.

The journey

When I went to college 10 years ago, I had planned to be married by the time I graduated. By the time senior year rolled around, I was still single. The plan had failed. Being single and without any other real plan after graduation, I decided to move to North   Carolina with a friend. However, at the last minute these plans also fell through. I, instead, went to seminary in Louisville, KY. After my first semester started, I thought for sure I would be married by the time I finished my Master’s. People meet and get married within 5 minutes in seminary, or so it seemed. When I was still single and starting my last year, I was beginning to think my plan was, again, going to fail. I started dating someone in my final semester and thought, “Aha! Here it is! My plan will finally happen!” Fast forward 6 months and, you guessed it, this relationship ended. At this point, I really started questioning my purpose in life. The next 7 months following this were dark and confusing. After this frustrating time, the Lord began opening other doors. In May of 2011, he brought me to Houston, TX to work downtown at the corporate office of an energy company where I am still employed. After having said many times in my past, “I will NEVER work in the corporate world,” God had other plans.

Not my will but yours

I have always wanted to be a wife and stay-at-home mother. Of course, the Lord often times has different plans for our lives. Through all of my plans for my life, I began to realize that is just what they were—MY plans. Sure, I prayed for the Lord’s will, but my heart was really saying, “I want MY will to be done.” I had completely forgotten that my life is not my own and that my finite mind could not see or comprehend the big picture. I had all of these grand plans without really taking into consideration the Lord’s plan and failed to ask him what my life should be.

Throughout my time in Houston, and specifically this past year, he has really opened my blind eyes to see his greatness. He has helped me better grasp the fact that he is sovereign. He is loving. He is provider. His plans are always better than my own. He has used my singleness as an encouragement to other singles. He has also used me in my work place where I have been able to explicitly share the gospel with co-workers. He has shown me that my main purpose in life is to speak his name and further his kingdom. While I may not at all be doing what I wanted or planned, I have realized that the Lord is still able to use me, and even more so, since this is his will and plan.

Ministry in everything

I was visiting dear friends over the holidays and we were discussing how we often look down upon any job that is not ministry or church related. There is a mindset that having a job in the church or a specific Christian ministry is somehow above any job in the secular world. The same can be said for singles in the church. There is a lot of pressure on single women to get married so they can really begin to live out their calling in life as godly wives and mothers. To be clear, these are amazing roles to fulfill. However, being a godly single is just as important a role. So, whether you work in the church or in the world, or if you are single or married, the Lord can use you in spectacular ways. I have quickly learned that my secular, corporate job and my role as a single are just as much ministries as any position in the church or being a wife and mother. We are representing and serving the Lord whatever our vocation or role may be and we are to do it all unto him (Colossians 3:17-24). He really is able to use us wherever we are. That is such encouraging news! It does not matter what plans have failed. It does not matter if we are not doing at all what we wanted. The Lord can and will use us wherever we are in life.

Press on, seek the Lord

If you have been discouraged in life, please know that you are not alone. Maybe your plans have failed. Maybe you are exactly where you had hoped to never be. Maybe you are beginning to think the Lord has abandoned you or takes pleasure in making your life miserable. Brother or sister, please know that is not truth. The Lord takes pleasure in giving us good gifts (Luke 11:9-13, James 1:17). Maybe the issue is that we are asking for the wrong gifts or our hearts are really not interested in the good gifts the Lord gives. My prayer for you is that you would let go of everything you are grasping on to so tightly. My prayer is that you would free your mind and truly seek the Lord’s will and finally see that where you are in life might actually be the Lord’s greatest and best gift to you. Even in our suffering, there is greatness to behold (Romans 5:3-10, 1 Peter 1:3-9). We must remember that the Lord’s ways are above our own (Isaiah 55:8-9.) He can see the whole picture, so he truly does know what is best for us. Therefore, above all else, we must seek to glorify him in all we do and live our lives in ways that shine his truth to this dark and fallen world.


Katie Van Dyke currently lives in Houston, where she works for an energy company downtown. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and watching movies. As a single woman, she knows the day to day struggles singleness can bring and has a heart to encourage other young women in the same stage of life. Her main passions in life are family and biblical womanhood, and hopes, Lord willing, to one day become a godly wife and mother. Her other passions in life are macaroni and cheese and bacon. Read more from Katie at

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