by Emily Conrad


Scrolling through social media, I came across two friends’ posts in a row that both said something had happened that was not what she had in mind. The repetition so close together caught my attention.

Not what I had in mind.

So many things have gone that way. Fifteen years to find a home for one of my novels. Falling and breaking my wrist. Leaving a job I enjoyed and finding myself in a difficult situation at the next.

None of it was what I had in mind when I set off.

Looking back now, I can see how those experiences grew me. I would not be the same if things had gone the way I had in mind.

God gifted me with “not what I had in mind” so I could reach exactly what he had in mind. None of those situations surprised him. None of them threw him for a loop.

It’s harder to apply these words to situations that I can’t look back on and see the gain from. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It doesn’t wrap up pain in a neat little bow and a card that explains what only God knows.

I don’t know who you are, what losses you’ve faced, what the next days, weeks, or months hold for either of us. I do know we’ll face trials of all kinds.

In the midst of that, I also know that our God is bigger.

He is our redeemer, a God of hope and love and life abundant.

His name is the only name we’ll ever need, the only answer we must give, the only hope for the nations.

Through him, we are more than conquerors and nothing on this earth, no trials or sorrow or persecution or abuse or location or any battle of any kind, can separate Him from us, whom he’s inscribed on the palms of his hands.

He sings over us, rejoices when we come home to him, and bears our sorrows.

He prays for us, sustains us, and is our fountain of life in the desert.

He is our rock and our salvation.

He is our eternal abundance, our forevermore, our hope in the valley of dry bones, and all he asks is that we come, that we trust him in the midst of “not what I had in mind.”

Because even when “not what I had in mind” includes death, death does not hold or limit our God. Death is not the end for his children. It is the beginning of life like we’ve never known it, and when we mourn, we mourn as those who have hope.

And hope, sisters, hope does not disappoint us.

May the God of peace bless you and keep you as you hope in him.

We can hope in God in the midst of “not what I had in mind” -via@emilyrconrad