When God radically changes your plans…

So it has been about two months since I last blogged, and so much has happened since then. I am currently in my last semester of undergrad classes before I student teach in the Spring. As graduation approaches, the question of what to do next comes to mind. For the past 5 years or so, I thought that this important question was answered. I was going to pursue a PhD in Political Science after my time at UMHB.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love for the fields of History and Political Science. Topics such as Prohibition, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Presidency, among others have gripped my fascination for quite some time. I love studying History, and I love studying Political Science, and the ways in which the two intersect are endless and absolutely captivating. Even before I graduated from Florence High School, I just knew that I wanted to pursue a PhD in this field after I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Mary Hardin-Baylor. I just knew that I would become a high school History teacher and eventually a college professor, conducting research and writing lots and lots of books.

As my undergraduate career began to wind to a close, I started looking into graduate programs. In February, I visited Baylor. I met with a fascinating graduate professor and was given a tour by some wonderful PhD students. I’ve also considered the programs at the University of Texas as well as Texas A&M, all of them with different concentrations, but still, it was in the field I absolutely loved.

At the start of this semester, I began the process. I conducted extensive research into various programs, and I signed up for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is essentially like the ACT for grad school, except much more difficult. A month ago, I took the GRE, and the week before taking it, I became more and more nervous. It was difficult failing practice after practice, knowing that I had to earn very competitive scores. And then I took the GRE. Needless to say, it was well below the threshold I needed to reach. This caused me to begin wondering, is this really what God wants me to do in life? Over the past month, I have struggled at times about not knowing what I was going to do after graduation, and this sometimes led to mild depression as what I had planned for years slowly drifted away.

Although I knew that I was allowed to retake the exam as many times as needed, and I could improve my scores with much more preparation, I still questioned God if this is really what He wanted of my life. I thought of alternatives. Maybe I would pursue a different graduate program. Perhaps I would pursue Public Policy and Administration, perhaps a Master’s of Education at UMHB, or perhaps I would go straight into teaching after graduation. For the first time in a long time, I was unsure of what I was going to do in life.

Then, a week ago today, I visited Baylor University once more to gain more knowledge about the graduate program in Political Science. As my meeting with one of the graduate professors went on, I thought that this program would fit me perfectly. Then, he mentioned the GRE scores. I would have to obtain super-high scores to even be considered for the program. Leaving that meeting had me thinking, perhaps God doesn’t want this for me. I began to think that perhaps I should visit other graduate schools.

While I was on the Baylor campus, I thought I would meet up with my friend Jake Raabe, who recently graduated from UMHB and is studying at Truett Seminary on the Baylor campus. So, I went to the office where he works and we conversed on a wide variety of things going on in our lives. I mentioned that I was unsure about my future. “There’s always seminary,” Jake assured me. I smiled and in the back of my mind, I thought “Yah sure. Seminary. That’s a good one.” For my entire life, I assumed that one needed an undergraduate degree in Christian Studies in order to attend seminary. He told me that that was of course not the case. Plenty of people go into seminary with other backgrounds, and they learn how they can use their backgrounds in ministry. So I thought, “Why not? Tell me more.” He gave me a book with Truett’s program information, and I took that book and started to leave. Then, wanting to know even more, I went back and asked if anyone would be willing to tell me all about the program. So, I was able to learn a lot about the program that day. I thought, “Wow! This could be an option.”

As I left Baylor to return to UMHB, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do. I prayed that He would remove all of the desires that I originally had and replaced them with the desires He had for me.

After continued prayer and just really thinking about my options, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I have been called, in some way, to pursue ministry, and to use the knowledge I have obtained thus far in that pursuit of ministry. After my official visit to Truett today, which included getting to sit in a Scriptures class, learning more about Truett, and having lunch with another seminary professor, it has been confirmed to me that my desire is to now apply to attend Truett Seminary for next Fall.

And so, that is where I am at in my journey. As of Wednesday morning of last week, my plans were completely different. Now God has shown me (an example of His continued, never-ending faithfulness) that ministry is what His desire is for me. And that is what I ultimately want. Not my own desires, but His. My ultimate want is His want. My ultimate desire is His desire!

While I am not completely sure what ministry will look like for me (possibly eventually college or youth ministry while working in the public school system), I know that whatever I end up doing, God will be right there every step of the way. God has guided my family and me through so many obstacles, difficulties, sickness, among other things, yet He has always remained faithful. And as a public school teacher, I would still get to show my passion for History and Political Science through the art of teaching students! Plus, the more and more I have thought about it, this would be the most fulfilling option for me. I could pursue a path teaching students while also mentoring others and helping them grow spiritually.

As I was arriving back at UMHB today, God reassured me of His faithfulness. K-Love’s encouraging word for the day came from Psalm 100:5 (NIV), which says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” I am constantly amazed by the Lord’s goodness, by His love, and by His faithfulness. It never changes. It never ceases. He is constantly pursuing us, and will continue pursuing each generation after us. We truly do serve a wonderful and magnificent Heavenly Father!

I would ask that whoever reads this, that you would pray for me. Pray for discernment for me, that I would fully pursue God’s best desires for me. I have never been so excited about my future than I am now. God’s not finished with me yet, and He has so much in store for me.

So, if you ever find yourselves unsure of what your future entails, just turn to Jesus. Ask Him what He has planned for you, because when He shows you those plans, your future can look so much sweeter than anything you could have possibly imagined on your own.

To UMHB, thank you for everything. These past several years have been the greatest of my life. I can never thank this wonderful university enough for all of the love, knowledge, and support that the faculty, staff, and fellow students have shown me.

So soon into the future, I will go, with faithfulness and devotion, to you my Purple, White, and Gold…


New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.


Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets

Thy Will by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family

5 thoughts on “When God radically changes your plans…

  1. Beautifully written Josh! I for one am not one bit surprised that God has called you to ministry! Trust me when I say your heart will overflow with love for the students God puts in your path as you teach in the public school system! I can not wait to see the glorious plans God has for you!

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