The Blessings of My Failed Plans

The Blessings of My Failed Plans

I wasn’t supposed to go into medicine.

It wasn’t part of my plan.

I hated science and dreaded math. I was supposed to go to college and major in English or writing to fulfill my dream of becoming an author. Born to a renowned OB/GYN physician, I saw how difficult it was to work in medicine, and I had zero interest in following in my dad’s footsteps.

But God had other plans.

When a high school classmate that I disliked announced she wanted to be an OB/GYN physician, I became irritated. It set a fire within me that if she could do it, then certainly I could do it, too. I marched down to my guidance counselor’s office, and in my boldest 16-year-old voice, I declared I would be pursuing a degree in medicine and needed to switch my entire class schedule. I dropped all of my elective writing and journalism classes and added anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and honors chemistry. 

Much to my surprise, I found out I not only loved the human sciences, but I was good at them, too. I pursued an accelerated masters program to become a Physician Assistant (PA) and graduated with honors at the age of 23. I met two of my lifelong best friends in PA school, and they stood by my side on my wedding day. I never would have met them without the change in my plans.

I witnessed miracles that I know with absolute certainty were from God and not medical intervention. I was able to share my faith and pray with my patients. I had the incredible opportunity to work for my dad and see his skills in the operating room up close; a unique privilege and bonding experience with him I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I thought my plans were good. God’s were better.

I never wanted “bully victim” to be part of my story. When I was in seventh grade, I was horribly bullied for praying before lunch. My lunch table was full of girls who would taunt me to the point where I left the table in tears, and I sought refuge in the dingy bathroom. Each day as I bowed my head, folded my hands, and closed my eyes in prayer, they would grasp hands and mockingly recite the Lord’s Prayer in their loudest voices, which drew stares from across the cafeteria. They told me that prayers don’t work. They said I was dumb for being a Christian. They told me to quit acting like I was too good for them by praying.

I sat through their daily torment for the entire year. I tried sitting at a different table, and they just catcalled louder to make sure I didn’t miss one of their awful remarks. My lunch period truly felt like my personal hell on earth. I had no friends, and no one stood up for me.

But I kept praying. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why—it certainly would have been easier if I had stopped. But deep in my soul, I knew my faith was important. More important than their taunts. More important than the tears that soaked my pillow each night. Every night I begged the Lord to make it stop or at least to give me the strength to keep going. 

And He did.

He met me in my pain and gave me the strength to sustain me in the storm. At the time I couldn’t understand why He didn’t just take my pain away or change my circumstances. At the young age of 12, I learned a valuable lesson: one of the most effective ways to strengthen your faith is to test it, to undergo trials where you learn what it really means to trust in God and His plan.

Little did I know that He was using that trial to prepare me for an even bigger one ahead. 

When I was 23 years old, I made the decision to call off my engagement to my high school sweetheart. While we were a good match on paper, our faith differences created a vast chasm between us. After six years together and weathering a long-distance relationship during PA school and his military service academy, I came to the conclusion that we couldn’t reconcile our differences. I took a bold step in faith, and in an instant, I lost my fiance, best friend, and the future I had planned for and desperately wanted. I lost friends over my decision and was humiliated socially and at work.

I had prayed to God for years to unite us in faith, and I couldn’t understand why He didn’t change my situation. I couldn’t fathom why I had to give up the person I loved for my faith or why God didn’t answer my prayers in the way I wanted Him to. I was broken, alone, and thought I would never meet anyone who shared my faith as deeply as I did. 

But God often works in unusual ways so that we can know with certainty it was His plan all along and not ours. I met one of my closest friends through the military girlfriend community—someone I would have never met or crossed paths with otherwise. I stood next to her on her wedding day, across from a few military groomsmen. Engaged to my high school sweetheart at the time, I thought nothing of them. Fast forward to almost a year after my broken engagement, she re-introduced me to one of them, and we began dating.

A few years later, she stood next to me on my wedding day when I married him. I never would have met him, or appreciated our marriage as much as I do, without the painful circumstances I endured. We’ve gone through multiple cross-country moves, eight combat deployments, and countless training missions over the course of our relationship. Our faith is at the center of our marriage and is the glue that holds us together during challenging times. Trusting in God and choosing my faith through it all is the best decision I could have made. 

I thought my plans were good; God’s were better.

As I reflect back on the course of my life, I can see God’s hand in all of it. At the time I couldn’t see past the confusion or pain I was in, but God had a plan for it. A plan for me to use medical skills I didn’t know I had. A plan for me to share about the medical miracles He performed in front of my eyes. A plan for me to meet my best friends who have walked with me during difficult times. A plan to strengthen my faith so I would have the courage to make a life-altering decision. A decision that would eventually lead me to the man who would exceed all of my hopes and dreams for a husband. There are so many smaller moments I could share, other miracles He worked in my life to reassure me I was in His hands, even when I couldn’t see which way He was taking me. 

He even graciously brought my story full circle for me—I’m now an author and writer—a childhood dream come true, but once again through a path I never thought I would take.

I thought my tenth-grade plans to be an author were good. God’s life-long plans for me were even better. 

I encourage you to pause and reflect and see where you can trace God’s fingerprints over your story. Don’t discount small moments; small miracles are still miracles. Trace His faithfulness through your past and praise Him for it. And if you’re still in the thick of it and in a challenging circumstance or confusing time, cling to His promises that He will use it all for good (Romans 8:28) and that He has a plan to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

His plan is always better.




Have you walked through a season when you had to trust in God's plan and understanding over your own? Deciding to trust God isn't always easy, though it is so rewarding. We often feel as if we have to have the control over our own lives in order for it to have the outcome we desire, but we aren't responsible for the outcome, we are responsible for our obedience. If you've experienced something similar, let's talk about it in the comments below!


About Kristin:

Kristin Sponaugle Living Truth Collective blog

Kristin Sponaugle is saved by grace, an Air Force wife, mama x 1, fur-mama, author, and physician assistant. She's passionate about pursuing the Lord within the little moments of life and motherhood. She's written two award-winning children's books in addition to writing articles on faith and motherhood. She is currently writing her first adult nonfiction book. She writes her scribbled thoughts on her website and newsletter, Written in the Margins, and has been published by Her View From Home. When she isn't writing, Kristin enjoys hiking, reading, and cross-stitching. She lives with her husband, daughter, and Maltese dog, Rosie, and lives wherever the Air Force sends them. Check out Kristin's website and social media below!
Instagram: @authorkristinsponaugle
Facebook: @authorkristinsponaugle


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This article is such a great read and a wonderful reminder of the faithfulness of God. I am currently in a very difficult season of life myself and this was exactly the kind of resource I needed to keep trusting in Him, and believing that His plans are ALWAYS greater than mine!


Love this so much. Love the author even more!

Heather Peterson

True. All true. Faith builds muscle when it’s tested. Holding on to the promises of God in the dark is hard. Walking in His Light can be challenging. He is worthy. And He views is as worthy. He’s die for us. And so He did. Your words are true, Kristin. The heartache was real. The worth… pure gold. Amen. Amen.

Debra A. Cypher

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