Sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit named "Clinical Depression", I discovered a truth that has redefined who I am and altered my soul perception of God.  I now realize that the most powerful ministry flows from a clear life plan not to it!  It is a simple truth that most women in ministry can easily say but rarely live.

How do we discover our life plan? 

By spending time with the Plan Maker!  By saturating daily life with His truth and continually turning our hearts to conversation with Him.  Not because we have a Bible Study to teach or an invitation to speak, but simply because we love the sound of His voice and long for the ecstasy of His presence.  When we spend time with Him the plan naturally unfolds as we take every "next step" in obedience.

What are your spiritual gifts?

What are you passionate about?

What are your natural abilities?

What is your personality type?

What are the spiritual markers in your life?

What do others see in you?    

I began to ask these questions, looking for the gifts He has given me instead of the ones I thought I should have or wanted to have.  I began to accept my limitations knowing that He had woven them into the seams of my journey for my good.  I began yielding to the seasons of life, trusting Him to lead the way through this foreign land called life.  Guess what?  I looked around one day to find myself smack-dab in the middle of His life plan for me.  It was suddenly so simple and amazingly clear!  I am learning to say "no" to those things that do not fit into that life mission.  Certainly, I fail and have to begin again.  And sometimes I am misunderstood because I have chosen to follow God's plan instead of someone else's. But I would rather be misunderstood than disobedient.  I had to choose a new audience and so must you!  I had to make a decision about the One I wanted to please and so must you.

Today I know who I am and where I am going!  I've discovered that the secret of "doing it all" is not doing it all!  It is finding which part of "all" He has given us to do and then doing all of that!  In other words, find out what His plan is and stick to it, knowing that it is guaranteed by God Himself.


A personal note from Mary:  When planning any trip, every Southerland knows that a family meeting is bound to take place.  In that meeting, every family member offers suggestions and gives ideas but the final plan is left to Dad - the Plan-maker!  We are content with this scenario because Dad has an excellent track record for making great plans. So does God. He stands ready and waiting to pour His blessings through the perfect life plan He has customized and guaranteed just for you! Don't settle for anything less!

Mary Southerland is a pastor's wife, mother of two teenagers, director with Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of Coming Out of the Dark (Harvest House, 2004), and conference speaker. She is also the founder of Journey Ministry, a teaching ministry dedicated to equipping every woman for her unique journey. Visit Mary's new website at

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