africa · Five Minute Friday

What You Don’t Plan {Five Minute Friday}

plan to be ruined


I never planned to be ruined.

When I left to serve abroad in South Africa, I didn’t plan to be broken apart and be rebuilt completely differently.

I didn’t expect to be ruined, in the best way possible.

I didn’t plan to see my worldview torn apart, reshifted, and carefully crafted back together again.

I planned to go abroad for two years, teach English, and do the Peace Corps thing. I planned to learn a new language and immerse myself in a new culture.

Plan to be Ruined

I didn’t plan to face hungry children day after day. To put a name to poverty. I should’ve, but I didn’t expect it.

But sometimes the things we don’t plan end up impacting us in the most powerful of ways. Because when our plans and expectations are shattered, God comes in and fills the gap. His heart for His people beats alongside you, and you see His precious children through His eyes. You become ruined in the best way possible.

Ruined for a life ignorant of suffering, blind to the struggles of those living in dire poverty. But in that ruin comes compassion, hope, joy, and peace. As inexplicable as it sounds.

And it’s never part of your plan.


It’s Five Minute Friday, when we gather together and write freely on a common prompt. Kate, our wonderful hostess, posts one word for us to write on, and we allow the words to flow uninhibited. And then we share.

Join us?



11 thoughts on “What You Don’t Plan {Five Minute Friday}

  1. LOVE this .. YES when we don’t plan things, we see the very things that impact us the most.. I am visiting from FMF .. thank you for this reminder.. lovely write!

  2. I am happy you have been “ruined” you are such an amazing woman and you do God’s work incredibly well. Had SA not “ruined” you in such ways you wouldn’t be serving God in such amazing ways now!!

  3. Yeah, I get this. When I was younger I thought ‘missionary’ and ‘mercenary’ were pretty much the same, so I wound up carrying a gun, trying to save souls by weight of fire.

    It ruined me, and remade me. Now I’m completely unforgiving of cruelty in any of its forms, and have made it my business to build walls behind which the innocent can sleep in peace.

    Because I am awake in the night, and nothing gets through.

  4. Yes, what an invitation Jesus gives: ‘Take up your cross, and follow me!’ Who can choose such a thing? And yet his love is what draws us into the experience, and the heartbreak, and ultimately the resurrection and restoration he has made possible. Thanks for posting, Jen!

  5. Poverty is not something that has passed my mind much until I moved to NYC. You can’t walk or take the subway without staring it in the face, and although I’ve never been to Africa to see another world of it, I understand that it ‘ruins’ you from being blissfully ignorant.

  6. A big, resounding yes to this: “But sometimes the things we don’t plan end up impacting us in the most powerful of ways.”

    Absolute truth!

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