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Be Open to God’s Surprising Will

July 20, 2021

If you had asked me my third year of dental school where I would be in five years, I would not have told you Memphis, Tennessee. I’m from Texas, and I’m one of those Texans who felt like they would always be in Texas because, as the catchy song goes, “God Blessed Texas.” At the same time, I felt God called me to do dentistry for a specific purpose. When looking at my options in Texas, everything felt like it would just be something to do but not what God was calling me to. I’m still not proficient at seeking God’s will, but I was even less proficient then. The Lord had to drop an opportunity right in my lap for me to think outside of what I thought was possible. He had me open an email from CMDA that I almost ignored, and I read a description of the CMDA Dental Residency [+] program that pulled on all the heart strings of what God used to lead me to dentistry. It described working in urban community clinics in Memphis, Tennessee to serve patients with the spiritual love of Christ and physical healthcare through dentistry. It also offered discipleship and a call to expand this vision beyond Memphis to other underserved settings in the U.S. and abroad.

Now looking back seven years at that beautiful and very generous shove the Lord gave me and looking ahead to moving back to Texas, I want to be open-minded and open-handed with how God wants to use the gift of dentistry He’s given me. I want to purposefully walk in a way that lets go of all the chains and barriers I put on life through my human understanding of how the world works and what is possible. What is the unexpected opportunity He has for me that will be far better than anything I could dream up for myself?

Enough about me, what about you? Do you feel a tug on your heart to do something different than what you planned or imagined for yourself? Do you feel like God wants to use your practice or your talents for more than what you are already doing but can’t for the life of you figure out what it is? Ask Him! He wants to show you. Lay it all out at His feet and wait with hope and thanksgiving for what He has planned. My guess is the answer will be beautiful, mysterious and more perfect than anything you can imagine. I’ll leave you with a few verses I’m sure you are familiar with to encourage you to seek God’s beautiful and mysterious will.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, ESV).

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, ESV).

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV).

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV).

Jennifer Wade, DDS

About Jennifer Wade, DDS

Jennifer Wade, DDS, is a general dentist at Christ Community Health Services in Memphis, TN. She is also one of the first graduates from the CMDA Dental Residency program. The CMDA Dental Residency Plus, or The [+] Program for short, is preparing a generation of dental disciples to go throughout the United States and the World providing high quality dental care to the poor in the name of Jesus. Jennifer stays busy by also being faculty for the [+] program, taking care of her husband and two children, and occasionally enjoying time to paint and bake.

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