Last night I slept in my own bed — a luxury I often overlook, but relished last night because I was supposed to be on the red-eye from San Francisco. My plans for this week failed, and failed miserably.
Long before Christmas, we formulated a plan and purchased tickets. I would join Will on a business trip to Sausalito (the darling little city on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge), and we would tack on a couple nights on the front end and drive to Carmel. We have some friends we’ve met here who lived in Carmel for twenty years. We had plans to meet them for dinner one night and then have a bonfire on the beach. It was all set. We arranged for a darling couple from church to stay with the boys. I had called in carpool rides to beat the band. But it was not to be. Instead of a getaway with Will this is the longest we’ve been apart in more than a decade.
My sweet mother ended up ringing in 2017 in the hospital, and record breaking rains spoiled our bonfire plans. Instead of jetting out to San Francisco, I spent a lovely few days with my mom in Michigan. I packed frantically last Saturday morning for Detroit and San Francisco which meant I wore frigid weather gear, and packed boots that are cuter but less warm along with my rain coat. I hadn’t ruled out just changing my ticket to fly for a shorter stay directly from Detroit. After all, I had supervision for the boys and rides galore. Ultimately I decided against it, not just because of the unusually bad weather or the high cost of changing everything, it just felt like too much. So Tuesday morning I flew back and Will flew out for his conference. Our planes were on the runway in Atlanta at the same time, but I didn’t know where to wave.
But here’s the thing: sometimes our plans or dreams fall through and we never know why. When that happens we need to just trust that God has it all under control, that His ways are not our ways, and that He loves us, always. Plus, there is wisdom in the practice of holding things loosely and thwarted plans provide the perfect opportunity to live this out.
Other times though He lets us see just how much better His plan is and why. And that’s what happened to me with this trip. I needed to be home for my boys this week. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I needed to be here on Tuesday. It was of vital importance. Then yesterday Sam had an almost-back-to-third-grade amount of anxiety about going into school. I say almost because even though there were many, many tears, he didn’t actually throw up — so we’ve got that going for us. And by God’s grace, he went happily to school this morning! Praise God!
I am beyond grateful that my plan failed miserably. I am in awe that God graciously allowed me to spend some time with my mom and to be here with my boys. Obviously, I am sorry that my mom had to land in the hospital on New Years, and that now drought-stricken Californians are complaining of too much rain?!? But God needed me to drop my plans. This is how He got it done.
Seriously though, although I do believe that God orchestrates my life and yours, I know I can’t, in my fallen little mind, trace His fingerprints — the hospital visit and the rain are not just about me. But I also know the Holy Spirit prods and directs my path, and that my job isn’t to understand it nor to explain it. My job is simply to obey.
Of course, obedience is not our natural bent. We must decide to listen carefully and to submit to His plan and will for our lives.
I love this prayer that Charles Stanley recommends praying each morning:
Father, I want You to guide me and lead me today. Speak to my heart. Make me sensitive to Your promptings and to what is happening around me in the lives of those I meet. Fill me with Your supernatural joy, and use me today for Your purposes. I surrender fully to You.
In fact, why not just tape that prayer inside your Bible? That’s what I just did.
Hope you are well and that, “the God of hope [will] fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.