Saturday, January 17, 2015

Moving away from Plan A!

       Changes are not my favorite things. I love routine & order. My dad used to laugh & say that even in the dark I could easily put my finger on anything I owned, & he was right. Dan is constantly amazed at how I can locate things in the midst of 50 boxes & always do it without much effort. That's just me. I am both a creature of habit & a meticulous organizer.
       Growing up in a "Donna Reed Show" stereotype family, I knew that my life would be a repetition of that world. I would have an awesome marriage, 2 kids, a dog, a sweet house with nice furnishings & of course the pool for all the kids in the neighborhood to enjoy. That's how it is supposed to be...right? It was the American Dream for all young girls, with or without the white picket fence! And I would add to that picture by marrying someone in the ministry, certainly fulfilling God's perfect plan for me.
      Then I deviated tiny bit. I went to college, got my credential, & started teaching. Ok, so just a few minor adjustments to the life plan. I did at least go to Christian college & I did get married so part of the plan was still in tact. Plan B- I'd work until I had children & then I'd be the "stay at home wonder mom" with fresh cookies baked for afternoon snacks, a fabulous dinner on the table each night & a perfectly kept house. Wrong again. Plan C? Another set of unforeseen circumstances caused further detours. Hey, being a single mom & having to continue to work wasn't part of my plan, God. What is going on here?
       More detours. A new life with added children, more family drama, church changes, new location to live & then to work, a couple of miscarriages, ...and I'm seriously asking God why! THIS ISN'T WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!!!
     Ok, get a grip & keep trudging forward. How about Plan D? Does life settle in? Can I get back to a plan now? NOPE. Relocation to Oregon, new church, new life, new school, new challenges...upheaval, stress, more drama. And it hasn't stopped.  So much for plan A, B, C or D for that matter. By now I've forsaken the idea of a plan at's more of a punting situation!
       Wow, I can hear you say - Why would someone who has tried to follow after God since becoming a Christian at age 5 have to endure so many curveballs? Why isn't her life a walk in God's peace-filled park? What is the point of living a life for God if He doesn't keep the road smooth & joy-filled?
       Well, I can honestly say that I would gladly give up Plan A, B,C, D & all the subsequent plans  over again if I had the chance. I have walked this "unplanned" walk with God & along the way, as I abandoned my plan, I found His plan. Every "dart" became a challenge to increase my faith. Every detour has shown me more of God's love & character. Every heartache has caused me to lean on the only One who can heal broken hearts. More than being the wife of someone in ministry, I have been given opportunities to share & teach & encourage - all out of the depth of my own heart, with lessons imbedded through years of both valley & mountain experiences. His plan wasn't for my ease but for my growth! Comfortable? NO, but invaluable!
       In the midst of one of my darkest struggles, I asked God to give me a verse...just one. He did.     2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says that the God of all comfort comforts us in all of our afflictions so that when others come along needing the same, we can pass on to them what He gave us. (Jan Mitchell version)  God has allowed me to experience the tough things in order to know Him more fully & be able to share His care & character with others, having full assurance that He will always prove Himself loving. I know this, nor just because of reading it in Scripture, but because He has proven Himself to me again and again. Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good...not that all things are good!  What is that good? All things have worked in my life for the good of experiencing God in ways that a Plan A life would not have produced. Sharing Him & His care for me has been my good. I can truly appreciate the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 3:8..." Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."  Plan A doesn't compare!
       If your life is a struggle, if you don't understand, just give it to God. He is the only One who can take your worst & use it for GOOD. He wants to. He is waiting to. It's the only way to redeem brokenness & turn it into something Beautiful! His plan is perfect, & it's just for YOU!