I have to admit, I have a love/dislike relationship with Summer! I really do!
I LOVE that we have a break from the crazy school schedule, I LOVE that most days we are able to get off to a slower start and be laid back. I LOVE that there are different opportunities to serve and grow in Christ. I LOVE that many of our regular church activities are on "break" and we get to catch our breath.
At the same time, I DISLIKE that we don't have routine. I DISLIKE that it seems like every summer we are faced with some sort of challenge financially. I DISLIKE that often times I find myself waving in passing between trips to my various family members. I DISLIKE that I can't predict when we are going to be thrown a curve ball. I DISLIKE not seeing my amazing PDO kids and co-workers regularly.
This summer has been no different but then again I guess it has! God is teaching me that I have to remain in Him, trust Him, and be okay when plans change. Let me tell you...at 40 years old and having been in full-time ministry for the past 20 years you would THINK that I would have these things down and be able to roll with the punches...NOPE!
Here is how things have played out so far...Next week the hubby and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage!!! BIG DEAL people!! We had first planned on going on a getaway trip in June while our two middle kids were at camp, we would send the youngest to hang with grandparents in Aubree Tx and of course oldest is fine by herself. NOPE! Finances and unexpected health issue with my mom changed that plan BUT I was okay with it - we had a PLAN B! We rescheduled for August...more on that in a bit.
Next up in the change and trust department. Joel's parents were coming down for the funeral of his Aunt. On their way down they stopped in Santa Rosa for lunch. While there, his Dad suffered a TIA stroke - it only lasted about 10 min but by the time they made it to our house, he wasn't doing well at all. To make a long story short - it ended up that he had 98% blockage in his carotid artery and had to have surgery down here...what was supposed to be a 4 day trip turned into a hospital stay and a 12 day trip. We are praising the Lord that he is doing well and they have made it back home where he is recovering. However - in the midst of this Joel, the oldest, and youngest all had to prepare and go to camp. Made for a little bit of craziness...
Flexibility - well, we have been planning for months for our niece to come stay with us while her parents were on a cruise. Our whole family was excited about it and looking forward to it - however, due to the unexpected surgery with my father-in-law we decided to change those plans and so that was a bit of a disappointment - but the right thing to do for sure!
Change of plans Part B...Remember earlier I mentioned the anniversary trip? We had rescheduled it for August. Well, again not anything that can be helped but my mom will be having surgery during that time and I definitely want to be able to help her and be there for her...so yep, flexibility.
As you can see, this summer has not turned out to be at all what I had planned. I envisioned many memories made with our oldest before she leaves for college, a great time celebrating 20 years with my hubby, fun times with parents and cousins....but IT IS OKAY because NOTHING took God by surprise! Not one part of it has taken Him off guard.
My mom's situation could have been so much worse than it was, my father-in-law had his stroke while in this area where we could easily be available and help and Joel's sister could come be there as well, my niece is able to spend time with her other grandmother, and well as for our trip...that too will happen when God opens the door and things are a little more settled. Finances are beginning to stabilize a bit but we do still have some struggles there but God has that too!
You see, God has reminded me of a few verses in the midst of all this craziness.
"No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37
"Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us--" Ephesians 3:20
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
This summer I have a choice. I can choose to be angry, upset, disappointed, bitter, etc OR I can choose to be thankful, trusting, flexible and joyful. The first will lead to a miserable summer of just making myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually sick. The second leads me to the cross where Jesus can bring me joy and courage and strength. I choose the second.
I am not sharing this so you will feel sorry or to make others feel bad for me. Rather, I am sharing it because you see, in life we will ALL face times of change, times where we have to be flexible and times where we have to trust God's timing and purpose. We will all be faced with a choice of how to respond and we need to be ready to respond in joy, trust and confidence in our Savior! If you find yourself like me - in a place that is far from what you imagined - remember this:
Not ONE thing has taken God off guard, not ONE thing can steal our joy unless we allow it to, and not ONE thing or circumstance is out of the realm of our Father's loving hands!
With that...I am off to face the rest of my summer in JOY because of Him!!! I don't have the answers, I don't know what else will come my way, I still have burdens and challenges to face but I know who holds my today, tomorrow and all the days before me!