Thursday, August 18, 2016

When life just doesn't go as planned....

Have you ever looked at your life and thought "Well, this wasn't the way I thought it would go?"

Maybe not even in a negative sense or maybe with some disappointment...regardless, it wasn't the way you envisioned it all playing out.

This is where I have found myself over and over during the past 7 months. Looking at some things in our life and just crying out to God "This wasn't the way I intended this to go, this isn't what I planned." As I have thought about it, prayed about it, complained some about it, and most of all just worked on embracing it - God has revealed Himself in so many ways and I am learning that isn't what I had planned BUT it IS all a part of HIS PLAN!

Let me explain...

January of this year was turmoil for our family. We suffered a GREAT loss in my mom's death. I am not going to lie or mince words - it shook both our immediate family and extended family to the so many ways, we are still regrouping from this. Yes, we know where she is, yes we can rejoice in that and yes there is still a sadness and void in our family. This was NOT part of the plan. My plan was that she would recover, that she would be here when we moved to Delta, that she would see all of her grandchildren graduate and be a part of that...It didn't go as I planned.

In conjunction with the loss of mom, our oldest struggled emotionally in coping with this loss and the pressures of college and just in general. So much so that by Spring Break she made the decision to withdraw from college and come home to heal and regroup emotionally. This was NOT part of the plan or the way I envisioned it. My plan was that she would blossom and thrive at college and it would be an amazing experience. In MY plan I would be taking her back for a glorious second year....It didn't go as I planned. She is living with us and working at McDonald's.

By May we were supposed to have locked down a sending church for our church plant here in Delta, we would be moved by early June, Joel and I would both immediately find jobs and things were just going to blow wide open in regards to planting a church...We still are working on the sending church thing, Joel did find a job immediately but that was followed by becoming seriously ill and ending up in the hospital, I just now have a job and we are just now beginning to put the pieces together for the church plant...This was NOT my plan or how I envisioned it. In MY plan we would be already meeting and have a solid base and my husband would be 100% healthy.

Now, before it sounds like I am disappointed and discouraged let me say - God has shown up BIG TIME in every one of these areas! Yes, I have struggled with discouragement, disappointment, and even depression the past several months BUT I serve a REDEEMING God, a God who is MORE THAN able to turn these meeker plans of mine into GRAND plans of HIS!!!

Let me tell you how....

Yes, the loss of my mother hurts and it is a DAILY battle to not give into the sadness of it. However, through her death I have had the opportunity to talk with SO MANY women that she touched and invested in. I have had the opportunity to walk alongside others in the loss of a parent and truly say - I know what you are feeling. My kids weekly mention something Mimi taught them or a fun memory of her or see something that reminds them of her and makes them smile. See, God's plan in this was so much BIGGER than my selfish desire. He wanted to reveal to me the impact of a life well lived for Him!

Yes, Hannah IS living with us and working at McDonald's - by FAR her least favorite restaurant. However, she is healing. She is learning to step out of her comfort zone BIG time for a far greater purpose. She is slowly embracing joy in life and learning to forgive herself and to be okay again. God's plan was BIGGER than mine..He wanted to stretch her in ways I never would have imagined and His plan for her is STILL unfolding!!! Words cannot express how proud I am of her and how she is allowing God to mold her.

We ARE in the final stages of lining out a sending church and it has taken MUCH longer than I planned. Yet, the relationship with us and them will be so much sweeter having gone through this time of processing, sharing, praying.

Joel IS healed and doing great but had he not been in the hospital we would not have had the opportunity to encounter so many people and share with them about our mission here and the church plant. God wanted to expand our territory into a place we never may have gone had he not been sick.

I did just now find a job but had it been earlier I would have missed out on an environment and position that I am EXCITED and PASSIONATE about! God knew my heart and HIS plan was to place me in a position that would bless me!

Here's the deal friends...Reality is that life rarely goes as WE plan it to. The unexpected, the unthinkable, the unforseen happens and when it does we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can choose to be upset, depressed, angry, disappointed or even bitter OR...

We can choose to stop, take a breath, look to Him and ask HIM what HIS plan and purpose for it all is. We can choose to CLAIM Jeremiah 29:11 and truly embrace it over our lives...

This second choice is where I have found myself...claiming and believing that God's BIG plans for me are so much greater than any I can drum up for myself. This is where I would encourage YOU to be as well should you find yourself as I have saying - "This is not at all what I had planned." 

Cause you know what? NONE of this is what I had planned and I am SO THANKFUL that HIS PLANS are much greater and higher...I am choosing to EMBRACE HIS PLANS!!!!