When the Plans Don't Work Out

I spent last Friday and Saturday at the Mom Heart conference in Irving. It was a wonderfully full two days of inspiring teaching and fellowship with new friends.

It was still black and cold as I headed my van south toward home on Sunday morning. I watched the sun rise in the east, spreading glorious colors over grey city.  My heart and mind were overflowing. Ideas tumbled out of my mouth into the recorder on my phone.

I arrived at church just before the service started and whirled in, full of excitement and enthusiasm. Not only for mothering, but inspired to shine His light in this dark world to all in my path. The friends who asked how the conference went were treated to an earful!

I had plans, lots of plans. Big plans and little plans. Plans for now, plans for the future. PLANS!

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." (James 4:13-15 NASB)

The rest of Sunday was filled with family until my head hit the pillow. All those plans... I would start implementing them tomorrow.

Monday was back-to-business... school, housework, cooking, kids' activities. Busy busy. Filled with plans laid down long before the conference. I noticed I was being more gentle toward my children, assuming the best instead of the worst, expressing compassion. Well, that was good, some of those plans were taking root.

But my sensible plan to post some conference thoughts here on Monday was laughed down by the pace of regular life. Though only a beginning made it into Evernote before my head hit the pillow, I was sure that I'd edit and publish early Tuesday.

Tuesday' s 4:45 am alarm went off and once again my feet hit the floor running. After my quiet time, school and meal planning trumped writing, so with just a few additional notes scribbled, I jumped into the current of my waking family, and sped down the river of the day. Surely Tuesday night I'd be able to finish. That is, after I finished editing another small writing project I was working on.

Give God permission to invade your day and change your plans. Ask for grace to walk through that. - Sally Clarkson, Mom Heart Conference, Feb. 18, 2012

At dinner time on Tuesday my husband told me he was not feeling too well, and wasn't going to eat with us. Within an hour we were heading to Urgent Care. From there to the ER and by 1:00am Wednesday he was admitted to the hospital.

And now I write this, on day four of our unplanned hospital adventure, sitting across from his bed.

Not the dinner my husband would have planned

This man of mine and I, we are idea people. We are bombarded with ideas... there is so much we want to try out, so much we want to do. We make lots of plans.

We struggle to reconcile reality with our ideas. We can't implement them all and we wonder, are we trying hard enough? Are we committed to these wild dreams? Sometimes it really is us. We get discouraged, beaten down. Sometimes we give up.

But sometimes it isn't us. It is life. Sometimes it isn't in the master plan, or more accurately, the Master's Plan.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

I doubt either of us will ever stop being dreamers, will ever stop making big, impossible plans. But I know that I am growing in my trust in the Master's Plan, and find myself holding less tightly to my own. I have learned through many apparent-trials-that-turned-for-good that I can wait, and trust.

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 your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NASB)

I think some of those dreams and plans I was so excited about will come to fruition. But only those that are aligned with God's plan for me and for our family. And they may not happen when or just how I imagine them now.

Thankfully God's imagination is much bigger than mine and His timing perfect.


  1. And as you dream about your plans they will grow larger and larger until you actually get to carry them out! Your ideas become big and the plan more clear as you carry out todays journey. Keep dreaming! I love it. It is funny that this past week I have been thinking a lot about dreaming and what is next. So sorry to hear about your husband. :( pray he is well soon!

  2. Thank you for this! It is so easy for me to get discouraged when my plans don't get off the ground. It's encouraging to realize that maybe the way my day works out is less of function of my efforts and more of His divine appointments.

  3. Really timely words for us today! Thank you for sharing your heart and gift of writing. Thankful your hubby is doing better!

  4. I am sorry to hear about your husband being ill. I enjoyed your post so much. You sound just like me and my family! There is so much to do and experience in life. Priorities, priorities, priorities...and with Christ all things are doable - in His time. I look forward to your post on the Sally Clarkson conference. We will be here when you get the time! :)
    God bless your day sweet sister!


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