When God Interrupts Your Plans

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Photo: Lisa Francis

Three years ago today, our William Daniel was born on a beautiful Monday morning in Dallas. If you’ve followed this blog for a period of time, you may remember my announcement of being pregnant with Will. I was on birth control and exclusively breastfeeding. I found out when my third child, Hannah, was only four months old.

And I cried, oh did I cry. I questioned. I even threw my pregnancy test. How in the world could I be ready for a 4th child – right after just having Hannah? I barely had time to recover from her birth. I was numb and in disbelief, more so thinking about how I would be able to carry the load I already couldn’t bare. Jeremiah and I desired to have four children, but had wanted to wait a few years.

Would I take God at his word? Would I trust him for the strength I needed to survive life with four young children, 5 and under? Ultimately, would I accept this surprise gift as God’s sovereign will for my family and me? It was only a matter of days when God clearly showed me to be still and to surrender control. I accepted this precious gift from God’s hands and kept giving the baby inside me to God. It was a great testing of my faith.

IMG_9432When God interrupts our plans, it is uncomfortable and many times fear and worry consumes our hearts: an unplanned pregnancy, a job change, an unexpected illness, a detour in daily plans, a career change, or perhaps a waiting period that is just too long. But it is often in these diversions, we remember that we are not in control. We cannot be dependent on our circumstances, on people, or even ourselves. We cannot manipulate God’s will and it is then that we have to make a choice:

Surrender or become bitter.

We can murmur, complain, get angry, throw things, and stew on the disappointment. We can shake our fists at God. Or, we can trust that even though we don’t understand what we’ve been given, God is working for our good and loves us. As our heavenly father, he knows what is best for us and yes, even what we can handle. We can surrender control over to him and sometimes that might look like a constant giving over, at every new sunrise because it isn’t always a one time thing.

I think the greatest thing I’ve learned when plans don’t go my way is that of humility. Pride says, “I’ve got this figured out. I’m in control. I’m pretty good at knowing the way. I am the master of my destiny.” Humility says, “I don’t have life figured out. I need a Savior whom I can depend on. I need his guidance and direction every moment of my life. I need Jesus in all of life’s circumstances.”

IMG_5390Well, the last three years with Will have been an absolute joy. He completes our family and is our baby. He is full of life, energy, intelligence, silliness, and a deep love for his siblings. God knew what he was doing even though I didn’t see it on the results of my pregnancy test. He did know what I was capable of handling even on the days I have pulled my hair out!

And just like that, Will is three. We put away our last crib a few months ago, which felt surreal. He’s now in a big boy bed, partially potting training, saying all kinds of words, and goes to morning preschool in the fall. I love watching him grow and being his Mommy. I know that the days are long, but the years are short and it goes way too fast to even realize it.

I still have plenty of days where family life feels like it is spinning out of control with four kids, but I’m always reminded that not being in control is a pretty good place to be.

Happy Birthday, Will Will. You are loved so, so much!

 

Finding My Way

Yesterday, I walked to our local Starbucks with my little ones to try a mocha coconut latte. A few minutes into our walk, I noticed a man following close behind me. I pulled off into the grass with my stroller so he could pass us.

“Oh, thank you. I’m just trying to find my way!” he said in a long, drawn-out voice.

He glanced down at a piece of paper and had a pencil in his hand. He asked me where Worth Street was and I guided him to it.

He went on his way and I immediately thought about how much I related to his words. In life I often feel like I’m trying to find my way. I wonder if God is taking me down the right path. Does he really know my deepest dreams and desires for the future? Is He with me?

My prayers in college were to marry a godly man, have children, be involved in ministry/be on mission, and write. And I’m so thankful that at 28 years old, God has brought all of those to me and so much more. I’ve been living those dreams for several years now, day in and day out.

But often in the back of my mind I still think I need to “arrive” in life.

The truth is that I have all I need right now, and God is finding the way for me. He’s finding those dreams in the deepest recesses of my heart and he’s fulfilling them. I don’t have to figure them out or manipulate them to come true. He’s working even when I don’t see it.

He’s answering prayers according to His will, even if his ways aren’t exactly what I planned. He always knows best. He’s proved his faithfulness in the past and will continue to prove his future grace.

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. – Prov. 3:5-6

Do you ever feel like you have to “arrive”?

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