I continually ponder in my heart how God changes me and seeks to continually show me that He is in control and I am NOT. I know He smiles often as I learn this lesson. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts….His ways are higher than my ways and so are His thoughts…as explained in Isaiah 55:8-9. I can make a plan but so many times those plans change and I have learned to just “GO with it!”
I realize I should plan and live but I also know that at any time God has the authority and right to change the plan…..HE is God and I am not…..I must surrender to the understanding that HE KNOWS best and always has the Helicopter view….. and nothing takes Him by surprise. You cannot give God a surprise party…..that is HIS job!
With this thought in mind….recently, I planned a mother-daughter trip with Collins and friends of ours that we never get to see. As God would have it, our friends from Dallas could not come at the very last minute due to a serious family illness and hospitalization. Our other friends who were invited on the trip were all able to come. One friend lost her husband suddenly this past April and one friend has three children, one of whom is terminally ill with Batten’s disease. I had envisioned how the mixture of friends who were coming would be a great combination for a great trip….but I saw quickly how God uses all things for good. We were saddened by the sudden illness of my friend’s mother…..but God….used the time to put Collins around strong adult women, the youngest of which was 44.
Collins had anticipated time with a dear friend her age….but God had a very different plan…. It was a week in which Collins and I heard countless stories of God’s goodness and provision in the “midst of severe life storms”. We saw evidence of the strong faith of Christian women….who gave testimony of God’s goodness but also showed and demonstrated their raw pain…of the unknown ahead. These women also got very outside of themselves to invest and listen not only to me but to Collins and pour into her…their wisdom and experience from how they grew up to marriage and all that God has taught them in their “wins” and their “losses” and storms of life.
Proverbs 27:19, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”
At the end of the trip, after everyone else had left, Collins and I had a day by ourselves to reflect….we talked about how we had originally envisioned the week unfolding and how different it had been in some ways. We both agreed that what we learned and experienced would continue to manifest itself in our lives in the weeks, months, and years to come. There were seeds planted that I cannot begin to imagine how those seeds will sprout after such a God-orchestrated time. Much took place in that week….too much to write about….but much to ponder and absorb…… God, once again, I know for sure will….use all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
The one thing Collins and I came away with for sure is this: Everyone has tremendous “life storms” that they must walk through, not around. They have to face them head on…….whether it be the sudden loss of a spouse or the immanent death of a child…….God gave us up-close and personal time with three strong Christian women who are living and walking through these life storms. We saw the hand of God at work in how “gracefully” they were leaning on HIM and not their own understanding and believing and trusting God with death, illness and asking the Lord for complete healing. Trusting His divine plan all the time. Knowing God can and will do anything but we have to trust his heart when we don’t see His hand…..It was a visual….that was burned in our hearts…..and we will forever be grateful for the “surprise party” that God threw in our honor.
How we choose to look at our/your sudden change of plans…..can profoundly bring rich blessings ….that can last a lifetime…..learning to “Just go with it” and the unexpected is where God’s surprise parties are found. That’s the thing about surprise parties, they are unexpected. You are surprised by who shows up. You never would have guessed that “so-and-so” would be there. You are amazed at how everything was orchestrated to bring you to that point…..without you knowing all that was involved in the process. It is when we are able to look back and say, “Wow, what a surprise! What a blessing that turned out to be!”
His design, when our plans change or when what we envision doesn’t happen, can result in seeds planted in our life that can develop our spiritual muscles or develop spiritual armor for our own life storms. God is sovereign so when your plans change…..embrace God’s surprise parties for your life….He desires our good… and HE does know what we need….and sometimes it is not what we think we need!
Psalm 126:5-6, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”