We all have plans. Plans for the day, the week, the month. Plans for our future, our children, our retirement. Oh, the plans we make, and Oh, how quickly they can change right before our eyes. I remember being in high school, thinking that one day I would go on to school in some area of psychology. I was sure I was going to have a successful career, hopefully one day get married, probably not have kids (I really wasn’t a “kid” person)….. I had many plans back then, not a single one of them worked out the way I had anticipated. My plans changed in many ways, because of many events, because of choices I made, some good and some bad, but in the end God’s plan came together just as He had planned.
I am married now, for the second time, not as I would’ve planned, but my marriage now is a strong one, a marriage that is grounded in faith, trust, and love. I have a successful career, not in psychology, I sell auto parts, but I love my job! And I do have kids, three beautiful kids, my three biggest accomplishments! So, as I look at my life now, I can’t imagine if my plans had worked. I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I had not faced bad relationships, an unplanned pregnancy, a failed marriage. I just simply cannot imagine what my life would have been like if my plans had all fallen into place the way I intended.
Over the last few months I have had the privilege to be part of an online ministry of sorts, a ministry that helps those people who are seeking comfort in the great online world. The world of online forums and social media can sometimes, often times, be a cruel environment to seek support, there is quite a bit of judgement. This ministry I am involved with tries to be a light, even a twinkle in an environment that can be filled with the darkness of judgement. I have had the opportunity to witness how many people struggle with change, their plans suddenly being pulled out from under them, an unplanned pregnancy, broken vows, a failed marriage. I have found that my experience with changing plans, my mistakes, and my faith has given me the ability to encourage those who are facing similar situations, I can relate and empathize to the challenges they are facing. Hopefully I can be a glimmer of light in their darkness, the support and encouragement they need to help them face another day. I wouldn’t be able to do this, be part of this ministry, if I hadn’t made bad choices, faced difficult situations, cried the tears I cried.
Some changes to our plans are so extreme that it seems impossible to understand why, especially when these changes are due to circumstances that are beyond our control. I guess this is where faith come in. And the biggest challenge is this, in the moment there is no way understand as to why these things happen, we may never completely understand. Even when poor choices on our own part lead us off course, we still have a difficult time understanding the why, we may know how, we may have regrets at the time, but it is entirely possible that in the moment we cannot grasp how these changes could possibly make us stronger. I can clearly remember many years ago sitting on my kitchen floor holding this beautiful little baby thinking “I cannot be a mom, I cannot do this”, and now, Oh now, I simply cannot imagine what my life had been if I had not had that beautiful baby boy, if my plans hadn’t changed. I was listening to a radio program the other day and this quote hit me, it hit me hard. So much so, that I had to find the transcript. Deborah Smith Pegues said this:
First of all, you understand that everything that has happened in your life – this is a hard one – God saw it before it happened. He saw it before it happened and He saw it while it was happening. And He could’ve stopped it. That has been a big pill to swallow.
God saw that. He could’ve stopped it. So, it must gonna be something that’s gonna work together for my good ultimately. Either I’m gonna grow. Something good is gonna happen. If you don’t take a divine perspective towards that kind of pain, you’re gonna get stuck in it. You’re gonna say, “It shouldn’t have happened.” (FOTF, 2017)
A “divine perspective”. What a thought, what a concept, that some things we just can’t understand in the moment. Our best laid plans may never fall into place, no matter how hard we push toward our goals, we may never get there. We may need to see that there is a divine need for the change, for the adjustment to our plan because God has a much grander propose. I think the key to all this may be our ability to stay flexible, to see that God knows what is best for us. Our car may break down in the morning, or we may have to take a different route to work because of construction, or we may find ourselves in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy wondering what we will possibly do next. If what we do next is ground ourselves in faith, we are on the right track. It is about both the big and the small changes, that broken-down car may have steered us clear from a place we shouldn’t have been. That construction may lead us down a different path, a path that may help us to see things differently. That unplanned pregnancy, may bring us more joy than we could’ve ever imagined possible! Although difficult, if we take this “divine perspective”, the perspective that we may not understand but we will trust, we can lean on the promise that our intent here, in this life, has meaning far beyond anything we could ever plan for ourselves.