Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Planner in Me Meets Full Surrender

I am a planner. 

I like lists and processes and am very keen on organization.

I think through things from many different angles, playing devil’s advocate with my own thoughts to determine their solidity.

Some view this as a weakness in me.  Some view it as strength.  I can drive people crazy with my lack of care-free-ness while at the same time comforting others with my preparedness.  It just depends on who I am dealing with at the time.  

My craving for a controlled environment can be my largest attribute and my biggest stumbling block.  It depends how I use it.

God is a planner.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has planted eternity in the human heart” {NLT}

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” {ESV}

Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of your hands.” {ESV}

Ephesians 1:11-12 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” {ESV}

It warms this planner girl’s heart to know that her Creator is the greatest Planner of all! 

But if I am completely honest, the reality is that it also frustrates this planner girl’s heart when my plans and His plans don’t line up together.

And that, my friends, is where my mind has settled this morning.

I think the holidays have brought these thoughts to the forefront of my mind.  Tim and I had many plans for our lives; many plans.  One of our biggest dreams for our family was BIG holiday celebrations with our kids, their spouses and their children.  We knew how we wanted holidays to be.

My Thanksgiving tree as our dinner centerpiece, with blessing tags for each family member to fill out and then us reading those blessings off one by one after our feast.  Then Christmas Eve candlelight church service as we filled an entire row with just our loved ones.  Back home in our pajamas, Tim reading the Christmas story from the Bible as we gathered by the fire.  It would be our turn, as the jovial grandparents, to spoil each family member rotten with the Reynolds’ family tradition of Christmas Bingo.  The games, the gingerbread house decorating contests, the music and the gifts; joy would radiate from every corner of our home.

When Tim died this past January, he was only 45 years young.  He left me with a 13 year old daughter and a 14 year old son.  I was 42.  I have cried out many times over these past ten months“but what about OUR plans???”

With tear stained cheeks and body-shuddering sobs I have told God that I don’t understand.

I have expressed my discontent with where life has come and frustration with how I can’t see where it is going.

I have wrestled with the reality that life isn't fair.

And I have slowly surrendered my plans.

It hasn't been easy.  In fact, this surrender has been one of the most painful processes of my life.  It snuggles up in line behind the loss of Tim and the loss of our baby through miscarriage years ago.  Painful isn't even a strong enough word to describe it.  Remember, I like order and I like plans.  

When Tim died, I felt stripped bare, as though he took all of our plans with him.

Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” {NIV}  

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” {ESV}

I have truly found contentment in where God has me.  

This contentment doesn't eliminate my selfish wish for Tim to still be by my side, living out our plans and dreams together.  What I have found though, is that if given the power to bring Tim back…I surprisingly wouldn't.  My love for him is too great to desire ripping him away from the perfection of love and true life he is experiencing with our Savior.  My heart soars with happiness for Tim.  His total healing brings me peace.

I just miss him.

I miss our dreams and plan-making.

I feel a bit lost trying to sort out “our” dreams for the future of our family.  In the process, I find that while things will be altered from our original plans, as long as I remain focused on God as the head of this family, we can find joy in our present and in our future.

We can still have a beautiful life.

God willing, we can still have an altered version of the BIG holidays in our future.

We will be acutely aware of who is missing, but we will also be acutely aware of Who is present.

God has a plan.  His ways are better. 

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him." {NIV}

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” {NIV}

I trust Him.  

He is the Great Plan Maker and (shockingly) He doesn't need my help.

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