Monday, June 13, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

"When are you due?"

She asked brightly while bagging our groceries.  It was a classic case of record-breaking hot day coinciding with running out of groceries, and I was shopping with my two girls.  My feet were swollen; it was a miracle I had made it all the way through the store.  At the check out, my older daughter proudly pointed out "My mommy has a baby in her belly!" as though my torpedo stomach was a secret to anyone.

When was I due?  If I had my say, I'd be having a baby right this very moment.  God has other plans.  The question, completely benign and polite, grates on the nerves of most pregnant women this close to being done. We have general guidelines, 40-ish weeks seems to be standard, but in reality each baby, each Mom, each pregnancy does its own thing.  For the most part, babies come when they come, not when Mamas, or even doctors, predict.

But predict we do...not just babies, but everything.  We plan, although we see every day how these plans are derailed left and right.

Culturally, we are planners.  I am heading to a graduation party today where the freshly minted grad will be asked a hundred times over what his plans are for the next few years.  It doesn't stop there.  When we find "the one" everyone wants to know when we plan on getting married.  Then when we plan on having kids.  Where we plan to send them to school.  Plan, plan, plan.

Planning ahead is fine - good, even.  Its important to have a rough idea of where things are headed.  But I sometimes wonder at the sense of power planning gives us - the idea that we truly are in control of what happens.  We're not.

Recently, a friend planned her 3rd natural homebirth; she ended up with a cesarean in a hospital.  Another friend brought home a child with severe medical problems.  She didn't plan that.  How many of us know people who have lost jobs recently that they planned to have until retirement?  Or lost homes they planned to live in for the rest of their lives?  A couple who planned to wait to have babies, only to find out they waited "too long"?  What of the soldiers who planned to come home to their families, only to never make it home?

These things are commonplace, plans not working out.  So why do we continue to put such stock in our own planning?  No one plans to get cancer, or to die in a car crash.  Yet these things happen - daily.

Our best laid plans are really just flimsy, filmy visions of what could be.  Hopes for a life lived uncomplicated.  Yet we know that uncomplicated isn't always best for us.  Its when we are led through the trials, the fires, the unplanned that we have the opportunity to fully rely on our faith, and on the One who has the true, real plan for our lives.  Although it is often painful to let go of the ideals we held for our lives, we can be assured that He holds it all firmly in the palm of His hand.

Here's a truth to hold on to, during the planning of a life and the falling through of some of those earthly plans:

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

And really, what could be better than that?

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  1. This means a lot to me today. I linked to your post in my latest entry.

  2. Obviously, I know this more than anybody right now (and think that I was part of your thoughts in this post...). I am clinging to the fact that He is good and has our best in mind, so His plans are FAR better than any of our own plans, hopes, and dreams. And I'm thankful that even though His plans are often more painful than we'd like or would have chosen, that His plans are always more beautiful and rich than we could have imagined...

  3. I couldn't agree more. Lately I've been thinking about what God has in store for the future of me and my family. And I can honestly say that there is nothing more freeing and comforting than knowing no matter what happens, He knows what should happen and when it should happen. All I have to do is listen for His voice.

  4. Yes Cristen, you were in my thoughts when writing this. So much of what has been happening to those around me lately has had me realizing whoa...this could happen to me. And that no one plans for these things to happen. Yet God is sovereign and He knows what He is doing!! There is comfort in knowing that, while we only see what our feeble human eyes can see, He see it all...the entire picture. And through it all, He IS Love. We can trust that.

    Blessings to you, sweet friend!!

  5. I was just talking about this with an old friend I had run into at the doctor's office this morning. She reminded me that "God's word is a lamp unto my feet" not a spotlight to show me all the way down the path. With this move in the middle of my pregnancy, not knowing when our house will sell, and what to do about keeping our family together until it does, well, I needed her and your encouragement today. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for your words of encouragement! It was very timely to read last night before bed. I'm in my third pregnancy at 25 weeks dealing with preterm labor since this weekend (1st babe was a preemie, 2nd was term). God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

    if God's word is true (which I whole-heartedly believe:) then it is really true even during difficult seasons we find ourselves in (i am constantly reminding myself and my husband is reminding me of this a lot lately). Trusting in God and learning to trust Him in new ways!


  7. Beautiful, beautiful post! & I wholeheartedly agree!

    Jer. 29:11 comes to mind..."For *I know* the plans *I* have for you..." (emphasis mine).


  8. Love your blog! What a great example of womanhood and motherhood! Blessings!

  9. I totally agree about God's timing being perfect, and the fact that sometimes, the answer to a prayer is "no." I would like to add, however, that I think one of the reasons people always ask when you're due, how many kids you have, if it's a boy or girl, what names you've picked out, is because it is so wonderful and exciting to see a pregnant woman. Do you know what I mean? Every time I see a pregnant momma I just want to give her a huge smile and ask how she's doing and hear all about her hopes and dreams for her new babe. Pregnancy is such an amazing thing, and I think everyone just gets sucked into that excitement and wants to connect with it. It's just hard to figure out a way to do it without freaking the poor momma out, so they ask about due dates, etc. Babies are the best, and we all feel it, whether we realize it or not! :)


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