The Better Plan

It was the day after Christmas and we were heading out for one final holiday celebration. My husband asked if I had finished wrapping the gifts. I snapped at him and said, “No, but I shopped for them, purchased them and even put them in a bag for you so that YOU could finish wrapping them this morning!” Surprised by my outburst he asked, “Why are you treating me this way?” With tear filled eyes, I looked up and said, “I’m so sorry, I’m exhausted and utterly empty.”

Plan A

Rewind to the week after Thanksgiving. I had planned out four of the most glorious holiday weeks ever. The two younger boys were participating in a Dickens Caroling experience around the city; I had arranged for us to see Christmas lights by horse-drawn carriages; I had even planned a few Pinterest crafts for my grandson and a big family night complete with cookies, cocoa and decorating the Christmas tree. O WHAT FUN!  The plan was grand, but the plan would change.

During week one, some of our staff came down with the flu which meant I was needed at the shop instead of the craft store. No worries, I could adjust the plan and combine a few things the following week. Like the first week though, the second was met with more illness and absences. “No worries,” I said, “we can still do this.” By the third week I was waning in holiday cheer because after all, hadn’t I taken off most of December? My husband was now off to Minnesota on a business trip and my boys on an adventure in the Midwest. We were still understaffed and I was now overwhelmed.

By the time everyone returned to work it was the week before Christmas and my tune had changed from a cheerful, “Joy to the World” to a sarcastic, “The Boys Are Back in Town.”  Four weeks of holiday bliss had been reduced to four days and I was scrambling to pull off Christmas. No worries, right? Wrong!

Wrong because Christmas wasn’t mine to pull off, it was God’s and He accomplished it more than 2000 years ago.

Wrong because Plan A was not the plan. Plan B was; I just couldn’t see it even though it called out to me daily, “Helloooooo, this is the plan!”

Plan B

I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until Christmas Eve that I saw Plan B for what it was, a blessing. The pastor spoke these words, “Sometimes in the midst of our busyness and frustrations, we tend to miss the blessings right in front of us.” 

BOOM! My deafened ears were opened at once. God had me exactly where I needed to be, assisting during a time of illness and absence.  Plan B was the blessing I had missed.

A “blessing” doesn’t always mean the circumstances are good, or that they will even change, it means that God will work them out and weave them together for eventual good. 

  • I could work when others could not, what a blessing!
  • My family was able to travel as planned, what a blessing!
  • Our staff made a full recovery from the flu, what a blessing!

Plan B is the blessing-God’s perfect plan, the one one where he takes our present circumstances and works them together for eventual good. I have a new appreciation for “Plan B” because it’s just the thing I need to adjust my perspective. It calls on me to Be Still, Believe, and Bow Down. 

BE STILL because He is God and I am not.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

BELIEVE that He is Lord over all our best laid plans.

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

 BOW DOWN in order to submit to the plans God has made.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For the Love of God…


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

As I stood at the door a tight knot formed in the back of my throat, one that would remain there for the next twelve months. It was January and I should have been stuffing navy and white chevron pillows into plush leather chairs while arranging furniture in our snazzy new customer lounge, except there was no customer lounge! Instead, we were staring at a cold empty shell feeling the full weight of its barrenness on our shoulders. Despite all of our perfectly laid plans not one wall had been erected and we were just a few weeks away from opening, or so I thought.

“Where are my walls,” I asked the project manager?” “Where is the flooring?” Shuffling back and forth he tried to speak confidence into the situation but we both knew better. There weren’t going to be any walls erected that day or even that week which meant we wouldn’t be opening our new business as planned either. He had made a big mistake in estimating his own skills and his ability to find subcontractors in the middle of winter not to mention the requirements the county was now imposing upon our project. I was angry and feeling outright betrayed.

Oh God, I whispered inaudibly, “What are we going to do?”

He recited my memory verse to me, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

“What does loving God have to do with renovating this building and opening our business!” I silently shouted.

He answered me again, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

I wish I could say these verses readjusted my thinking immediately but they didn’t, they irritated me. I realized we were about to embark on an unplanned journey that I didn’t anticipate, one I didn’t request and most importantly one I would only appreciate in hindsight. God wanted my heart (devotion), my mind (thoughts), my soul (core essence) and my strength (might) but for the love of God, pun totally intended, I didn’t understand WHY until twelve months later when the final check was in the mail.

Looking back, my reality that day was simple; God wasn’t asking me to trust Him to fix the circumstances, He was asking me to love Him so that I could adjust my view of the people with whom I would be working. Loving God influences my response towards others.  As I focused my attention on loving God in the months that followed, He equipped me with mercy (His which became mine). Legally, I had the right to respond otherwise but spiritually, mercy was the right response. Except for the love of God, I would have chosen “the otherwise.’

Loving God also influences our perspective which positions our priorities. In hindsight I realize that I would have gladly abandoned the contractor and started over with a whole new crew but that was not what I was called to do. I was called to endure to the end which meant for as long as was necessary, ouch! I was called to extend grace to those with whom we worked even when they didn’t deserve it, double ouch!! I was called to remember that without the blood of Christ, I also was undeserving, triple ouch!!! Legally, I had the right to abandon but spiritually, showing grace was the right response. Except for the love of God, I would have chosen total abandonment.

God’s ways are definitely higher than my ways and now I understand why it is so important to love God wholly. How about you? Can you recall a time when you were called upon to love God in order to adjust your perspective, priority or response resulting in an act of grace or mercy? Was it as difficult for you as it was for me? Please share your experience in the comments section below.

A Battle in the Night

“For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? — the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.” Psalm 18:31-32 (ESV)

There I was again, unable to fall into a deep slumber because the scenarios playing out in my half-conscious state were unfolding as if they were true. Tears were streaming down my face as I tried to comprehend the weight of what was happening. “Wake up,” I silently cried to myself. “But the scenarios, so painful and realistic, held me there a bit longer. “Surely this is real,” I thought, “surely it’s not,” I prayed. Finally a thought broke through jarring me awake, “such matters should not be weighed in the dark.”  I awoke crying out to the Lord, “Are you warning me or am I fighting a battle in the night?”

Fully conscience, I spent the next few hours wrestling through tears and prayers in search of the truth, separating what I knew to be real from what I thought I had imagined. Throughout the process, I realized that my dream had held bits of truth here and there, but those bits were swallowed up by chunks of lies, disconnected and molded into a scenario that was utterly false. Exhausted and torn, I surrendered my battle by asking God one question. “If any part of this is true, what does your word require of me?” What came to mind was instant. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) That was it! The raw truth I needed for both the night I had just wrestled through and the day that was fast approaching.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,” because if what I was imagining was true, painful as it was, I needed to trust in the Lord whose strength is inconceivable to get me through what I was about to face.

“Lean not on your own understanding,” because if the scenario ended up being true, I needed to resolve myself to the fact that I would not understand why until hindsight propped its precious lenses squarely upon my face. Trials are tough and they serve a glorious purpose that only God can shed light on over time.

 “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” because acknowledging the LORD in power, presence and providence leads us into the light of His truth while trusting in dark thoughts leads us deeper into the darkness of night.

As it turned out, I was not facing this battle alone; I was sharing it with my husband. During the night I was called upon to seek the strength he would need the following day to discern some truth from lies. To God be the glory for being the light which shines in the darkness. “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? — the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.” Psalm 18:31-32 (ESV) 

How awesome is it that God equips us even before we know we need it?

Happy New Year!

A New Year, a new thing! – A new year is the perfect opportunity to establish something new or to begin again. That’s what I’m doing, starting something new, a blog.

A couple of  years ago my husband and I were considering another new thing, moving from the comforts of a corporate world to the uncertainties of entrepreneurship, an idea we approached with prayerful trepidation. After all, who in their right mind gives up pursuing a regular paycheck and a 40 hour work week? Well, after a bit of soul searching, we did. We executed considerable research, calculated the risks, and found ourselves at a crossroads: to move forward or stay behind?

Up until that point my husband could see the new thing quite clearly but his poor wife, she could not. We became stuck hanging in the balances between “maybe,” and “no, not yet.” We remained there until a verse was spoken over me that promptly moved us forward. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and cut rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) Seriously, have you ever heard a clearer word from the Lord than that? Those words held a message meant just for me, “Woman, get a move on it!”

We did, we got a move on it. The road was really tough, I shed some big tears and pitched even bigger tantrums along the way. The process took way longer than expected but when God does a new thing, He really does it up right. He makes a way in the wilderness and cuts rivers through the desert. In July of 2014 we entered the world of entrepreneurship and a year later we opened our first store. As I look back on the journey I realize it took releasing my grip on the familiar thing in order to grasp the future.

 Now, what does starting a business have to do with starting a blog, everything, especially Isaiah 43:19!

Life happens, changes and all, and I write about it. I have found that God uses change to pour out His love, provision and direction upon our lives. He turns our fears, tears and tantrums into opportunities to trust Him. 

Blogging was a fearful thing for me. It hosts an audience much larger than the familiar places I tend to write, but I did it. Initially I resisted but not for long because once again I was prompted to get a move on it when I read the same precious words as before but this time on a blog site.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and cut rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

Guess what? I got a move on it, I launched a blog and you are reading my very first post.


From both of these experiences I learn a valuable lesson: I cannot hold on to two things at one time; In order to grasp the future, I must release the limits of the familiar.