"Make the conscious choice to move the attention of your anxious heart away from the waves and direct it to the One who walks on them and says, 'It's Me. Don't be afraid...' Look at him and say, 'Lord, have mercy.' Say it again and again, not anxiously but with confidence that he is very close to you and will put your soul to rest."
Sometimes life is not quite what we make plans for it to be.
Sometimes we do all that we can, and put what we feel is our very last ounce of effort and energy into making our life look a certain way, and then quite shockingly...the rug is pulled out from beneath us, and life has other plans.
We read up on all the best books and articles on better parenting, happier marriages or healthier living...and then we wake up to strong willed children who don't mind our new discipline techniques.
Or to a husband who didn't read the same books and articles and is still clinging to destructive habits.
And then in an emotionally draining state, there is that chocolate chip cookie (or 5) that needs to be eaten...right. this. minute. or. you'll. likely. die.
And suddenly our plans to be a better mom, a more loving wife, and a healthier woman have all but failed.
We plan for health, but someone gets sick.
We plan for vacation, but our budget doesn't provide.
We plan for our dream home, but we barely scrape to get by.
We plan for a family, but our womb remains achingly empty.
We plan for joy in parenting, but the days are instead long and sometimes thankless.
We plan for success, but someone else achieves it.
We plan for happiness, but we experience anxiety and depression.
We plan for purpose and achievement, but we feel unnoticed...unused.
We plan...but then God has other plans.
These moments - or moments just like them - we'll likely all experience at some point in our lives.
I just so happen to be in such a season at exactly this time of my life.
A year ago our family excitedly made plans to serve the Lord through foster care, and 6 months later we opened up our home to two little girls, ages 2.5 and 3.5.
We had read the books, completed the training, and had all the best intentions that our life would look just a certain way once we started upon this new journey of life.
Many months later, the road we're walking - hiking...climbing...crawling? - instead looks a whole lot different than the books, than the training, than any of the plans and expectations that we as a family had had.
Instead, in the attempts of healing those two little lives, several other hearts involved have become broken. There is heartache, exhaustion, sadness, defeat, and a painful realization that we are not quite as capable as we had hoped we would be.
It doesn't look at all like we had planned.
And yet, we know and are comforted by - even when there are tears and days staying in bed seems the better option - that God is still good.
He is still in control.
He is still sovereign.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16
I'm right here learning this along with you, that while His ways may not always be our ways, he is still able to work in the midst of and despite our many failed plans. And the beauty of it all, is that his way - his plans - are far better than anything we could have done on our own.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
We simply have to remember that these moments we're in, the moments when we're wondering what exactly has happened to the plan we once had...is instead a chance to show the world that God is real by the way we persevere and trust through it all.
Rather than give in - or give up - we must continually fall to our knees and lift our chins, our eyes and our hearts, with a settled confidence, away from the waves and instead to the One who walks on them.
Let your plans, let your soul, rest in Him.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21