Monday, July 23, 2012

God's Plan Are Perfect, Mine, Not So Much

   "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"  Jeremiah 29:11 tells the perfect plan the Lord has for each and every one of us.  At times we can't seem to understand what's happening, or where he's leading us.  And oftentimes, we have to go through painful lows in our life to come through on the other side.  But God can see so much more completely than we. 

   Our lives are lived on a millimeter of a puzzle piece of a puzzle the size of the universe.  And oh, how we try to work that puzzle with our own little plans and how often they go astray.  I'm sure, at times, the Lord must laugh at our puny attempts to plan our lives.  I know I get these zany ideas that I just know are going to go off without a hitch.  But when they don't, they just serve to remind me that God is the one in charge.  Let me share a few.

  A few years back, I made plans to go see my son graduate from basic training.  He'd joined the Air Force and my husband and I hadn't been able to see him for two months.  Even long distance communication had been severely limited, and we were hungry to lay eyes on him. 
   Our flight left in the early evening from Lambert Airport.  We had several hours to drive to reach the airport, so I, not wanting to miss any more school than necessary, brought my street clothes to school with me so I could change near the end of the day.  I knew my time was limited.  I got everything packed and got permission from my principal to leave school directly after my last student was dismissed.
  Right around three o'clock, I rushed to the bathroom to change.  I was pumped!  I couldn't wait to hug my son and see him decked out in that fancy uniform. (Do you hear Ernest T. in the background somewhere?) Whoosh, I was outa my skirt and in my traveling clothes in no time. Yep, I had it all in hand.
   I get back to class, line up my little charges, and march out to the parking lot.  Cars are parked everywhere and it's parent pandemonium as they try to find their respective child's class.  All the teachers have their little group at their doors to dismiss.
  I say goodbye, one by one, to my little kids when I get down to the last two students.  One of the moms walks up to me.  "You've got something hanging there," she said.  She leans around me and pulls something wadded out of my waistband.  Victorious, she holds it up.  My pantyhose!
   I did what I had to do.  I laughed!  What else can you do when a person hands you your pantyhose that you've been dragging around for thirty minutes?  So much for my great plans.  I did make it to the airport on time and got through security with no problem.  I also got to hug my son and tell him how proud I was of him. Life is like that.

   Here's another one of my great plans.  I had open house in school in August a while back.  It can be an exhausting thing for a teacher.  So much energy going into working, planning, organizing, and getting your room ready, you want everything to be as perfect as possible.  I concentrate on putting my best foot forward to make a great first impression on the parents and students that I come in contact with on that first day.
  I often pick my favorite color to dress in, or wear an extra nice dress.  This day I chose a special hairstyle.  My hair is wavy, so I can blow dry it straight, or I can gel it and crinkle it up into a curly style.  Today-all curls.  Gonna go all the way, gonna put in some extra time, extra gel and make it really look awesome.
  At school, I glanced in the mirror and congratulated myself on going the extra mile of making my hair look its best.  On my way out, the parents were beginning to arrive, and I greeted one in particular. I'd already had two of her girls and was excited to have the youngest girl of the family.  The mother was such a sweet person and I enjoyed her personality. 
   Finally I leaned down to the youngest girl who is looking at me with sweet big brown eyes.  I greet her and ask if she is excited to start school.  Her reply?  "Why is your hair so messy?"  What could I do?  I laughed.  Life is like that.

  Just like the time I wanted to make homemade bread in my breadmaker.  I had my daughter's family coming over for our weekly get together and I had this great idea to make bread.  Only it's before school and I'm not so good at the getting up early.  So I was hustling about my kitchen.  Chicken in crock pot-check.  Breadmaker out and ready-check.  Flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, olive oil in-check.  Then I got to the yeast.  I had to hurry.  I was going to be late for work.  I grab the little envelope, tear it open, and pour it in.  I look in.  It's dark.  Hmmmm.  That doesn't seem to be right.  I turn on the light. (Yes, now the light!) It's not dark.  It's red.  It's Hawaiian Punch Kool-aid!
   I grab a spoon and start dipping it out frantically.  Yeah, no good.  There is no way I'm gonna get that all out.  What did I do, you may ask?  I laughed.  I added the yeast, and we had pink bread for dinner!  Yeah, life is like that.
 
   I'm sooooo glad God's got the plans well in hand.  He wants us to prosper.  His plans are perfect, even when we're not.  Perhaps the next time your plan ends up in the scrap heap, you'll remember to laugh and thank God for being in charge.  After all, life is like that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mr. Frost, May I Take Another Road?

   Well, Mr. Frost, I was wondering about this road business.  You see, I've gone a good piece down the first section, and I must say I have enjoyed the scenery very much!  But my neck hurts.  And I've discovered why.  I keep looking back.  This way that I've taken some years ago is quite worn and I know each nook and cranny.  At first I stumbled over the smallest rocks, and then I began to find my way quite easily.  But as I look around I can see that it's a bit dry. The grass could use a good shower.

   Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of something to the left through the trees.  I sometimes struggle through the dense foliage to peek at the other path.  For some reason, it seems more lush and vibrant.  I look long down one way, and then turn my head to gaze in the other direction.  It's never enough, though.  It always leaves me thirsty for more.  A couple of times I've dared to reach my leg in through the fence only to draw it back again knowing I wasn't ready to walk on such a path.  Yet, way leads to way, and I'd feared that I couldn't return.  Worse than that I feared I wouldn't remember to return.

   But wait.  I've realized something, Mr. Frost.  You were the one who wrote of the roads, yet you were not the one who created them. I think I might have been speaking to you in error. I have thoroughly enjoyed our short conversation, but I believe I must go over your head. Creator God constructed the matter of the roads, the dust, the rocks, the leaves, the trees. I, myself, am made by God from a handful of chemicals. And He made it all from nothing. Just . . .nothing.
  
   He knows my thoughts, my deeds. He can predict my choices, knows my preferences, my dislikes.  He knows my every step upon this road.  He even knows the number of hairs on my head at any given moment.  And He knows my dreams, for He gave them to me.  And He IS hope.

   And that, Mr. Frost, has made all the difference.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Becoming an Author

Who knew becoming an author was such a gut-wrenching experience? How many times in the last few days have I whispered a quick, desperate prayer for help? My, but my stomach still flips!  I have been writing for years, literally for years.  But I've never published. Why? Plain didn't know how.  Didn't know how and was too fearful to take the next step. I've sent a few submissions off and got the lovely rejection letters. Once I received nothing at all. That was a great encouragement. Nothing. So I just turned back to my computer and composed. Moving on was just too difficult. It was much easier to write down the personal movie that shows in my head every night when I lay down to sleep.

You see, these manuscripts become your children, precious and few and, as any experienced empty-nester will tell you, very hard to let go of. Oh, dear.  I ended with a preposition. Now that will bother me.  The rules, the rules!!!  So many rules. But I meander. A blog about rules, or rather the lack of, will have to wait.  It's hard to let go of something that has been with you for fifteen to twenty years. Lands, even my first novel, as corny as it is, is still, 'special,' to me. I still sport hopes that I will re-vamp it and make it the novel of the year.

Now I have stepped out and allowed others to read what I have so diligently poured out these last years. Do I fear what I will find out? You betcha!  But I also have a quiver of excitement to reach that next step. A step that may lead to my dream.

 Do you have a dream? Chase it for all you're worth! Ask God to show you the way. Then hold on to your seat, prepare for sharp turns, and experience the exhilarating ride. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5-6) See how that last two sentences were my best ones? That's because they weren't mine, they were God's. I've whispered those two sentences to myself many times in the last couple of days.

Maybe I will never be a published writer, but I know there's a reason I do this. And I know He will reveal it to me when the time is right. Meanwhile, thanks God for the movie I'll watch tonight. I can't wait to see what You'll do with it!