According to Plan (NOT!)

Have you ever had one of those weeks scheduled neatly on your calendar and it went perfectly? No intrusions, interruptions or reschedules. Nothing but nice neat checks or lines marking the completion of every activity. schedule images

Neither have I. I’ve had close calls but almost inevitably I was saved from the tyranny of the monthly planner by something that took precedence over what I had scheduled. I adapt fairly well; as the mother of two young adult children, Mimi to 3 grands (soon to be four!!) the wife of a farmer, and a professional educator for more than 30 years – I’m very familiar with the need to respond quickly to a change of plans.

Nevertheless, some days and weeks seem to defy the plan. I recently experienced one that was WAY off schedule. The original plan in a very abbreviated form:

  • Saturday – brownies to the Easter Egg Hunt at church
  • Sunday – attend worship services, share lunch with about 15 family and friends
  • Monday – Bible study prep
  • Tuesday – Go to the doctor for a routine test; more Bible study prep
  • Wednesday – Bible Study
  • Thursday – MC to dance class after school
  • Friday – open!

Well here’s how the plan actually unfolded:detour download

  • Saturday – brownies to Easter Egg Hunt; grocery store to purchase a few more groceries since I invited two more folks for Easter lunch. (All good.)
  • Sunday – wonderful Easter program and services; great fellowship at lunch with family and friends. Shortly after lunch we found out that a beloved member of our church family experienced the ultimate Resurrection Sunday; she went home to Jesus. Sad news for us, but what a faithful witness she left with us. My sister and her family arrived from out of state at 10 p.m. to attend the funeral of a dear friend in a neighboring town. Even though the visit wasn’t planned, we loved having the opportunity to see them even if just for a day.
  • Monday – my second sister joins us from Nashville. We had a glorious day visiting and planning our mom’s 80th birthday celebration for September. (Don’t tell her.) Then around 7:00 p.m. we make a trip to the Emergency Room to check on one of our parents. Thankfully all checked out just fine.
  • Tuesday – both sisters and their crew pack up and leave for their respective destinations. I spend the afternoon in Bible study prep. That night we attend visitation for our beloved church member. Oh, and the medical test was rescheduled for next week.
  • Wednesday – Prepare my contributions for the family’s bereavement meal and then attend the funeral which was a wonderful celebration of her life of faith. Following the service, as hubby and I turned our cell phones on in the car – they were both ringing! MC was sick at school. So, off we go to rescue her and pick up her equipment for breathing treatments. Squeeze in a bit more study before I lead Wednesday night Bible Study.
  • Thursday – Laundry (changing all the extra beds that were used), tidy up, clean out the left-overs and publish a blog post. Pick up MC after school (she’s OK today) for dance lessons. Then buy a bridal gift for Saturday and a baby gift for Sunday.
  • Friday – I’m excited, nothing scheduled. Wrong. We spend the day installing a laminate floor in MC’s bedroom. (There’s a whole blog post in store on that one.)

interruption images

Granted this week had even more “unscheduled events” than a typical week. But as I reflect on this week with its beautiful interruptions, my life has been so much richer than if I had only stayed with my plan. The opportunities for service were endless; I see the out of state sister only once or twice a year. This unexpected visit gave us time to visit, truly visit and to plan a celebration for our mother. Something we usually do via cell and text. And I cannot recall when BOTH sisters stayed at our home together!

Although I wouldn’t call a rush to the ER a thrilling opportunity, I was able to provide support and a little levity to both parents. Preparing and sharing food is one of my primary love languages. It was an honor to share in the preparation of the bereavement meal for our church family. One son stated, “Mother would be so pleased to know that we all gathered together at church and shared this meal.” That is a gift to me, to know I contributed in some small way.

And a sick little grand that needed some extra breathing treatments was waiting patiently for her Mimi and Pops to come take care of her. How could I dare miss the opportunity to love and care for this precious gift from God. What a joy to care for her and know we are doing everything possible for her to maintain a healthy lifestyle and defy the odds of Cystic Fibrosis. And then to be able to see her well enough to attend dance class the next day  . . . that’s the best.

My point in this rambling is that our plans are just that, plans, intentions, a guide for what we want to do. We can let our planners dictate our lives or we can embrace the “interruptions” and be blessed beyond measure; for it is in our serving that we receive the greater blessing. Whenever I find myself clinging too closely to my precious pink planner, I’m often reminded of Jesus’ daily agenda. How often was He interrupted on the way to a very important mission. Yet He never failed to stop and heal, talk, and minister when there was a need. It is in those moments of unexpected grace and mercy that our lives most fully align with Christ. When I lose myself in service to others, I am living the abundant life.

Yes, it’s been an unexpectedly busy week. And I am better for it all. Thank you, Lord, for indeed you do have “(better) plans for us, not to harm but to prosper.”

Don’t be a slave to your calendar or your watch. Look for those unexpected moments of grace that allow us to be gracious and merciful to those around us.

In His Grace,

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