Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Making Plans

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans." Woody Allen

I have spent the last two decades striving to build a drama free, protected life. My husband and I have a family mission statement, a financial plan, all matters of insurance and an estate plan. Our kids have educational savings plans. We are constantly dreaming of travel plans, ministry plans, retirement plans.

This makes it especially ironic that here in our 40s we are realizing how very little we know of what the future may bring. Since the arrival of two little foster daughters 105 days ago, our desire to plan is stymied. We do not know how long they will be here or where they will go next. We don't know if we will have them for the holidays or whether to include them in early Spring travel plans.  I can't even pretend to know how this whole thing is going to end. I don't even have enough information to speculate at this point.

I have been forced to live life on much more of a day-to-day basis. While I would like to know if I should be building their Christmas lists, with all the moods we now have in our home, most days I just want to make it through homework time with limited tears. We live at the bottom of a bureaucratic funnel and a complex social situation that doesn't fit neatly into our responsible, mapped out life...and, frankly, their little hearts trump our need to 'plan.'

Never have the words of Psalm 27:1 resonated more: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."

Despite framed art in my home that reminds me to "live simply," life has gotten undeniably complicated. Not just because of our little girls...but because we are middle aged and this world is broken. Sin, illness, complex relationships...I look around and laugh that I ever thought much of anything fit into neat little packages.

And a funny thing has happened...rather than finding the absolute uncertainty frightening or frustrating, I have crested the dreaded waterfall of lack of control and found myself plunging into the cool rushing waters of this unpredictable life story feeling remarkably free.

The more complicated life has become, the simpler it seems. Pretending I have much control seems absurd. In letting go and letting God, I am realizing the words, "I don't know" are not only true but liberating.

I wish I could claim maturity, but it was really humility and weakness that led me to this place. It took the overwhelm of five children and the foster care system to shine an undeniable light on what has always been true: None of us really know what tomorrow will bring or understand the ways in which our Lord works out his plans in this world.

I am no longer a child trying to prove to the world how much I know. I am a middle aged woman who has lived long enough to realize how little I really know/control AND that it is OK.

I have long equated wisdom with planning--and I do feel that we are wise to steward well what we have been entrusted. But I pray that we also leave plenty of room for faith that there is One who is writing our stories--for they are generally full of twists and blind turns.

We have to stop listening to the deceptive voice of fear and instead tune into the still small voice that urges us to trust. We must loosen our grip on the reigns of the comfortable safe life and allow our God to take us on a ride we couldn't even imagine for ourselves. We will no doubt be breathless in many places along the way...sometimes from exhaustion and other times from awe and wonder...

The reality is that we are all buckled in on this roller coaster of life. We can't steer it, but we do have a choice in how we ride...terrified or full of wonder. I pray the Lord will make me the girl on the roller coaster with my hands in the air, shouting in exhilaration rather than the terrified one clutching the bar with eyes clenched shut. The loop de loops are coming either way.


Sarah said...

So much wonderful truth in this post!:)

Barbara said...

My oldest daughter is a foster mom to two precious brothers and we can relate to every comment you made! Thanks for the great reminders and inspirations!
Barbara Gaither
Columbus, GA

Denise Ross said...

Love the truth in this post :)