Saturday, November 23, 2013

The best laid plans

For those of you who know me,
and those of you who don't,
let me introduce myself.

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am a planner.

Not like the cool party planning kind.
A life planner.
A day planner.
A minute by minute, mile by mile planner.

I plan my grocery shopping excursions by aisle with a well detailed list. And usually know the exact total I will spend within about three dollars.

I plan outfits by functionality first and fashion second, obviously.

I plan outings by my child's nap schedule. And then I plan my route with a precision MapQuest would envy.

I plan my days with a carefully crafted "To Do" list in order of importance and time of completion.

I planned for scholarships to college, and perfectly paved the way through school to ensure they would be awarded. I took the right classes, made the right grades, joined and led the right clubs, and played the right sports.

As a child, I planned my career, who I would marry, and the names of my children. I knew the type of neighborhood in which I would walk my dog, the bowl on the counter that would house fresh fruit, and the stash of chocolate chip cookies that would be planted for children to find for after school snacks.

I am a planner.
And this suits me quite well.
I crave predictability and despise the unknown.
I like routine and structure, and spontaneity and surprises make me nervous.
I am a list maker. An agenda follower.

Quite frankly, if it were up to me, I would know the final score before the game begins, the time my son would awaken when I lay him down to dream, and which red lights will stop me as I depart my driveway.

I have learned, and not without heartache or frank stubbornness on my part, life happens when you least expect it. The Lord shows Himself in the unplanned, unpredicted days and minutes of life.

I have learned that I need faith more than I need lists.
I have learned that the Lord brings sunsets and rainbows, children with special needs, heavy traffic when I am hurried to break my plans and show me his glory.

Yesterday, my eighteen month old, Baker, had a nasty stomach virus. Obviously, this was not in my plans.

I had, however, planned to take off work for his Thanksgiving feast at school. I had planned the red shirt I would wear that would coordinate perfectly with the appliqued Turkey leaves on his monogrammed shirt. I had planned for the sweet potato casserole topped with roasted marshmallows for the children in his room. I had planned "I'm Thankful For" happys for his teachers and therapists. I had planned for a trip to Starbucks immediately following school - the coffee to keep me warm and energized and the red cup to add to the cheer and festivity in the air as we would get an early start on our Christmas shopping. I had planned for a long nap, in the living room, me sacrificing the beckoning household chores to hold my sleeping boy.

Much to my dismay, there was no sweet potato casserole, or turkey appliques, or an indulgent cup of coffee. There were Saltines and Pedialyte, there were loads of laundry, there were tears. It was bad. Baker was so sick.

Why did that happen?
Why did Baker get sick on that day, at that time?
Why did a tornado devastate my beautiful hometown that fateful April day?
Why did my sweet friend lose another baby?
Why was Baker born with Down Syndrome?
Why do things happen outside of our plans?
Why are our plans changed?

I think,
to remind me of His power and greatness,
to remind me of His almighty control and my lack thereof,
to remind me of His glory,
to strengthen my faith,
to remind me that I need Jesus.

Thank you, sweet Savior, for breaking my plans - the little ones, the big ones.
For using the unknown, the unplanned, to bring glory to Your Name. For nullifying my petty lists and agendas to allow me to be a part of Your great plan for my life. Thank you, precious Jesus, for loving me enough, for being my strength, my steadfast grip. Your ways are Greater, Your name is Higher. Today, and every day, I choose You.

Thank you for letting me be Baker's mommy. For giving us days of sickness so we praise you even more for his health. In all things, to You alone, I give thanks.