The Blessing of Changed Plans

I like plans. That’s no secret; my closest friends and family always rely on me to be the first to ask, “what are we doing next?” I plan and revise plans and talk about plans and write them on calendars. I realized I’d unwittingly passed this on to my son when he overheard a conversation I was having with my husband about the weekend schedule. “Thanks, mommy!” my son said sweetly. “For what?” I asked, and his response was telling: “For talking about all those fun things!”

mountains_48387_crest_350He likes plans too; we like to know what’s happening, what to expect, and have time to anticipate those plans. This year of moving and transition and new places has been a growing year for all of us, a year of making and then changing plans, of creating traditions that may or may not last, of doing things impromptu and hoping for the best. Sometimes those times are stressful, resulting in tears and angry words. But occasionally, and increasingly often, those times allow us moments of joy too, when we enjoy an unplanned occasion and have fun experiences we didn’t anticipate.

Most recently, what was supposed to be a romantic getaway was derailed into a family vacation because of a last minute incident. My husband and I were both stressed, disappointed, and struggling to find the bright spot for the weekend. That frustration led to the conversation described above, where our son overheard our attempt to create new plans, and interjected with his three-year-old enthusiasm. His gratefulness. His excited heart for the plans that now included him.

We know that God is with us always, in all things. We know that all things can work for good. Yet so often, I hold on tightly to how things are supposed to be. How I want things to look. What my plans are, and what I believe God’s plans should be. How refreshing if I were able to witness a miracle by relaxing, and letting go (which would in itself be a miracle!).

We can all tell stories about the best things being the ones we stumbled upon: a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, an impromptu conversation, a surprise visit. Sometimes it is fun to be the planners of such surprises for others, and other times it’s refreshing to receive the surprise blessings that come our way. May we be open to those surprises that God sends to us, often right at the moment when we need reassurance. For me this week, those surprises were varied: in the form of neighbors who stopped to welcome us, and introduce us to more neighbors; in the enthusiasm of my children watching a brightly-colored robin who hopped all around our patio during dinner, delighting us with his antics; and most recently, in the change of weekend plans.

May we let go of our plans, our wills, our set agendas enough to watch a robin in its flight and a child laugh with glee. May we remain open to changes of plans that bring us greater blessings. May we allow for God to turn our plans around, and bring us even greater joy.

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Kimberly McClung DeVries was raised in a minister’s family, first overseas as missionaries and then in Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia to receive a degree in telecommunications, worked briefly in that field, and then went to law school instead, also in Athens. She has worked as a public defender and for a legal aid agency, and now resides in Michigan with her husband and two boys. Kimberly’s current life experiences seem to be focusing on pushing her out of her comfort zone, and that is the theme of her current writing.

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