Tag Archive | plans

Mary, the Mom

Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (NKJV)

With all of the different nativity scenes, the pageants, and the reenactments this time of year, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is brought to our attention. I look at her and can’t help but think of Mary, the mom to Jesus. Luke 1:26-28 tells us that an angel appeared to Mary. As the angel talked to her, Mary became aware of three things – 1. She would get pregnant. 2. Joseph would be well aware it was not his baby. 3. She and Joseph both would be ridiculed, humiliated, and shunned by the people they loved. Mary knew the social climate. She knew all that awaited her when her baby bump began to show. I would think that Mary would plant her feet, and with hands on hips, loudly proclaim, “Have you lost your mind? I’m not doing that!” Quite honestly, that probably would have been my reaction, but Luke 1:38 tells us that Mary said, “Okay. If that is what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.” We have heard the story of how she went into labor while traveling and delivered her baby in a stable — no midwife, no one who had experienced labor to sooth and comfort her when the pains were hard and seemed never ending, no mother or sister or friend to assure and encourage her. I really can’t imagine that Joseph was very much help – first time dads are usually too nervous themselves to be a calming influence on anyone else – and this was a time when men did not participate in the birthing process. I don’t think I can even begin to envision how terrified they must have been! Then it comes time to leave, and they have this baby. I think back to when my son was born and the nurse handed me a baby and told me that I had to take him home with me. I was wondering, “What kind of medical personnel would give a newborn to two such unprepared people? What are these nurses thinking?” I just picture Joseph and Mary looking at the baby and at each other, and wondering, “What is God thinking?” But, they take that little boy and they make a home. Joseph probably made Him work in the carpenter shop. Mary probably made Him watch His younger siblings while she ran errands. I look at Mary and she always looks so serene, and I wonder ………

Mary, when you were coaching your little boy to walk, did you ever think that one day He would coach Peter to walk on water?

Mary, when you were teaching your little boy to speak real words, did you ever think that one day He would speak to thousands?

Mary, when you were teaching your little boy to feed Himself, did you ever think that one day He would feed multitudes with a lunch another mom packed for her little boy?

Mary, when you healed your little boy’s boo-boos with a kiss, did you ever think that one day He would heal people with a touch or a word?

Mary, when your little boy was showing His siblings the best way to get around the village, did you ever think that one day He would show people the only way to get to heaven?

Mary, when you grabbed your little boy and kissed His face, did you ever think that one day soldiers would grab Him and beat Him until that face was unrecognizable?

Mary was a chosen woman, a woman of God, mother to the Christ, but Mary was mom to a little boy that she loved as only a mother can. Mary was an ordinary woman called to do extraordinary things, and God blessed her because she followed the plan that He had for her. Just as God had a plan for Mary, He has a plan for me. Just like Mary, I need to follow the plan He has for me. It may not always make sense to me and it may not be the way I would have chosen, but like Mary I need to say, “Okay. If that’s what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.”

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the promise of Isaiah 41:10. I know that You are always with me (Deuteronomy 31:6), and I know that You have a specific plan meant only for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Forgive my uncertainty, my doubts, and my fears. Forgive me for giving the thoughts and opinions of others the power to blind me to the sight of what You have in store for me. I may not understand and may even be confused by Your plan, but like Mary, I want to boldly say, “Okay. If that’s what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.

Swimming in “Why?”

Jeremiah 17:7 – The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. (HCSB)

Luke 1:37 – For nothing will be impossible with God (ESV)

My grandchildren were enjoying playing in the pool when a horsefly landed on my grandson’s head. I yelled for him to go under the water. His response was to stay where he was and ask “why?” I told him again to go under the water, and again his only action was to ask “why?” By that time I had gotten to him and was able to shoo the horsefly away before it decided to sting. I told my grandson about the horsefly, and said, “When I tell you to do something, just know there’s a reason so do it and I’ll explain later.”   I could almost hear God saying, “Seriously? You are telling someone to do what you tell them, when you tell them, and to have faith in your reasoning?” He didn’t add, “You, who can at times out “why?” a two-year-old”, but it certainly was implied! Psalm 139:6 tells us that God’s knowledge is amazing and more than we can understand. Time after time we see God’s people in the Bible stand still and ask “why?” instead of having faith in what they knew was true. Time after time today we continue see God’s people stand still and ask “why?” instead of having faith in what we know is true.  Oswald Chambers said, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time,” and Charles Hodge said, “The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God.” So many times we are willing to stand on faith but are not willing to move in faith. I wanted my grandson to trust me enough to react immediately when I called to him. I wanted him to react immediately to my command because of his personal knowledge that I would always look out for his welfare. Isn’t that what God wants of us as well? We know of God’s protection in the past and that gives us confidence of His protection in the future. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for me, plans for my well being, not to cause me harm. Even when I don’t know the plan, I know the Planner, and that’s all I need to know to rest assured that the plan is a good one!

Lots of Plans

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (HCSB)

Isaiah 55:8-9 –  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration.“For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.(HCSB)

eating cakeMy husband and I are celebrating our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary.  As we had planned a wedding, we had planned our married life.  I was in college when we married but was going to graduate, teach for three years, then be a stay-at-home mom to our three children. My husband had taken a leave from college and was working when we were married but was going back to college, become an accountant, and climb the corporate ladder.  We were going to build our dream house in our hometown and live happily ever after.  I did graduate, and my husband did become an accountant, but the corporate ladder turned out to be a step-stool because  God had another call for my husband – to the ministry.  We left our hometown, and my plans, that I thought were so grounded,  suddenly flew away!  My three years of teaching became twenty-seven. Because of health issues, we only had one child (but he has blessed us more than any three ever could). My time of staying at home came after our son had a home of his own. The hometown dream house has become a beach dream house but is still a dream.  Our plans have had ups and downs, turns and twists, but we were right about the “happily ever after”!  My grandmother used to say that God laughs when we make plans, and He must have had a hardy chuckle at the two of us!  As I look back over the last thirty-nine years, I am so  thankful that my plans flew away and were replaced with  Your plans, Lord.  Your ways are so much better than mine. Thank You for the change of plans!!

“The Winds, the Waves, the Dreams”

Proverbs 16:2 – All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. (HCSB)

1 Chronicles 16:11- Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (NIV)

I am sipping my coffee this morning while listening to the wind blow and looking at my new calendar of ocean scenes. I am thinking how I would rather be starting the day listening to the waves instead of to the winds!  When we were younger, my husband and I would talk about how someday we would live at the beach; we would search the real estate listings to determine what would fit our “needs” (ocean view being number one, of course); we would take notice of certain neighborhoods and discuss the pros and cons.  It was fun to dream.  We haven’t done that in awhile.  We still love the sound of the waves, love seeing the ocean view, love the atmosphere of a beach town……so what happened to our dream of making all of this our daily lifestyle?  What happened to cause the death of our dream?  Sometimes dreams die because we “age out” of that particular dream.  We mature and realize that it is just not possible to travel between planets or become an ancient warrior or live in outer space. Sometimes our dreams die because we let them starve. Instead of feeding them with action and determination, we allow people’s words of discouragement and negative attitudes to fill us and take away our hunger. Sometimes our dreams die because it was OUR dream but not YOUR dream; our plan but not Your plan.  Psalm 94:11 says that You know all of our plans and know they are futile.  Jeremiah 29:11 says that You have plans for us, plans that are only good for us. Sometimes I’ve tried to convince You how good my plans are and how You should make them Your plans too, but Proverbs 16:2 tells me that everyone thinks their plans are great! Then verse 3 tells me to commit my plans to You. Lord, You know my dreams and plans. You know my wants and my needs, and You know there is a difference between those two things. Lord, I know that it’s okay to have dreams and that sometimes those dreams come true.  Dreaming isn’t wrong as long as our dreams are inline with Your plans. Jim Elliott said “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”   Lord, help me to seek Your strength in everything I do, to dream my dreams but follow Your plans.

Rest for the Weary

Matthew 11:28 : Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (NIV)

Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (NIV)rest

I just made another cup of coffee, but Lord, we both know it isn’t going to help.  I am weary from the inside out.  Weary mind, weary body, weary in my spirit.  It has been a busy week.  One day of doctor’s appointments with more tests to come.  One day of sitting at the hospital with a family of close friends.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to see Your hand at work there!  One day of playing “catch up” – cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping.  In my “spare time” I am cooking large meals so that there will be leftovers for other meals since I have another busy week coming up.  My body is so tired that I feel as if I have literally hit a wall – a big, thick, solid, rock wall.  My mind is so tired that I think my brain has overloaded and shut down.  Just looking at the calendar creates a feeling of taking on a heavy burden.  Aren’t there supposed to be some white spaces on a calendar?  I write appointments in different colors to be organized, but when the calendar begins to resemble an explosion in a crayon factory, it just causes me to feel that my master plan has become a master disaster.  When I get tired and worn out, I tend to forget that I need to focus on You and not on the schedule.  I need to allow You to work with me and give me rest.  I know You don’t want me to take on more than I should.  Your plan for me includes a time to rejuvenate – mind, body, and spirit.  You say to come to You and You will give me rest.  When I read that verse in Matthew, I think the key word is “come”.   In Habakkuk, You say to come beside You.  That verse always reminds me of an old TV show I once saw where the father is trying to get the children to come to him, but they just stand where they are and keep saying, “but Dad.”  Instead of coming to You and allowing You to give me the rest I need, I try to stay in my spot and be like the hamster on the wheel.  I use my colorful markers and calendar stickers to make me feel in control as things continue to spin out of control.  I am exhausted and don’t have the energy to handle all that I have going on in my life.  Like Martha in Luke chapter 10, I find myself asking, “Don’t You care how hard I’m having to work?”  Your answer to her was to show her the importance of resting with You.  Martha needed to get her priorities in order – I need to do that same thing! Proverbs 16: 2 (HCSB) says “All a man’s ways seem right to him, (all this planning seems so right to me; look at all the pretty colors on my calendar) but the Lord evaluates the motives.  Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved.”  Lord, I’m looking at my colorful and overflowing calendar and realizing that my plans are worthless if they are not Your plans.  I’m coming to You with my weary mind, weary body, and weary spirit and asking for Your rest.

Making a List

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 19:21: You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

(New Living Translation)

I am sitting here this morning with my coffee and a pen and paper.  I’m making ato do list!  I love a list.  Sometimes I will have more than one list going at the same time.  I have a grocery list, a packing list for vacation, and a list of what I need to do before we go on vacation.  I love the control I feel by knowing what needs to be done now and what needs to be done next.  I especially love checking things off my list.  It makes me feel as if I’m accomplished great things, and there are days that I need to know I’ve at least accomplished something, even a small thing would be good!  Sometimes I will put something on my list that I have already done just so I can check it off!  Lists make me feel accomplished. Lists make me feel in control.  Lists let me know that I’m doing things right.  The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27) also loved lists.  He loved to have a list, and he loved to show people how he had checked off the things on the list.  He said that he had kept all the commandments, and I believe him because You didn’t call him on it.  He probably had the list in his pocket ready to show everyone how many items he had checked.  Lord, You were trying to show him that obedience to the commandments would not give him eternal life, that only comes through a personal relationship with You.  And a personal relationship with You means spending time with You.  You try to show me that too.  A list makes me feel in control of the situation, but You are in control of all that was, that is, and that is to come.  I like knowing what’s happening now and what will be happening in the future, but Lord, You tell me that worry (or planning or even making a detailed list ) won’t add a single day to my life.  I have the opportunity to accomplish great things today – not by working at worldly things that I can check off of a list but by sitting at the feet of the One who created all things and listening to His plans for my day.  Your word tells me in Jeremiah 29 that You know the plans You have for me.  In Proverbs 19, You tell me that I can make plans, but Your will prevails.  Lord, I know that following a plan isn’t a bad thing but listening to You and following Your plan is so much better.