Pencil, Don’t Pen,Your To-Do List

The end of your year will be history in a matter of days; the newness of a future year lights up the December corner.

If it were one year ago, and someone had told you exactly what was going to happen this past year, how would you have responded? Had someone told me what my past year was going to look like, I would have checked myself into the Four Seasons…in Hawaii!

What was ahead would be agony over a decision to switch schools for one of my daughters. Was I really going to uproot her from a place we both loved? Yes.  Personally having to undergo significant surgeries in response to a pathology report that came back with results one doesn’t want to hear….I have to walk that road? Yes. Miraculously getting hired back at my old job after 10 years only to have it fall through at the last minute. Sorry, did that really just happen? Yes. The shocking news of a friend who would be diagnosed with a tumor….please repeat that. I am sure I misheard those words. You didn’t. Nor would I mishear the news of other friends who would be burdened with health-related issues.  Them too? Yes.

I had PLANS for this last year. Hopes. Goals. I had my “to-do” list.

What happened?

I was re-directed.

So was my time.

My energies.

I had no say. No input.

Different priorities, people and needs took their rightful place at the top of my “to-do” list.

Items got re-shuffled.

But for the better.

Twelve new months are before you, Mom.  A year from now, you will know what took place in the year to come. Of course, you have no way of seeing what each month will bring in your life, the lives of your children and in the lives of those close to you.  What’s going to come up? We don’t know, but we can know the One who holds whatever does come up. There’s a bigger picture in what’s happening.

What are you hopeful for, mom? Are there goals you want to pursue? Things you haven’t gotten to that will get transferred over to the 2014 calendar? Are your intentions specific? They might be crystal clear or murky. That’s okay. Very often, we are not clear on a lot of things.

But God is.

He doesn’t need us to be clear about our goals in order to work.

He IS always clear on what is best.

Even when we have a different opinion. I know, because I have often disagreed and had my own say as to how I think things should go. But He is patient and merciful, and allows me to have my pity parties until I am ready to come out from my crybaby corner.

Once again, perhaps like you, I will start the year with a list of goals that are meaningful and that I want to attain for myself and for my family but I know that I have little control over how far I’ll get. I think I have control, but as I live out each day and days turn into weeks and weeks turn to months, I look back and see that I am SO not in control. Just as I set-out in one direction, God often takes me in another.

Has this been true for you?

The desires of my heart can only be met by a God who has created me and who has specific plans and purpose(s) for my life, including work, ministry, my health, friendships, my husband and children. God has a to-do list for them as well as for me and I may very well be a vessel He uses in their lives to help accomplish His purposes. If I don’t pray about direction and priorities and submit my goals and hopes to Him, I don’t think I can receive the best He has for my life, nor can the people in it receive their best, and “my plans” will take shape very differently. There is His best and my best, but I’d rather have His best, or at least pray for the desire to want His best during those discouraging times when all I want to do is retreat back to my list.

Yes, my list.

But it’s not about me. It’s about bringing glory to God and to His to-do list.

I have learned that God is patient and not nearly as much in a hurry as I am in moving on to the next agenda item. He’s more concerned about our process through something than our reaching the end of something.  I have also learned that the parts of  life that I thought defined me, really don’t.

So the bottom line?

Write your to-do list in pencil and set it aside (the list, not the pencil).

Pray. 

Wait.

Trust and watch…

…how God directs you through your list. No matter what the next year brings, you can have hope that He IS your hope in all new things to come, including leftover things or things that are pending; the unexpected news, the beautiful joys and the surprises.

He is the One “to do” you can count on and you’ll be amazed as to how your list looks when He heads the top.

 

Oh, for a Little Truth

What “truth” are you listening to right now?

Something someone said or did that is hard to release?  Are you hearing  a voice inside that lures you to believe something discouraging about yourself or that pulls you in a direction you are not quite sure you are comfortable going in? Try not to be tempted to listen to those voices of negativity or doubt, but to God’s uplifting voice, truths and approaches.  And if in doubt, ask Him to show you.

He answers.

Whether it’s how to handle a difficult situation or an approach to take with your child, God does reveal His truth to us in so many personal ways (through pangs in our hearts, friends, a spoken word, circumstances, prayer and His word. He really does speak to us in ways that are meant for us to recognize.)

We don’t have to wrestle with…

Our thoughts.

Our doubts.

Our fears….or

Our own voices sometimes fraught with doubt, gloom and doom.

We can ask for guidance in the right and truthful ways in which to go.  “I, the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.”  (Isaiah 45:19)

As moms, it is not always easy to discern what is absolutely right when it comes to the little lives whom we are protecting and shaping…let’s pray and see how God directs us.  “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ “ (Isaiah 30:21)

What truth might God be showing you today? Is it more tempting to listen to your voice rather than His? What happens when we do listen?

Purpose over Plans

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs. 19:21

Busy, busy, busy. Go, go, go. Plan, plan, plan. In the midst of your planning, what might God have for you today? A message? An opportunity? A conviction? A different direction? Perhaps it will be an encounter, an idea or an unexpected conversation.

Enjoy the fulfillment of your plans and intentions today, moms, and look for God’s purposes in them. You may be heading for fun in the sun at the beach, enjoying a hike, getting together with family and friends, hearing a sermon, serving or worshiping.  You have your ideas about what your plans look like and God has His ideas about what He wants to accomplish in your plans.  His purposes will prevail so be on the lookout for what might be happening in your head, emotions, relationships or home. And you might be surprised at what you discover your plans bring!

What purpose(s) may God be trying to accomplish THROUGH your plans today?