Making My Plans

“(1-3) We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

(8-9) Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

(16) How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!

(19) Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.

(33) We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.” – Proverbs 16:1‭-‬3‭3 NLT

I see a pattern here. My plan was to marry a man who would take care of me, who would cherish me and provide for me and our children. My plan was for a White Knight, a Prince on his charger to sweep me off my feet, and we would live happily ever after. Ha. Then reality set in. My ‘Knight’, turned out to be controlling, abusive, and unfaithful. Some ‘Prince’. To prove just how stubborn I could be, and because I didn’t believe in divorce, I stayed with him for most of 8 years. When I finally had enough, I left him, and promptly fell for another ‘Prince’. He made so many promises, only to break them all, and my broken heart was just collateral damage to him. Still thinking I could make better decisions than GOD, I married my best friend. He had a daughter, and was still emotionally tied to her mother. Not the way to start a marriage, but a good way to end one.

A couple of years passed, and a good friend from my past contacted me. Ron was divorced, too, and our friendship thrived and became a deep love. We were involved in the local church, we had adventures and loved life together. GOD was important to us, but He wasn’t number One all of the time. With Ron, I knew I was loved, and I was confident he wouldn’t leave me. He was far from perfect, but then, so am I. We had a number of good years, then an injury brought in drugs and addiction. I had to leave for my physical safety, and it broke my heart. Of course, I blamed GOD for not keeping him – and me – safe.

I became entangled in another relationship, and another, and another. I was searching so hard for another ‘Prince’ of this world, I was neglecting the True Prince, the Prince of heaven, JESUS. Even though I was attending church, I felt judged and condemned by my peers, and eventually left that church because of it. Another broken relationship. I was batting 1000 with my plans and decisions! There was a recovery program at my sister’s church, and I began to attend it. Not for me, of course, but for my new husband …. another one of my plans, to redeem him. He couldn’t handle the program, because he would have to stop using drugs and alcohol and sex outside of our marriage. He bounced back in and out of my life for almost three years. I found out that the program was for me, and I began to rely on my LORD, my JESUS, rather than my husband – who was completely unreliable. My pastor told me several times that once I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I would do something about it …… and until I reached that point, I shouldn’t complain. Harsh? Perhaps, but it was – and is – the truth. My husband was arrested and was tried for a horrific crime, and my breaking point was when he confessed to me that it was true. He went to prison (for life, I pray), and I immersed myself in recovery.

I’m very cautious now about making plans. Everything gets prayed about, and although I don’t always get the answer I want, I’m working on accepting them. Yes, no, or wait ….. it’s not an easy thing to wait on the LORD, and I’m sure I don’t always hear Him correctly. I think that when I don’t get a clear yes or no, the answer is to wait, and I am not very good at waiting! Sometimes I find myself feeling anger at Ron for falling into his addiction and allowing it to tear apart our life together, and then dying on me. We were supposed to grow old together! No matter what we plan, or how well we plan, things – and people – go wrong. In the Scottish poem “To A Mouse,” Robert Burns writes:

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Yep, the best plans go awry….. It’s certainly been proved right in my life! Whatever the plan, no matter how small or how big, it will go better if we let GOD have the reins. We may think we’ve got it handled, but I know from experience that whatever we do, it’s always better when we include GOD in the process!

(from TV Tropes ….. )

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Morning Has Broken….

…. to a misty, watery sunlight with intermittent rain showers. The mockingbird on the neighbor’s roof is amplified and sounds like it is broadcasting to the world. It rained a bit last night; just enough to get the ground wet and cool us off to a more spring-like temperature. It’s the kind of morning that makes me wish for a screened sleeping porch, so we could just laze and enjoy. Indoors, work beckons, but for now, I am resisting. The pups are finally okay with coming outside after the thundering of last nights storm.

A few years ago, a lightning strike and the gigantic corresponding clap of thunder right next to us made it feel as though the house jumped in surprise. It blew out the power, and a small ball of fire burst out of the fireplace. Since then, the little one hides whenever there is thunder, even when it is barely discernable to me. He refuses to go outside, preferring to cower under something inside ….. which leads to another problem. Little dogs, no matter the pedigree or background, have to go out more frequently than the bigger ones. Consequently, I got up this morning to several puddles on my newly cleaned kitchen floor. 🤔 Just like having a 2 year old without a diaper ….. Good thing they are so (stinkin’) cute. 😜

As pleasant as my morning is (except the pee-puddles!), there are hundreds of thousands who wake to a really broken morning. A home missing a parent – or both parents. Dealing with a recent loss of a loved one, especially losing a child. Homeless, hungry. Forsaken by a spouse, or worse, beaten and abused. Devastation from wildfires or floods or volcanos. Hopeless, desperate, depressed. I’ve known some of these, and I am grateful for my home and my place in this world. I count myself among the blessed because I have friends and family who care.

Most of all, I am Blessed because I know JESUS. He is the Morning Star, the Hope that gets me up in the morning. I’ve tried life without Him, and it can be passable, but it is lacking. How did I make it without the Hope, the Grace, and above all, the Mercy of my LORD? How? I’d have to say, very poorly. Because of Him, I have the pedigree of a princess. From commoner to royalty, I have been lifted up into the bloodline of the KING of kings, LORD of Lords, Creator and Ruler of the universe. What bloodline or pedigree can compare to that?

People Laughing….

Laughing. Crying. Stony faces, worried faces, blank faces. Fat people, skinny people. Lackadaisical. Proud. Strutting, shuffling, confident. Glowing, pale, broken, bruised. Lazing around, pushing stridently through the crowds. Sleepy. Jittery. Miserable. Happy.

People watching is an interesting hobby. Trying to guess what is behind each expression, each action is fascinating. So many postures, so many expressions. My favorites are the laughing faces when they connect a couple or a group, and especially when they involve children. Children are the most expressive with their emotions worn on their sleeves. I love watching, and listening, to a child’s laughter. There’s something contagious about a baby or a child as they giggle and laugh. Nothing sweeter.

Sometime, try going to a crowded place and taking a seat on the sidelines (but not a sports event!). Don’t speak, just smile and nod as people glance at you. Pay particular attention to the little ones. Wiggle your fingers in a hello to them, and smile. Most likely you will be rewarded with a wave back, or a least a toothy grin. When we smile at people, it’s difficult for most of them not to smile, or grin, back. If you are having a bad day, however that is defined for you, look in a mirror and smile. For one, smiling takes less muscles than a frown. For another, it takes years off your appearance. When your world is falling apart, regardless of the why, remember David’s prayer:

“Have Mercy on me, O GOD, because of Your Unfailing LOVE. Because of Your Great Compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” – Psalms 51:1‭-‬2 NLT

“Yours, O LORD, is the Greatness, the Power, the GLORY, the Victory, and the Majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O LORD, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One Who is over all things.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT

Isn’t that plea, that prayer, enough to bring a smile to your face, and to cause laughter to bubble up inside? From experience, I can say that it is only by GOD’s Mercy and Grace that I can laugh or smile at all. My laughter comes from the LOVE, from His Forgiveness when He washed away my guilt. God loves to hear us laugh in our freedom!

Photo credit: Trudnoco.hr

Forgiven

Listen to Crowder sing ‘Forgiven’ – Powerful!

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 NLT

I am not perfect. I am flawed, broken, and sinful…. and I am forgiven. Forgiven for every bad thing, every sinful thought, every flawed decision I’ve made. Being human, I have followed in the footsteps of the first couple, thinking I could run my life better than the Creator GOD. I almost had it right, but I left something out. You see, when you say ‘I can run my life just fine,’ you are putting an ‘i’ in the word, making ‘run’ become ‘ruin.’ But – how can GOD find the time to deal with my issues when there are millions upon mlllions of other people who have real problems that need help? Besides all of us, there is the entire universe for Him to deal with! What can I say? The Omnipotent, omnipresent LORD, King of all kings, cares about us. He cares about me. Listen to what JESUS said:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only GOD, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matthew 10:28‭-‬29‭, ‬31 NLT – In Luke 12, JESUS also says “…. the very hairs on your head are all numbered ….”

Even though I am forgiven; despite my brokenness, JESUS wants me to follow the Father’s Commandments. Does He want me to give up everything to follow Him; to be rigid in my following of the Ten Commandments given to Moses? After all, GOD gave the to us. I love how my Saviour simplified the Ten and all of the laws into Two Commandments.

“Loving GOD means keeping His Commandments, and His Commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 NLT

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the First and Greatest Commandment. A Second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 NLT

Are you forgiven? Do you LOVE the LORD? Accept Him and Proclaim Him – Find your Freedom in CHRIST JESUS today! ☝️