Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Plan Vs. God's Will

I’m an organization freak, a bit of a control freak...and I LIKE plans! I might even go so far as to say I NEED to plan! There should always be a PLAN! Last week I wrote about feeling lost and off balance as life takes on new beginnings. I’m not quite sure what God has in mind or how everything fits together as I start a new life in a new town with my new husband. I was having difficulty connecting with God, felt as though life was unfocused and I was drifting – there was no plan. This was so not good!

New beginnings can be positive in the form of a new marriage, a new relationship, a new baby, a new job, a new ministry or they can take the form of more distressing events such as the death of a spouse, child, other family member or friend, the loss of a job, the breakdown of a relationship or marriage or the bad news of a life threatening diagnosis. Whichever the case, there’s always some stress associated with new beginnings because the term “new beginnings” is simply a sugar-coated way of saying the big, nasty word, “change”...and no one likes to deal with change!

This week I felt compelled to start reading the Bible again from the beginning. (Oddly enough, despite my love of structure and order I don’t follow a “Bible in a year” reading plan. I simply open the Bible and start reading just as I would any other book.) I also attended a presentation by Rev. Mike and Lisa Plunket, who were guest speakers at Spruce Grove Alliance Church. One of the concepts Mike Plunket introduced was this...”when the paradigm of your life shifts, everything goes back to zero”. He went on to explain that any time there is a major life change everything in your life needs to be re-negotiated in light of that change. How very true this concept is. New beginnings are a time of re-negotiation, of re-discovery, of re-invention, of re-creation. Genesis starts with the story of creation. For six days God creates earth, sky, land, sea, plants and animals, day and night out of nothing. He starts from the beginning, creates and makes things new, and then after six days of creation He rests.

Perhaps those of us out there struggling with new beginnings, whether positive or negative, should take a lesson from the God of creation. Use the early stages of your new beginning to lay the foundation for your future. Use these days to organize, to create, and to clean up your life. Set the tone for what God has in store for you in the future. Use it as a time of preparation, perhaps a time of healing. And remember, on the seventh day God took a rest. Spend quiet time with God and allow Him to reach deep into your heart to comfort, heal, restore and make new. If you find yourself with free time on your hands use this to rest and rejuvenate.

I guess sometimes we have to let go of our need for “the plan”. If you’re anything like me the mere thought of life without a plan is, well...just WRONG!! But I think this is where we need to release that desire for control and “go with the flow” for a while. The time of new beginning may be a time of preparation as God moves you further than you could ever imagine into larger territory and service. Personally I’d hate to miss the opportunity to serve God in some larger way simply because I had to follow my “plan”!

Are you in a time of new beginning? If you’re comfortable sharing please tell me a little about the new beginning you’re experiencing by clicking on "comments" below.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Do you have times in your life when you feel you’re wandering around in the dark looking for something but you’re not sure what that “something” is? How about the feeling that you’re supposed to be going somewhere but you’re not sure where? Maybe you feel as though each day comes and goes but you accomplish nothing that really matters at the end of the day. Is this the definition of being lost?

I ask these questions because this is how I’ve felt the last week or so. Everything in life is new – new town, new husband, new house, new instant teenagers, new church, new faces, new surroundings...and so it goes. Before I moved I knew who I was, I seemed to have purpose and activities and people to occupy my thoughts and time. Now I’m not sure how this new life fits together. I’m not sure who I am in this new role as wife and step-mother or how it all fits with whom I was before. Even my relationship with God seems to have changed, it’s become harder somehow to find Him. Everything is just a little out of balance. The days go by but suddenly I don’t seem to have purpose.

Just out of curiosity I looked up the definition of lost on www.dictionary.com and here’s a bit of what I found, “having gone astray or missed the way, bewildered as to place, direction, etc.; not used to good purpose, as opportunities, or labour; wasted; destroyed or ruined; distracted; distraught; desperate; hopeless...” Some of these definitions seem to fit. Perhaps I am lost. Others are downright frightening - desperate, hopeless, destroyed or ruined – no I don’t think so!

I think it’s more a temporary loss of focus and purpose that has me feeling disoriented and adrift in the sea of life. I know God has called me here for a reason and in time that reason will be revealed. It’s the waiting and lack of direction that leaves me struggling and wondering if I’m floating aimlessly through life. This lack of master plan and lack of direction is totally a foreign concept to me and I’m left with all these odd, and at the moment, unresolved questions. What does the future hold? Where will we find a church home? When will I be part of a ministry again? Where does God want me to serve? So many questions and so few answers.

What questions are you struggling with today? Does any of this sound familiar? Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding God In The Closet Organizer

I feel as though I’ve been moving FOREVER! You see at the end of January everything I owned went into storage and I moved into my new husband’s apartment. We took possession of a house at the end of February and the real fun began!  To say the house needed “a little” work is like saying Canadian winters are “a little” cool! Every spare, waking moment of the first two weeks was spent repairing damaged dry wall, hanging new dry wall, mudding and sanding. But finally the dust settled – literally – (we’re still finding dry wall dust EVERYWHERE) and on March 18 moving day arrived.  Now we faced the challenge of combining two households into one. We have two of everything – microwaves, bar-b-q’s, kitchen tables, desks – can you say “garage sale”! It’s now April 10 and we both feel like we’ve been slaves for the last two months! My husband’s going to college during the day, I’m working a full time job and in the evening we both come home and make feeble attempts to unpack, sort, organize and generally wage war on the chaos that has become our domestic life! We’re finally making progress – last night we took back the territory called the hallway and can now walk down it without tripping through the obstacle course!

Of course in the midst of this I’m still trying to stay in close relationship with God.  If you’ve ever dealt with a crazy, chaotic time in your life, and let’s face it...who hasn’t, you’ll appreciate just how difficult this can be. I make my tea, settle into a the lovely sunny corner in the living room with my Bible, spend half an hour reading, close the Book and realize I haven’t got a clue what I just read! I try to pray and spend quiet time in God’s presence...I stop talking, close my eyes, breathe deeply, relax, focus on hearing God’s voice, and what springs to mind? The closet organizer – how practical is the closet organizer?!? Sure it looks like a good idea, but the top shelves are too high to reach and there’s not enough space in between the lower shelves to hang pants and skirts!  Crap, focus...want to spend time in God’s presence...OK, relax.  Wait the shower rod...I need to hang the curved shower rod, but the expandable ones don’t hang right and the other one costs $70.00...OK back to prayer time.  God, I really need your help here, my brain is all over the place!  Help me focus on spending time in your presence. Wait, the back gate – the latch needs to be replaced – have to remember to put that on the list...

Do you find yourself having prayer time that sounds similar to this? That’s just a quick running sampling of a two to three minute session of me trying to clear my mind and focus my thoughts on God. It continues but I won’t force you to spend more time in my mind than strictly necessary! Finally I give up and in desperation cry out to God telling Him how badly I need His help in this. I long to be in His presence but my brain just doesn’t want to shut out the realities of life! I guess I need to keep trying but perhaps taking some “time outs” along the way to do something other than work and organize the house might help, too.  Maybe a nice relaxing bath, losing myself in a good book, or spending time knitting or baking will go a long way in helping me settle down and focus again. In the mean time I write this posting in hopes of alleviating some of my current frustrations by sharing them with you.

Please share some of your thoughts on what distracts you in prayer time by clicking on “comments” below.