Sunday, July 17, 2016

His Plan....His Promises

You plan a trip, a trek to the grocery store, a lesson plan, a meeting agenda, etc. Often if you have planned well you are prepared for whatever comes your way. Obviously the world isn't perfect, so the occasional surprise pops up.

What about your life? Did you plan your life? Did you map out where you were going to live, what job you were going to have, how many kids you'd be blessed to have, where you'd retire and so on? I know some people that actually have, or wanted to at least. I'm not talking about the "dream" that people concoct but actually planning how life will go. 

I admit I had thoughts, but wouldn't go so far to say that I planned my future. I guess growing up rooted in the Word I knew that my times and days are in the hands of an all-knowing God. But, due to sin in the world I often got clouded to that fact. 

While I was enjoying a walk through beautiful New Ulm this morning, my mind went to the fact that this Thursday we'll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I was reflecting back to 10 years ago, and thinking about what my 30 year-old mind was imagining for our future. At the time I was working at MLC and making a nice salary, and Jesse was going to be moving up to New Ulm. We didn't worry too much about him finding a decent job. We were living in an MLC home, so our living costs were minimal. Life was comfortable. Life was good.

Life still IS good. Even with that fact, on my walk my mind wandered to the one main stress that has overtaken us since after Ziva was I know financial stress is one thing that most couples deal with, but it is the one thing I wasn't expecting to deal with too much. It was NOT something that I planned for in our marriage. We had been more than comfortable.

I'm going to spare you the details, but in a nutshell.....Life happened. One thing led to another until it all compounds and the bills start and soon the debt is multiplying until you feel like you are climbing up a hill of quicksand. You can't stay afloat. I don't tell you this to make a sob story, but to explain the beauty of the comfort we are given. 

This year I started the devotional/journal The 364 Days of Thanksgiving by Rev. Andrew Schroer. It has been such a blessing to me. It is actually going to be the topic of a future blog, but to sum it up you are challenged to write one thing you are grateful for each day of the year. It has revamped my perspective, and shown me how blessed we are every day.

That being said, this morning I struggled to find joy. It was not part of our plan 10 years ago that we would stress about this. That is why when I walked into church this morning and sang the first hymn I got choked up. I have always loved this hymn, but loved it even more on a day where I found myself doubting and struggling. These beautiful words of reassurance rang out. 

Speak, O Lord by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty
Verse 3
We are blessed. We have a house that is dry and warm and keeps us safe. We have clothes to wear and food to eat. Our children are healthy. And, time and again the Lord has provided when we least expected it...sometimes in the most unusual ways. 

After we sang this hymn I thought again about the verses we picked to be the basis of our wedding sermon. I still find it slightly uncanny that we picked these because they aren't typical wedding verses. Do I need to remind you that bodily need was NOT what I was worried about? It wasn't in my plan. 
Matthew 6:25-34 
To you, the reader....I'm sure our financial stress could equate to some other equally stressful struggle in your life. I won't pretend to know about the loss of a child, an illness, the difficulty in conceiving...the list could go on. These are all things that are NOT planned for by anyone. What comfort in knowing that His plan, even though we might not understand it, far supersedes anything we might plan.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not in what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  
~ NIV 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ~

Keeping this in mind, I will continually strive to focus on the blessings we have rather than the stresses. "Life" will continue to happen. We will always be blessed AND stressed. It will be how I choose to deal with both that sets the mood for the next chapter of my life. The reminder of His plans and His promises will be to what I choose to cling.

Simply put, focus on the unseen.

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