The Best Laid Plans

My mom can testify to the fact that I’ve always been a planner. As soon as I could put pen to paper, I was writing down ideas for some big scheme. I suppose some might call me a dreamer. Not all my plans were anywhere in the realm of realistic.

But, I like to dream big dreams. While not always the best in executing my plans, I’ve been blessed in that God has allowed some of those hopes and dreams to come to fruition. Years ago I was planning college, a year’s study abroad, meeting the man of my dreams, to become a teacher, to have a boatload of kids. I’m thankful for being able not only to check those things off on my list, but also to enjoy the fruits of them. (That man of mine — and those kids — are pretty sweet!) Those obviously, are the bigger of my dreams.

Some of my lesser plans, however, are finding me in reevaluation mode. A few weeks ago I had big hopes for a fun-filled, get-my-life-in-shape, kind of summer. Back then (like June?) I innumerated many of my personal goals for our summer break. Since then, there have been a few roadblocks to my plans, a few bummers in my summer, if you will. I feel like I’ve been thrown off my game. And I don’t like it. Not. one. bit.

Bummer #1: FishChick got the chicken pox about 12 days ago. I have no idea where she got them. Despite her vaccination 18 months ago, she still contracted the disease. It kind of put a crimp in our style. Couldn’t go where we wanted when we wanted. And this could go on for a few more weeks if my two others who haven’t had them naturally, get the pox too.

Thankfully, it was a light case, mainly limited to her face, and not apparently itchy. However, this is a potential health risk for FishBaby as children with eczema tend to have more – and more serious – complications. I’m keeping in good contact with her dermatologist, and we’ve come up with some plans to prepare and respond if she, too, contracts the disease.

On the “bright side,” my older boys who got the chicken pox six years ago are getting a “booster” to their immunities from this exposure as is FishBoy5 who was vaccinated.

Bummer #2: We have to move by September 30. Didn’t we just do this?We received word from our property management company that the owners of this home will not be leasing again. We had hoped to have the option to stay. Even though we had been considering a move, the decision has now been made for us. What a hassle and expense!

On the other hand, rents have gone down over the last year and we may be able to get a nicer house for less money. I was going to clean and dejunk anyway, but now I don’t have to organize too heavily — until after we secure a new rental and move. In a sense, my work load has been lightened.

Likewise, in the name of lightening my workload, we’ve decided that a garage sale might not be in our best interests. We’ll sell the good stuff on craigslist and ebay and donate the rest. And I’ll buy myself at least 48 hours to spend some other way.

Obviously, I don’t quite feel like the lord of my destiny. It feels like others, namely viruses and landlords, are imposing their agendas on me and robbing me of my choices. Perhaps you find yourself with your own bummers in the summer. Perhaps things haven’t gone the way YOU planned. Perhaps you have to change your course and you’re not really pleased about it. I feel your pain.

But, who is really in charge?

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

It just may be that my plan — and yours — wasn’t what was best for us or our families. I’m betting that God has a better way. He always does.

I can grumble about how things aren’t going my way. Or I can walk the next steps, hopeful that there are better things yet ahead. Maybe it will be that my new home is a dream home, much better than our current rental. That would certainly be cool. Or maybe God has more things to teach me about being flexible and being content wherever He places me.

Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Got a bummer in your summer? Can you see how it could “work out” for the better? Why or why not? Let’s talk in the comments.

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  1. Melissa says:

    I feel your pain! My son got the chicken pox in January, and he did just fine, despite his eczema that caused a staph infection two years ago. However, my 3 month old (at the time) DD also got the chicken pox. It was a long 3 weeks! To top it off, my DD might not even have immunity now because she got them so young.

  2. michellenotdawn says:

    Seriously – are you in my head? ; )
    This summer hasn't been a bummer, but hasn't quite lived up to what 'I' had planned. This was a great reminder for me to ease up on the planning and stop getting discouraged when things don't go my way.
    I'm blessed, regardless of the circumstances.
    I am so thankful for you!

  3. Mrs. Querido says:

    Your attitude is so awesome! I tend to lean toward the complaining side rather than the praising side when things don't go according to plan! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  4. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    I love your honesty and outlook when things aren't going your way!


  5. Michele@Philoxenos says:

    I'm not really in a positive mood at the moment, so let me be the negative one 🙂 What happens when our kids are the bummer in our summer? I have three young ones, under 6. My 3.5yo daughter makes me want to poke my eyes out with a stick rather than go one more round with her. Because of her behaviour (we are seriously knee deep in the trenches of child training her) I just can't take the kids almost anywhere because I can't be confident that she'll be able to behave appropriately. I can handle a bit of childish behaviour because she is 3 after all, but it's the downright disobedience. So because of all that, we stay home a LOT, which is making my 5yo twitchy because she's super social and it's making me go insane because it makes the days and weeks so long when I can't even take the kids to the supermarket to get bananas so I can make their beloved smoothies.

    It's been a long day. It's only 2pm. My summer is a major bummer. 🙁 Whining over. Thanks for listening and any help would be appreciated!!


  6. Thanks for this post and for your optimism in the face of change which you didn't necessarily plan on.

    I'm having a similar summer. My ex-husband is making our custody battle uglier and lengthier than it needs to be. My mortgage underwriter is very demanding and I cannot provide him with everything he needs. It looks like either we rely on my husband's income (and unfortunately, his credit) or we lose the dream house we have been under contract to purchase since late May. Our moving date is coming up in three weeks and I'm wondering, will we have our house or is it hotel time?

    Anyhow, thank you so much for your post. Your words along with Proverbs 16:9 were very helpful.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, dear, for the excellant reminders of Who is in control. Your post brought tears to my eyes as I struggle with 20 yrs of health problems (I'm only 30) and I can't do the "fun" things I want to with my children.
    My husband gently reminded me that our Heavenly Father knows exactly what needs to be done, and He through our weakness is strong! Bless you

  8. Thanks for this post! I needed it today!

    I've had two major bummers so far this summer:
    1. My graduate school exams have been postponed and postponed and postponed for no apparent reason for over a month now. I had blocked out the original time scheduled (babysitters, extra meals, etc.) and then scheduled a family vacation for later this summer so I've been tearing my hair out trying to get this thing going.
    2. I had a major flair up of a chronic infection I have (surgery is scheduled to remove said infection in September – after my exams are done!). That plus the nasty medication to get it back under control left me basically non-functioning for two weeks.

    The good news: The flair up was during when the originally scheduled exam time. Since the exam takes 2 weeks and is a one shot deal, I would have been out of luck. As it is, I got it today (medication done yesterday, feeling back to normal middle of last week!) and will get it done and turned in just in time to go on vacation!

    Also, my kids have been wonderful and enjoying a perfectly timed Bible Camp at church, and hubby's work schedule has lightened up after weeks of crazy overtime.

    I've been so frustrated and upset about the whole thing but now that I can look back and see God's timing in progress, I'm MUCH happier.

    Thanks for your post today! Sometimes we all need a little reminder that God's plans are what is in store for us and He always works for our good, even when it doesn't seem like it at the time!

    Clear Skies,

  9. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    I've got another bummer or two to add to the list.

    4 1/2 yr old needs 4 fillings. That's $250 flushed down the toilet.

    Still no word on whether the person who rearended hubby was insured. This is going on 11 days post accident.

  10. We're facing the opposite problem – we want to move, and we have the house all ready to put on the market, but it looks like the mortgage crisis in America will keep us from being able to get the mortgage we would need for a bigger house. We are pre-approved, we can more than afford it, but unless we can bring 20% cash to closing (and with housing prices in Massachusetts, we are talking huge money), then no go. So we want to move, but we may be stuck in our tiny 2-bedroom house for who knows how much longer.

  11. Definitely God's ways are not our ways! I was planning on a summer at home, working in my big garden! For once in 8 years I'm not pregnant or have a baby (youngest is 20 months). Instead we're spending 6 wks (or more) in Oregon working on the harvest, and my garden is growing at home (in Mo.)! Hopefully someone will get some use out of it! I'm trying to use this time as quality time w/ the kids as my husband puts in looong hours, but they're spending their time scrapping! Hopefully after we adjust, things will go better.

  12. FishMama says:

    Michelle, thanks for your kind words. I needed that. And your hugs, too, Katie.

    Mrs. Q., don't be fooled – I'm tempted to complain, too. I hate waiting for resolution. But, I know this is the better way, so I'm trying.

    Michele@Ph, I'm so sorry that it is rough now. Believe me, I have been there. We have a child who was like a powder keg at that age. Never knew when he would go off. It does get better — provided you keep praying and keep trying. One thing I saw was that he did much better on days that he got lots of exercise. Maybe if you even take a walk around the block, that would help. Another suggestion would be to leave her home w/ hubs while you take the others to run those errands that you are hesitant to do during the day. Explain to her that she gets to go next time if she can keep herself under control. Alternate back and forth until she gets the picture. (And don't let hubs feed her ice cream while you're gone.)

    Jen, I'm sorry to hear about the moving mess. Mortgage stuff can be SO FRUSTRATING!! It could be a blessing in disguise, as Lea's story evidences to her.

    And I bet that we can each look back and see where God has worked our bad to good. Oh! How I need to remember that.

  13. For the first time in the 9 years we have been married, my husband has been laid off from his job working for a developer (he's an architect by degree). I was encouraged by the Lord during a song we sang last week at church. It's called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" a hyme that says, "Jesus found me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God". I thought actually we were't just "wandering", we were ENEMIES. If this is how God treats his enemies (to save them and show them abundant kindness) then how does he treat his SONS!?! With even more kindness-providing for all that they need! Your understanding of the sovereignty of God is an anchor for your soul. Thanks for sharing that anchor with us!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

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