Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Best-Laid Plans . . .

In May 1995, with my newly framed (and, as my husband would point out, oddly enormous) Texas A&M diploma adorning the wall in my tiny apartment, I began my first day as the public relations coordinator for Word Publishing. One of the perks of my new job was when my boss handed me a Franklin Covey catalog and told me to pick whatever I wanted. Anything!

To an organized, detail-driven gal like me, it was a dream come true.

I chose a classic leather binder in—what else?—Aggie maroon, with two-page monthly calendar inserts and all the accessories a girl could want, even the combo ruler/page trimmer/calculator! My day planner was absolutely indispensible during my years in-house at Word.

Fast-forward thirteen years. I still use the same Franklin Covey planner and two-page monthly calendar inserts. I’ve pared down most of the accessories over the years, but one thing hasn’t changed. Each time I open my planner, I see the words I wrote all those years ago on the very front page:

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
—Proverbs 16:9

It’s an ongoing reminder for me that no matter how much I plan and organize and take care of the details, ultimately God is in charge of what happens.

That lesson has hit home for us the past few weeks. Here are just a few snapshots of how God has rearranged our plans:

  • In the middle of writing his sermon, Brett’s hard drive on his laptop unexpectedly crashes—losing not only his sermon, but also files and promotional materials that will need to be recreated for our church.
  • As I’m preparing the kids’ lunches for a church picnic, I hear a smack! and a scream, followed by JJ holding her head, drenched in blood. A close encounter with a plastic golf club resulted in a gash on her forehead that will have to be glued in the ER.
  • One afternoon, Brett suddenly doubles over in excruciating pain, so I hurriedly load the kids in the minivan and rush him to the hospital. The next few days are filled with doctor’s appointments and tests and blood work to diagnose and treat the problem.

Whew! Everything I had neatly penned into my trusty planner’s calendar spaces suddenly changed. Apparently, God had something else in mind for our family.

And the same is true for The Church at Sendera Ranch. It’s been a week of prayerfully thinking on our feet:

  • When the designer for our door hangers fell through at the last minute, we scrambled to create the piece and get it to the printer lightning-fast to be ready to distribute on Saturday morning.
  • When our expanding children’s ministry outgrew their current meeting space, we arranged another location for kids to meet this Sunday—with room to grow.
  • When we found out that the worship leader we’ve been waiting for isn’t able to come after all, God blessed us with another, very gifted person to lead worship for our kickoff service this Sunday.

(In a recent e-mail, an author described church planting as “dancing on a moving floor.” Yes, my friend, that’s exactly what it’s like!)

So what do you do when your best laid plans, as the poet said, go awry? Like we did this past week, you close your day planner and prayerfully search out what God is up to. And then, as Blackaby and King suggest in Experiencing God, you join Him where He is already at work.

The past few weeks, God has been directing our steps in ways we hadn’t even considered. And He wants us to trust Him to provide what is necessary to reach our community with the great news that He is changing lives for good.

I'm finally starting to accept the reality that things here, on the front lines of God's work in our family and our community, may not always fit neatly in my daily planner. So keeping Proverbs 16:19 in mind--and writing in pencil now--we are making lots of exciting plans, and the Lord is clearly directing our steps.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for The Church at Sendera Ranch as we officially kick off on September 7, and during the weeks and months and years ahead as He continues to grow and develop His church!

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