When You're Asked to Throw Away Your Plan... {How it all Began}

Note: If only you could know how many times I previewed this post, and backspaced these words. It's vulnerable and scary but I'm reminded that He's with us and we're in Him, and nothing separates us from His love. 

I'm scribbling down answers... their vague... but then again, I just have a few minutes.

What do you want to be doing one year from now? Who do you plan to have with you? What would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

I swear my handyman is cheating... stealing glances at this girl's silly answers.

I'm trying to think so far ahead that my brains hurts : 

I would love to be almost, if not entirely, mortgage free. We would love to have children... Lord willing. I so hope we're done this process with Children's Aid Society and we have our kids. I'm wife and mom and this kind man sitting beside me is husband, handyman, and father to the fatherless.

It's all slightly crazy to think about. Especially since we'll be thirty in five years. 

But as a couple we always-sort-of had a plan, right? :

About when he would drop down to one knee and propose to this blushing girl, that we would buy an affordable home, and live here in his hometown... then wait about five years before we bear our first child.

All while enjoying all His gifts of family, old friends, new friends, travel, and work.

And as a couple, doing our best to avoid filling up this bucket, and instead pour it out over and over.

I sit back and take a look at my penmanship. I feel those answers will do.

Our time is up anyway.

We turn our attention to the front of the room... to a wild request :

Now take your plan and rip it into four pieces, She says.

I blink.

Rip this plan? Are you sure? But it's a pretty good plan...

I hold the paper gingerly.

And then, obediently, I take my unimpressive answers and tear them in two. I put these two pieces together and tear through it again.

The sounds of ripping paper fills this room that has become a bit stuffy in the afternoon.

There's others in this room, all strangers to us, and I watch as some tear even more into their plan, like they could stand to have a new one. While others appear to love their plan and just crumple it slightly.

How did that feel? She says.

Less in control... a little nervous.

I think of that June month, last year. Sitting cross legged on my couch, my right arm in this padded sling... I'm reading because there's little else to do. I can't wash my hair, cook, clean, run, and gardening with one free hand is so awkward.

And so with nothing to do, I open the pages of a hardcover, and unexpectedly fall head first into this author's book.

I'm amazed by her relationship with Him.

How she recklessly falls into His grace at this youthful age of nineteen.

And how she invites these Ugandan orphan girls into her empty rooms... into her home and her heart on this dusty African road.

Because she trusts Him with every part of her.

I look up from the pages, noticing a strange similarity.

I have these two empty, unused rooms in my white siding home, just up those stairs. What would happen if I surrendered them, like Katie

And I feel the gentle whisper from heaven.

I can feel it with every part of me.

It's as if He took this plan and tore it. 

These rooms are His.

And will you use them for children who are hurting, for urgent needs that exist in your city? Right there in your backyard?

Remember how much I've taught you about children? And how much I love them? How much I want them to know Me? So yes

That sewing machine will need to find a new home within these four walls.

Let these empty, unused rooms be used for something so much greater : for safety, curiosity, bed time stories, and unthinkable potential.

The whisper comes softly, but it's cut these selfish plans right open and reassembled the order of these letters and thoughts.

And by grace, He knows He's found a willing and ready heart

My handyman walks through the door of this humble home... carrying the dirt and stains from the day. His hands showing his trade.

He catches these tears sliding down cheeks, and I can hardly speak... and he senses that I've been changed from the inside out.

That in the course of the afternoon, this plan was shred and then taped back together, the cracks allowing His glory to shine through.

My kind man doesn't resist, but he gently ponders for days and imagines the sacrifice.

I don't dare to sway him, because I know the Lord will capture his heart, as he did mine.

And weeks later, it's the handyman that insists this girl makes the call.

The call that sets these wheels in motion.

And we're reminded by this woman, with the wild request, how children and teens in the care of Children's Aid Society have their own plans too, just like us, and how their plans are violently torn.

Abuse and neglect, or risk of, is not apart of their plan, nor His.

And they so desperately need someone to trust... someone to love them. 

Someone to tell them who really holds their future and hope.

And a place to just be :  with a soft pillow to dream, and a blanket to keep warm, and a dresser for their things.

My handyman won't let his newlywed change these rooms, or change the paint on the walls. Since a child thrives under assembling their room... and picking their paint.

Just as he did when he was small. He remembers so clearly that he picked the bluest blue. 

Weeks later, when I'm free from that padded sling, the one that helps repair my broken shoulder, I'm sharing my June experience with this wise woman.

She listens so patiently.

Then at the right moment she leans in and says something that's now so deeply embedded in my bones : 

'You were having this surgery on your shoulder,

while the Lord was doing surgery on your heart.'

That's exactly what it was like : open heart surgery by the Greatest Heart Surgeon... and He's sown up my chest, released the tubes, and this heart beats differently. 

So the handyman and I make plans to fill those two rooms. The plan is messy and imperfect... and we've only been married two years.

But that pretty good plan was too us and too plain... and not enough of Him.

Have you ever felt that your plan is being tweaked, or altogether torn, for something so much riskier?

(Images 1. Lee Mann Photography... from this couple's aftershoot - one year after the vows).