Being a planner is my nature. Things go much more smoothly when I’ve got a plan. It’s never fun to start a meal and realize you don’t have half your ingredients because you didn’t plan well. Especially when my children were small, it helped the day run well if I looked ahead and had things prepared for the day. As a young mom, I was forced to become an organized planner. But I’m realizing that this new life we’ve entered means letting go of my planner to some extent.
I’m learning to live with an open hand.
We don’t know what’s up ahead. I don’t even know if by this afternoon LeRoy will feel well enough for us to take a ride in the car. (Most days he doesn’t feel well enough to navigate from the recliner to the dinner table.) I don’t know what will be happening this time next month, next year . . . especially five years down the road. And in the past, I was one who looked ahead to make long-range goals and decisions based on what I expected the future might hold.
That way of operating is gone now.
I’m letting people know, I’m sorry I can’t make many commitments right now. I’m not planning ahead, we are taking things not just day by day—but really hour by hour—or more accurately moment-by-moment. People ask if they can drop by for a visit, and I’m grateful for each person that cares enough to reach out to us, but when they ask that, I reach for grace and know that it’s hard for them to comprehend what we’re dealing with.
We’d be able to enjoy visitors, and perhaps bless them as well, if things were “normal” but things are definitely not normal.
Most people don’t realize that our days are filled with navigating LeRoy’s pain, from working on preparing lots of high-packed nutritious meals (which takes time and lots of grocery shopping), managing phone calls with pharmacists, medical appointments, the hospital business office, being put on hold—for an extremely long time, while running back and forth to retrieve an ice pack, applying the TENS unit, cleaning up from many unintended accidents, taking care of basics like never-ending laundry, plus just the responsibilities of “normal life” and there is literally no “free time.” So, for now at least, we’ve had to relinquish planning normal things like “visits” with friends.
There are only two things that I’m focusing on right now: caring for LeRoy and meeting early each morning with Jesus.
I’ve got to have that. Time in the Word and early morning prayer is the fuel that provides what I need for the day. That is a commitment that I have to keep in order to survive right now. Early morning meetings at the feet of Jesus is the only non-negotiable on my planner right now.
But when someone else asks for a commitment, there is a certain freedom in saying “We will . . . if the Lord wills.”
Remember that instruction from Scripture?
[box]”Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13–15)[/box]
There is a freeing aspect to living like this. We’re not making plans based on anyone else’s agenda. We’re not making plans based on our own desires. We’re surrendering all plans to what the Lord wills. We know we can’t look ahead and make firm commitments, but we can say, “If the Lord wills, we will do that . . .”
Lord willing, we will be getting another MRI of LeRoy’s spinal cord tomorrow. Will you pray again? Will you ask the Lord to bring clarity and give the doctor’s information needed to begin treatment that will lead to recovery?
Will you pray for us to walk in the grace God is providing, that He might be glorified? Pray that, as we hold all things loosely, as I lay down my planner, we will do so with grateful hearts—knowing that God does all things well.