Not What I Planned

If you live on Planet Earth like the rest of us, your New Years Resolutions and best-made plans may seem to be fluttering away in the wind. What were your personal goals and aspirations for the last twelve months? Here’s a list of mine, beginning early fall, 2018.

  • Write more songs, and co-write with other writers
  • Record some song demos in my home studio to pitch to artists
  • Finish my first book (I have 7 of the 40 chapters completed)
  • Stop working for a few weeks to work on family scrapbooks/photos
  • Finish the ministry partner video I started in Jan. 2018

Well, I must humbly admit that I did not accomplish any of the above goals. Well, I did start a couple of new songs, when the inspiration came. But life just seems to “happen”: plans are overruled, and aspirations get shoved to the back burner, once again.

If you’re a regular reader of Inspiring Hope Blog, you’re likely aware that I haven’t written a blog since June. What I’d planned to be a monthly article has turned into (at least in 2019) a quarterly offering! As frustrating as it seems (and it’s easy to beat myself up about it), this is reality.

Here’s a few things I actually did do over the last twelve months:

  • Hosted two high school exchange students for 9 1/2 months (from Germany and Belgium) — so we went back to having four children at home — three of them, graduating seniors last year!
  • Found a cancerous tumor on my appendix, so had surgery in December 2018. (Praise God, check-ups since then are all clear!)
  • Took extra care of my husband while he had two cataract surgeries
  • Had another surgery on my right shoulder in April 2019 (thus why there was no blog writing in April or May; also months of PT — again!)
  • Had extra rehearsals and recorded another album with the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma Choir (which I love, but time-consuming!)
  • Spent weeks cleaning, painting, sweating, and finding new tenants for two rental properties (both brought opportunities to share Jesus…)
  • Remodeled our 25-year-old kitchen (removed back splash tile and painted two rooms myself, while my hubby and kids were on a youth mission trip) … got to share my faith and pray for hurting contractors! (This whole process was a difficult but productive time of growth and deeper unity in my marriage, too… a treasure worth fighting for!)
  • Spent most of August and early September fund-raising and getting to know (and pray for) other parents, since each of our four daughters were selected to perform (dance/ pom) in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City this November! Didn’t see that coming!
  • A few other surprises…. read on.
Our kitchen remodel this summer was a “refining process” in our marriage. It was an often painful but productive process to deepen our unity, appreciation, and mutual respect for each other.

September 11th was a tragic day for all Americans, and our own family has suffered greatly, ironically, on this date. (See my blog post HERE.) This year’s 9/11, however, was spent at the funeral of my dear Uncle Lonnie. He was only sixty-six, and didn’t recover after a heart procedure days before. My heart grieved for my aunt and my “little cousins”. All adults now, Michael, Derek and Dana will always be “little” to me.

God often uses difficult and painful seasons of our lives to refine us. He is the Potter, we are the clay. Surrendering to His will and responding in faith (instead of resentment) will produce joy, fruitfulness, and blessings in the end.

As we were giving the final hugs to the family, my mother, distraught over losing now her fourth out of five younger brothers, whispered in anguish to me: “Josh is dead! Someone shot him last night!”

Joshua was my stepbrother, although we didn’t grow up as siblings since our parents married after we were adults. His older two brothers had also died –one in his twenties — another unsolved murder, and his infant twin at five months old. Now my dear stepfather (the only father I have left on this earth) had lost all of his children.

Just when I thought I had cried enough (over my uncle, my mom’s next-to-last living brother — the others died in their twenties and thirties), the emotional pain surged again. Like a giant wave collapsing upon you as you’re trying to catch your breath, I was almost stumbling with grief and shock. I grieved for my parents, my 17-year-old niece (Josh’s daughter), his young widow, and everyone who loved him.

Like a giant wave collapsing upon you as you’re trying to catch your breath, I was almost stumbling with grief and shock.

Becky Wright, upon hearing of her brother’s murder 9-11-19

Ironically, I recorded a short video (it’s on my Facebook music ministry page HERE) only seven days earlier — calling it “Not What I Planned”. Three days after my stepbrother’s memorial service, I shared a similar testimony (and worship music, of course) at a small church near my city.

My husband and youngest two children on a youth mission trip in Dermott, AR, July 2019.

It just keeps coming to me — and perhaps to you, too… that life rarely goes “according to plan”, at least from our limited, human perspective. Yet, for those who are followers of Christ — sons and daughters of the Most High God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb — we can have supernatural peace even in turbulent times.

I am always struck by the harrowing account of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Bible. Imagine being pregnant – and not married — as a young Jewish teenage girl. We can only imagine the humiliation and ridicule, being cut of from friends and family (I noticed she went away to live with her cousin, Elizabeth, for several months), and almost losing her fiance, Joseph, over it!

Thank God, He sent an angel to reassure Joseph that Mary truly hadn’t done anything wrong, and that she really was a virgin, and that the baby she’d conceived was from the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine Joe’s anguish, though, feeling betrayed by the woman he loved and trusted? Way to ruin the wedding plans, huh!?

But that was only the first hurdle! Then, Joseph and Mary, late in her pregnancy, had to take a long journey — and they didn’t have a minivan or hotels. You probably know the story. Fast forward, and we find Joseph and Mary and the “young child” having to flee for their lives in the middle of the night! A wicked and jealous King Herod had all the Hebrew baby boys slaughtered! Can you imagine the horror!?? Yet even in this nightmare, the Holy Scriptures remind us that all these things happened “to fulfill prophecy”. It was all in God’s plan! (And Herod will certainly pay for his crimes.)

I could tell of Ruth and Naomi, of widows and weddings. I’m sure it wasn’t on Noah’s radar to build a giant ark to save humankind and the animal population — but it was God’s plan. Baby Moses was barely spared from Pharoah’s slaughter of all the Hebrew baby boys, only to be adopted into Pharoah’s own family — and later deliver his people from slavery.

Consider 17-year-old Joseph, beaten and left for dead by his brothers, then sold into slavery, ripped from his parents and baby brother, Benjamin for twenty years! Falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned, the list goes on.

I’m sure, like you and me, Joseph would say, “Well, this is sure not what I planned to do with my life!” Thank God for His faithfulness and love, as His mercy pursues us for our own blessing — and for His greater plan! I love what Joseph said to his brothers, years later:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20, NLT

While walking my little dog this week, I make sure to keep him away from the concrete culvert. (He’s mostly blind, so he can’t see the dangers.) However, for the first time, I noticed some beautiful little blue flowers growing — only in that concrete ditch!

I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me: “Often God’s sweetest blessings can only be experienced in the roughest of places.” Wow.

What is revealed in scripture, every time we see a “suffering saint”, is the over-arching, indisputable Sovereignty of God. From the perspective of eternity, what makes no sense to us — makes perfect sense to our Eternal God and Creator. He is working out His plan — for His glory, and for our good.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

There are so many accounts in the Bible (and even in modern times) of people who suffered terrible things (and eventually, incredibly fantastic things) who were followers of God. Their faith was tested, and yet, they remained true.

I leave again in two days for the Write About Jesus Christian Songwriters Workshop in the St. Louis, MO area. (I didn’t go last year, because of having two extra children at home, but that was God’s plan, too!) I’m already hearing a new song in my head by that title…. gotta be southern Gospel, with a title like that! #WriteAboutJesus @WriteAboutJesus

Whatever the genre, the message is still true. We may not understand what’s going on, but when we’ve placed our lives and trust in the hands of our loving, Almighty God and Father, we’re in the safest place to be.

Proverbs 19:21
Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the purpose of the LORD will prevail.

Proverbs 16:9 says it this way:
We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go. (CEV)

Prayer:

“Lord, help us to trust in You when things don’t go as we’d planned. Help us to be sensitive to Your leading, Your voice, and discerning of Your will in all things. More than anything, help us to bless Your name (and not complain) when we don’t understand what’s happening. We surrender to Your will, Jesus, knowing that You love us with an indescribable and sacrificial love. You are worthy of our trust, and You will never leave us — even in times of trouble! Amen.”

Is your life going “according to plan”, in your estimation? How are you handling it? Please share in the comments, if you desire. Your story may help someone else who’s struggling.

Becky Wright is the creator of http://www.InspiringHopeBlog.com . She’s a conference speaker, singer/songwriter and award-winning recording artist, and a former school music teacher. A blessed mom of nine through various means, Becky shares a passion for adoption, foster care, and caring for orphans around the globe. She and her husband Hank, a retired Navy Chaplain and Child Welfare Supervisor, serve in the Blended Families in their home church in northeastern Oklahoma. Wright Ministries is a Department of Artists in Christian Testimony, International, a 501(c)(3) based out of Brentwood, TN. http://www.beckywrightsongs.com

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