When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan: Guest Post by Author Rachel Hauck

My novel, Catch a Falling Star, asks the question: Is life about accomplishing plans … or wishes coming true … or something more?

Today’s post is the seventh in the “When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan” Wednesday blog series, 11 guest posts by authors and writers, including Deborah Raney, Rachel Hauck, and  Susan May Warren,  who explore the question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Today’s post is by my friend & mentor, award-winning author Rachel Hauck.

 

 

 

I’m a big sister. The second oldest of five kids with an older brother, two younger and a baby sister.

At the age of eight, I’d mastered changing cloth, double diapers held together with stick pins!

At ten, I went to my first babysitting job. It was the family next door, but still …

I loved children. They loved me.

When my husband and I married at 31, we had been friends and dating for four years so we were ready to start a family.

I wasn’t sure we’d have a honeymoon baby, but sometime within the first year, we’d be expecting.

But the year passed childless. Then the second and third.

And you know what? I was okay with it. My husband and I are good friends and enjoy just being together so a few married years on our own seemed fine.

As our fourth year of marriage approached, I was driving home from work one day, praying for someone called to the celibate lifestyle, and the Lord tapped my heart, “Is it okay with you if you don’t have children?”

“Huh? Really?”

Was that even God? Should I tell the devil to step off?

Goodness, the Lord commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. The Psalms praises a man with a full quiver. Proverbs extols the wise woman and her children rise up to call her blessed.

Why would God ask me such a thing? Maybe He didn’t. Perhaps it was my own imaginings. Wouldn’t be the first time I “missed God.”

If I was right every time, I’d have been a world famous, best-selling author by then. Ha!

But the question, and a sense of the divine, settled in my heart and took root.

My husband was as open to this request as I and we spent time over the years praying, seeking, making sure we had a “Yes” in our hearts to Him.

Time passed. I never became pregnant.

Little confirmations that indeed we may not have children happened along the way. I pondered them, like Mary, in my heart.

I had peace with this request, though I didn’t always understand it.

And if God wanted to change His mind … we were certainly fine with that too.

Then a few years ago I was reading in 1 Samuel and this verse came alive to me:

1 Samuel 1:8

“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

Hannah mourned her barrenness. Her rival wife taunted her. Yet each year, Elkanah gave her a double portion because he loved her. Her barrenness was not an issue with him.

But in her own grief, Hannah could not enjoy and receive his love.

“Am I not better to you than ten sons?” her husband asked.

I can almost hear the yearning and pain in his voice. He hurts for her, yet she cannot be satisfied with his gifts and blessings.

Am I not that way with the Lord at times? Something doesn’t go the way I want in life, but the Lord blesses me and showers me with love.

Yet I’m so focused on what I don’t have, I can’t receive Him.

As a childless couple, I wonder, “Who will take care of us when we are old?”

And the Lord’s answer to me is, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

Oh, how my heart comes alive when I realize my portion in the Lord. He is indeed better to me than ten sons!

When things don’t go my way – at home or church, with friends, or in the publishing world – I must open my eyes to see what He is doing, how He is blessing and keeping me.

He is better to me than ten sons!

Rejoice! JOY!

How have you been able to see the blessing — His blessings — of life not going according to your plans? 

What is the blessing of life not going according to plan? Click to Tweet 

Author Rachel Hauck shares how God’s “no” increased her faith. Click to Tweet

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Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She also penned the acclaimed Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Her book, the bestselling, The Wedding Dress won the Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year and is nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA award.

Her latest release, Once Upon A Prince, earned a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

 

 

 

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42 Comments

  1. May 22, 2013, 4:42 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, I pulled up this post with the mindset that I was about to evaluate someone’s writing, but instead I found myself under examination. I was quite unexpectedly confronted by God with the question, “Am I Enough for you?” There was a time, and not too long ago, that my answer to that question was “No.” It’s not that I thought that something other than God would satisfy my soul. I knew He was the only One who could fulfill my deep longings. But I realized I didn’t know how to be satisfied in Him. I didn’t know how to enjoy Him. I didn’t know how to experience Him. I didn’t know how to “receive” Him. But since then, He has given me a taste of His goodness, a taste of the joy of relational intimacy. And He’s worth more to me than anything. The question you posed today revealed to me some pressing temptations to turn my attention to my lack of other things, rather than enjoying all that God is for me in Christ. I think it’s time to tell the enemy to “step off.” Great post. Thank you.

  2. May 22, 2013, 7:15 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, I loved your post. I’ve walked the “getting married later,” and the infertility road. On both of these journeys, God taught me to seek Him with all my heart, and to trust Him to be enough for me. He taught me to be content with where He had me, and that He is faithful, even when things don’t go as I hope. That his plans are better.

    In waiting for a husband, God gave me a man who is far more than I even thought to ask Him for. He gave me an amazing husband who loves me even in my ugliness. In waiting for children, He taught me that He truly is enough. He gave me, in His timing and His way, two amazing boys who have taught me so much about how God loves me.

    Thanks for sharing your story today!

  3. May 22, 2013, 7:37 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, I’m so glad I got to hear more of your personal story here today. Thank you for being so transparent about it. I know this will bless and encourage many.

  4. May 22, 2013, 7:38 am   /  Reply

    A thought-pondering post, Rachel. I’ve finally learned when God doesn’t give me something I really, really want it’s because He wants me to see He is sufficient. I’ve always loved the story of Elkanah and Hannah, of how he wanted to make her happy, give her joy.

  5. May 22, 2013, 7:40 am   /  Reply

    I love this post, Rachel! Heart-felt and honest and so truth-packed. Something Dave said above really hit me too–realizing I still have a lot to learn in the “hows” of being satisfied in Christ. I know He’s enough…but I want to know-know it…ya know? 🙂

  6. May 22, 2013, 9:30 am   /  Reply

    Thanks, Beth, for allowing us to get to know Rachel better. Rachel, I love your vulnerability and heart toward God. Especially this: “a sense of the divine settled in my heart and took root.” That is always a game changer. Blessings!

  7. May 22, 2013, 9:39 am   /  Reply

    Such poignant thoughts, Rachel! Thank you for sharing your story. Our son and daughter are 10 years apart in age. Life as an older mom has proven that God does indeed have a sense of humor.

    I’m a firm believer that God uses us in different ways to minister to those around us, just as He’s using you. (I’ll never forget the first time I heard you lead the worship team at ACFW. You couldn’t have known it, but it came on the heels of a difficult road–the one I’d traveled for many years with a chronically ill child and all the difficulties that went with it. Your heart, voice, and love for the Father transcended my sorrow and made me believe in hope again.)

    Thank you, Beth, for bringing Rachel to us today! (Good grief! Pass the tissues!) 🙂

  8. Rachel Hauck
    May 22, 2013, 10:18 am   /  Reply

    I cannot tell you how your comments have touched ME today. Indeed I needed them. Thank you all, and dear Beth, for allowing me to be here today.

    Dave, you scared the whatsit out of me when you said you were going to examine my writing. LOL. I wrote that blog after a long writing day. But, like you, it challenged my heart all over again…”God, are you enough for me?” Blessed to be rowing in the same river with you!

    Jeanne, your boys are adorable, too! Hubby and I were also opened to adoption but the Lord really meant us to travel this road. Even with husband, children, dream job, we have to constantly be say, “Lord, you are enough for me.”

    XO to Cynthia, Pat and Melissa. You are such women of LIGHT!! You inspire me.

    Thank you Donna! Lovely to meet you here and yes, isn’t it cool when God’s kisses on our hearts are the “game changers!” Woot!

    Cynthia, your post brought tears to my eyes. So very honored to be used by the Lord to encourage your weary heart! How He Loves Us!!!

    Rachel

    • May 22, 2013, 4:15 pm   /  Reply

      “Evaluate” sounds like “grading,” doesn’t it? (It was early). I’m always interested in seeing a writer’s unique style and personality–which you certainly have–but you really walloped me with content! 🙂

  9. May 22, 2013, 10:36 am   /  Reply

    Love this, Rachel! I know my life doesn’t look the way I’d planned it. I’d always thought I’d be a mom by now, since Mike and I have been married nearly 7 years. But God’s got a plan, and instead of wasting away time dreaming about the future that hasn’t come to be (yet or maybe never), I want to do something with TODAY.

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:01 pm   /  Reply

      Lindsay, yes, live for today. For His love for you! Enjoy being who you are. Kids may come just when you’re like, “Hey, this is a really good life.” 🙂

      Rachel

  10. Katie Beth
    May 22, 2013, 10:39 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, thank you for sharing so openly about such a personal time. I love your attitude of trust that you embraced during that whole time. 🙂 You challenge me to continue to trust and lean on Him more in times of uncertainty.

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:02 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks Katie Beth. It’s a daily goal to keep my eyes on Him!

  11. Virginia Rush
    May 22, 2013, 10:42 am   /  Reply

    Wow..Rachel…WOW…. awesome. and I’m learning even in my older years..He is enough. I experienced that not long ago walking down the road and I realized more intensely “Yes YOU are enough”. growing up I had a neighbor and they didn’t have children, but they had a multitude of them…. they helped raise me and it was the only mother’s love I saw, without her I wouldn’t have known the love of a mother. Long story….but my point is there was a reason and it was all the lives like mine they/she touched. I was with her right up to the last and I will always remember her sweet smile, laughter, advice and love. Rachel you have these in abundance!!!!!! just your smile always makes me smile!!!!!!!

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:03 pm   /  Reply

      Virginia, you are so right. For those of us without children, what a tremendous opportunity to love other’s children.

      We do have “kids” from all the years in youth ministry. In fact, hubby is walking one of our “girls” down the aisle in July! Gives me tears to think about it! What an honor for him!

      Rachel

      • Virginia Rush
        May 22, 2013, 5:21 pm   /  Reply

        okay that made me cry…so you do see what God is doing…with both of you!!!!!!!

  12. May 22, 2013, 10:59 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, thank you for this powerful, wise, and heart-reaching post. You so present our God who desires to be more than enough, and is a wonderful reminder that He is and has every detail of our futures in hand.

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:04 pm   /  Reply

      Dee, I know you travel this road daily too! XO, friend.

  13. May 22, 2013, 11:13 am   /  Reply

    You have blessed us with your life and following Christ’s plan with grace.

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:04 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks Mary Ann!

  14. Sarah Francis
    May 22, 2013, 11:14 am   /  Reply

    Rachel, Thank you for sharing your story and being so open about it. My husband an I have been married for 11 years. One year into our marriage my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He was 23 and I was 21. Because of the cancer we are childless. I have 7 nieces and nephews that I love dearly but God has truly given me peace about having my family be just my husband and I. ~ Sarah

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:06 pm   /  Reply

      Sarah, my heart is with you! My doctor does not have children because of her bout with cancer. Didn’t want to risk it.

      But how excellent your hubby is with you 11 years later!

      I think my nieces and nephews feel they are more special to us because they don’t have competition! Don’t you?

      Blessings on you and your hubby, and may He be better to you than ten sons!!

      Rachel

  15. May 22, 2013, 11:14 am   /  Reply

    I never planned to have pain issues. I never planned to want to borrow my father’s cane. I never planned to learn how to fake that I was fine. I never planned to basically step back from doing things like opening a bottle of juice or a soup can.

    But I can see His mercy in that I can walk. Yup. I CAN walk.
    And I’ll say it again, I CAN WALK.
    And I can type.

    There is mercy in the mayhem.

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

      Jennifer, grace and mercy to you, friend! Life does hit us up the head sideways doesn’t it?

      My prayer is you will know the freedom and peace of the Lord, even in the midst of your struggle.

      And I pray, honestly, for His healing to touch you to your inner man!

      Rachel

    • Rachel
      May 22, 2013, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

      Amen, Shirley! May the Lord be with you!

      Rachel

  16. Lisa Medeiros
    May 22, 2013, 12:19 pm   /  Reply

    Wow what a blessing and inspirational post! Thanks for sharing and God bless!

    • Rachel Hauck
      May 22, 2013, 4:18 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks Lisa!

  17. Lisa Medeiros
    May 22, 2013, 12:22 pm   /  Reply

    Wow thanks for sharing! What a blessing and inspiration this post was!

  18. May 22, 2013, 1:11 pm   /  Reply

    Rachel, thanks so much for sharing your heart with us today. I’m blinking back tears at the joy you’ve discovered (and the journey it took to get there) as I’m typing this up. I’m still waiting on my prince to come into my life, and I lose sight of the current things God’s blessing me with sometimes in longing for the future things. Thanks for reminding me to slow down and soak in God’s glory NOW instead of waiting ’til tomorrow.

    (This is two blogs I read in a row that have to do with counting blessings. I’m getting the hint, God!)

    Blessings to you, Rachel! (And to you, Beth, for hosting this lovely lady on your blog today.)

    Andrea

    • Rachel Hauck
      May 22, 2013, 4:20 pm   /  Reply

      Oh Andrea, I know it’s such a hard wait for marriage. I think, for me, that was harder than the children thing. 🙂 I was 31 when I got married. 🙂

      But yes, so many blessings in being single — a temporary call to celibacy where you can be His and His alone! Oh, what sweet communion! Praying for His kisses on your heart.

      Love, Rachel

      • Andrea Cox
        May 24, 2013, 11:19 am   /  Reply

        Thanks, Rachel! I love the way you worded that: Praying for His kisses on your heart. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. It’s like when I was little and Mommy could just kiss it better. That’s what God’s doing now, kissing it better, by teaching me to count on Him alone. Such comfort in your words! Thank you, Rachel.

        Hugs, Andrea

  19. Brittany McEuen
    May 22, 2013, 2:34 pm   /  Reply

    Rachel,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful post and your willingness to share with your readers. To be reminded that God is enough in all things, in all struggles is so important. One thing I struggle with and your post reminds me that I need to rely on God in this is the lack of a female “best friend”. I have many friends but no one as special and close as a best friend should be. It is something I truly desire. My husband is my very best friend and I would not trade him! However, when my heart hurts about this issue I am going to remember your post and know that God is sufficient. If he wants to send me a best “girlfriend” someday, then so be it. If not, that is ok and I will rely on Him.

    • Rachel Hauck
      May 22, 2013, 4:23 pm   /  Reply

      Brittany, beautifully said. Funny thing… I say the same thing. Once I left the corporate world, I lost all my female relationships. We drifted apart and my relationships became centered around writing!

      I really only have a few people I could call for a lunch date when I used to have quite a few.

      But I think God is even in that… He can fill the purpose of friend in our lives. John 3:29 talks about being a “friend of the Bridegroom.” I think it’s so valid to take our wilderness friendship years and focus on being the Friend of Jesus, the great Bridegroom!

      Oh, to not miss a chance to love Him in this life because on the other side, it will be so different and I think how we posture our hearts NOW is very key!

      XO,
      Rachel

  20. May 22, 2013, 6:39 pm   /  Reply

    Wow. This is powerful stuff. I want so much for God to be “enough.” But to be honest, it’s hard.

  21. May 22, 2013, 10:00 pm   /  Reply

    Rachel,
    It is a JOY to have you guest posting on my blog. I knew you would inspire readers with your faith and your words.

  22. May 22, 2013, 11:24 pm   /  Reply

    What a powerful post, Rachel. I wish I had read it earlier since I had time to ponder (my 2013 word of the year – love Mary’s pondering verse) time while I cleaned (for 8 hours) a house today. I’ll go to bed thinking about the question, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

    I know what the answer is supposed to be and what I want it to be, but sometimes I get caught up in the world. This will come to mind more than you know. Thanks for sharing your life experience – such a benefit for so many of us.

    • Rachel
      May 23, 2013, 7:20 am   /  Reply

      Kim, we are all on the journey to understand He’s better to us than 10 sons. On the journey with you!!

      Rachel

  23. May 23, 2013, 9:13 am   /  Reply

    I love this! So encouraging, Rachel. Thanks 🙂

  24. May 23, 2013, 7:07 pm   /  Reply

    Thank you for such a wonderfully honest post, Rachel! It’s so easy to get caught up in the “shoulds” and not appreciate the things that “are.” Reminds me that while it’s okay to strive for things, I must remember I already have all I need.

    • Rachel
      May 24, 2013, 4:45 am   /  Reply

      Carla, exactly!!

      Rachel

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