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 fifth 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, best-selling author Deborah Raney.
Oh, how grateful I am that life doesn’t always go as I planned it. God’s plans are always infinitely better. I’m a very creative person, but I could never have come up with the things God has brought about in my life. Never.
For starters, I wanted twelve kids. What was I thinking? God gave us three, and most days, three seemed like 12. Then when those three were 14, 10 and 8, God gave us a baby. We call her our “oops baby” but we know better. There’s nothing “oopsy” about her. And she’s been the joy of our lives––as have her sister and brothers.
The biggest plan of mine that God thwarted was my plan that my sweet husband would work at his job until a ripe, ripe old age and that we would always have his nice salary and a decent savings account to rely on. Just over four years ago––just as that oops baby was headed to college––my husband came home from work at ten o’clock one morning (never a good thing) and informed me that he’d been laid off from his job after 25 faithful years with the company. Ken took me in his arms and said, “God’s been taking care of us for 35 years of marriage…there’s no reason to think He’s going to stop now.” I believed that. What I didn’t believe was that my husband would have the audacity to tell me he didn’t plan to look for another job, but instead he thought God was leading him to create the job of his dreams by starting his own business. Was he crazy? And how come God didn’t tell ME?
We struggled mightily with this disagreement. Biggest struggle of our marriage in 35 years. Finally I decided I couldn’t fight my husband, let alone God and my husband in tandem. So I said, “whatever, Lord.” (And yes, I mean that snarky teenage version of “whatever.”) The story is too long to tell in a blog, but let me just skip over the part where I was a whiny, unsupportive brat of a wife, and tell you the ending…or the ending so far. Who knows what else God has up His sleeve!
Ken’s graphic design business, Clash Creative, has so much work he can barely keep up. We have managed to pay every bill on time and in full. In the meantime, because we both work from home now, and make our own hours, Ken is free to travel with me. He’s even started teaching workshops at several writers conferences, so we now go on 5 or 6 most-expenses-paid “vacations” every year and enjoy our time together immensely. Yes, they are working vacations, but still…
Just after Christmas last year, God’s plan unfolded with a move for us. We sold our home (in a bidding war!) and bought a house in the city that’s perfect for us––and closer to our kids and extended family; closer to the airport (and four minutes from Starbucks!) This farmer’s daughter small-town girl never would have planned to be a city girl. And yet, I love it!
But beyond those plans, God had some even better ones. That I would, through the angst of these life-changing events, come to trust in Him with a depth I never could have plumbed on my own. That Ken and I would have found a new intimacy in our marriage for having gone through these tough times. That I would have grown more sensitive to the needs of others who are walking where we’ve walked. That our story would serve as an encouragement to others. That I would learn to be content with far, far less––and even then, we live in luxury compared to most of the world.
I know my heart well enough to know that I’ll probably fail to trust God’s plans again, probably sooner than I even dream. But I’ve grown in Him so that even when I fail, I’ve learned to come running back to His arms far quicker than I used to. And His arms are a wonderful place to be.
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DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb’s newest novel releases from Howard/Simon & Schuster this month. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They also love traveling together to teach at conferences, and to visit four children and four small grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.
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Author Deb Raney shares how God changed her by changing her life plans. Click to Tweet
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When Life Doesn’t Go According To Plan Goodie Basket Rafflecopter Giveaway: I’m putting together a collection of goodies — including books by Rachel Hauck, Susan May Warren, Deb Raney, and Cynthia Ruchti — & the reader-suggested chocolates, a journal, a Starbucks card … and more. Click on the Rafflecopter link to enter.