I don’t know what the day may bring

Two months ago, my six-year-old son’s soccer schedule was stretching me.

It’s such a silly thing, looking back.  But at the time, I was trying to maintain  some control over our family’s calendar.

You know what you lose a lot of control  over as your four kids get older?  The calendar.  Teachers, coaches, directors, club leaders and more all have an agenda for your kids.

So, when I signed my son up for soccer in January, I weighed in with what worked for us as a family.  No Tuesday and Thursday practices, please.  We need a team that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Also, he’d miss  one week of practice because  of our other commitments.

Then I waited for THE CALL, the one where you find out from your coach when and where to be for the first practice.

That’s when I found out:  My son’s Monday/Wednesday team had changed to a Tuesday/Thursday team.  And the one week I had said we couldn’t be at practice they scheduled for soccer team pictures.

I have no control over these things.  I try to be in control.  But I have no control.

This year seems to have eased me into a season of dependence.  Soccer was just part of it.   Ever since January, I was reminded  week after week that I’m not ultimately in charge of everything that happens.

For a control freak like me, I actually think I handled it pretty well.  No meltdowns.  No extreme levels of fretting.  Just quiet adjustments.

Soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays?  Okay then.  It is what it is.

Then, of course,  the entire soccer season was canceled after a week-and-a-half so I shifted again.

I released my need to control that.

I’m making new adjustments even now.  I cannot control  what  groceries are going to  actually be at the store each week, so we eat for dinner whatever I can find to cook.

And I release my need to control that, as well.

I  cannot control what decisions the school board makes about my kids  classes, grades, schedule or plan for next year.

I try little by little to  release my need to  control  even that.

What I’ve quieted my soul with this year is that the more I realize I’m completely not in control, the more I rest in knowing that God still is in control.

Nothing is outside of His mighty and merciful hands.

Proverbs 27:1 says:

Don’t boast about tomorrow,
for you don’t know what a day might bring.

In God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Timothy Keller says:

“Those who believe they can eliminate uncertainty boast about tomorrow, thinking they have planned for every contingency….But you do not know what is to come.  The future is wholly in the hands of God.”

Maybe it felt like my schedule rested in the hands of a soccer scheduling supervisor or a coach.

Maybe now it feels like a governor holds the next few months of my life in his hands or a school board or a superintendent of schools is in charge of my kids.

But surely that’s not the truth.  Not the ultimate truth.

My life is in the hands of the Lord who loves me and won’t abandon me or desert me.

Sometimes I’m tempted to try to nag Jesus into  doing what I’d like him to  do in the middle of all this mess.

I’m not alone.  Others in the past have tried to “manage” Jesus and make Him do what they wanted or expected.

The disciples tried to manage Jesus by keeping little kids away from him and by telling him to send people home because they didn’t have enough money to feed a crowd of over 5000 hungry people a meal.

His family tried to manage Jesus by coming to take him home when they heard about his growing ministry.

Peter tried to manage Jesus by denying the need for Jesus to be taken away and to die.

The plan for that first Good Friday isn’t something that any of Jesus’ followers wanted or expected or even understood.  It was all completely outside their plans and they probably would have preferred in that moment for  Jesus to just do what they wanted him to do and to be what they wanted him to be.

But God was in control

His plan was perfect.

His plan wasn’t for Good Friday to be the end;  His plan for salvation included Resurrection Sunday.

I’ve been learning to relinquish my control  over my life and my attempts to “manage” my Lord as if my ways or my plans are best.

After all, God planned Easter and it was perfect. Surely I can trust Him with my future and the months ahead.


I Blame the Weather App

Proverbs 3-5.jpg

I love summer.

I’m not a fan of heat and humidity, but otherwise, I really love it.

I love my kids being home and the quiet nights of freedom instead of the evenings rushing to activities.

I love not having an hour of homework and a surprise project sent home on the one week you don’t have time for an extra project.

I love lightning bugs and lemonade and concerts by the beach.

I love not rushing through the morning routine every day to make the bus on time.

Love it.

But last year my husband said he thought I was more stressed during the summer.

So, I wonder, how can I feel like I love summer so much and yet exude stress to others?

I blame it on the weather app.

Because, as much as I love summer, what I really love is a plan.  Summer would be so much more fun for me if I could just schedule every relaxing activity, every day trip, every play date on my calendar in May.

That way, I would know exactly what kind of fun I was going to have every single day from June through August.

Perfect! It’s probably the only way besides outdoor air-conditioning that I could possibly improve on the whole concept of summer.

But, alas, the essential unpredictability of life bumps into my happy bubble.

So, one day I’m blissfully driving my minivan into town for a walk on Main Street.   The sages who run my weather app say there is 0% chance of rain for the next few hours.

It starts raining on me as I drive.

Maybe we need to have a chat about what 0% really means.  I mean, I’ll allow for a tiny bit of rain if there is even 10% chance of precipitation.  But when you say 0%, I’m kind of going to count on sunshine.

Last summer, I foolishly thought ahead, gathered information, and made a plan for a week of summer fun.  I even wrote on my calendar in Sharpie marker.

Sharpie marker! That’s permanent planning for you.

I checked the commitments we already had on the calendar.  I checked my weather app.  This day would be gorgeous.  I could take my kids somewhere outside.  It will be 86 and sunny.  Perfect.

On Sunday, though, my weather app reloaded with new numbers.  Surprise!  It would be 95 and gross outside.  Make a new plan.

I hate making new plans.

I get it.  Really, I do.  The weather folks have a tough job with vocal, unreasonable critics like me who mistake ‘predictions’ for facts.  It’s a complicated system and God can move clouds and alter weather patterns at will.

But here’s the bottom line.  What stresses me out about summer is that I am forced into a flexibility I don’t possess.

It’s like my daughters complaining about doing the splits in dance class.  I’m yelling at the pain as my Teacher assures me I can go a little lower.

This feels as low as I can go. It hurts.  I’m pretty sure I could snap some bones and permanently damage my hips with all this forced flexibility.

And, one of the few thing I hate more than changes in plans is making decisions.  But every time a plan changes, I get to make a new decision about something I had already decided before.

I am now making double the decisions and trying to make them with constantly changing, thoroughly unreliable information.

I hate summer.

Oh really, what I need, what I truly, deep-down really need is grace.

God made me a planner.  He etched agendas and schedules and calendars on my soul.  He loves me enough to use all that’s good about my planning ways, but He won’t leave me here with the pitfalls of control and idolatry and lack of trust.

He stretches me into someone even more beautiful and Jesus-filled:  A planner who trust Him with her plans.

That means not hyperventilating when someone calls me and asks to interrupt my plans for the day.

It means checking the weather app without a meltdown.

It means getting rained on sometimes and just laughing in the rain.

It means making a decisions that turn out to be wrong and just letting that go instead of allowing it to throw me into a mudpit of self-condemnation.

Maybe I can learn to really love summer after all.  It won’t be easy, of course, but it will be God at work in me, and that’s beautiful.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG).