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That’s Not What I Had Planned

Erin Schreyer  |  Aug 02, 2017

I am a planner. I’m not an over-scheduler; not a stuck-in-the-details micro-manager; not a there’s-only-one-way-to-do-it control-freak. But I am a goal-oriented, work-your-plan achiever. I like having a plan, something to aim for and a strategy to go with it. And, if I’m honest…I really, really like it when things go according to my plan; especially when it’s something big or important.

Can you relate?

It brings me comfort to have things go my way. I know the outcomes, and I’m ready for them. There are no surprises that catch me off guard. No questions left without answers. No bumps in the road. Smooth and steady, all according to the plan. MY plan. I feel equipped, prepared, completely on the ball and in control.

So where does that leave room for God?

The truth is — it doesn’t. And (confession here) maybe I AM a little bit of a control freak, too. (sigh.)

The other important truth is this: I can’t control everything, and it’s simply too much, WAAAAY too heavy and cumbersome to even try. I am human, and as such, I was created with a need for God. It’s part of my DNA, put there by my Creator himself, so that I would long for and come to Him. He WANTS to help me through this thing called life.

He has also set eternity in the human heart; (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrew 4:15-16)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

So why on earth do I attempt to orchestrate my life (and the lives of my children too?!) Why do I not consult Him first – every time –  to understand and follow His will for my life?

Humanity is a funny thing. So is pride. Not funny – ha ha, but funny – curiously stupid. And repeatedly so. (Ugh!)

But God (I love when Scripture begins with this – there is always something wonderful that follows!) in His great love and patience for us, uses these instances for our good. He allows our mistakes, our control-freaky decisions, our very lives and experiences to teach us and to draw us closer to Him. We can trust that He works ALL things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28) It all flows through His fingers with a steadfast love and commitment to our good.

So, when things don’t go according to my plan, I need to remember that the story is still being written. He’s not finished with it (or me) yet, and when He is, I can rest assured that what I may have originally thought went “wrong” will ultimately turn out to be BETTER than I had expected, or it will be REDEEMED for my good.

I must cling to who He is: the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:13) What does that mean for me? His view is extensively larger than mine. It spans ALL of time. I need to trust what I can’t see, realizing it’s all still within His sight and knowledge. This is the very essence of faith; confidence of what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

In hindsight, I can see His goodness and presence so easily in my life in so many situations that have been redeemed, restored or that turned out so much better than I had planned or anticipated. Although life is far from perfect, I have been guided, comforted and graced through some extremely difficult situations including abandonment, unhealthy relationships, a failed marriage, infertility, miscarriage, isolation, career shifts, family difficulties and more. I have had and continue to have much confirmation that when I draw closer to Him, He draws closer to me (James 4:8)…and I feel it. Exponentially.

I must continually remind myself of these truths, because my flesh is weak and my feeble memory forgets so quickly; leading me back to depend on my own control, my own limited view and my own feeble plans for a “perfect” life. HA!

As I write these words, I do so partly to remind myself, as I know I need; partly to process, so my mind and heart can gain clarity and absorb; and partly to share any value that this may be to others. This is an important exercise for me; one of discipline, surrender and trust, in many ways. It’s a difficult sharpening I actually crave; especially now.

In just a short time, our family will be embarking on a new journey…but not quite as together as I had planned. (And, hear me when I tell you how much I love “together.” It’s truly one of my greatest joys of life.) Per my son’s request, we will soon be sending him to a military boarding school for his eighth-grade academic year. He will no longer be under my own roof, nor available for the daily carpool chats to and from school, nor here for the quick hugs when nobody’s looking, nor making frequent requests for back-scratches, milkshakes or favorite foods (all of which I love doing for him.) My momma heart grieves and selfishly cries out, that’s NOT what I had planned!

And yet…my thirteen-year-old stands firmly and confidently in his request.

I know this is what I want to do with my life, he says. I want to start training now. I understand how it works, even the hard parts, and it’s still motivating to me. I know I can be successful, and I believe it’s part of God’s plan for my life. 

Yes, these are all actual words he spoke to his Dad and me. Direct quotes, as if he  has been listening to God speaking to his heart and is ready to do the hard thing; excited to take on the very discipline he knows he needs at this point in his life, but has been fighting against in every other form and fashion. He is begging us to go, and we’ve never seen him more motivated. Ever.

So, after MUCH prayer, processing and yes, tears too, I am letting go of MY plan for his life and allowing my son to bravely chase his dream, all the while trusting that the Lord remains Sovereign over all. He has known and loved my son all along (even before me!), even before he was in my womb. He has great plans for my young man, who has always carried himself and spoken with a noticeably unusual boldness for his age.

The Lord is going to do something very special with him. His Dad and I, his teachers and many friends have stated these exact words about him through the years. He’s always been a little different, and his untraditional ways continue. I should have been on the lookout for an untraditional path, versus the much more traditional plan I had been following. Finally, it took his beautiful blue eyes, looking into mine, begging me to let him fly and asking me to let go and just trust that this will be good for him.

My plan now is a much better one, I believe. I will launch my son in mid-August, and I will trust fully in the Lord and what we believe to be His provision and guidance for our son’s life. This doesn’t mean we stop parenting, but it does mean we need to increase our level of surrender, faith and trust like we never have before. We won’t see him as often as we’d like. We can’t hug him whenever we want. We won’t be able to catch the latest great movie together, and I will wish every day that I had his back to scratch the way he loves.

What we will have, though, is not a plan, but a God who is GOOD; a God who remains consistent, trustworthy and abounding in grace. He always has been. He always will be. His character, timing and love are perfect. Complete perfection. Unlike my own plans, I’m reminded.

So, I’m going to choose to be thankful, genuinely hopeful and optimistic. We’re no longer following my plan. We’ve let that go, and we’re letting the Lord lead the way. My son, too, will learn the value of submission while he’s at military school. I hope we all carry with us the lessons learned when we submit to the One who loves us most. One day I’ll realize that’s the only plan that works. I see this more every day, and I pray my son does too.

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)

What plans can you surrender to the Lord today and trust His will instead?

About Erin Schreyer

I’m passionate about positive life change, impacting others, and Jesus Christ, who makes all things possible. Professionally, I’m a coach, speaker, and writer. Personally, I’m a wife, mom, friend, loud laugher, and lover of tennis, hiking, cupcakes, a good book, and a great glass of red wine.  »  Learn More

What People Are Saying

Oh Erin!!!! I will be praying for you both!!!! Keep me posted on specific requests!!!!!

I sure will! Thank you! For now, please pray for smooth transitions for all of us.

Thoughts, hugs and prayers for all of you!

Thank you!

Launching our children is as hard as giving birth! But at least we have meds with childbirth to numb the pain! Cooperating with God on the call on our children’s lives requires total dependence on Him and that is a lesson we must all learn by example. God has something big planned for him and that includes his parents. I am quite confident that you and your husband have given him “roots” that go down deep that will hold firm. Praying for all of you as you surrender to the call.

Thanks, Carey!!! I’m grateful for your prayers and always eager to be encouraged by your wisdom. YOU, my friend, were such an added gift that was not an expected part of a plan too!!!

Thanks for sharing, Erin. I’ve recently been convicted of trying to solve God’s problems, and not praying for my Kids enough. Great perspective…

Thanks, Truly, we can never pray enough for our kids!! It’s a hard world and they are so precious. I am grateful, though, that I have accepted since the day they were born that they are “on loan” to me to raise and be launched into the world. I just thought my lease would last 18 years!! Regardless, our most important job as parents is to help them to know Christ and how much He loves them, so much so that they would want to place their full trust in Him. They are our most precious mission field!

Trust On Mama

I will….and when I stumble, I know you and others with strong faith around me will pick me up and remind me! I’m counting on it!!

Erin, Vicky and I will be praying for your family. We are looking forward to his impact.

Thanks so much, Mike and Vicky!! I appreciate you and am grateful for the prayers.

Praying for your family durning this transition. But know that God has him and is in control. I love that he knows what he wants

Thanks so much, Catherine!

Erin- love your humility here and surrendered state, made me think of a quote, “The only time surrender equals defeat is in the military, in life surrender equals transcendence.” You are transcending to a new place & we know God writes the best stories ever!
You are a wonderful mother and humanbeing, I love you and keep praying for you in this unique time.
PS- I consider myself a “non traditional kid” and love that my parents honored that and gave me room to find and create my own path.

Thanks for always being here for me, Em. I’m grateful. And, I was non-traditional too. I think I might still be, so this should all come as no surprise! Yes, God is taking us all to new places. These difficult and scary times are always the ones with the most growth, so I so look forward to that!
We have very much peace about the decision, but I’m sure I’ll have “days” after we drop him off. Please pray for the transition for all of us. It will be an adjustment.

Sorry I submitted early… go figure… anyhow, I want ed to also say the respect you are giving Evan will only add to the special mother- son relationship you share forever .

I appreciate this added comment. I’m praying it holds true!

Wow! We’ll be praying for all of you.

Thank you!!! We’ll take them!😊

What beautiful words you have written for what I know is going to be a tough time in your life! Sounds like you are all in HIS hands now…good job mama.

Thanks, Cynthia! It’s definitely a lesson in trust and faith! BUT…He is trustworthy!

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