May I offer some encouragement? (And some cookie butter?)

Can I just say one thing before I say anything else?

Go to your nearest Trader Joe’s and buy some COOKIE BUTTER! (Could ever there be two words so perfectly made for each other that we should have put them together centuries ago?!) The cookie butter mixed with cocoa (YES. You heard me right. MIXED WITH COCOA.) looks like this and I can guarantee you will be dancing a happy jig with spoonfuls in your mouth!!:

Still not sure if it's a condiment or a food but it's AMAZING.

Still not sure if it’s a condiment or a food but it’s AMAZING.

Can you tell I haven’t been working for two days? 

Yeah, just me and the cookie butter.

……..

……..

…….. Just kidding. (Sort of).

So, anyway, this week I got sick.

On Monday, actually.

(And yes…I know today is only Tuesday so this post will be short because I. Will. Rest.)

But remember how I’m a fellow planner with all you fine type-A folks? Well, I had my week laid out quite nicely already.

And then I got sick.

And not the kind of sick where I could battle through and still get things done, apparently.

Because I tried.

I gallantly stubbornly went through Monday morning trying to check things off my list, mail my queries, clean the house, prep for my nanny babies, and of course play with Tuck so he wouldn’t tear up the new carpet with his colossal amounts of jungle-cat energy. (Note to self: check up on whether or not Tuck has the DNA of a wild bobcat or a panther or something).

Needless to say, Monday morning ended with me in bed and all the lights off and I couldn’t even open my eyes for Downton Abbey. Yes, I know!!!! Nuts, right?!! Lady Mary couldn’t even get me to stay awake. That’s when you know it’s serious, folks.

I was spent.

And yet, running a fever and attempting to hear noise above the ringing in my ears, I was still frustrated. I was frustrated because I didn’t want to rest.

And this morning when I woke up with my head full of bowling balls or balloons or something of that nature, I was still frustrated. I still didn’t want to rest.

Because then, this week wouldn’t be productive enough by my own standards.

Like, as if I didn’t perform and check-off all these things on my to-do list, then my week would be for naught.

But maybe the Lord has more for our weeks than checking off to-do lists. 

And He whispered something into my heart and so, by God’s grace (and above the ever-present ringing sound caused by the rather painful state of my eardrums at the moment), I turned my ear to listen.

“Will you rest in Me?”

Wait….But…

But, I can’t, see, I actually have this list of things on my agenda and they’re very important to me and…

But then…..I’m tired.

Physically, tired.

My head is throbbing.

And I have no choice.

So I rest.

And it was then, in the blessed quiet submission that I realized, no matter what I have on my schedule, I am free to always rest in Him.

It’s what we’re promised as His children: to be led beside quiet waters, to be soul-refreshed, to be led down the right paths (psalm 23:1-3) when we give Him our hearts and our trust.

No matter what else is on our agendas, there is one constant that is already filled in for us on each page: Be held.

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands” (John 3:35, emphasis mine).

“My sheep [followers of Christ] listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 11:27-30).

So my prayer is this: When I am sick, may I rest in Him. When I am well again, may I rest in Him. When I’m working, may I rest in Him. May I be led from worry to the quiet waters of His love.

Perhaps it took a physical slow-down for the Lord to remind me to trust Him. To rest in Him.

Now, I think I’ll go eat a spoonful of cookie butter and watch Lady Mary marry Matthew Crawley for the third time.

Blessings and rest to you,

Robyn

When plans don’t go as planned.

My name is Robyn, I am type-A, and I am a planner.

Also, I have a 1 year-old cat.

But the cat’s beside the point.

(It’s just that he’s sitting next to me so cuddly and furry and green-eyed I couldn’t help but mention the puff of joy who likes to bite).

But, back to being a planner.

I plan lots of things, joyfully and meticulously, partnered with slow-sipped second cups of coffee and pencils freshly sharpened. (There’s just something about writing things down instead of typing, something freeing and creative and solid, isn’t there?)

I love to-do lists, grocery lists, big calendars, small agendas, lesson plans, outlines, iCalendars, automatic reminders, blank pages just waiting for words to come fill their spaces, and pens of all colors and sizes to further color-code and organize my well thought-out (and foolproof, right?!) plans.

The teacher in me is nodding an enthusiastic YES! ORGANIZATION! PLANS! Is there anything more satisfying in this constantly changing world? (Other than a perfectly crafted and baked doughy chocolate chip cookie, of course.)

But I digress.

Michael loves that I’m a planner. It helps us a lot.

Planning allows us the freedom to see friends because we carved out the time. It helps us organize finances. It helps me organize my writing into a finished piece. It picked out our wedding colors and turned them into a beautiful scene in which we became husband and wife.

I love that I’m a planner, because I think God made me that way for a reason.

But with all strengths come weaknesses, and this is one of mine: It’s easy for me to rely on my plans. In fact, I LOVE relying on my plans, because they act as my security far too often.

(Surely if we’ve planned it, we can’t fail, right?)

 But plans rarely go–ahem–as planned. Pun intended.

So then what, friends? What happens to the security blanket then – when plans don’t work out? When we get hurt or disappointed despite the amount of planning we’ve done to ensure our success and comfort?

I’ve realized recently when I stop using my owns plans as a security and choose to rely instead on the One who knows me and loves me the most, then I start to really live in the fullness of joy, success looks different to me, and comfort is not a necessity.

And yet, here is the most comforting news of all, dear friends! (Yes, even more comforting than an agenda that gets checked off with a brand new hot pink felt-tip pen.)

As lovers and followers of Jesus, we are held tightly together by our Savior, and not by our well-thought out plans (Col 1:17 “…in Him all things hold together,” emphasis added).

Note, this verse doesn’t say “in flawless plans all things hold together.”

Would someone elect to remind me of this every day? Thanks in advance, friends.

And truly, when I really think about it, how many of my plans have actually turned out the way I thought they would?

And yet, am I okay? Am I living fully?

Yes, and a joyful yes.

But, clearly not because of my own plans.

It took a recent change in my well thought-out career plans to throw me into the loving arms of Jesus and lead me to find my worth in Him, and not in my job title nor in my plans.

It’s humbling. It’s nerve-wracking. And it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

Not because of the event itself, but because Jesus had and has His careful hand in every aspect of my life, and when I look and see where I’ve been and what I’m doing now, there’s no doubt in my mind about His goodness and His love for me.

Isn’t it great, this grace? That when our plans don’t work out as we originally hoped, we are held together. We are loved.

And maybe that’s the bigger point of this whole thing than having perfect plans.

 Further, I’ve come to see in a more tangible way that God has His own plans for me – and they are good:

“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).

I don’t know what exactly these plans are for me at this moment in clear detail, but isn’t that faith, dear friends? Having the knowledge that God created our very hearts and thus the desires within, and has the loving-kindness to give us our hearts’ desires through His good plans for us?

So what then, referring back to Jeremiah 29:11, when we are harmed? When we are disappointed? When we are hurt? Certainly, these painful things will happen, even when we are smack in the middle of God’s good plans for us. Jesus tells us hurtful things will happen (John 16:33).

Could it mean God’s plans have gone awry? Does it mean that I should, indeed, fold and find security in my own painstakingly thought-out plans as an attempt to protect myself from being hurt?

That is the temptation, is it not?

You understand. In the midst of the plans God has for us and the plans we’ve made for ourselves, certainly we’ve been deeply hurt. We’ve been disappointed. We’ve been hurt by circumstances, by those who love us, by those in charge of us, and by those who hardly know us at all.

So what then, dear friends?

Beautiful news! As Christ’s children, we have a promise in those hard circumstances. This promise from our loving Father reveals even more of God’s good plans for us, and it assures us with a burst of light and hope and peace that nothing can change God’s good plans for us:

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)

 What a deep sigh of relief. And yet, this verse does not say, “If you are following God’s plan, you will not get hurt.”

Oh, friends. I do not like pain. But the joyful hope and redemption is this: in His good plans, God has a glorious purpose for us in every hurt. Tears spring to my eyes with the joy of this Love.

Here, God not only promises to work all things for our good (meaning, not just the good things – but the bad and hurtful things that happen too), but He also reminds us here that we were chosen for a purpose. For a plan. So when someone hurts us, when circumstances disappoint us, when we get sick, when we feel lost, when our own plans don’t work, these disappointing things will be used for our good by the Father who loves us most and who also promises us a plan for our lives so great we can’t even imagine it (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Considering these truths, I hardly feel the need to rely on or find security in my own plans. I do not feel the need to plan myself into safety. In fact, doing so feels silly.

How could my plan even compare to the plan my Heavenly Father has for me? And since God promises to work all things together for my good, from what must I plan to protect myself?

This is great news, friends!

Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).

Paul did not say to rejoice when our plans work out. He said to rejoice always.

Perhaps it’s because he knew that which I am just now understanding: God’s plans for us are truly good and full of hope in every circumstance. And so, we rejoice!

Blessings upon your heart today. Blessings to you on a day planned just for you. Blessings to you who are made for a brilliant and grand purpose so delightful and lovely you can’t even fully understand it until you see Jesus face-to-face. Blessings to you who are safe in Him.

And praise to the God who loves us steadfastly, is faithful always, has good plans for us, and who also created big, blank calendars and multi-colored pens for His beloved planners 🙂

In His steadfast love and grace,

 

Robyn

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).