I had been looking forward to this trip to Ohio for a number of months. If you know me well, you just laughed out loud to read that I was looking forward to visiting a northern state. Truly, it is not the state I long to visit, but the people dear to me who live there.
As summer began I made a plan. Lots of plans. My calendar for June was filling quickly. And yet, I cheerfully held all of these plans - my calendar - out before the Lord with open palms. I asked Him to change anything according to the way He saw my summer playing out. I was even gutsy enough to include this commitment to yield my plans to the Lord on a Facebook live video.
It didn't take long for Father to take me up on my offer. He's been rearranging my calendar almost daily since summer began. And I'm really good with that.
This trip to Ohio is no different. A week or so before our trip I found an incredible deal for airline tickets into Cincinnati. This was a gift to my husband and me because sitting in a car for 9 hours each way would be a difficult strain on my husband's body these days. We gladly booked two round-trip tickets (without insurance).
Commit your activities to the Lord,
and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 csb
I did wonder if I should have purchased the insurance - just in case. However, I could 'what if' all day and most of the thoughts of impending doom would never come to pass. Instead, once again I held out these plans before the Lord to shape as He pleased.
We were all set to fly out at 6 AM the next morning. I delivered our 3 rowdy pups to the vet (doggy hotel for their ears) to board while we were away. And then everything shifted. Those plans I made and held out before the Lord, well they were about to be drastically changed.
The sky grew dark, the wind began to sway trees practically sideways and then the hail pelted our truck while I sat inside hoping no damage would be done to vehicle or myself. My husband sent me a text indicating I should stay put. The storm was too fierce at our house for me to be on the road.
The electricity went out. The hail and the rain stopped. Trees came to a standstill. Thankfully the storm passed and I was okay. I checked with my husband to find out if I could have the 'all clear' to drive home. He let me know the storm had passed, but the electricity was out and trees were down in our yard and all through our neighborhood. Power lines had been toppled under tree limbs and trunks. "Good luck. Be careful. And see you when you get here." were his encouragements as I began to weave my way around the wreckage.
It took me one and a half hours to drive home from a location less than five miles away. As I finally and gratefully pulled into our driveway I was relieved to see the two trees fell away from our house. Neighbors were milling about checking on each other. Incredibly and thankfully no one was injured in what was later determined to be a downburst.
As my husband and I worked with a neighbor to clear our downed tree from his yard and fence, we realized our plans to fly at 6 AM would have to be moderated by these circumstances. We pulled out flashlights before darkness fell knowing it could be another day or two before electricity would be restored.
He said, "You need to go and I will stay here." How would I leave him here with the mess? What about my family motto? In an emergency, we stay together or we go together.
He said, "Go." I said, "Ok." The change of plans to fly to Ohio rather than drive made it possible for me to go alone. Even without using his ticket the price was still worthwhile. We got up in the middle of the night and drove past the hard working Georgia Power crews working to restore electricity to our little town.
I did fly to Cincinnati that day, but not at 6 AM as originally planned. The storm had caused flights to be canceled the day before and we were in a delay. I found hot coffee and a bagel, plugged my phone into a wall socket to charge and then sat back to witness an amazing sunrise over the airport. It was a sunrise I should have missed if all the plans had stayed unaltered.
Because my flight was delayed in Atlanta for so long, I received a $100 voucher to use on a future flight. This wonderfully unexpected gift more than made up for my husband's unused ticket. Additionally, I was able to enjoy precious time with friends who are family. Father saw it all in advance - the car ride from the airport with two of my favorite girls, meeting the new baby sister, ballet recital, bubbles, scooter, zoo, swim lesson and painting. He knew the conversations and introductions and how to fit them all in according to His good plan.
I'm more committed than ever to make my plans and then hold them out before the Lord with open palms. He takes everything, good and bad, and molds it to His liking and to be useful for His glory. Thank You, good, good Father!
Join Kate Motaung and her faithful community of writers over at the Five Minute Friday linkup. Today's word is return. You'll find much encouragement here at the link up. And you might even want to set your timer for 5:00 minutes and write. Join us. Come on and get your feet wet!