We schedule, we coordinate, we plan, and arrange. Sometimes, though, God has other plans. Last summer I set a goal to have my next book, Everything We Need: God's Path to Know Him Better, written by January 31 of this year. I calculated the dates I would need to complete each lesson so the final one would be done by that date. Knowing an accountability partner would help keep me on track, I emailed my schedule to a trusted friend and asked her to contact me at each due date. I gave her full freedom to hold me to my schedule.
Within a couple of weeks, that same friend did contact me. However, it wasn’t to make sure I was on schedule with my writing. She works in the office of a local Christian school and they were in a situation where they needed someone to help out for a couple weeks, three at the most. I knew the extra money would help us through a financially difficult time so I agreed. After all, my girls were done with their home school lessons for the summer and a couple of weeks wouldn’t mess up my writing plan too much. Nine weeks later, I finished working at the school. I had only a few days to prepare for our own new school year before classes started up again.
Everything was okay, however. I reassessed my writing schedule and extended my deadline to the end of February. My goal was to have the study written before a writer’s conference that I planned to attend in May. I knew this would still give me time to finish, edit, and submit it to the publishers before the conference. I also knew I would be able to dedicate every Tuesday to writing.
Last fall I was presented with the opportunity to lead a mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti in January. I had always wanted to visit my friends at their orphanage there and also, I knew God was calling me to obey in this area. The organization of the trip, combined with the holiday season, destroyed much of my writing time and I fell hopelessly behind. Although I made a little progress, by the time the trip was over, I knew I had no chance of finishing the study by the end of February.
I gave up my schedule and committed the whole thing into God’s hands. I had no other choice than to trust Him for the time to write the remaining lessons. Free from due dates and deadlines, I plugged along through the rest of winter and early spring.
This past Tuesday (remember, that’s the day I set aside for writing) was the last day that my girls would be gone all day. It was also the last Tuesday before the writer’s conference. I didn’t stress or skim over sections. I simply sat at my desk and worked. I finished the book fifteen minutes before I had to leave to pick up my daughters from their last day of school.
Looking back, I see that God had the whole thing planned out from the beginning. He knew my friend would need help in her office for a few weeks. He knew I needed to be at an orphanage in Haiti. He knew both of those things would change my life in ways I never would have imagined before they occurred. Changes I never would have experienced if I had held tight to my own plans and schedules. He also knew I would have enough time to finish the book later.
Now, as I look forward to the future, I don’t even venture to guess what God plans to do with this new study. His ways are not my ways, and that’s a good thing.