Learning to Love Plan B

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ~Corrie ten Boom

As a planner, I enjoy knowing what to expect. But for most of my life, I was also a world-class worrier. In hindsight, I know my worries were rooted in fear…because God’s plans for me are good (Jeremiah 29:11).


Fear sucks the life out of the present moment and causes needless anxiety. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Worrying steals from Today as we obsess over future “what ifs” that may never happen. When we seek His presence, we stay in the present moment. There is no room for fear!

Worrying kills the joy that comes with expecting God’s goodness and blessings. When we anticipate what He will do on our behalf, there is excitement. If it’s God’s plan, it will not fail!

Worrying destroys our faith in God’s grace and provision. By holding onto our imperfect plans, we hinder God’s best for our lives. When we pray instead of worry, our trust grows. God empowers us and makes us brave as we move forward!


Planning for contingencies is wise preparation. But worrying adds no value to the end result. Plans frequently change, yet God’s peace is constant. Hence, the lack of peace is a reminder to let Him lead (see Colossians 3:15).

It seems Life is like being guided through an obstacle course while blindfolded in deep woods. God alone knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He designed the specific way each of us should go, according to His unique and special plan for us.

Here is how I imagine it: One person is guided to the left to bypass a tree, while someone else is directed to duck under a branch. Still another person crawls over muddy roots to avoid disaster. We may go in the same general direction, but God builds character through different life circumstances. (Cue Plans B, C, and D…)

When blindfolded, the weaving, bobbing, and details just don’t make sense. Only as we look backward does clarity come. It can be challenging to trust God to lead us forward. And, we might get a few scratches along the way. But the other option is to ignore God’s vision and run into a tree, figuratively, of course. 🙂 We walk by faith, not by sight.

Plan B

We don’t have to worry. In fact, God command us: “Do not fear.” While we can’t always see the path, we can walk with God each day. He will prepares us for what is ahead. On this lifelong adventure, it would be foolish to move ahead of Him. Let’s plan to trust God!

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT).

When Dave got cancer and died, my worst fears came true! But God’s grace held fast. When everything fell apart, He remained in control. When I relinquished my ideas (Plan A) for His greater plan, I was finally freed from fear and worry. As I learn to love Plan B, there is joy in the journey. God continues to take care of all that concerns me. Praise the Lord!


God, thank You for working on our behalf. Give us wisdom as we make plans. Help us not get ahead of You and Your perfect timing. Thank You for Plan B. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What do you tend to worry about? Can you envision what it would be like to not worry anymore? What can you “let go” of to have more peace?



Try, Try Again!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Three weeks into January, how are you doing?

While I don’t make resolutions, I enjoy setting goals and making plans.
When it comes to developing good habits, I would rather make simple changes that add up over time. I like to see progress and like the flexibility to alter goals as needed.

There is no problem with setting goals and making plans in general. Yet, I’ve realized that I can attempt to control too many outcomes, including others’ reactions. Have you been there too? Ultimately, this causes a lot of stress and can actually hinder progress.

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For example, this winter I signed Lydia up for ice skating lessons. I thought it was a great idea and would teach her valuable skills. Lydia never requested the lessons (ahem), but I wanted her to try it out and learn. We do live on the Minnesota border after all!

I hoped Lydia would learn to enjoy ice skating as much as I do. We signed up for a six week parent-tot class, where I go out on the ice with Lydia. My main goal was that she would try her best. If she had fun or was good at it, that would be a bonus.

Well, we’re a few weeks into it and things have not gone according to my plan. A few days ago, Lydia flat-out refused to get on the ice. In fact, she stubbornly sat in the bleachers and wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t move her without causing a scene, though she is typically more compliant.

I’d say that Lydia takes after Dave, but nobody would ever believe me! 😉

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I didn’t expect perfection, I just wanted her to try!

I finally convinced Lydia to try again after sitting through the entire class. I might’ve threatened to eat her leftover pizza if she didn’t get on the ice. At any rate, she was motivated for the last thirty seconds of class. She skated out as the other kids came in.

Trust me, I did not earn any parenting awards that day!

Then last night, we went to the class again. This time I left all expectations at the door. I was prepared to sit and watch, if needed. I resolved to coach instead of coax. I remained positive and encouraged Lydia at her own pace. She fell several times, yet by God’s grace, she tried her best and did great. We had fun and each learned a few new skills.

I was so proud of Lydia! I realized if I push my plan (aka “You will do this and enjoy it!”), she could grow to hate ice skating. When I backed off and relaxed, we made much more progress. Lydia was able to relax and was proud of herself, too.

ice skating

You know, in my own stubbornness, sometimes I try to do the same thing with God. In my impatience, I can get ahead of God and try to do His part. Or, I prefer my goals and plan to His. I get caught up in my own expectations, and leave no wiggle room for what God wants to do on my behalf.

Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t just let me skate by! Sometimes, I need to sit and watch what He is doing. Sometimes, I have an active role. Many times, I’m the one needing the lesson!

When Life doesn’t go as planned, we can change goals and alter our expectations. When we persevere and don’t give up, God is faithful to direct us where we need to go.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Father God, thank You for being patient with me when I am stubborn. I am a slow learner at times. Thank You for grace and do-overs. Your plan is far better than mine! Help me do my best. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: Are you stubborn too? 🙂 What is something you are learning lately?

To the Girls in the Bookstore

Last week marked my 8th wedding anniversary. Dave and I were married 5+ years, and I am so thankful for the time we had together. We were married aboard a cruise ship, Majesty of the Seas, in the Port of Miami. Approximately forty of our closest friends and family joined us for a trip to the Bahamas and Key West. It was a trip to remember!

Like a good husband, God is always so gracious to me—it just so happened last week (on my anniversary) that a neighbor gave me a belated Christmas gift and another friend brought us dinner. I love that God had it in the works to bless me!


Around that time, I was writing at the bookstore and overheard a conversation. I know one of the girls through mutual friends. Actually, I have only met her once but know she got married over the summer. She and her friend were talking about newlywed things.

Plans, hopes, dreams and goals.

While I wasn’t intentionally listening, our tables were in close proximity. So I loosely caught details while trying to work. These girls were discussing future travel plans, when something my acquaintance said struck me.

She said, “For our ten year anniversary, we are going to…”

Now, I didn’t know them well enough to interrupt their conversation. And I didn’t want my emotions to squash their excitement. But here’s what I’d say to the girls in the bookstore:

“Take the trip. If it’s possible, do it sooner rather than later. Don’t wait. Life often turns out differently than planned. There have been many good, unexpected twists and turns over the years. But we don’t have any guarantees of even tomorrow.

So take the trip.

We have a tendency to put things off, important things in lieu of the urgent. But don’t delay. Married or not, perfect home or not, dream job or not, ideal body weight or not—live to the fullest today because Life is so short.

I am not saying to ‘break the bank’ in order to do fun things or to simply ‘live for today.’ I am not recommending irresponsibility or neglect. Make good plans for the future, yes, but trust God to direct your path.”

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.


Most of Life’s greatest joys require no money at all. Spend time with those you love. Celebrate and cherish the fun moments. Forgive and let go of grudges. Enjoy good food and don’t chase a number on a scale. Serve others and extend grace to those who need it. Be kind and generous. Use your words to build up people. Don’t let today pass without doing the most important things. (The dishes and laundry can wait.)

Dave and I made plans. But ultimately, God directed our steps. We had a beautiful cruise ship wedding and enjoyed our marriage. We worked hard and served our community. We traveled and played well. We jumped into Life as an adventure with God. Of course, I would have loved to have more time. But our time was well spent.


My life looks different now. It is important to me to relish these preschool days with Lydia…because all too soon, that will change. Today, this meant morning snuggles and painting little finger nails. Occasionally, we eat oatmeal with sprinkles on top or chocolate-dipped strawberries—just because. Some days, we stay home to enjoy a quiet day instead of running errands. (Those are good days to catch up with the dishes and laundry!)

So, to the girls in the bookstore: Take the trip. Don’t delay. Make plans, but remember Life is short. Seek God’s plan on purpose…and live well today.


God, thank You for filling our lives with Your goodness. Help us make the most of each day as we live for You. We trust You to lead us on right paths. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What changes are you considering to make the most of your time? Is there someone you can encourage along the way?

Welcome to Progress!

Happy New Year! I love new beginnings and a fresh start. Does it feel any different to you?

For Christmas, we drove twelve hours to my hometown in Illinois. We enjoyed seeing a few good friends and some family. It was refreshing to celebrate Christmas with family for the first time in years. Lydia had a blast during her first Christmas with my immediate family!

On our road trip, there are a few key areas when two highways merge or separate. I’ve driven that route several times, but I use my car’s navigation system to track progress and ensure I don’t miss important interchanges along the way. If I take a detour, the lady’s voice gets a little exasperated… 🙂

I always carry a small road atlas, too. It has been helpful on our trip through Lake City, MN and our trip to Wyoming. I like to see what is coming up next!

Back in Fargo, my GPS has also proved helpful. With population growth comes building and development. Yet sometimes, I hardly recognize certain streets even in my own neighborhood! There are new roads, new houses, apartments, stores, and traffic signals.

As I drive around, sometimes I get confused. I wonder where that road leads…Was this stop sign there before? I am amazed by how fast things change. When did that house go up? Without GPS, I am left guessing. How on Earth am I supposed to get over there? Where is the turn? Welcome to Progress, right?!

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Using my car’s navigation system is similar to seeking God’s wisdom and input for my life:
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

For me, each day is a fresh start—a chance to try again by God’s grace. Thankfully, I don’t have to wait another 365 days to begin again. His mercies are new every day!

It is vital to seek God first in all we do. I find my day (and life) goes better when I do. In fact, it has saved me much heartache and time over the years by first running ideas, feelings, and plans by the Lord. Spending time with the Lord in the morning prepares me for bumps along the way. That time is well spent…praying and reading the Bible is like mapping out the journey. I can’t afford to guess at life!

Others might prefer a different time of day. The important thing is to check in regularly with God. When detours come—and they always do—know where to turn for guidance or redirection. God hears every prayer!

Often “progress” doesn’t come easily. It is frustrating when things feel out of control and the way seems unclear. When facing roadblocks or setbacks, turn to Jesus for help. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He knows the plans…and they are good (Jeremiah 29:11).

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I like to start the year with a new devotional, like Jesus Calling, which helped me focus on the Lord during our cancer journey. This year, I am reading an updated version that has an evening portion too.

 Some people like to read the entire Bible in a year. You can find a plan that fits your needs online or on your phone. Try out Bible Gateway and YouVersion.

It honors God when we seek Him before anything else. And, He blesses us in return. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).


God, thank You for sharing Your wisdom with us. Your word is a lamp to guide our feet
and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). As we seek You, show us the path to take. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What insight do you need from the Lord? Will you commit to spending quality time with God and seeking Him first this year? What resources have you found helpful?