According to Plans
A FEW NOTES: Please come back tomorrow when I’ll I feature a short interview with Mary DeMuth on her new book Thin Places; A Memoir. Then Thursday, I’ll offer a couples ‘basket-in-a-box’ giveaway in conjunction with a marriage devotion I’ll have running on our Proverbs 31 site. Please join us!
What a weekend! I thought I was facing a calm and ordinary three days–Friday night boys basketball games, a lazy Saturday to work around the house, get a little writing done, catch up on reading the comments left on Friday’s post about multi-tasking (with so many of you commenting, we’ll definitely talk more about that subject this year!) and finally a Sunday supper at my mom’s to celebrate four of the grand-kids birthdays. Instead, these last few days turned into a weekend I won’t soon forget.
Our daughter Kenzie was headed Friday from her home in Charlotte, NC with my P31 sister’s Melanie Chitwood’s family, to meet her dear friends, Cameron and his beautiful bride-to-be Chelsea, who both live in the Nashville area. They were planning to meet in the middle near Pigeon Forge, TN and was she ever excited.
With national TV and features like the weather channel, I’m sure many of you know where this is headed. (I couldn’t believe the vast number of you who left comments over the weekend saying you were snowed or iced in and loving it since it gave you a much needed break from your activity-overloaded lifestyle!)
I won’t tell you the entire story, as Mackenzie shares her thoughts below in a guest post, but I will give God the glory and give a shout out to my other P31 sister Whitney Capps for her quick thinking and decisive action. I’ll fill you in as to why after you read Kenz’s words.
Here is our 18-year-old daughter Mackenzie’s thoughts about her venture and adventure in the mountains of North Carolina this past weekend written Friday night near midnight :
Things don’t ever go according to plans, do they?
When we want our chicken to be grilled, it comes out fried.
We plan to go to the mall, and we get called to work instead.
You plan a lunch date, and your friend forgets.
You plan a long weekend with two of your best friends, and 8 inches of snow decides to fall and accidents surround you.
Let me explain.
About 3 weeks ago I received a text from my good friend Cameron. He told me that the last weekend in January was his weekend off and he and his fiancé, Chelsea, who I am also close with, wanted to meet me half-way between Charlotte and Nashville for a fun weekend get-away. What a perfect idea!
So, I checked with my school and my boss and began to work things out. We found a town, a hotel, fun things to do, and some movies to watch. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. Before we knew it, the weekend was here!
With bags packed and excitement in the air, I started my day. First, school. Second, work. Third, Cameron and Chelsea….here I come!
School went well and work was great. I packed my “girls” (aka. Lysa TerKeurst’s daughters, whom I was helping out with on Friday afternoon) for a weekend at the Great Wolfe Lodge with their dad. Then I hopped in my car, a half hour earlier than planned.
Things were looking good for me, and despite the fact that the weather man was calling for a “blizzard”, I ventured out. Me being a small-town, northern girl, I knew I could brave ANY storm. And I’d seen what southerners call a snow storm. I call it a ‘dusting’. :-)
Well the snow began to spit. Nothing much, just a few flurries. As I made my way to the mountains, nothing was going to stop me.
The further I drove the worse it got. The treetops began to be feathered with white fluff, and the road became damp. I assumed that it would get better.
However, it didn’t.
About 30 minutes later, the trees were white, the ground was slick, and the southerners around me began to slip and slide and honestly, I began to laugh a little.
As traffic came to a crawl, things began to get worse. Soon we were stopped.
After sitting still for about 15 minutes, I got out of my car to see what was going on. About four cars in front of me, there was a jeep stuck in the snow. As these now-cold southerners sat in their warm new BMW’s, Mustangs, and Jaguars, I saw this one poor man who was struggling to get his SUV out of the ditch with the help of his passenger.
Being the northern girl that I am and observing their spinning wheels, I knew they were only making it worse by digging themselves into this ditch. I threw on my leather jacket, grabbed my fleece, and headed out to help. I rigged a little “Yankee traction” under the tires, taught them how to “rock” the vehicle and helped them out. I chuckled under my breath as I got back into my 1998 Buick.
We actually began to move again. However, it did not last long.
Suddenly things were dead. With 8 inches of snow around us and no sign of movement, people were getting impatient and finally emerging from their cars. There were so many accidents that the interstate and all exits were now completely closed until morning. Many were abandoning their cars to try to get to safety.
With my gas gauge almost to empty, I decided the best thing to do would be to abandon my car too and walk.
Walk with ALL of my belongings for the weekend to the nearest hotel. Mr. Scott (Chitwood–my southern dad) called and made reservations at a hotel at the next exit for me. (Thank God!)
So, I began my hike.
I met a girl on the way and we got to talking. But then as our fingers began to go numb on our nearly 3-mile walk and our chattering voices fell silent.
However, my thoughts piped up.
You see, in my head I was going over all of my many complaints: my feet were cold, I couldn’t feel my hands, my nose was running, my shoulder really hurt, I might not get to meet my friends, I was hungry. The usual self-centered ‘I’ and ‘me’ statements.
But suddenly, I began to think about all of the things I was carrying.
My coach purse my parents got me for my 18th birthday; my MacBookPro laptop I bought with my graduation open house money; my Nikon camera; my clothes; my cell phone; my movies. And as I did, a picture popped into my whining and complaining mind.
I thought about all the people in Haiti.
They were in the same boat as me, only worse.
You see they don’t even have any of those nice things to carry.
They can’t walk a few miles to a waiting, warm bed.
They don’t have clean water.
They can’t even pay $10 for an over priced salad at the hotel restaurant.
I began to realize that I was blessed.
We are all blessed.
Even when things don’t go as we planned.
Even when we have to walk.
In the cold.
In a half-foot of snow.
For three miles.
Still, we are blessed.
To put an end to my story– a nice family who hardly spoke English gave both the girl I was walking with and me a ride the rest of the way to the hotel. I got checked in and am now waiting out the storm. They say it won’t be until Sunday that I can get my car and leave.
Right now, I am taking this time to be still; to pray; to think about how blessed I am and the way God works things out.
Things may not always go according to our plans, but they are always in line with God’s plans.
Okay…..Karen here again. Now let me tell you, Paul Harvey style, the rest of the story.
It was nearly midnight Friday. I had just sent an email out to my personal prayer team and all of my P31 sisters asking for prayer for my baby girl who was stranded somewhere alone a few hours west of Charlotte.
So, I asked Kenz to please look at the hotel literature and tell me what town she was in.
“Fletcher, NC” she said.
“Okay honey. Good-night. I love you.” I hung up the phone and switched on the weather channel.
JUST THEN the weather man, when giving news on the now-strengthening storm, declared, “The eye of the storm is centered over the small town of Fletcher, North Carolina.
For the first time, I began to cry.
And let my mind wander.
And plan a funeral for my “stranded-all-alone-in-a-winter-storm-in-a-strange-hotel-and-kidnapped-by-a-bad-man-never-to-be-heard-from-again” daughter.
(Have you ever noticed how we moms can plan an entire funeral when our driving-aged kids are 15 minutes late?)
All of a sudden, the ringing phone startled me out of my mental fog.
It was fellow P31 speaker Whitney. She lives in Atlanta. When I saw her name on caller ID, I assumed she was calling to pray with me and I welcomed it.
But it was even better.
She was calling to say that she was speaking next week at a church event in the Asheville, NC area (where she thought it sounded like Kenz may be). She had texted Kenz to see exactly where she was. Then, she had bravely called the event coordinator, a deacon at the church, getting him and his wife out of bed. She told them of Kenz’s plight and asked just where in the Asheville area they lived. Perhaps they were within driving distance.
Oh sweet Jesus……they live in Fletcher!!!
Whitney gave each of them the other’s contact info and this sweet young couple and their darling two-year-old son rescued Mackenzie early Saturday morning.
They fed her; gave her a place to stay; helped her track down her car the next day which had been towed and which the state police had no idea to where. They loved on her, made her a part of their family and made her homemade pancakes to boot!!! Sunday they got her back to her car and back on the road headed home.
I may never meet this angelic family this side of heaven but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be hugging on their necks the minute we all three are inside the pearly gates! For they perfectly lived out this truth. The scene is heaven:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:37-40
I marveled once again at our God. He is always in control. Kenz’s right….everything may not be according to our plans.
But according to His plans.
Oh…and He is quite comical sometimes too. As I sat in my home church Sunday morning with Kenz’s end to her saga nearly in view, the special music ensemble sang these words loud and clear…
“Keep me safe until the storm passes by…” :-)
What about you? Have any storms you are currently smack-dab in the eye of? The same God who rescued my Yankee girl, using a few of his sweet southern saints to help, can do the same for you if you will follow her lead.
Accept help from others.
Stop the “I” and “me” statements already and instead, learn the lesson He’s trying to teach you in the midst of it.
I plan to follow my daughter’s example this very week in the midst of my own personal storm. How about you?
Congrats to the winner of Friday’s organizational giveaway. She is:
Timestamp: January 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm
Send your mailing address to me at [email protected] so I can get your prize to you!
My husband is a planner & I am more a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-feeling-girl. It used to make me crazy that he read and researched everything! He would recommend a book for me to read for almost every thing that was going on in our lives, but you know what? Because he is so well read the knowlege he has gained coupled with the wisdom of God has helped make our lives so much better! Our finances & marriage were a shambles but because of information and lessons learned for books he has read we are in such a better place today! In fact I am now reading some of his books now! I am thankful that God blessed me with such a wonderful intelligent man!
My husband is my rock. We have been married for 27 years, but have known each other for 32 years. The last 8 years have been very rough and a lot of couples would have divorced with all the stress, but he stands WITH ME and Beside me and he loves the Lord. We lost my FIL 8 years ago, a year later our oldest daughter was dx with terminal brain cancer and at the end of her journey my SIL was dx with MS and within 2 weeks she was gone due to a drug causing her heart to stop and exactly 2 mos. later we lost our sweet Marissa Faith, just one day after her 8th b-day, 9 mos. later my dad was dx with cancer and we lost him to the Lord in Sept. Right after that my husbands other sister was dx with breast cancer. On top of that my dh took a new job in a new state and we still have a house for sale back home. It has not been an easy last 8 years, nor an easy married life, but we are still together and we grow closer to HIM every day. We would be lost without our faith. He is calm, I am the one to panic. He calms me and keeps me grounded. I also have health issues that does not help, but he still stays with me and with our children. We have 8 total, all adopted from 23 down to 3. I also had endometriosis and have fibromyalgia, so good days and bad. He also has some health issues. I am amazed that he has stayed with me and beside me through it all. Without my husband and the Lord, I do not know where I would be today. I love my husband with all my heart. I thank God for bringing us together outside that Dairy Queen so many years ago. I am very blessed!
my husband is loyal,hard working,would buy me most anything i want within reason.a good provider and very handy around the house-carpentry,car maintenence,snow removal,cutting and splitting the wood,and much more.
I love my husband’s kind & gentle spirit. He is always calm, gentle, and soft with his answers. He has the wonderful ability of giving the benefit of the doubt and believing the best in people, especially me. He softens me up, and reminds me to stay calm, listen more, and react less.
I am so blessed. We will be celebrating our 15 yr wedding anniversary soon.
Thank you Lord for the gift I have in my hubby!
My husband and I too are completely opposite. We are newly married and it has been such an adjustment for the both of us. This is a second marriage for the both of us. After being with someone for so long (he was married 12 yrs and I was married 14 yrs) it is sometimes difficult to not compare. I try hard not to do this but find myself sometimes thinking to myself of course this is not what I am used to. We either really get along or really don’t get along. There is no in between. But I Love my husband with all my heart. I am 39 yrs old and I have never ever had anyone to make me feel so loved. I can totally be myself no matter what and he loves me all the time. I pray constantly that the Lord will help me to stop throwing “flesh balls” and start trying to understand and except the fact we are different and love him for the man he is. He is a wonderful man and I am blessed to have him. Like I said his best trait is making me feel loved like I have never felt before. He is my bestfriend.
My husband, Jay, and I have been married for almost 24 years. He has truly been my “knight in shining armor!” We have three children together, and I have had 16 operatons in the last 12 years. Jay has always taken up the slack, been my nurse, my strength, “Mr. Mom”, and the spiritual leader of our home. He is calm when i am anxiety ridden, he is happy and positive when I am negative and grumbling, he is quiet when I am loud, he is strong when I am weak. Sometimes the tables turn, and all I have to do is verbally tell him that he is wonderful, that I respect him and especially that I desire him, and all is right with the world! We read the “Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti” book together several years ago, and are now teaching it as a marriage class at our church. We love it, and together we celebrate our differences!
My husband and I have both grown so much in our walk with the Lord over the past 5 years. We have been married 20 years and when I look back at how patient he has been with me it makes me so thankful. He is a constant reminder of what it means to walk with integrity. He reminds me often that I need to walk in the spirit not in my soul. There are so many things I appreciate about him, it is very difficult to just put down one! The one thing I appreciate the most is his desire to be intimate with the Father above all else. He is a constant reminder of what it means to walk in the Spirit! What an amazing father and husband he is!!!
My husband and I are complete opposites as well. He’s the more fun-loving, easy going one and me the more disciplined, reserved. The one trait that I appreciate the most about my husband is in those times when I lose it and throw “fleshballs” he has never done the same in return!
My husband. There are times I’d like to scream and walk out the door. But there are many MORE times that I just want to sit in his lap and breathe in what makes him the wonderful man he is. Different! We are so far apart its almost comical. I relate a lot to what you said. I am the eccentric, no worries, “God will provide”, la-ti-dah kinda gal and he is the strong, organized, forward focused provider who always has our family at the forefront of his mind. He can be hard to get to know and is guarded and private. Me? I’m an open book who will tell you our life history in 5 minutes. But he is the strongest man of CHARACTER that I’ve ever known. I respect that so much in him. He is the guys who stops along the road (or in a restaurant parking lot) to change someone’s tire, the guy who will NOT do/say something just because others are, and the guy who will run out into the middle of the night to stop someone from beating up their girlfriend in the street (ALL of these are very true acts that I have personally witnessed in my husband.) The one thing that everyone would say about the man I’m blessed to know as my soulmate is that he has character and it makes me very proud to be his wife. :)
Thank you! My husband and I are totally opposites, but it really makes life fun. We’ve been married 39 years and 6 months — we’ve been pastoring over 33 years. We’ve learned to accept each other’s difference and often compliment each other’s strenghts and lesser strengths. ;0)
Looking forward to winning the prize! LOL
What a sweet, sweet story that unfolded. Can not IMAGINE how you were feeling when you heard about the eye of the storm!!!! But how amazing that God is even in the storm, and I LOVE the way that the P31 team pulled together from “all over” to support your girl and you in the stuff of real life. I’m proud of you! Proud of God’s people, proud to be part of His body … Joyful story!
I love seeing this story captured here in one place. It is truly, truly amazing how God provided and protect and made HIMSELF so clearly known and powerfully present in this storm/story. It was such a blessing to be part of the praying momma’s behind the scenes. Sooo thankful for Kenzie’s life in the South this year and all that God is doing in and through her – and that we get to be part of it. Love you and your girl!!! Hugs – Renee
(Dabbing away tears) This is what happens when God’s people work together. How wonderful is our God to engineer these circumstances. Praise Him for bringing Kenzie back safely and for the lessons learned along the way.
Amazing amazing amazing. And just like God! He is comical at times. Your daughter is amazing as well. The insight of how blessed we are is truly incredible. As I sit here wallowing in my own self-pity of the mess I’ve made of my life – financial burden and sinful relationship – I am reminded that I am truly blessed… I am still here and God has not stopped pursuing me. This valley I’m in, God is using to show me that I must rely totally upon him for EVERYTHING! Not just one part or a couple of parts, but every part! I’m so glad how God worked it all out and she is safely home now.
As mom to a 19 year old daughter (and two more ages 9 and 5) and a fellow Michigander, thank you for sharing your story. So happy that you are safe, and that it didn’t take you long to begin to count your blessings. You’re wise beyond your years. Hugs to you.
Kenzie, I know it wasn’t the fun weekend you had planned but what a great display God just made of His ability to protect you and care for you! A weekend to remember for sure.
It was my pleasure and prividlege to pray for you on Friday evening.
NOW you understand why North Carolinians freak out when just an inch of snow is forecasted! :)
What a GREAT, AMAZING God we serve! That was an awesome story of God’s provision; thanks for sharing both sides of it. I know how bad the weather was; I live just northeast of Charlotte. Thanks for sharing. My personal motto is “Life is what happens when you have other plans!” At least we know the One who has everything already planned out for us, in ways that we could never imagine.
You don’t know how much I needed to hear your daughter’s story this morning. Thanks for sharing it.
It was awesome this weekend to see what God did moment by moment! What a priviledge it was to pray for you!
What a precious detour our God took you on this weekend. You taught us all a powerful lesson. God is in the detours. He is in the distractions. He is in the disappointments. We just need to open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to see Him, hear Him, and receive Him. You did just that, Kenz, and I am so proud of you. We were praying, and you opened your heart to Him and allowed Him to honor His Word to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could have ever asked or imagined through the power of His Holy Spirit at work in your life. He has tested you much since you have come down South, and I hope you hear His voice, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Blight family loves you and is so proud of you!
Wendy, Monty, Lauren and Bo
With tears in my eyes…Praise The Lord! We serve an awesome God. What an amazing story and what a blessing that we could see Jesus every step of the way. :0)