Life as we know it is quite unpredictable at best. It is funny how sometimes when we feel that we have everything planned right down to the letter, life steps in and alters the course unexpectedly. Recently my husband and I had planned a weekend away just the two of us to celebrate our birthdays and spend some much needed alone time together. With him working afternoons and myself working days, we were really needing some time for just us. For weeks we anticipated this getaway and chatted about all the possibilities we would look into for activities, shopping and restaurants. My friends and family were so happy for us and were eager to hear of the special time we had upon our return. Well unfortunately, our weekend away did not go as planned to say the least. It started with me in tears as Phil was so sick that we were questioning if we should even go. We did decide to go, but Phil’s illness prevailed and left us with little opportunity to get out and enjoy the weekend. We tried to look at the bright side and make the best of it, but we were very disappointed. We did have several nice meals at wonderful restaurants but most of our time was in the room with Phil feeling under the weather trying to rest and me feeling very sorry for myself. When we tried to go shopping, Phil asked if he could go to the car because he couldn’t “stand.” When we went out for dinner, Phil ate very little because he had no appetite. When we drove for two hours to our hotel, Phil slept the whole way. So much for our nice conversation. You get the picture. My reality for sure did not match my expectation of this anticipated mini vacation. To top it off, we had a fresh snowfall in April and a blackout at our hotel right in the middle of a great movie we were watching. Seriously? We joked about that weekend being the weekend getaway from hell. This led into the next week when I was the fortunate recipient of Phil’s illness. Give me a break! A do-over is certainly justified.
Sometimes when things do not go as planned, unique opportunities arise. We are studying simple machines in science and I had spent more time than I care to admit on Pinterest trying to find cool ideas for simple machines the students could make. I found a great idea for a catapult which is a lever using a plastic spoon and a few other common materials. My problem was twofold however. Firstly I did not make it exactly as shown and secondly I did not test it prior to the lesson. Big mistake! The first couple of tries as I launched a small eraser from my plastic spoon I was so pumped. It actually worked and the students were excited and engaged! I am teacher! Hear me roar! Shortly after, the only thing launching was the spoon itself every time the students tried to use it. We had a lot of laughs and I had an opportunity for a teachable moment with them. With candid honesty I admitted that my catapult was truly an epic fail and I challenged them to make a better one. Well they couldn’t have been happier. Some brought catapults that they had made at home and some used materials from class, but let me tell you, with them as the builders I had stuff flying all over room nineteen! The creativity and functionality of their catapults was outstanding and I applauded them on not only meeting my challenge, but exceeding it.
Several years ago the enrollment went down at the school where I was working. My teaching position was declared surplus which in short meant I would still have a job, but just not at that school. I had been teaching at that school for four years, had made some amazing friendships and really felt that I was making an impact on the students there. I did not feel my work was done there and to say I was disappointed was an understatement. I could not see myself leaving this school. It was not in my plans. I could not picture myself at any other school, and I was clearly heartbroken. I remember going to the front of my church for prayer and mentioning my situation. My pastor was very compassionate to my situation and shared that he really felt that God wanted me to know that I was to “prepare for the unexpected.” I was encouraged as right away in my mind, I thought maybe by some miracle, I would be able to stay at my current school after all. It is funny how we try to figure it all out and God is thinking “Hands off! I got this!” Well to make a long story short, I did have to leave my beloved school but in return God placed me at another amazing school with the same grade assignment, wonderful and supportive colleagues, and a location five minutes from my house. I think the “unexpected” element of this job was it had not been advertised, so the fact that I got it and it worked so well for myself and my family has been a huge blessing. Yes, I greatly miss my previous school and all it offered me, but I am also so grateful for the new assignment I have been able to enjoy the past three years.
One of the greatest qualities we can strive is to develop is flexibility. Plans fail. Assignments change. Marriages crumble. Dreams shatter and we are left scratching our heads and questioning what is next for us. My husband and I always wanted a large family, but sadly that was not in God’s plan for us. After our third miscarriage that took place when our son was six and our daughter was four, we really started re- evaluating if we needed to look towards a new direction for our future as a family. We were at a crossroads and through much soul searching, wise counsel and prayer I decided to go back to school and become a teacher. It was always something that I had put on the back burner for the future, but through other plans failing, I found the courage to move forward in a different way. I have often reflected on the fact that we wanted more children and I sure got more children, but in a very unique way. I have had the privilege of teaching and influencing many children throughout my teaching career. More children came my way but in a manner that fit God’s plan for my life.
I don’t know what you are facing right now. It could be a small hiccup, a huge upset or a devastating loss. Much of life is uncertain but one thing that will never change is that God is our refuge and our strength and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Our world may be changing all around us, but God’s love for us always remains the same. Isn’t it reassuring that no matter what comes our way that is planned or unexpected God is there with us in the midst of it? Be open to this truth and remember that being flexible and looking for the lesson in even the most disappointing scenarios can be a real blessing in the end.
Until next time ~
Jeremiah 29:11 ~ 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 a hope and a future.
Little Lesson Learned: When things don’t go as planned, learn from the experience and move forward a bit wiser.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015