Monday, May 6, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

As my (ahem) 39th and holding birthday approached in February, Mom inquired about my cake preferences. "Don't fuss, Mom. I'd be happy with a couple of brownies."

I later discovered Mom had other ideas. My day fell on a Saturday, and we had a couple of commitments with two ministries. We were also supposed to visit a friend Sunday afternoon, so there were ample "cake opportunities."

Those plans were cancelled, and a rather large sheet cake sat in her refrigerator. We enjoyed our own little party, but what could we do with the leftovers? Mom and I decided she could share it with her Wednesday Bible Study group. They usually have a crowd, and they finished it off for us.

As a writer, I sometimes make big plans. While goals are a positive, they don't always work out the way we hoped. Early in the process, I'd agreed to help with a small regional conference. My year was mapped out from start to finish.

Then the unthinkable happened. My husband was diagnosed with a virulent form of leukemia. All of my attention focused on him. Those writing goals no longer held the importance I'd attached to them.

During those times, my perspective went through a major shift. Writing settled into the correct spot on the priority list behind the Lord and my family.

After my husband passed away and I survived my own challenges, I looked at the experiences sitting in my mental refrigerator. Could the Lord do something with these leftovers? I was able to serve others slices of hope and God's faithfulness through non-fiction pieces, an email newsletter, and fiction.

When we're open to His leading, He takes our ruined plans and re-purposes them to minister love to others.

Writers:   What experiences have you gone through in your writing life that God turned around for your good?

Readers:  What difficult times have you seen God convert from lemons to lemonade?

Photo credit:  wjs7652


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. that's a good analogy .. though a cake would never sit that long in my fridge!

We need to remember we all have something to offer to help others .. love the thought here - Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Had to laugh at Hilary's comment about the cake. :) It would be the same around here, I'm thinking. Good analogy, thanks!


DenaNetherton said...

Beautiful, Susan. And that's what he did in your life. Took those leftovers and re-purposed into something amazing. What a lovely testimony of a godly woman who kept her eyes on the Lord even during tragedy.

Rhonda Schrock said...

Many difficult times, Susan, and it's true. He can redeem them.

Good example, my friend! I like it.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

LOL! I'm more of a cookie eater than a cake eater.

A dear friend once said, "When you're hurting, go minister to someone else."

Hi Karen - I'm thankful the Lord has given me beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.

Hi Dena - The Lord does such a marvelous job of turning around what the enemy meant for evil for our good.

Hi Rhonda - I'm convinced no matter what happens in my life that God loves me and is for me.

Susan :)

Jean Fischer said...

More times than I can count, I've seen the Lord turn my lemons into lemonade. I realize now that those experiences have changed me from a "fretter" to a person who views life with a positive attitude knowing that God is always in control.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Susan.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

Yes, I'm learning to "hold steady" and trust the Lord with situations.

Susan :)

JD said...


What a clever analogy. Yes, the Lord has flipped my plans on their head but for the greater good. My plans are also sitting in the "fridge" while other obligations take center stage in my life. I'll get to those "leftovers" when they move up on my priority list as well. :-)

This is a thought-provoking post! Enjoy your day.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janette Dolores -

There's just something about food that inspires posts.

Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Hi, Susan!

I'm sorry you went through this horrible experience with your husband's illness and passing, and glad that you were able to help others through what God taught you.

As a writer, I've tried to take embarrassing things I've done and turn them into humor articles, so others won't feel alone for the ditzy things they do.