An empty calendar sits before me; a blank canvas ready to be painted with life’s plans. But the pen that sits next to it remains unused. Usually I would jump at the chance to fill in the new year’s plans. But this year is quite different. Life has changed. Planning is no longer enjoyable. There is now a pain that erupts each time I pick up the pen. It’s a reminder that all of the unplanned months will be without Garrett. And honestly, the thought of going an entire year, much less a lifetime without my best friend, is too much to take. God has continued to take this burden and make it light, from the very day this horrible reality came to be, by one simple truth that I have never grasped like I do now. I shouldn’t even say grasped. I’ve grabbed this bull by the horns. It’s been my mantra. Every single day.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
This is the polar opposite of my nature. I was born a planner. Probably too much of a planner. My mom still even has some proof of my obsessive childhood planning. From overly-involved details in planning my childhood birthday parties to extreme packing lists counting the exact amount of socks and underwear I should bring. I started picking out my children’s names when I was around four. The names changed but I remember vividly that I was planning on having triplet girls: Cassidy, Caitlin, and Chloe. This love for planning details continued through my life. That’s probably one of the reasons I loved my job as a teacher so much: can we say lesson plans? Once I married Garrett, the whole military lifestyle threw me for a loop. I had to learn to be okay with the unknown. But I also learned to be creative with my planning by discussing our possibilities for when and where and how, so I could get the details worked out in my mind. So I could be ready for the if’s and the when’s and the “I’m leaving tomorrow for 3 weeks” and the “we’re moving to the Mojave Desert a week before our first baby is due.” Sometimes I was prepared, but most of the time I wasn’t.
During these stretching times, I would pray through Matthew 6:34. I’ve grown leaps and bounds by living out the military lifestyle. Before all this, I would carry the weight of worry on my shoulders. I learned to give it to God. But I did struggle, from time to time, with picking that worry back up and placing that unnecessary burden back on myself.
But now that “back and forth” worry has all changed. This burden is just too heavy to carry, even for a little bit. I can wholeheartedly claim this verse now because there’s no other bearable option for me. I cannot face the future. But my God can. I’m thankful that:
The Lord himself goes before [me] and will be with [me]; he will never leave [me] nor forsake [me]. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
He only asks me to focus on today. And tomorrow… He’s got that covered. The next year. The rest of my life. He’s got all the details worked out. There’s no need to worry or be afraid. There’s a new freedom I’ve found in experiencing this truth. He’s gifted me with a mind at ease. He’s replaced my worry with a confident trust and hope.
I know I can’t get around it. I must start penciling in plans. But I now refer to them as rough draft
plans. God will revise and edit as He
sees fit. In an instant, everything
could change, as I experienced just a few months ago. So I hold loosely to my plans and trust Him. I’m looking forward to what He has around the
corner. For now, though, I’m only
focusing on getting through today. Tomorrow
will be there when I get there. And I am