Early on in this process of moving our family to the States I had a hunch God had a helpful piece of wisdom for me:
Don’t plan for this journey, prepare for it.
My nature leans towards that of a planner. I plan things out, we all follow the plan, we all execute the plan, we are all happy as long as we stick to the plan. In my twenties I lived blissfully in this place – ‘be it unto you according to your plan.’ Ok that’s not scripture… ‘a man plans his course but the lord determines his steps, but those steps better be following the plan.’ Ok that’s not scripture either. But let’s be honest we’ve all kind of gone with it for a season!
Very early on I knew that this journey wouldn’t work out like that. This wasn’t a family holiday or a house renovation, this was a whole new life. I can plan all I want but this is going to be in God’s timing, under his leading & grace, and my planning will take a back seat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to do extensive planning and administrative work – we wouldn’t get a family to the other side of the world without it – but I felt so strongly: hold any plan you make lightly, it will probably change!
This is the truth, There’s a big difference between A PLAN and PREPARATION. Planning is operational but preparation is a heart disposition. So I began to develop a prepared heart. A heart that was flexible and ready for uncertainty, low on facts, high in trust. Truly walking by faith and not by sight.
Sure enough the first ‘plan’ I made in regards to my daughter’s childcare (I won’t bore you with the details!) WENT WRONG. I smiled, went with it and adapted. We sold our house for the exact amount we needed to fund this move, oh wait, IT WENT WRONG… along came a huge penalty because we paid off our mortgage early. This has happened multiple times.
But then arrives the biggest curve ball to date, carrying with it the news that THE PLAN of arriving in the states for July and getting the kids settled in their new city ready to start their new school in September was out of the window! Immigration timescales are now saying October!
So we are now faced with the reality of doing another season in England. My daughter turns five in September so needs to start school here. This is no exaggeration – I was in the recycling bin digging out the papers from the school she wasn’t supposed to start at, but will now have to!! Our plans to start dinner parties in Philadelphia in September have now changed. Starting Church in the timeframe we had imagined was no longer a reality.
Instantly I’m frustrated, upset, saddened. But it doesn’t take long before I smile and remember God’s wisdom & recall this is why I prepared my heart. To allow the twists and turns, to embrace not the plan, but the story that’s unfolding.
And so we wait, embracing and enjoying the curveballs. Heading out to buy school uniform ready for September, yet with full expectation that we will collide with an ALL OF A SUDDEN moment with God.
Beth with her husband is the Lead Pastor of C3 PHILLY and is excited to begin the journey, with their two children Austin & Indie of planting a new church from the grassroots up on the East Coast. Beth is known for her humour and wit, both on and off of the platform, and if she’s not in the gym you can normally find her hunting down the best place to do brunch.