What’s up, Girlfriends?!

I have one question for you, “Who stole my summer and how can I get it back?”

Okay, that’s two questions, but you get my point. Summer is gone and everyone is going back to school. Everyone.

I will confess, when we were homeschooling our 3 Dufflings I loved back to school time. It meant new and fresh ideas for learning, a new lesson planner, and new curriculum. I would spend the last days of summer poring over catalogs, reading books on how to teach, and daydreaming about all of the great things we would learn. I loved getting the heavy boxes in the mail and watching the kids open them with great delight. I even liked making and then buying everything on my “school supply list.”

And now I must share a funny. One year I was in the thick of it at Target/Walmart with all the other mommas trying to find that one thing on the list you could not find anywhere. And there was much angst and not-so-polite words being spoken. Before I knew it, I was right along with them, except for the not-so-polite words being spoken. Then it dawned on me–I wrote my own list. Why would I add things that could not be found? So, I fixed that. I wrote a new list! Unfortunately, the other mommas couldn’t do that, so I just slipped away from the throng and went to Starbucks and celebrated with a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Well, all of the Dufflings are graduated from high school and college so there is no one to school. There is no mad dash of frenzied packing and then sending them off to college; we are done with all of that…or so we thought.

What happens when you graduate your last Duffling from college? I am so glad you asked! You, meaning the parent, go back to college!

That’s right people, we are back in college. The “we” is actually a word for solidarity. My husband is the one who is actually going to classes, writing papers, and reading books. I’m just here for moral support and to type, maybe. After 30 years I find myself back in the campus bookstore looking for books, pencils, and notebooks.

When did life take such a sharp turn? My husband is returning to Liberty University to complete his Master’s degree. So, here we are back where it all began. And I find myself asking just about every day, “This is the plan Lord? Are You sure, because I am not a big fan of this plan.” We are much too old to start new things or even finish up old things. But, the Lord has assured me daily that this is indeed “the plan” for us.

So, now what?

In the Bible we witness several plans that seemed so ridiculous and even misguided, but they were deeper plans, plans that only God could bring to bear on any given situation. For example, bringing down a walled city with just shouts of faith, confusing an enemy with candles hidden inside pots, turning water into wine, or calming a raging sea with just a few words.

In the midst of those plans there was one common denominator: Our Sovereign Lord held all of the pieces in His hands, including the pieces that were unseen. It’s the same today with our everyday lives.

Our lives as believers are filled with plans that make no sense, but we get Jesus. Every time, we get Jesus.

We have a God who cares about every detail of the lives we are currently living. A God who is not just faithful, but deeply rooted and planted in our lives. He has seen the end from the beginning, meaning we can trust Him.

We can trust the most outrageous plans because we serve a most outrageous God.

There is nothing standard or commonplace about Him. So why do we doubt Him? Why do we wrestle with His plans for our lives?

Faith. Faith is what is needed to live this Christian life. You just can’t get there from here without faith. It’s a treacherous path at times, but oh, the outcome is so very grand!

I think of Nehemiah on the wall, warring with one hand and building with the other. It looked like a bad plan but it was the opposite. It was a plan that allowed the glory of God to be on display for all to see!

The Cross looked like an awesome disaster. It looked like we had lost and that it was finished in a very bad way. But then we got Jesus! Our crucified Savior, our risen Lord, and our soon-coming King!

So, when the plan looks like it can do nothing but fail, look again. I mean really look again. You will begin to see the plan of God through the eyes of God and with a faith that is not your own.

“I pray thee Lord, open up his eyes so that he may see there are more with us than there are against us” (extremely paraphrased – 2 Kings 6:17). That is my daily, sometimes moment-by-moment, prayer as I walk through life.

There are just so many things that are flung our way that we don’t anticipate or prepare for. The illness of an aging parent, the loss of a full-time job, the death of a loved one, and the list can go on and on. We live in a fallen world surrounded by fallen people. We are destined to bump up against the harsh things of this life. But, we don’t need to worry about the plans that God has for us. He promised that they would be good and would benefit us and even more, bless us.

Can we trust Him? Yes, we must trust God with our very lives and the lives of those we love. God has a greater plan; we need only believe.

So, this past week started with the first day of school for my husband. He went to classes, took lots of good notes, read his books, and practiced (he’s a music/worship Master’s student) And I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to post his “first day picture” on Facebook. So, here he is–Mr. Daryl Duff’s first day of 17th grade, lol!

As you go about your day, if we come to mind pray for us. We are confident that we are smack in the middle of God’s will for our lives. There were so many steps to get us to this place, it has to be God. We are excited, unsure, and at times frightened. But, the one thing we are is confident. We are confident that our God will bring perfect provision for this portion of the journey. Until next time!

Gripped by a good God!

<>< Claudia Duff

“Now get up, Ezra. Take charge-we’re behind you. Don’t back down” Ezra 10:4 (MSG)