Good morning friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. Last week we began our week reflecting upon God using us to do his will, and us responding to those callings, however big or small. How did your week go with that?
Well, today I am sharing another story that begins today and will finish next week. It’s a dear story to me as it tells of our circumstances surrounding the passing of my Dad, I pray you find comfort and encouragement in God’s gracious care for you, even in the midst of unknowns and grief.
Enjoy…coffee’s hot and we are gathered…
Change of Plans
“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 hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:21-25
In the summer of 1993, we had a last-minute change of vacationing plans. I was pregnant with our daughter and in the start of my third trimester, and our eldest was an active little boy of 20 months. My husband and I had planned a couple days of camping to start off our week of vacation, followed by a few days with my parents at their home on the lake. Campgrounds were booked and ETA of 12 noon on Sunday was arranged with my parents.
My husband, Rick, is not a last-minute plan changer by nature, however, upon his arrival home from work that Friday, he announced that we would be going to New Brunswick to visit his father. I was shocked but at the same time resigned to the change. He couldn’t explain why he felt so strongly that we go, but he just knew it was something we had to do. Since the luggage and trailer were ready to go, I simply made a couple calls to cancel the campground reservations and a final call to my parents to let them know of our change in plans. We assured my parents that if we arrived home in time, we would shoot up to see them the following weekend. Although they were disappointed, they wished us safe travels and we confirmed with them that we would call once we arrived at Rick’s Dad’s home.
Off we went. We began our 16-hour road trip without any mishap and arrived at our destination on Sunday afternoon around 4pm. Thankfully our 20-month old, Andy, was a good little traveller and, despite feeling like a beached whale stuffed into a sardine can, I was no worse for the wear. We had arrived and were ready to enjoy a lovely few days catching up on family news and sightseeing.
After our hugs, greetings and unloading of luggage, I proceeded to call my parents, as promised. After a couple rings, my brother picked up the phone, which wasn’t uncommon since he and his young family would often spend the summer weekends at ‘the cottage’. I said, “hi!”, and he seemed overly thankful that I ‘got his message’. I couldn’t understand what he meant; got his message? He proceeded to say, “We didn’t know how to get a hold of you,” and without any warning, announced, “Dad died.” Well, I have never known my body to feel the way it did at that moment; it went instantly numb, my mind went into slow motion, my legs gave out and down I went.
As my Dad suffered from diabetes and a weak heart, he had endured many minor heart attacks over the previous few years. It was only a matter of time that one of them would be the one that took his earthly life. Thankfully two years prior to his passing he was baptized and professed his faith in Christ. As it turned out, my Dad’s final heart attack began and was in full swing by noon that day; the same time we were supposed to arrive. God had replaced our arrival at my parents’ place with the neighbour girl who was a registered nurse. He spared us – me- from the chaos of the heart wrenching events and for the final memory of my father in such fear and distress.
Now our issue was finding a flight home for me and Andy. We made phone call after phone call, trying to arrange a flight home with no avail. By 2pm the next day, Rick finally made the decision that we were getting back in the car and driving the 16-hour drive home in order to be present at the funeral home for the final visitation, 7:00 pm on Tuesday. I was fearful that it would be too much driving too soon for Andy, however, it seemed to be our only feasible solution. As God would have it, Rick’s Mom and husband who lived about thirty minutes from us in Ontario, were in New Brunswick visiting Rick’s maternal family at the same time. So by 4:00 pm – only 24 hours from the time we had arrived- we were loaded back in our car and headed to drop off the trailer, in order for Rick’s Mom to tow it home so that we could drive as efficiently as possible. By 5:30 pm we were speeding along the TransCanada highway headed for Ontario, silent and numb.
I have had much time to reflect on God’s timing and his grace. I am so thankful for a Godly husband to hear, listen and heed God’s calling, although at the time Rick nor I knew that was what was happening. I am also thankful for knowing and relying on God’s instruction to the family unit; His command to submit to one another, for wives to entrust their Godly husbands as the head of the family, and for husbands to love us so much as to give up their lives for us. Although it would have been easy to dispute Rick’s need to go to New Brunswick and stay with the already arranged plans, I am glad I didn’t. I believe it was God’s grace keeping me and our unborn daughter, from being present during my dad’s distress and passing.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, you know all and you see all. Thank-you for the unexpected change in plans that may occur for the good of my life. Help me to walk in your ways and to trust those in my life through whom you speak through your Holy Spirit working in us. Thank-you for your instruction through your Word to guide me in my marriage, and all relationships. All glory, honour and praise to you! In Jesus’ name I pray! AMEN
Reflection: Look back on your life. Was there a time where plans were changed unexpectedly and you were blessed by those changes? There are no co-incidences. Thank God for His ongoing protection and guidance.