Woman under stress with hand on her head

Seven Serious Game Changers When Your Plans Are a Bust

The New Year’s ball barely landed before our plans were busted. On January 1, 2018, at 5:00 in the morning, I walked my pale and feverish husband right into the emergency room.

The sun wasn’t even up. My thought was, If the sun isn’t awake, no one else should be either. No one has gotten the memo on that yet.

My son Jon was home most of December with fevers, seizure recovery, and flu-like symptoms. I counted down the days to New Year’s with a thermometer in my hand. Surely, by New Year’s Day everyone would be well. Right?


On New Year’s Day we were expecting friends whom I hadn’t seen in 32 years, but sitting in an ER at 5:00 that morning, it was evident the only entertaining we would be doing was inside a quarantined home.

But wait . . . the story’s just getting started!

Dog Days

My middle son, Austin, who’d recently graduated from college, was home too. He and our German shepherd, Sherman, have all the energy of Japan’s bullet train and both needed to get outside.

With my husband resting, I curled up by the fire to read. Before finishing the first page of my new book, I heard the door open. In walked Austin followed by a very sad dog.

Austin proceeded to tell us that Sherman had seen a scampering rabbit and just HAD to chase it. However, in his dogged excitement, Sherman bounded upon the icy driveway between him and the rabbit.

Sherman isn’t a little dude; he’s big and heavy. Big and heavy things hit harder on ice than small and light things like feathers or leaves. As expected, he hit the ice full speed and his hind leg slipped, twisted, and he went down.

The day ended with a moaning dog and a motionless husband. So much for Happy New Year’s.

Hang on, There’s More

Two days later, I started running a fever. Now, this is quite humbling. Since my New Year’s expectations were thoroughly ditched, my attitude hadn’t been at its best.

Regardless, humble pie was served to me in the form of a bad case of the flu. With my husband and me down for the count, my son took the dog to the vet for X-rays. Who would have thought it . . . the dog, THE DOG, needed surgery.

By January 5, my husband’s flu had expanded into a secondary bacterial infection throughout the soft tissue of his neck. The doctor said he may need surgery.

I Googled to see if doctors and vets ever work together . . . if they offer 2-for-1 specials for surgeries.

My husband isn’t one to stay down, so he decided he’d work, in spite of this massive bacterial infection. He promised to come home if he felt ill.

Well, he sort of forgot that promise. The phone rang at noon. His work said he was not well at all and was off to the hospital in an ambulance. Literally, at the same time we got the news about Sherman’s surgery. THE SAME DAY!

woman on snowy day in black stocking hat
(Image from Unsplash)

Bubbling Over

The hospital emergency room was loaded with hacking people wearing germ masks. Partly mad as a hornet and partly terrified for my husband, I walked the halls of the hospital to gather my thoughts.

When one is forced to sit in circumstances she never expected, a lot comes bubbling up from inside. Most of the time, we avoid facing this because we don’t like admitting what’s coming to the surface.

We don’t like facing our anger, selfishness, or the fact that we’ve been harsh with others because we didn’t get what we wanted or expected. We don’t want to admit we’ve been passive-aggressive with our family. We don’t like to fess up. Who ever said my plan or your plan is GOD’s plan anyway?

God’s memo to us is the Bible; maybe it’s best that we stick to reading that Book first. We’re still healing, which is much easier to do with a soft heart than an angry one.

And I’m certain of this one fact: this year will not unfold exactly as we planned. Something will disrupt our lives, causing the ugly parts of us to surface. What will you do? How will you respond? Here are some tips for when that happens:

  • Face with honesty and truth the feelings and emotions that surface.
  • Apologize for the times you have hurt others for not getting your way.
  • Choose to serve as if you are serving Christ, because the truth is, you are serving Christ when you serve others unselfishly.
  • If you can’t speak nicely, don’t say anything . . . you’ll regret it if you do. Ask Christ to help you reframe your thoughts and purify your desires.
  • Thank the Lord for all the ways He provides when tough times hit. Find three things of beauty in each day and thank the Lord for them—even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Be aware of your emotions; live anchored to the truth. Like thermometers, emotions reveal things stirring in us. However, we need to examine them before acting on them. When angry, don’t make an immediate choice; go for a walk, talk with a friend, journal, do something that releases the surge of energy so you can focus on truth and what is the best choice to make when you have calmed down.
  • Remember that every day of every year, God’s way is right and best; welcome it and watch Him work in and through you because of it.

Let Me Hear from You

How did your year begin? Not quite as you expected? I get it!

Which one of the seven thoughts above are you struggling with?

Will you connect with me?

I would love to walk with you in the days to come.

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