I Have a Plan for You

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. ”   Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

This verse is often quoted when things are difficult or confusing.  It’s a comforting verse.  I’ve quoted it many times and have held tightly to it during rough periods of my life.  Today, I read the entire chapter.  It’s either the first time I’ve read the whole thing or the first time I’ve paid attention to it.  Either way, my eyes were opened.

This verse is in the middle of God sending a message to His children.  The children of Israel had been taken into captivity in Babylon.    Their only desire: to go home.  There were prophets that were assuring them they would be going home soon.  But, God had a different message:

“This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:   “Build houses and make yourselves at home.  Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.  Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.  Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.  Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.

” Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”   Jeremiah 29:4-11 MSG

God did promise to gather all of His children together and to bring them home.  After 70 years had passed in Babylon, that is.  I don’t think that was what the people wanted to hear.  God was telling them to make their homes there in Babylon.  They were to live their lives to the fullest.  In Babylon.  And, (I think this would be the hardest part for me), they were to PRAY for Babylon to do well!  Really!?!  They’ve carried me and my family away into captivity, and I’m supposed to pray for good things for them?

I don’t know about you, but when I pray for God to do something, I really want it done now.  Next week might work.  A month from now would be pushing things.  I’ve never requested or expected to wait 70 years.  Wow.  This changes the way I look at “plans to give you the future you hope for”. 

How many times have I kicked and complained with my lot in life?  How many times have I cried out to God and questioned His decisions?  How many times have I accused God of not listening or caring?  Truthfully, more than I would like to admit.

I’m currently living within some parameters that I don’t like.  There are rules and consequences that many times seem to take over my every moment.  My life is not always mine to do with as I please.  This will be my life for the foreseeable future.  When I read these scriptures, I knew God was reminding me to wait on Him.  I can live my life, captive to circumstances out of my control.  I can live fully and trust Him.  He doesn’t promise to remove the issues as I would prefer.  But, He does assure me that “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”   

The next few verses are actually when the comfort arrives:

 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14a MSG

This doesn’t say, “Call out to me and I’ll give what you want.”  He does promise that I can always find Him.  He will always listen.  I will not be disappointed even in circumstances or trials that I just don’t like at all.  I need to make finding God my priority, not escaping from my “captors”.

So, I will always be glad that God has a plan for me.  But, my new goal is to this:

SERIOUSLY seek God and put Him above every circumstance in my life. 

Are you struggling with your own “70 year captivity”?





And here comes 2015

Christmas 2014 is history. Its time to take down the lights and start the move into 2015. The new year with all its unknown. This is the time to look back and see what has been and then plan for what we want the new, fresh and clean year to become. And I just want it to be over and done. I’m tired of looking into the future and seeing a long, lonely road. I don’t want to think or contemplate the future. It’s just more of the same.

2014 was a big year of changes for me. I started a new job with a new company that I really enjoy. (Totally a God thing.) I’ve taken a break from some of my ministry commitments in order to refuel and decide my next steps. My daughter moved into her own place and is establishing her life away from me. I found out that my son is going to be a father in the spring of 2015. Good changes, really. But, it doesn’t mean they were easy changes. And, there are more to come.

I have realized that I cannot look at 2015 in one big view. It’s too overwhelming for me. I have failed before the new year has even begun. I’m not sure how to approach 2015. As hard as I try, I can’t dream about the future. I’ve learned the hard lesson that when dreams die, it hurts. I’m afraid of disappointment (my own and of others) and any more loss. I know that living in fear of loss/pain robs me of many wonderful experiences. I barely held it together during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year. I have forgotten how to be content on my own. I have lost the art of being one and only one. I have become too dependent on others and on busyness to keep me distracted from what my life really is. I have to figure it all out, again.

So, for me, 2015 means ONE. I have to relearn being ONE. I have to separate “me” from my children, my friends and my work. I must stop depending on others and learn to stand alone. I have to face 2015 day by day, for this is my life. There is no one else to live it with me or for me.

Psalm 121:1 -2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (KJV)

Candy Crush Life

Have you ever played Candy Crush? It’s a popular and rather addictive game. You progress through the levels by amassing points, eliminating enough jelly, and bringing down various fruit. The premise is simple: you match colors in groups of three or more to score. Eliminating more than three items nets you some additional ‘perks’ to use in the game. There are time bombs that have to be eliminated and that nasty chocolate that creeps across and blocks access to parts of the board as well as a limited number of moves for each level. Some levels were easy to conquer and then some have taken me weeks to master.

There are times that my life feels like a Candy Crush game. I can get so focused on getting a bonus piece that I totally overlook the chocolate that is taking over my board. In life, I am just as guilty of focusing too much in one area and totally missing the truly important stuff. I try so hard to get what is important in the moment and I lose everything in the end.

So how do I live in this moment but keep my focus on the bigger picture? What IS the bigger picture? That’s where Faith come into play. Too often my faith in only as strong as a three or four-color string of candy. When the chocolate creeps across and makes things difficult, I panic and fall apart. I need to have complete faith and trust on the promises God had given me through His word:

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 NIV)

I have to stop focusing on MY little plans and adventures. In 2014, I pray that my goals and plans are God designed, not of the Candy Crush variety. I desire my heart to belong to my Lord and Savior and follow his lead in my life. No matter what creeps in and offers a distraction, I will focus on the higher goal.

This won’t be easy. The “candy” in life is everywhere. I will enjoy bits and pieces along the way, I just can’t allow my focus to be dependent on the perks. What about you? Do you live a Candy Crush life? Is this the year to make a difference in your life?


Since I live in the Houston area, I spend time in traffic. I’m always amazed (and at times irritated) by the liberties taken by some of my fellow drivers. When merging onto the freeway, there’s always that one driver that just has to cut in front of me; even though there are no cars behind me! Just this morning, traffic was particularly heavy because of rainy weather, I saw several cars wait until the last-minute to move into the right lane so they could make the next corner. In fact, one driver waited so long, he made his right turn from the middle lane having never made it into the right turn lane. Fortunately, the driver in that turn lane was watching and avoided their potential crash meeting. I’m sure the middle lane person had a REALLY important place to be and that superseded any appointments of those drivers that he cut-off with reckless abandon. He NEEDED that short-cut!

Our world is full of short-cuts. we have learned the short-cut keys to use on the computer to save key strokes. Call ahead to be put your name on the restaurant waiting list before you even arrive. Cut thru neighborhoods to avoid traffic. Check out the latest “miracle” diet that guarantees quick weight-loss. We buy microwaves, turbo ovens, pressure cookers, and any other device that is FAST. We rush into physical relationships based on emotions and personal desires. Faster is better. My time is important, I need to maximize it. I AM IMPORTANT!

And then I read Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Wait. Really? There are no short-cuts with God. God has a plan for my life. And, no matter how much I beg, whine, or complain, that plan will be revealed in God’s time. I am to wait for Him. I am to develop my relationship with Him. When I attempt to jump ahead of the line and get MY way, I miss important parts of the journey. And, I usually end up circling around to the back of the line, anyway. Wait. Just Wait. Such any easy concept and yet so hard to accomplish.

In 2013, I’m learning to wait. How about you?