Welcome to Week Two of the When God Doesn’t Fix It online Bible study!
We hope you enjoyed launch week with our friend, Laura Story. We had such a great time together in our kickoff interview with Laura, hearing her heart for this study and her a capella version of the chorus of “Blessings” for us! (You can still catch that video replay here on YouTube).
I love how relatable Laura is. She doesn’t pretend or even try to be perfect but instead accepts that we’re all pretty messy, we all have suffering that seems to come out of nowhere and hardship in our lives, we all are going to have those life moments or seasons that are crazy-painful, crazy-embarrassing, crazy-stressful, crazy-overwhelming, or just plain crazy. And that’s okay! All we can do is trust our story to God, follow His lead as best as we can, and remind ourselves that He is good and His plan is better than we can imagine, even in the toughest trials and biggest heartbreaks that derail all our hopes, dreams, and plans.
What was your favorite part of the video teaching for week one? What was your takeaway from the study questions with your group or on your own? I hope you’re digging deep into the daily study! The more you invest in your private time of reading, asking, thinking, and worshiping, the more you’ll get out of it. Keep going for it!
This week we’re in Session Two “Best-Made Plans” and for the study you will:
1. Watch the video for Week 2 on DVD or on FaithGateway for free.
2. If you’re meeting with a small group, or in a church setting with others, or on your own, go through the discussion questions for Session 2 in the When God Doesn’t Fix It Study Guide (pages 31-40). We invite you to join our online group discussion on Thursdays at either 2 p.m. EST and 9 p.m. EST.
3. For your personal study this week, answer the study questions each day in the When God Doesn’t Fix It Study Guide (pages 41-52, the gray section).
Here is an outline of Days 1-5 of your personal study this week:
- Day 1: Fuzzy Details
- Day 2: Real People
- Day 3: Another Curveball
- Day 4: A Lifetime of Learning
- Day 5: Complete Surrender
4. Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read chapters 5-6 in When God Doesn’t Fix It – the paperback companion book, not study guide.
And finally, last week we wrote down a list of the times we were in trouble, in distress, really going through a hard time and the Lord came through or showed up in a miraculous way. We focused on God’s faithfulness through seasons of terrible pain. This week, let’s look back both in our own lives and in Scripture and write down times when best-made plans were turned upside down, and yet God’s plans proved to be so much better than we could have imagined. Will you share your stories with us?
We plan. God laughs. — Old Yiddish Proverb
Oh, yes, how our best-made plans do change! I used to be a 5-year-planner. I come from a long line of 5-year-planners. My eldest, bless her heart, is already a 5-year-planner. Every year I would update my 5-year plan. Of course, none of the years ever went according to my 5-year plan, but I felt it was best to be prepared just in case. But, somewhere in the series of years that went completely haywire, I finally threw up my hands and pitched the 5-year plan for good. This is just the beginning of that story.
Once upon a time, I had two rascally and hilarious little blonde children toddling around my house and I thought it would be impossible to squeeze any more happiness into our snug little home. Little did I know that one day in the middle of the cereal, bread, and coffee aisle at the market, the Lord would tell me that two more little ones would join our home and that their names would be Gwendolyn and Gabriella! My world turned upside-down in the most wonderful and only-God kind of way!
A few months later, after going through a new foster-adoption program, these two precious sisters (then 6 weeks and 17 months), Gwennie and Gabbie, slept warm in their beds in brand-new footie pajamas and I thanked God with an overflowing heart that I got to be their mama. What an incredible change of plans!
That summer was such a sweet one of wonderful firsts: their first haircuts, first time at the beach, first splashes in the pool, first time in the church nursery and Sunday school, first time at a theme park, their baptism and dedication, first fireworks show, BBQs and park playdates.
I was not prepared to lose my baby girls.
Four months after they arrived, the agency told me that their birth father who was in prison for dealing drugs – and who had accidentally killed one of his seven children – had sued the state and the county for placing the girls in an adoptive home four days before his parental rights were legally terminated.
With 24-hours notice, Gwennie and Gabbie were moved to a foster (not fos-adopt) home.
I remember driving them there the following day in a haze of shock and grief. What on earth? How is this even possible? How can I leave these babies God gave me at someone else’s home and drive away forever? After leaving, I drove around the corner, pulled over, and just wailed. I don’t get it, God! You ordained these girls to be my daughters. Why? Why did I only get to love on them for four months? Why? I didn’t have adequate words so I just wept.
Have you ever been in such a state of grief that it seems unearthly and bizarre that people are just going about their day as usual all around you? You want to yell at them, “What on earth are you doing jogging? Who goes to brunch at a time like this? Why are you playing basketball at the park? Stop! Don’t you know that the world just collapsed?”
I don’t know (yet) what good the Lord brought into the lives of Gwennie and Gabbie because of that season I had the blessing of mothering them. There are regularly soaked in prayer, but there’s so much that I don’t and may never know. But, after all of God’s faithfulness, I cannot help but trust Him that that time served an invaluable purpose. It was necessary. And, it was good.
What I do know is that if it weren’t for them, I’d never have been able to adopt my currently 6-foot, 170 lb., 16-year-old football beast of a son, Jack. And, I may have never given birth to my 9-year-old comedian, Evangeline. And, I’d never have adopted my 9-year-old deep-thinker and tender-heart, Elianna Ray from Ethiopia.
Our life is a far cry from perfect, but my family has a snug, happy little life together and for that I am so grateful.
My plans are small. God’s are so big, and full of color, and life, and heartbreak, and hope, and sudden death, and new dreams, and all the beautiful blood and guts of a good life. I’ll take that over my puny 5-year-plan any day.
Prayer for the Week
Lord, look upon Your children who love you so much. Turn Your face to us and give us peace. God, life with You is full of detours — sometimes they fill our hearts with joy and laughter, and sometime with agony and the destruction of all that we have held dear. Help us to draw near to You even in pain and to bring our rejoicing and our questions and hurt to You. Help us to trust that You are in control and You have good in mind for us and for those whom we love with all of our hearts. When life is going swimmingly, remind us to praise You! When life doesn’t make any sense, in Your mercy anchor us to You. We love You. Amen and amen.
Think about a time you experienced a significant detour away from how you had planned your future. As you look back, how was God directing your path through this detour? Join the conversation right here on the blog.