People Before Plans

Sometimes you have to know when to ditch everything and just live in the moment.
©istock.com/Sasiistock

Before I married my husband, I began a career I loved. It was not the career I had planned to have, but it was the one that I knew was right for me—when I stumbled into it.

Yes, I stumbled into my career.

After high school, I went into the military and while I was serving our country, I had the opportunity to train in Communications Project Management. I had never heard of Project Management while I was in school, so I can say that without a doubt, I had never planned on becoming a Project Manager.

But God apparently did. I could tell you the whole story about how I ended up in that job, but that’s not really what I want to share with you.

What I want to share with you, sweet Homeschool Mom, is this: I am a Mom who LOVES plans. I mean, I absolutely love pulling out a spreadsheet and planning anything and everything. It’s just something I enjoy.

Once I see the “big picture” in any event, I love drilling down to the smallest detail and planning everything. So, when we began having children and decided to homeschool, I researched everything I possibly could and began planning for each and every year—right through graduation.

Planning helped eliminate a lot of stress and helped our lives run smoothly over the years. As long as heart issues were not impacting the plan, life moved forward and plans were only slightly adjusted.

But somewhere along the way, God allowed one crisis after another to impact those beautifully laid out plans, and I learned something: we can plan our ways, but God really does plan our steps (Proverbs 16:9). The crisis He allowed to impact our lives confused my family’s steps in ways that I never expected.

You can only plan for a crisis to a point. Until you’re in the midst of one, you really can’t say how you or your family will truly respond, but you can trust that God will be with you through it all—that He has plans for you—and that knowledge will give you the anchor of hope necessary to make it through.

Trust me in this. I know what I’m talking about.

You see, as a homeschool family, we have always said we will trust the Lord with our children (after all, they are His, only loaned to us for a short time) and identify what is best for each one of them—to find the path that the Lord has created for them. (Isn’t that one of the beautiful things about homeschooling? Really helping our children find the path God has created for them?)

It’s easy as a homeschool family to say that, and yet it can be difficult to follow. It’s easy to get caught up in pedagogy, curriculum, plans, and thinking we have it all figured out. But, well, God may have other plans.

So, we had these plans and they were working beautifully.

But then, God allowed our lives to be turned upside down and those plans had to be thrown out of the window.

And I mean that literally.

It’s not easy to say. In the homeschool world, it can almost feel shameful.

You see, those plans have included some serious heart hurt for one of our children. And that heart hurt has caused lessons to be put aside on most days and many tears to be cried. The pain that has entered the heart of our home has meant hours upon hours with driving to and from the doctor’s office—and a lot of me just sitting—too tired to pray and without proper words, but giving thanks that the Holy Spirit prays on my behalf.

Those are hard things for any family to go through.

For a family dedicated to homeschooling, acknowledging that a child who was “ahead” is now behind, knowing that graduation will be delayed, and realizing that the idea of dual enrollment and graduating early had become an idol—oh, how that hurts to write, but it’s true. You see, this child has a heart that has always glimmered like the stars in the sky and I began to hold onto accomplishments as if they were what we were working so hard for.

But God reminded me—that’s not why we are doing this.

The plans that we once had have now been put to the side, and new ones are being written.

There are days when the lessons are set aside and a cup of coffee is held while we sit on the porch and just talk. We talk about the birds, the water, how life used to be. We have hard conversations about God allowing someone to be hurt.

These aren’t conversations I had planned for.

These are cups of coffee I never dreamt I would pour.

I never imagined sitting in the ER and saying “Please—if you are willing—take this cup from me . . .” and yet acknowledging “not my will, but thine” (Luke 22:42).

As I look over my life, I see God’s plan working itself through the very plans I have made. I see where I followed the path He desired for me and my family and I see where I didn’t listen carefully enough to hear his still small voice telling me which path to take.

I also see His hand guiding me ever so gently—and showing me that homeschooling is what he desires for my family. But not for the reasons I thought. No, He has and had other plans. He knew the crisis that would take place. He knew we would need to be here, in our home—where we can put the books aside and focus on hearts that are tender and delicate.

A safe haven.

Because those gentle and hurt hearts, if handled carefully, can become leaders for the future in a world filled with pain. Grace can reign over hurt and harm, shining the light so that others can also see that God doesn’t just use the people whose plans worked out beautifully – but also the people whose plans included tears that flowed freely from a Mama’s heart right onto the ER floor.

I also see His hand guiding me ever so gently—and showing me that homeschooling is what he desires for my family. But not for the reasons I thought. No, He has and had other plans. He knew the crisis that would take place. He knew we would need to be here, in our home—where we can put the books aside and focus on hearts that are tender and delicate.

Rebecca Brandt

Mom, no matter what your family is going through—God is with you.

Make your plans. Have your ducks in a row. But never, ever forget, your children’s hearts come first—before those plans—and they will never forget the beauty of grace that flows through your arms as you hug them tight.


Rebecca Brandt

Through God’s quiet voice, Rebecca Brandt has learned the beauty of submission to her Creator, prayer, and forgiveness. Rebecca is married to Robert and they have three children.


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