Pictures, Planning and Prophets

I suppose you are familiar with disappointment! Who isn't? If you know someone who has never felt the let down of being disappointed please tell me how they do it. Being a blogger, I have two goals, to write and to talk about fashion. In order to talk about fashion I have to post pictures. Many bloggers take their own pictures or have their spouses take pictures. I just got a new camera and have only just begun playing around with it. Until, I become proficient I still depend on my eldest to take pictures for my fashion posts. Usually, this means an all day shoot, trying to cover as many weeks of outfits as we can.

Today was our designated shoot day. I spent the last few weeks putting outfits together following a color theme that details the Pantone Fall 2016 color choices. I do this, not because I am so trendy, but because it gives me a spring board from which to put together an outfit. This had been a difficult task. Unlike the Spring 2016 color palette, the colors for fall are not the norm. Instead of yellow, it's Spicy Mustard; instead of green, it's Lush Meadow. The colors are just different enough to make matching them, at least some of them, challenging.

Since my daughter is married, I invited her and our son-in-law over for lunch, along with my other daughter, who does my make up for the shoots and our grandson. I made bacon and tomato sandwiches and corn for our lunch. The house filled with the scent of cooking bacon and the stove was covered in spattered grease. I enjoy having my whole family together, so our lunch lingered. When we were finished my youngest began her make up application, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. After that, I ran upstairs and changed into the first of 11 outfits. Yes, that's right, 11. 

Here I am looking at the storm clouds blowing in. Photo credit  Rebecca Trumbull . Make up  Rachel Christensen.

Here I am looking at the storm clouds blowing in. Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen.

The sky had grown overcast, but the rumbling thunder made it obvious something was happening. We ran outside for a few pictures of the first outfit and just got back inside when the rain began. Our photo shoot was ruined! The forecast confirmed the possibility of storms were going to threaten until evening. After which the light would no longer be suitable for outdoor pictures. My plans failed. 

The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament has a number of verses that pertain to plans.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
— Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)
Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.
— Proverbs 19:21 (NASB)

Some of us are planners. My eldest, in true first born form, loves to plan, or at times feels that she is the only one that has the planning "gene". My husband on the other hand says, "Planning is a good way to make sure a particular thing doesn't happen." I'm not exactly sure at this point in my life, where I fall on this scale of extremes. I think I used to be more of a planner. I homeschooled, so planning was essential to getting my daughters through each grade. However, there were mornings where I would tell them, "Free time! Go play with your Barbies! We'll start school after lunch." 

As I've gotten older, I have a harder time wrapping my mind around planning. I mean, I still try to plan out the outfits for my blog posts and occasionally plan meals, but I don't spend vast amounts of time planning. In fact, in true Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins form, I am a panster as a writer, meaning, I write by the seat of my pants. 

The beauty of not being a planner is flexibility. The rub of not being a planner is never getting anything done! It drives my daughter crazy when there is an event coming up and no one has planned anything. My husband on the other hand would like the world to leave him alone and take their plans and put them up their proverbial bums.

The problem with planning comes when plans fall through. My plans to get a photo shoot done for my blog were not evil. They were good plans. My daughters and I both had the time to devote to the shoot, and my son-in-law, husband and grandson were fine with hanging out and having food together. The problem happens when I react to my plans failing. We tend to think that my plans and my life are the only things that matter in this world. But as the first verse above says, it is the Lord who directs our steps. We can think all we want that these are "my" plans, that this is "my" life, but only the Almighty has it all figured out.

The book of Jeremiah is all about calamity and restoration. God's chosen people were on again, off again. God spoke these words to the prophet Jeremiah,

‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.’ Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’
— Jeremiah 18:2-6 (NASB)
Pixabay

Pixabay

There are times where plans go awry. Things don't work out as we would like, or things happen that we feel totally unprepared for or that we feel are completely unfair. How do you tell a mother who is watching her child die of cancer that life is fair or that everything will be okay. What if it isn't?

I am trying to live life with my hands loosely holding onto the plans and the people I cherish most. I realize at any time, those plans could fall apart or those people could suddenly not be there. You might ask me, "How do you do that?" My reply would be "I don't."

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

Only God knows about planning. He is the Master. He created us from dust and to dust we will return. I feel compelled to trust Him, not only with my plans, but with the people that are part of my plans. I will continue to try to live with my hands open for Him to put in or take out,  to plan His plans.

Pixabay

Pixabay

Vapor

Here I am. Another week, come and gone. Another month come and gone. Truly there is something appropriate in these words penned by James in the New Testament:

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
— James 4:14 (NASB)

Sometimes, I feel just like that, a vapor...a puff of water turning into air and then gone. It is in thoughts like that I begin to understand the vastness of the being I have come to know as God. In all honesty it can be intimidating. Knowing that I am nothing more than a vapor, that one minute has a purpose and the next vanishes, is cause enough to make me tremble. 

Photo Credit  Ravi Pinisetti  on StockSnap

Photo Credit Ravi Pinisetti on StockSnap

Let's face it, we all want to have a purpose. Most of us would like to be remembered as an individual who made a difference, even if it was only in the lives of our families. We want to feel as though our life and all the struggle that came with it counted, for something. But James didn't see it that way. He said, we are just a vapor. How does that make you feel? Are you all encouraged now?

Of course, I am not going to leave us there. That would be very depressing and the point of my blog is to encourage, not make you want to run and jump off a cliff. James had a point for what he said. He was addressing people who were all about their own business. They made plans, but never thought to consult with God about what it was they were planning. The fact of the matter is, we do not know what tomorrow brings. Tomorrow may bring illness or injury. Tomorrow may bring a market crash or a job loss. Tomorrow may bring a miscarriage or a death of a spouse. We do not control tomorrow. We only have control over ourselves.

I have learned to live in the moment. I don't claim that I never think ahead, or that I am free of worry for the future, but hey, I am a vapor, why not just enjoy this moment that I have right here, right now. That doesn't mean I shouldn't plan, but I do need to let God be in the loop. That doesn't mean I just let go and eat everything I want or do things that would hurt my future. But it does mean learning to see God in the little things....even in the vapors that appear for a moment and then vanish.

Photo Credit  Lucy Chian  on StockSnap

Photo Credit Lucy Chian on StockSnap

Where did you see God today? I saw Him bring in the storm clouds that dumped rain. I saw Him chase the clouds away with  the wind to expose the sun. I saw Him provide in my flower garden a place for a toad to spend the afternoon. I felt His breath caress my face as I sat outside. I heard the birds sing songs to Him, praising Him for His provision and care. I heard a wise man telling me to, "Be still and know He is God."

Am I a vapor? Oh yes, but God knows this bundle of cells and DNA and He loves me. Do I know what tomorrow holds? No, but it is enough to know that He is.