Plan for change

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I can’t believe 2020 is finally almost over.

I don’t know about you, but when I look back at everything that happened in 2020 and how much things have changed in just one year, I am amazed and a bit scared at the same time. Not a single one of us could have predicted what this year would bring to our communities, towns, states and country. We have experienced a pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing, racial tension, riots, an unprecedented hurricane season and political turmoil.

This time last year we were all caught up in getting ready for Christmas and had no clue what the shiny New Year would bring. I personally attended a friend’s wedding. It was her second marriage and I sat there in a panic whispering to myself that this was not my wedding and there was no reason to hyperventilate. Getting married again was not ever going to make it on my “to do” list…ever…never. I knew exactly how my coming year was going to unfold. I had just bought a new home, work was going well and I knew with 100 percent certainty that my life was going to unfold exactly as I had planned.

Only, it didn’t.

We like to think we are in charge of everything don’t we? We plan our lives, set goals, make plans and envision our lives exactly as we think we want them to go. But the truth of the matter is that things don’t always go as planned.

By the middle of March I found myself at home like everyone else. I was alone for the most part and work, church and social interaction on most levels shut down completely. Sitting at home watching the world fall apart through a television screen and realizing that my vision for 2020 was not to be, was scary. When things don’t go our way, when our plans don’t come to fruition and our dreams fall apart, it is only natural to feel fear, uncertainty and anxiety. I will be honest; I started down this path of fear and anxiousness. And then an encounter with my Bible and the book of Isaiah pushed me off the couch and into my tennis shoes. I began to walk every single day. As the month of June passed, I did not walk just a mile or two but miles and miles; sometimes up to 10 miles a day. As I walked I would repeat the verses I read in Isaiah. Isaiah is full of amazing scriptures. It is my favorite book of the Bible.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord,” (Isaiah 55:8-9) and “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

And He was doing a new thing.

You see, as I walked, I also watched people in my neighborhood who were doing the same thing I was. They were coping with their changing world just as I was. I saw this one particular man out with his kids playing every single day. They would ride bikes, walk, fish and anything else they could think of to occupy their time. We exchanged smiles, “hellos,” and “how are yous,” every day. Those hellos and how are yous turned into conversations and many hours learning about each other.

While most of us experienced a year like none we have ever known, the way we chose to handle the many problems 2020 threw at us, probably determined our overall view of the this year and our outlook for the New Year before us. If I have learned anything at all, we can craft and manufacture our lives the way we want to, but God has a divine plan for all of us and when life does not go the way we planned, if we are open to His Word and His leading, He will steer us in the direction we are meant to travel. When we let go of our own selfish tendencies, let go of all our brokenness and all our fears, the more room there is in our hearts for God.

Letting go of all of those fears and anxieties and seeking God’s guidance led me to a man that prays with me and for me; a man that puts others’ happiness in front of his own.

In a week and two days I will marry that man and I don’t feel a bit of panic.

Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how you planned it. Sometimes, just sometimes, it turns out better.

Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate and serves as Editor and Advertising Director for The Gazette. Contact her via email at news@fgazette.com