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When Your Plans Fall Through



Happy Thanksgiving!


I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia this past Monday. That explains why I haven’t even had the energy to attempt a run in weeks or to walk up the stairs at night to tuck our little girl into bed. I had been pretty sick the past few weeks, barely getting any sleep because of my coughing, running myself crazy trying to work extra in the pharmacy (with long commutes), take care of our children, Greg, our home, and manage a lot of other pressing responsibilities. Of course, the week before I got really sick, I barely got any sleep because I kept getting up at all hours looking around the neighborhood for our lost kitten – who did show up 9 days after he escaped from the house. (Thank You SO much, Lord!)

By the time I could get to the doctor on Monday, I was actually doing a lot better than I had been the week before. But, it was obvious, I have to slow WAY, WAY DOWN. I need to rest. I need to focus on trying to sleep and just being in bed. We have Thanksgiving plans with my family and Greg’s family on Thursday. I probably won’t be able to go because I am very likely contagious and I also need to be in bed as much as possible.

It is awfully easy to get our hopes and expectations way up about holiday celebrations with family or friends. When a wrench gets thrown in our plans, how are we going to respond? What do you do when a child suddenly gets very ill, you get sick, a parent or grandparent has to be admitted to the hospital,  a snowstorm closes the roads, the flight gets delayed, the finances won’t allow for traveling, or family tensions mount and everything seems to fall apart?

  • We could choose to be angry and upset.
  • We could choose to cry.
  • We could become angry or  bitter at our circumstances, at other people, at the weather, or at God.
  • We could resent not being able to get together with our family or friends like we had planned.
  • We could try to force our way to make things work out the way we want them to and lash out when we can’t do what we wanted to do.
  • We could argue with our husbands or family about possible solutions.
  • We could complain non-stop.
  • We could get really irritable, grumpy, and negative and ruin things for ourselves and everyone around us.

Here are some other ideas:

  • We could acknowledge our feelings to our husbands, ourselves, our children and God. “Oh, I am so disappointed! I was really looking forward to going to Mom and Dad’s house and being together with everyone. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I feel really sad about this.” We may even  need to cry about it for awhile.
  • We could write down our expectations, our fears, our concerns, and how sad we feel. Journalling can be very therapeutic, especially if we then write down things to be thankful for and invite God to intervene in the situation however He might believe is best.
  • We could stop and be still before God and spend some time in prayer.
  • We could acknowledge God’s sovereignty and that He is in control, not us.
  • We could thank and praise God for our circumstances and even for the plans falling through, waiting in anticipation to see what He plans to do through this situation for His glory.
  • We could make a favorite food for ourselves if we are home sick, or make our child’s favorite sick-time food.
  • We could watch a fun movie together with our children.
  • We could listen to some David Platt Secret Church sessions or praise music on Youtube or an MP3 player if we are home alone sick.
  • We could look for ways to make being stranded at home (or when traveling) fun and memorable (hopefully we were prepared just in case!).
  • We could seek to be flexible, thankful, joyful and careful to shower the love of God on everyone around us.
  • If we are home alone all day (or for several days) with a bowl of chicken noodle soup – maybe we could savor this precious time alone with God and seek to listen to all that He has to share with us.
  • If we are home with a sick child, how blessed we are to get to be that child’s mother and to get to be the one who takes care of him/her! We could think of ways to make this time together extra special and cherish these precious memories.
  • What if He, in His sovereignty, allowed one of us to get sick so that we don’t get in a wreck we would have gotten into when we were traveling? Wouldn’t that be an incredible blessing and miracle?
  • What if God, in His sovereignty, wants us to slow down and be still and just spend time at His feet?
  • What if He has things for us to learn in the midst of this test?
  • What if He is orchestrating an opportunity for us to reach out to someone we hadn’t planned to see – and maybe He will allow us to share the love of Christ with that person in a way that we never would have our plans had gone smoothly?
  • What if our travel plans getting cancelled means that we have the opportunity to invite that divorcee, widow/widower,or a single man/woman from church or the neighborhood or work to our house and enjoy a time of fellowship for a meal that they will always cherish?
  • What if everything “going wrong” gives us a chance to show respect to our husbands and honor for their leadership in a trial that ends up greatly increasing the intimacy and strength in our marriage?
  • What if God desires to use us as an example to our extended family, friends, and children of a thankful, humble, godly response to adversity that impacts them and strengthens their faith in God or draws them to faith in Christ?

Thanksgiving is really a mindset much more than it is a holiday.

For a believer in Christ, gratitude is mandatory. We ALWAYS have MUCH to be thankful for. I pray that we will continue to be truly thankful even if we face a test this week, and that we might respond in the power of God’s Spirit when things don’t seem to work out as we had planned. I pray that God might be greatly glorified in our lives. I pray we might lay our expectations of the holiday down at the feet of Jesus. I pray that we might allow Him the freedom to move and work as He sees fit. I pray that we might trust Him with all our hearts and that we might be sensitive to anything He wants to say to us.

Much love to each of you, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Would you like to share about a time when your Thanksgiving or Christmas plans fell apart, but in the end, it turned out to be a blessing? We would love to hear your stories!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thes. 5:16-18)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Psalm 95:1-7


Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining!

The Importance of Spiritual Pruning

The Snare of Comparing

32 thoughts on “When Your Plans Fall Through

  1. Hi April,

    Great to hear your cat is back! Praise the Lord. I will be praying that He will heal you as quickly as possible and put you back on your feet. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    1. Thank you so much, Peter! I am doing a lot better now than I was last week. But I am forcing myself not to push things too much – as I am prone to do. We are enjoying Silver being home very much. Both of our children started to feel yucky yesterday. I had some really wonderful time last night with our daughter. Her tummy was upset. But I got to cuddle with her, watch a movie together and practice some new braiding techniques on her hair. We had a great time. 🙂 Greg got take out for us to eat after I got off of work. It was a lovely evening! And very low key – which was perfect.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving April!
    I am praying now for your rest and recovery. It is difficult to be ill, especially during the holidays. One year I was so sick that we had to miss our family’s Thanksgiving. So, my beloved husband made me oatmeal…and shaped it into a turkey. Fifteen years later, we still laugh at that funny attempt to have our traditional holiday turkey…it’s a very sweet memory now.
    Grateful for His Grace,

  3. I’m sorry you are sick, April. The again, I am glad to see you are doing what you have to do to take care of yourself and get better. Thank you for taking the time to write and sharing your wisdom with us.

    Hope you can get lots of rest and feel better soon. I’ll have you in my prayers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! May God continue blessing you abundantly.

    PS- glad to hear Silver is back from his neighborhood adventures! I am sometimes playing catch up with blog posts and can’t always comment but I am glad to be in this community and am grateful for your blog. 😊

  4. Here is something I wrote many, many years ago:

    A Great Day!

    Yesterday was such a great day! Schoolwork was nonexistent, the dryer was broken, my younger two children made me cry and my oldest was diagnosed with strep which cancelled a romantic evening at a hotel alone with my husband. And yet… as I woke up this morning I happily look back on it as a great day!

    The morning started with my oldest, joining me in the playroom at 4am (I’m an early riser.), complaining about his throat. I gave him some Tylenol. By 8am, he was moaning in bed which is unusual for the 14yo high pain tolerant kid. I get my middle son doing his math and my youngest girl doing her computer vision therapy while I make phone calls to make a doctor’s appointment, cancel piano for the boys, change violin lesson time for my daughter and work on deciding where to buy the new tires as my husband wants them on the Odyssey before we go on our trip to Arlington on Thursday. I was on the phone constantly. We finally left the house at 10:30.

    My oldest’s strep test was positive. My husband had a deposition and workshop in Dallas on Friday. We had arranged to visit with my mom and step-dad on Thursday evening and then for us to go to Dallas for the workshop( husband) /shopping (me) and to go out to dinner and stay in a hotel alone on Friday night, while she kept the children. I have to admit that I was disappointed that my part of the trip would be cancelled.

    By the time we finished at the doctor’s office, went to Walmart to get my son’s medicine and pick up a few things for my dad, dropped off the groceries at my dad’s and got home, it was 1:30. At this point, I gave up on counting this as a school day. We watched an episode of Christy while we ate lunch. My son slept while the other two helped me straighten up the house a little and then they went outside to weed and play. They asked if they could play in the mud. I thought about the broken dryer, but it was such a nice day. Ok.. I said. Later, I went outside and took a few pictures of my 7yo having a fabulously messy time.

    By this time it is 3:45 and I look for the macaroni and cheese with ham recipe. As I am cooking, I have a thought.. If we can’t go to the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, perhaps it can come here. My should get off at a decent time today, so… I put a pretty sheet on the floor and put every candle I can find in our room. My younger two wonder what in the world I am doing.

    “Well, mom and dad were going to have a romantic dinner and stay in a hotel on Friday. Since we can’t go, I decided to treat dad to a romantic dinner here. You guys can go ahead and eat dinner. When dad gets home, what if you watch the Rattatouite movie we just got? You can have popcorn and chocolate raisins if you want!” The plan was greeted enthusiastically.

    What I didn’t expect was how much my younger two got into the fun. My daughter brought me flowers from her room to put with the dinner. She then made place cards and put them there. My middle son laughed at the chocolates I had put on our pillows from my secret stash ( a box of chocolates my husband gave me for Christmas). I explained that fancy hotels will do that. My oldest chimed in that he remembered the nice hotel we went to in Ethiopia after the mission part of the trip was over that put roses on the bed. So we went out to look at our rose bushes, but none were blooming. So I took petals from our tulip tree and spread them on the bed. I made a sign for our door that said Welcome to the Rennaissance Hotel. My daughter went and changed into a fancy dress. My son acted as look out. My husband called me to say he was on his way home and we lit the candles and made sure everything was ready. The children greeted him at the door. My daughter handed him the hotel instruction sheet I had typed up. My middle son said, “ This way to your hotel room. The manger will be in shortly to make sure everything is to your satisfaction.” My husband and I had a great evening and the kids enjoyed their movie night.

    I guess what surprised me was how much fun the children had helping me get this ready. It was a family project. (Now my oldest didn’t participate as much because he didn’t feel well and “knew” too much. He would give me an embarrassed, knowing smile very now and then.) But the younger two thought it was great fun to help to get the romantic dinner since our trip was cancelled. What great kids!

  5. What is hard is when hard thing, after hard thing, after hard thing happens… I just have no energy to try and make lemonade out of the lemons that God hands me..

  6. Sorry to read of your illness, April. I have offered a prayer for your healing.

    This was a very timely post to me. I was disappointed to learn from my bride that she might not be going with me to her brother’s for Thanksgiving as her elderly mother did not feel up to the 3 hr round trip. I still have to make the trip though to drive her elderly aunt and uncle (whom I love as much or more as any of my blood relitives) to the dinner. I was feeling grumpy about this change in plans till I read your post.
    While your blog is mostly for the ladies your spiritual insight makes sense to us men also.
    God Bless you and heal you.

    1. elovesc34,
      You and our other brothers in Christ are most welcome here. Lots of men read my blog. 🙂 I’m glad God uses it to encourage you and others. What a blessing.

      I’m glad that this post was an encouragement to you in light of the changes in plans you have this week.

      Thank you for the encouragement and prayers!

  7. Frustration is tough! Sometimes it can feel so bad that you feel “well why do I really try to do anything anyway?”

    But then, that’s an attitude of looking at successes in terms of outward results, not the choices of the heart which are what really count. 🙂

    Good stuff. Get well soon ma’am.

  8. PS I thought of this quote and posted this on the subject:

    I just thought of Bruce Lee’s quote in a certain light just now:

    “The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.”

    I think this applies to an outlook on life. When thinking of your actions in terms of results, you’ll get frustrated constantly because you’re thinking too much in terms of “success” or “failure” (victory or defeat, in his quote). But if you think of it more in terms of the right actions at the right times for the right situations without entertaining “success/failure” thinking you can just keep working constructively.

  9. Hoping you get well soon. I believe it was last thanksgiving, the night before my daughter came down with a bug & couldnt keep anything down & was camped on the toilet for quite some time. We decided that she could stay home with my mom while the rest of us went down with the family. I woke thanksgiving morning with that same bug but it had spread to the whole household, needless to say no one went anywhere nor cooked. We ended up having our turkey dinner the following sunday after everyone got well. We still had our family time just a few days later.

    1. Thank you so much, Julie! I got to spend some sweet time with our daughter last night and this morning. And got to cuddle with Greg last night. And got to spend some time with our son this morning (he had been at his grandparents’ the last 2 days). It was very good.

      The family has gone and now it is just Silver (the kitten) and me – so, I am going to rest and work a bit more on my book. 🙂

      I am doing so much better than I was before. Just planning to take it easy. I am truly blessed.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Ohh, that’s so good to know all those little blessings you’ve received! You’ve become so precious to me. I thank God for you over and over. I was wondering what was happening with the book. Cannot wait until it’s in my hot little hands!

        1. Julie,

          You are precious to me, too. Y’all are my family! I praise God for what He is doing in your life, my sweet sister. I can’t wait until the book is in your hot little hands, either! 🙂 Ha!

          1. April,
            I don’t know where to put this, so I’ll just tell you here.

            You know how you got me journaling–and it is such a blessing! I can go back and read things I wrote a few weeks ago and it’s like I’m reading someone else’s thoughts for the first time! hahaha! I have permanent chemo brain. But rereading it really ministers to me, and you are so right about it making you focus.

            My husband and I decided tonight that we are going to start a journal together, recording all the things we can recall that God has brought us through. Initially, we’ll just record them randomly but I want to ultimately put them in chronological order. I think it’s really going to be something to strengthen our faith now and in the future.

            Anyway, thank you because you inspired it and we both think it’s going to be a blessing.

            1. Julie,
              I am so excited that the journalling has been a blessing to you! I don’t even feel like I can have a deep Bible study or prayer time without writing all my thoughts down. I depend very much on being able to journal my thoughts, feelings and prayers. I think it is especially helpful for those of us who have trouble maintaining focus if we are just praying silently. It sure is for me! 🙂

              How wonderful to think about journalling together! That is awesome!!! What a beautiful idea. 🙂

              Much love!!

  10. Do you think God would allow certain situation to happen to teach you something? For example, my husband came to live with me at my moms, hes never really had much of a relationship with my family besides brief encounters on special occasions. I asked him to leave because of things I discovered but after we worked through the issues he decided not to come back. He told me that while he was here I made him uncomfortable, like he was unwelcome & didnt fit in here. I didnt know I ever did that until he said something I was just gettin along with my family like I always had. Yesterday with his family he did that to me, I felt left out & unwelcome, I know it wasnt intentional but he was gettin along with his family like he always had. Even after my husband told me how I made him feel I still didnt understand it so im wondering if the role reversal was to give me understanding to avoid it in the future? I also have dreams along the same lines & i wake up feeling how I made my husband feel in those situations…

    1. NC,
      I think it is a good thing to experience feeling the way he probably felt. I hope you will apologize to him and seek to make sure you show him that he is your biggest human priority, not your family. 🙂

      1. I did apologize for it. I also asked him to tell me if I start doin it in the future so I can stop as I don’t know everything that makes him feel that way & he apologized to me too. I’m just wondering if I’m missing the point here or if its a teaching tool for me.

  11. Oh dear April, I hope you are feeling better by now. Pneumonia is awful. It was what killed my friend earlier this year. So now I am thankful just to be alive, and with my husband recently aging past our friend’s final age (62 years, 4 months and 2 days) I am even more thankful he is alive. I also have a lot of other things to be thankful about in the last few months, but I know there are other seasons where how you feel can sap the joy if you let it. Focus on Christ during those times. April, I know you will, but I hope others will take the advice, believe me it works!

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