On Making Plans: Thomas Merton Prayer

If all had gone according to plan, I would be arriving in Rome today with my husband and our friends Katy and Todd, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversaries. On Monday we would have boarded a cruise ship, which would have conveyed us across the waters to the single most important item on my bucket list: a guided tour of the Holy Land. All the while we were planning it, my heart raced to think of what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to visit the place where heaven truly touched earth.

This was my plan. As it turns out, God had a different plan. And so, this year Craig and I hosted Thanksgiving for a small group of family and friends, while Katy prepares to take the last round of chemo. They had tried to get us to go on the trip anyway … but I had made a pact with God. “Just make her well. The trip will wait until we can go together.”

Of course, it’s a bit foolish to bargain with God, who I am sure sees how it all turns out, and even knows whether we ever get to make that trip. All our plans, seen on that scale, really don’t matter. One of the most important lessons we need to learn in this life is that there is precious little that we can control ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to learn to trust.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton)

Miracle Monday: “Make God Happy” — A Foster Mom in Israel Shares Her Story

Pam at International Mom sent me this wonderful story about this remarkable foster mother of three Israeli special needs children. Petra, who  often writes under the pen-name Christina Boerma, is a published writer who is originally from Holland. She and her husband of almost 30 years have lived since 1989 in Jerusalem, Israel. Presently she is working on her third historical novel.

“I watched as a mother sitting in a row in front of me put an arm around her daughter. The simple, natural gesture touched me. Bill and I had been married for 11 years, knew we could not have children, and didn’t miss them. Why was I so moved now? Why did “adoption” pop into my mind?
“I thought, OK Lord, if this is from you, Bill must bring up the subject.  A few days later, I was flabbergasted when Bill said, ‘If you desire to become a mother, we can either adopt or foster.'”

Confirmations came from different, unexpected sources. For instance, in a Dutch romance (of all places), I read, “The Lord is looking for empty nests, where He can place children that are ‘over’ and ‘too-much’ and are craving for a warm place. Don’t fret, but make the Lord happy by giving one of these children a place in your heart and home.”

To read more of the story entitled “Make God Happy” by Petra van der Zande, click here.

For another inspiring story, check out this post at Patrick Madrid’s blog, about Irena Sendler, a Polish woman (1910-2008) who saved more than 2500 children in the Polish ghettos of Warsaw during World War II.