When Tomorrow Doesn't Follow Yesterday's Plan

“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If The Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

I know I can’t control the universe, or even what the next minute brings. Lord, help me accept the unexpected.

Last Saturday I missed my daughter’s JV tennis match. Again. I read the school schedule: away game in Bellemore, 10:00 AM on Saturday. This was the only game on a Saturday. The rest of Jordan’s games are after school before I get off work. I have tried to make those games, leaving work early, and still missed her play. Saturday was perfect--I could go to her game on the way to my parents’ house. That was my plan. My plan.

Back to James 4: “…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.” I know, I know, Lord. But why? Why can’t a day go smoothly as planned?

Jordan took the bus to the game at 8:30 with her team.  Since I am not the most punctual person, I got my butt up early, packed my stuff, set Google maps, and made sure I was driving to Bellemore with enough time.

On  this beautiful sunny morning, I looked forward to watching Jordan play my favorite sport, the sport she loves as I drove along the Ocean Parkway and blasted Mandisa’s songs on the radio, singing “You’re an overcomer…!”. I pulled into the parking lot at exactly 10:00 AM next to the soccer field. I had to run around the school to find the tennis courts in the back of the building. Jordan was walking across the courts; I figured they were practicing and about to start the matches. 

I was wrong.

Jordan rushed over to me. “Why are you so late? I just finished.”

“Are you joking? It’s 10:00.” Actually, 10:03 after running around to find the courts. Still—the game should be starting not ending.

“We left the school at 8:30. You should have left then. We start playing as soon as we get here.” She  smiled and said it was okay, but I could see the disappointment in her eyes.

Ugh. My heart sank. Another Mom fail. It was done. Over. And I missed her win a challenging match. 

Okay, apparently, tennis begins when both teams get to the courts. The wonderful schedule on the school website doesn’t say anything about accounting for flexible time. It would be helpful to know they may start an hour early. 

I hate to be disappointed, but I feel worse disappointing my kids. Yes, I know missing a tennis match isn’t the worst thing a parent can do, but I tend to focus on my mistakes. I want to be the perfect parent, but it’s not possible. I can only try and pray they remember the effort. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect either.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I’m one of those who sweats the small stuff—not just small, but every crumb of life. I need to refocus every day.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

If you are reading this and reflecting about your own disappointments, no matter how small or how colossal, overwhelming, and discouraging, please join me in refocusing. God loves us; he cares for His children. Jesus came to show us this love to help us through this life.

We can overcome the struggles by turning to the Lord. Praying. Asking what we can learn from a situation. Thanking Him. He wants to give us joy in all circumstances. God understands our emotions and every muddled mood swing.

And “Glory, glory, Hallelujah!” sometimes days go as planned...

I did get another chance to see Jordan play later that week. Owed time from work, I took a half day and drove to that game an hour early. She won that singles match too.

No matter what we go through, God is there, always loving us. 

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” 
Ephesians 5:1-2

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