Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 19 - October/November 2007 > Plans and Princesses

Plans and Princesses

by Erica Green

Plans and Princesses
- God's plan in our lives

(Editorial note - see the comment in the editorial of this issue)

The older I get the more respect I have for mothers in general and working mums in particular, who manage to juggle so many roles and responsibilities and yet still manage to remain sane.  Well, perhaps they do go a little strange every now and then.  I really take my hat off to mums, as this is not something that I feel that I could successfully do.  I guess it is often a case of 'needs must'.

My mum was a working mum who knew the value of prioritizing and planning.  When we were growing up, our house was what I would call 'lived in' and 'loved in'.  Have you ever been into a house where you were afraid to sit down in case you dented a cushion or went into pure fright at the concept of balancing a Royal Doulton cup of tea on your knee as you look down at the pristine white sofa and carpet beckoning from below?  Mum does have a Royal Doulton dinner set but that was probably the closest that our house ever came to this picture.  Oh sure, the major things were done, and the house was clean, but as a working mum there were more important things to deal with than obsessing over a cushion out of place or a child's room with toys on the floor. 

Now when it came to planning, this was one area where my mother had it all together, well at least until I came along and blew that for her.  Let me tell you the story.

My older sister and brother were both born on the same date in December, two years apart.  How organized is that to have planned out ovulation, conception and contractions, to the day?  This phenomenon was backed up by some well thought out reasoning.  At my father's place of work, annual holidays were scheduled at the same time each year, where the entire plant was shut down, so at that time he would be available to support mum with a new baby.   Now, for my birth date, that would be April, some years later.  You can just hear mums planning calendar crumbling to pieces.

Mum will never of course admit this, shall we say, lapse in planning.  Even when asked straight, "was I a mistake mum?" she would always say that she "would not have had it any other way", as any good mum would have said.  But I guess we all know that surprises happen.  Never mind, I made sure that she would never forget my birth.

In those days, when Mums went into labour, Dads waited at home for the good news.  As I am told, my emergence into the world was fraught with more then the usual drama.  Part way through the performance, a breech birth with an umbilical cord around my neck, the doctor came to the conclusion that there was no way that I would make it and they were concerned for Mum's health too.  Dad was summoned to the hospital to potentially say hello and goodbye to a dead baby and to comfort a sick and distressed mother.

Like all good Adventists of the era, Dad sprang into action and had the Pastors and Elders praying like crazy as he took off with my brother under his arm.  My older sister must have been at school and then later with my Aunt, I think.  Leaving my brother in the car, (something that you would not do in this day and age) he ran up the stairs into the hospital, leaving stern instructions that he was not to move or touch anything.  Family legend had it that when Dad returned to the car there was my brother still sitting there patiently where he had been left.  "What a good little fellow he was."  He only dispelled this little bit of family legend a few years ago by confessing that he had, in fact, only just sat up from having been under the dashboard unplugging and re plugging in all the wires as Dad had returned.  By the way, my brother ended up being an electrician and runs a business specializing in computer network installations.  Who says career aptitude is not developed at an early age? Anyway, I digress. 

Apparently, it was touch and go for me for some time and so Mum came home and I stayed in Hospital for a while.  Dad talks about them visiting me in the humidicrib ward and how peculiar it was, comparing me as a full term baby to all the tiny premature babies in the other cribs.  Even when I came home, Dad had to rig up a special type of cot for me.  Mum and Dad were also concerned that there could have been some permanent brain damage because of an extended period of lack of oxygen.  (Well that is my excuse out in the open.)  My Aunt also gets into the retelling of family stories and she is quoted as having pronounced to Mum on the day that they bought me home, "there is certainly nothing wrong with that baby." But I guess parents do worry anyway, that is a part of their job that never comes to an end.

From then on my parents used to tell me that God had something special planned for me (even though they, at least initially, had not). After all, He went to all that effort just to make sure that I was born, so He must have something special in mind for me.  They also told my brother and sister the same thing, but without the dramatic story to accentuate the point, I didn't think that it has quite the same impact.

So as a kid I used to wonder what spectacular things God had in store for me, just like in the story of Esther.  You remember, when she was scared to enter the King's throne room to plead for mercy for her people.  Her uncle Mordecai sent a message to her.  Esther 4:13 (NIV) " who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"   Or in my paraphrase: This must be God's plan for you girl, just get out there and do it. 

In my very childlike manner, I embraced this Esther story as an illustration of what it meant for God to have a plan for you, and automatically assumed it for myself.  After all, Mum and Dad had told me that God had a plan for me and that could, of course, only mean something huge and important. 

I have long since seen the skepticism of adulthood and the mundane issues of life obliterate this vision.  Something must have gone drastically wrong along the way, as Mum and Dad did not manage to produce an 'Esther' or anything remotely resembling it.

Despite this apparent failure, I have not abandoned the 'Gods plan for you' concept entirely.  I often wonder how different the world would be, or at least the bits around where we are, if we really believed that God had a special plan for us to fulfil in our day-to-day lives.  Not necessarily something huge, just the little things that make small differences.  I have heard quoted that even the most introverted person will impact over 10,000 people during their lives.  Within our sphere of influence (home, school, work, church, clubs, neighbourhood etc..) just think of all the potential there is for us to touch other peoples lives and in so doing make a difference, positive or negative, your choice.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) tells us "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".  This text is not just for those with their little 'Esther' fantasy, it is for everyone.  These plans are not chores that we have to do in order to please God.  They are things that God has already equipped us to do.  Things that come naturally to us and things that we would take pleasure in doing. 

The plans are all set out.  Our skill set is in place.  If God really wants you to do it he will equip you.  We need only to provide our openness to His plan and the will to just do it.  It is up to us if we want to let God make a positive difference through us today.  Take the challenge and see where it leads you.


Lord, just for today, make me open to see your plan for me and give me a willingness to be used by you.  Equip me with the skills I need for the tasks at hand and the discernment to marshal them appropriately.

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