Beach Walk and God Talk—The Reality

I think it’s good to have a plan.  To know the primary things you hope to do, experience, enjoy on a personal retreat.

I equally know not to set that plan in any kind of firm condition.

So I go with a loose structure, some general plans, a probable schedule.  And since one major objective for me was to work on a book based on my writings for my Prayer for Prodigals friends, five afternoons seemed reasonable to make some progress.

God always has surprises—new agendas, detours, people to talk with.  Like the time I met Babe, the octogenarian who spends a couple of hours every afternoon sitting in her scooter on the bridge to the beach, enjoying God’s ocean.  We spent hours talking—you can read her story here and here.

So why should I be surprised that my little retreat this week has been entirely different from what I had anticipated. My Monday beach prayer walk was wonderful—if you missed it, you can read that here.  And I spent the afternoon reading through everything I have written for people who love a prodigal—getting it into my head.

My Tuesday prayer walk didn’t happen—I had to go to Home Depot to look at the cabinets my husband had chosen—and a sink and a faucet (the culprit in our mold problem).  By the time I got back, it was almost 100 out there—even on the beach.  I am not a fan of walking in that kind of heat.  I prayed, but there is something about prayer walking on the beach that seems so much more personal and relational and effective.

Tuesday afternoon was so productive.  I organized all the book content—greatly helped by recommendations from my friend and editor, Carla—with each chapter in a separate folder, all in a large folder in Google Drive.

Wednesday was another great prayer walk.  And in the afternoon I headed to FedEx to print out the very rough manuscript so I could edit, move, remove in my ancient writer/editor preference—using paper and pen.  Only FedEx and Office Depot could not print it from my Google Drive format.  It would require opening every folder and pulling out every document to be printed separately.  Sigh.So I did what I usually do when my plans go awry—I started reading—last night (after dinner with my hubby) and much of today.  Which it seems was exactly what God had in mind.  I read this amazing book that somehow appeared on my Kindle—Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff.

Talk about immersing me into the pain and challenges and fears and hopes and mistakes of one who loves his prodigal.  I know a lot about the wilderness journey of living with a prodigal, but this young man’s meth addiction was so pervasive and so destructive.  And this Dad’s obsession with rescuing his son struck very close to home.  I’m pretty sure that book was a needed next step for me in writing my book.  Thank You, Lord.

Looking forward to tomorrow—to see what God has planned.

My purpose in detailing all this to you:  Reminding myself—and you—to place my plans in God’s hands.  He usually has a better idea.

What about you?  When have you seen God take you in a different direction from your plans?

C2013 Judy Douglass