When God Changes Your Plans

Sheena Gershom   |   December 14, 2022 

I had my whole life planned out by the time I was 15! I'm rolling my eyes at that statement now, but at that time, I was dead set on pursuing an IT career, earning well, and traveling the world. Little did I know that by the age of 40, I’d have given up two promising careers to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of 3 teenagers.

God upended my carefully laid plans, and I did not take it too well. I griped when my first IT job wasn't exactly what I’d envisioned. And I was bitter when I had to give up that job to stay home with three toddlers. While I was employed part-time after the kids joined school, I gave up that job as well this year and started homeschooling my sons.

Since a large part of my life has been defined by what I’ve accomplished, these changes have left me feeling restless with nothing concrete to achieve. But this has also been a time of being present for my family and learning that the best life is one where God’s doing the planning, not me.

As I recently read through the Christmas story in Luke, I resonated with someone else whose plans were upended in a rather drastic manner.

An unexpected pregnancy.

An exhausting trip close to her due date.

No hotel accommodation after days on the road.

A stable in lieu of a labor room.

Fleeing with a toddler to another country.

…I don't think all that was in Mary's 5-year plan!

And yet, it’s amazing how Mary responded when angel Gabriel appeared to her and changed the trajectory of her life. Here are a few takeaways from Mary’s experience as outlined in Luke 1.

She was troubled

As expected, Mary was stunned to see an angel greeting her. The Bible does not gloss over her perplexity. That tells me it’s ok to be baffled when God suddenly changes our plans. It’s ok to even grieve a lost dream or the life we thought we might have, but it doesn’t stop there. Mary moved on from her troubled thoughts and so can we.

She got clarity

Mary heard the angel out and got more clarity on God’s plans for her. Although I doubt many of us receive that kind of peace and clarity right away, it is a good practice to spend time in the presence of God and ask Him for assurance. While we wish God would light up the entire staircase before us, sometimes He gives us just enough light to see the next step.

She submitted to God’s will

There might have been a million unknowns in Mary’s life at this point, and yet she surrendered to God’s plan for her life. In Luke 1:38 she says, '…let it be to me according to your word'. I believe that’s the most powerful prayer we can pray in the midst of tremendous uncertainty.

She reached out

Since the angel had mentioned that Elizabeth was also carrying a miracle baby, Mary hastened to visit her relative. No doubt the three months she spent with Elizabeth boosted her faith and gave her the courage to get on with her life. When we’re faced with difficult life changes, it helps to reach out to praying friends and family members to encourage and mentor us.

She magnified the Lord

Mary’s song is a soul-stirring reminder of who God is and what He’s done for His people. As Mary exalted the Lord, it reinforced her faith. It helped her trust God for the uncertain future. When life becomes confusing, we too can let praise fill our hearts and crowd out the doubts. As we focus on who God is, recount all the good things He’s done, and bring to mind His promises for us, our faith is strengthened.

When God changes our plans, it may take a while to make peace with the new direction He’s leading us in. But it’s reassuring to know that God has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) – far better than our own (Isaiah 55:9).

When we let God onto our life planning committee, we can be certain that all the changed plans and detours will eventually work out for our good and His glory. Remember, only God who knows us best knows what’s best for us!



Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

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Sheena lives in Bangalore with her husband and triplet sons. When she gets a moment's peace, she enjoys journaling, reading, and listening to podcasts. She sporadically documents real-life stories and lessons she's learning from God's Word at SheenaGershom.com

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11 comments on “When God Changes Your Plans”

  1. Sometimes even if it's God's will peace does not come immediately and we still fight and resist. Thank you for acknowledging. Being clear and truthful is key to growth. Thank you again.

  2. So profound and inspiring...have read that Mary's passage so many times but loved this new perspective @mary's 5year plan.
    Thank you so much Sheena
    Indeed a blessing❤️

  3. Inspirational with new perspective of Mary's story.
    Thank you for sharing your encouraging words......

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