Hope Among Thwarted Plans
by Rachel Britton
My husband turned the key in the lock. “We’ll live here for ten years at least,” he said as we stepped over the threshold. I smiled. After twelve months of house hunting, we had signed papers on the perfect home.
Blue wisteria flowers hung over the doorway, forming a fragrant arch to our front door. My dream of a house covered with a well-established vine cascading with flowers had come true. A stunning chequered mosaic of small black and white tiles covered the narrow hallway floor, so typical of the Victorian and Edwardian era, fulfilling my love for this era. We were now proud owners of a delightful Edwardian house in a desirable London neighborhood famous for the residence of Maggie Thatcher, one of Britain’s former leaders, and its private schools.
Having worked hard to climb the career ladder of the BBC, and now with my nest pad, I saw the opportunity to take a break and start a family. A few months later with a baby on the way, we were settling into the community and ready to raise our family in this area of south London.
The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in To a Mouse: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Ten months later I stood at Heathrow airport with my six-week-old daughter nestled in one arm, while I held onto an airport cart with the other. I watched my husband pile bulging suitcases and duct-taped cardboard boxes from the car onto the cart. A travel cot sat precariously on top. These were all our worldly possessions for the next three months.
A “sold” sign hung outside our little terraced home with the blue wisteria archway. Furniture and all our other belongings, having been professionally packed, sat in a shipping container making their journey across the Atlantic. A United States work visa had been stamped in my husband’s passport just a few weeks earlier. Now, we clutched one-way airline tickets to Boston—a city I had never visited, in a New England that I couldn’t believe would have anything in common with England besides its name.
Whereas other new moms were settling into freshly decorated nurseries, I was setting up a travel cot in one hotel room after another. While other proud parents were enjoying their new babies receiving the admiration of family and friends, I could only hang onto the passing comments of strangers. When other first-time moms could spend time getting to know their nursing babies, I was learning that nappies were called diapers, that prams were strollers, and that I couldn’t find a decent cup of tea anywhere.
In the midst of my turmoil and misery, I called out to God. I hadn’t talked to him for years. I sat on the floor in the bedroom of our rented apartment, my daughter napping in her travel cot, tears streaming down my face. I spoke only two anguished words: “help me.” In that moment I knew God heard my cry, for I felt an instant, overwhelming sense of peace.
In the years that have passed since that point in time, I have learned God loves me enough to thwart my plans in favor of his own. Even though I left my homeland behind, I gained a far better home for both now and the future secured by my heavenly Father through knowing Jesus.
We make plans with good intentions, but God has plans with the best intentions. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Rachel is a British-born writer, author, and speaker whose passion is to help others become comfortable and confident in their conversation with God. Her blog “Praying Naturally” offers an extensive library of free prayer resources to help you deepen and develop your prayer life. Rachel is wife to Colin and mom to three young adults. She cannot live without a mug of English tea. Connect with Rachel on Facebook.