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When Life Happens…

I am a planner… most would call me Type-A, and not always as a compliment. I concentrate on the details, believing that success, and often beauty, is found in the details. Imagine what happened in my mind when our daughter and now son-in-law announced their engagement… a list immediately formed. This wedding would be one year in the planning, but a lifetime in the dreaming. This occasion would draw people from across the country and around the world, family and friends coming from five continents. In the final plan, we would host not just a wedding day, but a wedding week, with events that would allow the joyful union of two families and the joyful reunion of a family stretched around the globe. The task loomed large, but I had my list!
Then life happened…
Just 10 days before the wedding, the groom was in a major car accident. A salesman, conducting business on his cell phone, drove through a red light going 50 mph and t-boned the groom’s car on the driver’s side. The call came that the car was totaled, and the groom was on his way to the ER. Thank God, the car hit just behind where the groom was sitting. The groom walked away from a totaled car unhurt.

Eight days before the wedding, the father-of-the-bride tested positive for COVID. He had been living like a hermit for weeks to avoid all germs… working from home, masking in public, avoiding all possibility of infection. For 3 ½ years, the father-of-the-bride had avoided COVID, but now on the most important week of his daughter’s life, he lit the test up like a neon sign. That made the mother-ofthe-bride (me) also persona non grata because I had been exposed. Testing every day… hoping… praying… that the father-of-the-bride would be able to walk his daughter down the aisle w/ no mask.

The hybrid rental car my family rented would not hold a charge. It stopped again and again on busy California highways with my precious family inside. It took Dan a day of wrangling with the rental company to get a new, gas guzzling car. The other rental car had a slow leak in the tire that required regular trips to the gas station for air. Unfortunately, finding a gas station with a working pump turned out to be its own adventure.

The printer made a mistake on the place cards… the bulletin had a misprint… the gluten-free cake wasn’t gluten free… life happening… plans changing… Then, on the day of the wedding, the heavens opened and a monsoon poured down on Pasadena. The wedding in the church would be fine, but the reception was to be in a garden with fountains and Spanish tile and twinkle lights. We got ready that day to the sound of rain hitting the roof.

Life happened… and my plan flew out the window… but God’s plan brought a bride and groom to the altar that day, to begin a life adventure woven together by God’s grace. We had been praying for that day since our daughter was born, but this union is so much more than all we could ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20). When I plan, God laughs and then works a miracle.

Sometimes it is hard to see the miracles in the midst… perhaps this poem will give you pause…

With you, living into God’s plan,

I have taken an accounting
long needed,
long overdue,
I had to admit that in many ways —
subtly sometimes,
boldly other times —
I have taken personal credit
for what I could not
or accomplish on my own.
I have no independent
or positions that I have manufactured
on my own.
There is nothing that I have done
in my own strength.
There is no ability that I have
employed that does not come from You.
All the things around me
that had to be in place
for me to do
what I have done
exist under Your
not my own.

All the people that have
mentored me,
assisted me,
advised me,
cooperated with me,
employed me,
loved me,
guided me,
rescued me,
taught me,
supported me,
stood with me,
stood against me,
cared for me,
protected me, or
worked with me
came into my life
brought there by You.
I have arrived at places
that were not in my plan.
I have done things
I never envisioned to do.
I have lived in situations
that were not of my wise
I have been regularly
surprised by the turnings
of my own story.
I have not had the character,

or vision of a hero.
As I have taken an
this is the sum:
there is only one hero in my
only one who deserves
and praise.
Clearly that hero is
My successes are the result
Your sovereignty,
Your generosity,
Your faithfulness,
and Your grace.
You are the
and Completer of my story.
There is nothing
that I have done
that could be done without
There is no reason for me to
The account points me here

if I am to boast,
I will boast in

-Pat Tripp  
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