This past summer, my husband, Tim, finally made the table that I have been planning for two years. We have recently become a family of seven and I wanted a BIG, HEAVY table that would not be moved by bumping. I had spent months researching and pinning all types of designs and now we were going to see the design come to fruition. I HAD A PLAN!
There is a big barn on our property. Several years ago, we had removed some floor joists and I had my heart set on the table top being made out of those heavy, oak boards. Tim borrowed a friend’s planer and went down to the barn to haul up the boards. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the boards were one thickness at one end and a totally different thickness at the other end.
This wouldn’t normally present a problem because we could just plane them down, but they were full of old nails. They were completely unusable. To say that I had a high-speed come apart would probably be an understatement. This is the vision that I had for this table!! I LOVED the idea that my table would be made from wood salvaged from our barn! There were tears….lots of them. There was screaming and maybe even a swear word or two. See….this project had already had several snafus. My loving husband ( I totally admit that I married a better man than I am a woman), had asked me what color I wanted to paint the legs and support frame of the table. I really thought that I wanted a glossy black, but then I changed my mind. Before I could tell him that I had decided to go with a different color, he built and painted the whole thing. I hated it. I really, really hated it. I tried to keep that to myself, but when I found out that I couldn’t use the boards, well that information came spewing out of my mouth like a geyser. Of course, my husband, who had tried to make me happy was now completely caught off guard because I am telling him that I don’t like anything that he has done. I was so frustrated that I did what any mature mother would do; I went to my room, closed my door, and cried hysterically on my bed. I felt horrible. My table dream was falling apart.
My loving husband braved my hysterics and came in and said, “ Hey, come out here. I have something I want you to see.” While I had been wallowing in my disappointment, he had been trying to salvage my table dream. He had found some raw cut poplar that had been forgotten in the barn. Tim had cut a few pieces and planed them down. The wood was pretty, but I couldn’t decide. I had been so sure, so set on having the table built from the salvaged barn wood. Tim, ever wanting to make me happy, simply told me that he would build the table and if I wasn’t happy with it, we would sell it and start over.
My husband glued, clamped, sanded, hand planed, sanded, stained, polyurethaned, sanded, sanded, and sanded the table top until it was beautiful!! I LOVED it!!! But I hated the legs. That shiny black paint just made the table horrible. Again, Tim said, “Let me see what I can do, if you don’t like it, I will rebuild it.” He took the sander and sanded the legs and frame, stained the exposed wood gray, and polyurethaned them. They were beautiful!!! He fastened the table to the frame…..and it was perfect!!! It wasn’t anything like I had planned, but IT WAS PERFECT!!!
That’s when God gently smacked me with a two by four of truth: This table is my life. We all have plans for our lives. I remember wanting to be a writer, marry the love of my life, have two kids, adopt kids from foster care when our youngest was eight, live a comfortable life, never have loss or struggles. Instead, I became a teacher, I DID marry the love of my life, we lost our first pregnancy, had FOUR kids, are in the process of adopting PRIVATELY when our youngest is FIVE, we have a great life, but it can be hard.
Yet, when I stand back and look at the project that we created, that table, all of the UNPLANNED aspects are what make it perfect. I think that when God looks at our life, he sees that what He has created is perfect for us. Even though he has had to hand plane and sand away some of my rough edges. That has definitely NOT been in my plan. Suffering, hurting, struggling was NEVER in my plan, but in God’s plan, none of it has been wasted. It has all been used later on to provide comfort or guidance in our own lives or to help others.
My perfect table that didn’t go to plan at all….reminded me of my perfect life that hasn’t gone to MY plan either. I am grateful that God’s plan is ALWAYS better than mine!!
Life is all about how you handle Plan B! –Unknown