Is Your Schedule a Gold Mine?

Is Your Schedule a Gold Mine?
Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

Do you think of your schedule as a gold mine?

Let me explain.

If you are an adult – and especially a parent of multiple kids – you’ve almost certainly faced (at least once) a constrictive schedule dominated by ‘who needs to go where, for what, and when.’


Two weeks ago I found myself in a surprising position. A schedule that for years had allowed me to serve in a volunteer leadership position on Thursday nights suddenly steamrolled my plans. As the fall sports schedules were released and carpools were worked out, I challenged myself:

How can I drive from Columbia to Annapolis, make dinner, and handle homework questions in between 5:45 and 6:45?

I know! I will use the slow cooker and pray there is never a traffic jam.

Yeah, right.

I have worked logistical miracles before, but seriously?

Thankfully, I came to the sober realization that I needed to step down from leadership and take a back seat to my kids’ plans for Thursday nights.

I tell you this because my first inclination was to say, “I take a back seat to my children,” but the Plan for me was: You get to spend more time one-on-one with them.

See the change?

How often do you view your schedule and say:

Wow! Today I get to go to the dentist!

I get to walk my dog two times!

I get to cheer up a friend!

I get to coach my child on handling disappointment!

I get to give a presentation at work!

I get to choose my own attitude!

My kids are at three very different and important life phases right now: elementary school, middle school, and high school. Their needs are discrete. They often don’t share details with me.

But if I am fully present to them – I hear what they don’t say directly.

I get to listen more.

In the last few days I’ve heard…

  • My second grader say that he visualizes drawing red circles on the ceiling with lasers, and I learn that his mind is like a painter’s, creating anew in the abstract.
  • My middle-schooler say that a teacher asked her to show a new student around, and I hear in her voice that this has made her feel valued and confident.
  • My high-school freshman explain that any boy who would someday want to date his sister must be “smart, kind, and considerate – opening doors for her on dates and stuff,” and I understand that despite his constant chiding of her, he feels protective.

Observations like this are gold – gold mined in the quiet moments between life’s scheduled events.

Our days are filled with opportunities to participate in creation, because we are made in the image of the Creator. His imprint is within each one of us, and He has given us the ability to work in collaboration with Him.

Our choices can work with His plan for our best interests – or against it.

And when we go with Him, blessings abound.

“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

Holy Moments – Day 11 – Let Go, Again

This month isn’t going the way I’d planned. Yes – it’s been fantastically surprising in some ways…We’re up to 115 women in the Bible Study I love so much and wrote about here just days ago!…But on other fronts, I personally have felt – encumbered. And I have been strenuously trying to not become impatient with the state of things, but it’s hard. Because the truth of the matter is, it’s not things that are weighing me down, it’s my expectations about them. I’ll explain.

More than two weeks ago, for the second time in the 13 years since we’ve lived in this house, the racks on my side of the master closest literally fell off the walls, leaving gaping holes and a mess of clothing, shoes, and purses all over the floor. We decided it was time for a complete re-do, and ordered a new ‘closet system’ – to be installed tomorrow. We’ll be glad we did the appropriate planning when it’s finished but meantime, we’ve been stepping over piles upon piles, and right now, I’m sick of looking at the stuff. I’m now thinking that one single pair of jeans, shoes, and a t-shirt sounds like a ‘good enough’ wardrobe. And my own attitude is getting on my nerves.

Secondly, in the last week of September, I decided to move my blog to a new host and to overhaul its design entirely (I was blind to how hard this would be), while also challenging myself to write every day for the month of October. My husband – the voice of reason – gently reminded me that blog pieces can be short. Very short. But did I listen? No. Instead, I jotted down a list of stories I want to tell, each requiring at least an hour of writing time, and this month? Well, let’s just say I didn’t take a good look at my calendar before I announced, “Challenge Accepted.”

Am I impatient to have things fall into line – Clothes re-hung? Blog posts spaced perfectly? Photos just-so? All of life’s wrinkles removed?

You bet.

But should I expect them to be done immediately?

We all say, “No way!” and yet, I know I’m not the only one who is banging her head against the wall day after day, trying to put square pegs into round holes on a schedule that’s partially dictated by the incessant needs of three school-aged kids.

This is what happens when I let the flesh lead. When I let the desires of my ego, brain, and self-centered drive for perfection and order (as if I could make ‘perfect’ happen!) take over my days.  I end up in a state of misery. And it’s rather pathetic actually, because I have caviar problems for sure, and no one but me cares about the disarray I’m staring at day after day. Or so I think.

Last Thursday, I was entering Safeway to pick up orange juice and bread when I saw my friend’s name pop up on my phone. It was a notice that she had commented on my blog. I knew I couldn’t read what she’d said until I got home (another glitch since the transition), but I felt a wave of relief just seeing her name – as if we were in fellowship right there. I thought about her as I bought my items, and then I realized I could use the Starbucks card she’d given me in Safeway to take a break and sit for a moment. I can’t recall the last time I sat still to enjoy something so delicious. That White Chocolate Mocha was heaven sent.

On Thursday, in a tiny way, God stepped in to remind me that He sees it all. The messes. The frustrations. The way I’ve held it in. The way I’ve taken it out – on myself.  And that savored gift of coffee from a friend was His way of telling me – ‘You’re holding on a little too tight, Gretchen.  Come, follow me. Again.’

Feeling refreshed, I took a walk and a photo of this rose. And I realized it was time to relinquish my expectations for this month. My plan was not His plan, and His plan is the better one for me. 


If I write, I write for His glory. If my house is tidy, it’s for the benefit of my family and their well-being, and that goal is best achieved while I’m seeing my role as wife, mother, and homemaker in its proper perspective, as my blessed vocation.

My obsessions with trivial concerns rob me of joy and the life He came to give me. I thank God for His reminders, and for the people He’s placed in my path, to show me that the journey is meant to include moments of care and tenderness to self.