My daughter’s first child, my first grandchild, was due soon. My plan was to be present for the birth and spend as much time as possible helping my daughter afterward. My mother, who had dementia, had been living with me for 11 months and I had become a prisoner to her care. I needed help. I prayed constantly, but relief was not forthcoming.

Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (NKJ) In an instant God answered my prayers. His response was not what I had asked for, nor could I have ever fathomed it. It proved to be far better in all ways.

January 23, 2018 at 5:30 am I tiptoed across my bedroom floor hoping I could quietly leave my room without my mother hearing me. All I wanted at that moment was coffee and time with the Lord. Before I reached my door I heard Mom rouse, followed by a loud thud. I knew that something was terribly wrong.

I took one look at her lying on the floor and instinctively knew her hip was broken. Quickly, I made Mom as comfortable as possible. As I started for the door to go get my phone, I heard the quiet, gentle voice of God say, “Your grandchild will be born today.” In disbelief, I left the room to get busy with the task at hand. There was no way that could be happening on this day. My daughter was not due for 6 days. I had already made up my mind that no matter what I would be present for the birth of my first grandchild. Mentally, I dug my heels in and was not taking no for an answer. Why would God want it any other way? I will never ask Him that again!

Five hours later, sitting in the emergency room with my mom, I started to make calls to alert people to the situation. I was hesitant to call my daughter as I knew this would upset her. Finally, she was the only one left on the list. Her boyfriend answered and said he was about to call me as they were headed to the hospital. Becky believed she had a stomach virus. He assured me it was not labor. Two hours later I called for an update. Randy answered her phone by saying Hello Nonna, you have a granddaughter.

I sat in that ER cubicle with my back to my mother as the uncontrollable tears poured down my face. I was so heartbroken that I had not been at the hospital with my daughter. I was even more distraught by what I thought was going to be an impossible situation. How would I get to spend time with my daughter and granddaughter and take care of my mother too? To say I was disappointed in this outcome was an understatement.

Fortunately, I gained control of the negative thoughts reeling in my head. I remembered His words from earlier and realized this was all part of God’s plan. I did not know what was coming next, but was sure I needed to obey Him, trust His process and put my desires aside. The tears finally subsided, and with a smile I faced my mother to give her the wonderful news. What happened from then on was miraculous.

After a partial hip replacement followed by extensive rehab, Mom went to a nursing home. Little did I know at the time, but my mother’s leaving my home was to make room for my daughter and her new family to be there on weekends.

Instead of three days in the hospital, my mother ended up there a couple of weeks due to one issue after another. She was taken from the hospital to a rehab and then a nursing home as she never regained the ability to walk. From the time Mom entered the rehab until she passed in the nursing home, I spent every weekend taking care of my granddaughter while her mother worked. Alana and I went to visit her great-grandmother every one of those weekends. Each visit I had to tell my mother who the baby was, but the way her face lit up every time we entered her room was all that mattered.

My dreams for my daughter’s delivery day were never part of God’s plan. By His grace, I did as he asked and stayed where my Lord wanted me. In choosing to trust Him and obey His command to honor my parent, my ashes were turned to beauty and my mourning to praise. Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV) Never in a million years would I have thought I would be tending to my mother’s needs while taking care of my granddaughter. Only by putting my desires aside and accepting what God laid in front of me, was I able to do so. Life was hectic and tiring during that time, but the happiness it brought me and my mother in those last 14 months was priceless.

When my granddaughter is old enough to understand, I will tell the story of the day she was born. She will hear how God’s no to my request was a disappointment that later brought me so much joy and her coming gave more peace and pleasure to my mother than any gift I could have bought her. I will teach her one of my favorite scriptures; Jeremiah 29:11, “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.” (NIV) His plans were for my future and my hope and provided so much more than I had asked for!

I will also teach my granddaughter Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV) He took a few kinks out of my crooked path that day, for which I will forever be grateful. My hope and plan now is to leave Alana a legacy of God’s truths, in the hope that she grows to believe that no matter what, the Lord can be trusted. And His no is always for our good.

Are you willing to let go of your dreams for God’s plans?

Janice S.