It was like a blow to the gut when they said he couldn’t leave…again. This being the 3rd new release date that he had been given to be able to leave the hospital. I sat there thinking how could this be? How is it possible my dad went in for back surgery over a month ago and he still is not able to come home?

His first sight of freedom was to be days after surgery and then there were complications. Complications that messed with his body and even scarier, complications that messed with his mind. His second release date got scheduled tentatively after spending a week in rehab of the surgery. We were all waiting and counting the days. Sort of like I did when I was getting close to giving birth.  Anticipating the day when there would be “new life.” Rounding the turn on the last leg of the run ready to push our whole family through the tape at the finish line of this long very painful stretch of the race.

That day came and I felt the Lord tell me “your time was not My time and I am in control.” As I thought of this truth I could see where I was wrong. Focusing on the date was me trying to control what was happening. I would not be living in the present moment or needing His presence if the date of release was my focus. And so I began to submit. I handed over the date every day. Each time it changed, after a short cry, I said “okay God, I still trust you.” For the next date change I seemed to have more peace.

It has been for me just as much for my whole family, that letting go, the surrendering to what “is” as opposed to fixating my mind on what is “planned.” What is planned means nothing. So in this waiting, I have had to make a choice to see good. To see God at work.

If my focus was on the release dates I would have missed seeing God in all the sweet ways He has revealed Himself.

I would have missed it when friends brought dinner.

I would have missed it when my dad said “God is my protector.”

I would have missed it when my mom needed a hug.

I would have missed it when my kids wanted to pray for their grandpa.

I would have missed it when God’s peace covered my heart.

I would have missed seeing my dad’s heart soften in ways that seemed almost miraculous.

There are so many strong and gentle ways my heart had been molded to Him during this time of complete reliance on Him. I could have missed so many things had I kept my focus on the wrong part of the story. What I remembered is that the blessings are long before the finish line. I could have missed so much!

Where are you missing the blessings by choosing to focus on the plan, a date, or a finish line?