“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 (NIV)⠀ ⠀ As summer shadows stretch long and lean, we feel the anticipation of September—along with its vivid reminder of the mountaintops and trenches of life! Still wonderfully warm during the day, it holds the hope of organized routine after a blissfully unorganized summer.⠀ ⠀ But September also brings a jolt of reality. Our perfectly laid out plans are scribed in shiny new agendas with lavish lists of goals to accomplish—until REAL LIFE happens and you realize it’s messy in the trenches of the everyday with everyone.⠀ ⠀ Reminds me of Moses.⠀ ⠀ He had the ultimate mountaintop experience with the Living God, literally basking in holy glory. He must have floated down the mountain on cloud nine clutching those ten commandments as he prepared for the next phase with God’s chosen people.⠀ ⠀ Imagine his devastation when he reached the trenches, the everyday with everyone. They didn’t care that Moses had a plan and was in “September mode” complete with commandments—they were merrily dancing around a golden calf and had distractions like you wouldn’t believe. REAL LIFE.⠀ ⠀ Do you ever get like Moses? Super frustrated when others can’t be on the same page as you, seeing the vision as you see it? We would all love our Septembers to kick off perfectly, but that’s not how we experience grace and growth.⠀ ⠀ Love, hope, mess, stress, disappointment, disagreement… the colorful stuff of the beautiful trenches. In our REAL LIFE, we get to experience it all with some who disappoint us, and others who cheer us on relentlessly. It’s awesome in its messiness.⠀ ⠀ Friend, when September gets messy in the trenches (and it probably will), don’t despair. Embrace it and see if God is showing you something fresh buried beneath your agenda. Commit it all to the Master Planner.⠀ ⠀ Here’s to much grace and growth!⠀ ⠀ Laura Thomas, @lauracthomas

Queen Creek, Arizona