It was a typical Wednesday filled with work, carpools and traffic. I had just arrived home to start dinner for our family of six and was busy pulling the items that I would need for dinner from their various locations in the kitchen. That’s when it happened – the electricity went out. No lights, no hum of the refrigerator, no microwave clock … great, just what I needed.

Last-Minute Plans

I stood in the kitchen and waited a few seconds to see if the power would come back on. Minutes ticked by and it grew darker. I groaned audibly and reached for my cell phone to call for pizza delivery. I scurried around reaching in the dark for candles to light. This meant laundry wasn’t getting done tonight and I should probably forget about returning emails or preparing for the week’s scout meeting. This little interruption was not on my schedule and I did not welcome it.

The kids were running around like crazy people screeching and laughing and playing hide and seek by candlelight. My husband walked through the door and I informed him we were having pizza for dinner – his least favorite meal ever. The kids, however, were thrilled. I’m not sure who suggested that we play a game, but the next thing I knew, I was eating pepperoni pizza and pushing around the little yellow car in The Game of Life™. We all sat on the floor in the living room enjoying a dinner of cheesy goodness and collecting college degrees and children, all while laughing ourselves silly.

Suddenly, the lights came back on in a rush. Everyone stopped and we all looked at each other. One of the girls stood up and ran around turning off all the lights. When she returned to the rest of us (we had all sat motionless watching her bizarre behavior), she plopped down and proclaimed that we needed to finish the game by candlelight because it would be more fun that way. She was right.

Finding The Fun In The Unexpected

How do you react when the electricity goes out in your life and you find that your plans are being unexpectedly rearranged? If you’re like me, you overreact with complaints and impatience. Or perhaps you just sit quietly and do nothing, waiting for someone to come along and fix it for you. I found out on that night that the better way to respond is by lighting a candle and taking a new direction.

We can all learn to adapt to and overcome the unexpected situations that arise in our lives. The key is to remember to stay calm when we find ourselves outside of the parameters of what is written in our daily planners. Take a breath, count to ten and say a prayer. Then, switch gears quickly. Once we’re calm, we can focus and come up with a Plan B to take off in a new, unplanned direction.

Think Positive Thoughts

The most important part of overcoming a hiccup in our schedule is maintaining a good attitude. I was frustrated when the electricity went out and messed up my plans for the night. And I am embarrassed to admit that I was sighing loudly and stomping around like a 2-year-old when I was lighting those candles. It was at that point that I realized I had four sets of eyes watching me.

As parents, we are always under scrutiny. Our kids are constantly watching us even when we don’t think they are. We are the example they are modeling their lives after. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 reminds us that we are to teach our children the ways of God at all times – especially when the lights go out.

My kids taught me a valuable lesson that night. Instead of becoming put out by life’s unannounced detours, I needed to learn to embrace them. Over the years, I’ve honed my skills, but not without the occasional slip-up. I am better at being that woman from Proverbs 31 who is able to laugh at the future without fear. I know that whatever happens, whether it’s a little thing like the electricity going out or a big thing like chronic illness, God is ultimately in control and has my best interests in mind.

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