Monthly Archives: August 2015


Planning the Perfect Plan

Planners? Beware of this devotion below. It will hit you square between the eyes, as it should.

I myself am a planner.

I typically have my entire work day laid out in a color-coded calendar in my Microsoft Outlook before my alarm wakes me up at 6:15 am. I list reminders about errands, get-togethers with friends, grocery lists, bills, etc. I list them all and check them off. It’s one of life’s most satisfying achievements… the little things.

I remember attending college at the University of Georgia and anticipating the plans I just knew God had for me. Go to school, get a degree, start working, meet a lovely man, get married by 25, start having kids around 27 or 28, and then live happily ever after according to my plan & in my timeline.

It was perfect, right?!?

It seemed to be.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

–Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

Planning the Perfect Life 

by Amy Carroll {an author at Proverbs 31 Ministries blog}

“I was the girl with the Five-Year Plan. In my heart, I carried a list of all I wanted to achieve, experience and accomplish. When I talked about the Five-Year Plan, I’d act like it was no big deal, and I’d laugh about it. Yet in reality … It. Was. No. Joke. I held it tightly.

At the age of 20, my Five-Year Plan included finishing my education degree, teaching for a year, going to Bible college for a year, and then heading to the mission field. It seemed logical to me.

When I was 8 years old, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. At 12, a missionary who spoke at my church planted a seed of growing passion for the nations. So I designed my schedule to achieve these plans the millisecond after I left college. After all, God had planted these dreams in my heart. It was my job to fulfill them, right?

Sounded perfect to me!

About two years into the Five-Year Plan, my “perfect” plan was interrupted by a tall, blue-eyed man who wasn’t part of what I had written onto my extended calendar. I told my mom he wasn’t my type before our first date.

Then I married him.

That might seem like an odd juxtaposition, and it was. Nine months after I declared Barry Carroll “not my type,” I walked down the aisle toward him, my white dress trailing behind me. I was so choked with love and the overwhelming solemnity of the occasion that I could barely gasp out my vows.

This year we celebrated our Silver Anniversary, and my bridegroom is the best interruption to my plans that ever happened to me. It turns out, God’s Word is true. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Sometimes it takes an interruption of our perfect plan to start the life that’s perfect for us.

When I was young, I thought plans were revealed, but it turns out life unfolds. Those dreams God planted in my heart as a girl? They’ve come to pass one by one over the past 25 years, and I’m living some dreams I never imagined at all.

Are you a planner? Good for you! Plan away, but hold those plans with open hands and a heart ready to wait.

Just this morning as I read 2 Peter 3, I found plans that all of us should hold tightly while we leave the unfolding of our circumstances to the Lord. “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11b-12a, NIV). We should all plan who we’re going to be, rather than what we’re going to do.

Are you frustrated by a lack of plans? It’s okay. Really. God is no less in control of your life than the other planners’ lives around you. Wait. Watch for Him, and let His plan unfold. You’re probably better off than we planners who constantly struggle to let go and recalibrate as God works. You can help your planner friends relax and go with God’s flow!

I’ve given up my Five-Year Plan, and I’m learning to wake up each day determined to sync my calendar to God’s. He’s the faithful unfolder of my days.”


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)

2 Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (NIV)

Surrender the plans, cease your striving, your guessing, and your worrying, for He is faithful & is the unfolder of our days. Hold your hands and hearts open to hear from Him.


– See more at:

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You need only be still… + Giveaway

A few years ago, I had a verse hit me between the eyes.

Exodus 14:14- “The Lord our God will fight for you, you need only be still.”

The Lord YOUR GOD will FIGHT for you, in place of you, and all He asks in return is that we remain still & trust Him.

For those of you who have been a part of my spiritual journey, or others who have been reading this blog for a while, you will undoubtedly know that trust is something I have struggled with.

I want to do it so, so badly.

I want to relinquish control, cease the striving, and just lean back, lean in, and trust. I want nothing more.

And then my nature kicks in. That stubborn, “I know better”, and “I can do it on my own” mentality rears its ugly head.

So many times I have run to Him and He knows the words before they ever escape my lips, “God, you Know me. You made me. Hear my heart.”

Exodus 14:14 has become something of a life verse for me, a heart cry for the way I want to love. The way I choose to live. Because it is a choice. A daily one.

And it’s the verse that this blog, A Still Magnolia, is based on.

So, in effort to keep it ever in the forefront of my heart & mind, I commissioned Valerie Weiners, a very talented artist to create for me a custom hand-lettered piece to display one of my favorite pieces of scripture.


It sits on a side table in Katie & I’s apartment.

A daily reminder.

A stake in the ground.



And perhaps, you’d like one too?

I thought you might!


Giveaway details…

How to enter:

1. Subscribe to A Still Magnolia Blog.

To do so, click on the “Join my Mailing List” icon above the picture of the home page. This link will open a seperate page where you can enter your contact information and be added to my mailing list.

It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s free.

You know you want to…

You really, really do.

Would you ever doubt me?!?

{If you already subscribe (sincerely, thank you), simply move forward to Step 2}

2. In the comments section below this post, simply shout out what is one of your favorite scriptures, word, or phrase that you find encouraging. 

3. Additional entries can be earned by commenting on the  A Still Magnolia Facebook page or for sharing on any form of social media. Simply tell me about it below in the comments section- “Share on Twitter” or “Posted to my Facebook page” for one additional entry.

I will be selecting 1 winner for this amazing piece of custom artwork to go home with. Winner will be selected & announced next Thursday, August 20th.  So, you have lots of time to enter, comment, tell your friends, and share on social media platforms.

Good luck!


For more information about Valerie Weiners and her beautiful art, please check out her website at