When the Plan Changes Forever

Plan changes-1

Feeling sore after a good practice wasn’t a strange thing. Every musician knows the drill. Practice hard, rest well. Exam season was around the corner, and I was determined to ace this one.

But something felt odd today. My hands were unusually sore, and that soreness kept radiating higher and higher with each passing hour. Flip, I must’ve played longer than I thought I did. That happens when the metronome is clicking.

The metronome. That love-hate relationship with the click-clack-clack.  Like a teacher you love to hate, it annoys you at first but then lulls you into a hypnotic state of precision and excellence. It was just such a moment that took me ‘over the edge.’

By the following afternoon, I was beside myself in agony. Pain was coursing from my fingertips to my shoulders. This CANNOT be happening. I have work to do. I have assignments to finish. I have a life to live.

Dark Night of the Soul

But this was happening. Overnight, I found myself in a nightmare that I couldn’t escape. By the end of the week, I was completely debilitated. My parents were cutting my food, brushing my teeth, and helping me eat and dress. Crippled.

Doctors confirmed the worst―severe tendonitis. Braces were ordered, and absolute rest was prescribed. The prognosis―no more piano EVER. One doctor even said, “If it gets better, it’ll happen again as soon as you start using them.” There was no hope.

I was devastated. No, that’s not quite right. I was confused, and angry, and devastated. How could this be happening to me? I didn’t come to college to find a husband. I was here for purpose and destiny. I was here because this was my calling.

Tears, tears, and more tears. Pain, agony, and frustration. It was my ‘dark night of the soul.’

Coping with Transition

I went through the motions of informing my professors of my condition. Thankfully, they were supportive and allowed me to do all of my exams and assignments orally. It was tough. It was humbling. But I made it. The more difficult bridge to cross was informing my piano teacher that I wouldn’t be coming back unless God healed me.

Months passed with no improvement. I officially changed my ‘major’ to Voice and started developing myself as a singer. Singing was never really my passion, but it seemed to be my only option now.

I worked hard. I stretched myself. Our patient director believed in me more than I believed in myself, and he patiently pushed me ‘out of my box.’ Before I realized it, I had almost a three-octave vocal range. What?! Are you kidding me?

Healing Comes in Surprising Ways

“Why didn’t you just pray for healing?” Believe me, we did. I went to every healing meeting and had my name on every prayer chain. Yes, I believe in healing. Absolutely and completely! I KNOW that God heals people today, and I was confident that He was good and faithful and kind. But I couldn’t understand why my situation wasn’t changing.

I’d like to say that I had a radical moment of healing and deliverance, or that I felt tingling in my arms and could instantly ‘tickle the ivories’ better than ever. But it didn’t happen like that.

My healing was far less dramatic and far more wonderful.

I simply felt the still, small voice of Father saying, “Trust Me.”

  • Trust Me for fresh purpose.
  • Trust Me for new direction.
  • Trust Me for joy in the suffering.
  • Trust Me to unlock your future.

A New Plan with a Much Better Purpose

Artwork by Rachel Pfutzner

Artwork by Rachel Pfutzner

Perhaps the greatest miracle in this season was what happened inside me. I discovered who I really was and that I LOVED singing! Confidence grew. Passion grew. Joy and my sense of humour grew.

I also found love. ♥ One of my closest friends faithfully carried my books every day from class to class. He faithfully helped me prepare for assignments and exams. And he genuinely made me laugh. In fact, I was so impressed with him that I eventually married him.

Erwin and I graduated (Bachelor of Theology with a Music Major), married, had a family and made a life together. And for the past twenty-three years, we’ve been singing, teaching, writing, and doing worship ministry together!

And although I have never pursued piano performance again, I am not completely crippled like I once thought I would be. I can type, write, and play piano for short bursts of time. I can scrapbook and crochet. And I can teach! I love unlocking the gold inside my students and seeing those “aha” moments in their eyes.

You see, when the enemy blinds you with bad news, God sees the promise! I could only see the reality of not being able to play piano again, but He saw a future filled with love, melodies, and joy. The detour was sooo much better than my original plan!

Exchanging the Valley of Trouble for a Door of Hope

The Scripture that sustained me during my long journey was Hosea 2:14-15.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”

The name “Valley of Achor” actually means “valley of trouble” and that’s exactly what it felt like. Trouble. Nothing working out my way. But God saw past my trouble to the promise. He declared that He would deliver me through the trouble and that I would sing―SING!

Do you remember the scene from the movie “Prince of Egypt” when Miriam and Zipporah sang that stunning duet called “When You Believe”? That’s my anthem. That’s my life song.

“There can be miracles when you believe

Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill

Who knows what miracles you can achieve

When you believe, somehow you will

Now you will

You will when you believe

You will when you believe.”

[youtube id=”Gur8ccqrQ9c” align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no” thumbnail=”Prince of Egypt duet, “When You Believe””]


So, dear friend, if you find yourself in a valley of trouble today, let me encourage you with these words…

Trust your Heavenly Father with ALL the details of your life… even the parts that don’t make sense to you.

He sees the final chapter, and He knows the best way to get you to your destiny.


This article is part of a guest post for #mystorymonday with my good friends over at RiseUpPrincess.

If you want to read more of their musings, click here!

Rise Up Princess




12 replies
  1. Lise-Mari
    Lise-Mari says:

    This was very encouraging, thank you Shauna! You definitely “tickled the ivories” of my heart with this one 😉 Love you!

  2. Katrien
    Katrien says:

    Hi Shauna xx I actually remember two times you played piano with me while we led worship at a mentoring leaders camp and the other time in your house for our mentoring meeting, and how it was such a breakthrough for you to play every time. So it was really special to read the details of your story. It’s an inspiring story full of hope. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m encouraged and I love your writings. 🙂 xxx

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      I remember that too! That was huge. I remember the fear being the worst part; fear that it’ll happen again. Thankfully, we can trust that our Father is good ALL the time! If it would happen again, it would still be ok. He never lets us go!
      I miss you, my friend.❤️

  3. Deborah Rajapakse
    Deborah Rajapakse says:

    One of the most beautiful, encouraging stories I’ve read!! Thank you for sharing this. Love you lots!! xx

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Debbie, I miss your beautiful face around here. Thanks so much for your encouragement. Now you know a little more about the magic behind Erwin and Shauna!❤️ God is good!

  4. Amber
    Amber says:

    I can so relate, though thankfully not to the chronic pain. Our plan to serve as missionaries in India was derailed by a visa denial and we ended up in Nepal. It is pretty crazy to face the rest of my life in a place I never planned to be but God is faithful just as he has been with you, and I am
    So encouraged by your story. Can’t wait to see what mine sounds like 25 years down the road! God bless

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Wow, Amber. I am encouraged by your story too! It’s crazy and beautiful to see how Father weaves the tapestry of our lives across borders, languages, and cultures. Nepal! We are about to celebrate our 10th anniversary in South Africa. I thought we were only coming for a year and a half. Now, a decade later, we can honestly say that our hearts are big enough to contain Canada, South Africa, and countless other nations because we’ve fallen in love with people from all over the world! I’m so excited for the path you are on! Well done for stepping out!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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