I had goals, I had expectations for life, and I had a plan. A really good plan by the way, and as long as everything went as planned then life would be perfect. Right?
Oh how wrong I was.
Nobody told me that no matter how hard you try, how meticulous you are with the details, life can still snatch that perfectly laid plan and disrupt the whole thing.
Disruptions were not part of my plan.
When I graduated High School (just a few very short years ago…) I planned to go to college, after college I would get married, and after 2 years of marriage I would have a baby. Now, I wasn’t actually dating anyone at the time but that was not the point. This plan was good and if I followed it to the letter I would be a successful, happy adult.
Oh how good life is with a carefully laid plan. (Insert sigh of relief here)
Then partway through my freshman year of college I ran into a guy I knew from High School. This was not just any guy, this was “the guy”. The guy who had been one of my best friends, the guy who I had dated a bit and had the most fun with, the guy who I really liked, and most importantly the guy who could mess up any carefully laid plan.
Dang, there he was, there I was, and there was that kiss in the kitchen that sealed the deal. I was toast.
BUT, don’t get me wrong. I still had a plan and this would fit so perfectly into it. In just a few short years I would graduate college and this guy would be the perfect husband to that perfect plan. I just love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?
If you are wondering where the punch line is- I won’t make you wait for long.
Every single plan I made changed, and I was not very happy about it. “The guy” was in the U.S.Navy and in case you aren’t aware, people in the service can be moved to locations far away from you, which by the way was not part of the plan.
Ok, so maybe I’d compromise a bit here. I mean who said you had to actually graduate college before you get married? Lot’s of people get married and still graduate right?
So I tweaked my plan and dropped out of college right before my junior year. We moved 18 long hours from home (In my plan I had ALWAYS said I would NEVER move more than 2 hours from home). Please, if you learn nothing else from me, please never ever ever say those two words. Because the truth is- following those two words are these two: Challenge Accepted…. Lord help me, it’s true.
My husband knew of my goals and my determination was unmatched. Once settled, I began looking for colleges to transfer to. I found one close, but alas, it didn’t have the major that I loved and again my plans had to change.
Did I mention that I hate change.
I really hate change.
I really really hate changes that I am forced to make.
I really really really hate changes that are out of my control. (I think you get the point)
Okay, so let’s look on the bright side, at least I can finish college… at least there’s that.
Then, a few months before our second anniversary I found out that I was pregnant. We were so excited. Plans were back on track, college was going well and life was good.
Why is it that curve balls get thrown when they are least expected? Just when you think you have it all together, bam, curve ball. Ug.
(Insert curve ball here…)
Sadly, we lost that precious baby on our second anniversary. (another blog for another time perhaps) Being in the hospital on our anniversary was definitely, not part of the plan. My heart was broken. My life seemed like one disappointment after the other.
Not being the type to give up easily though, we began to try again. I was determined to be a mother. Months passed. No baby. I began to get depressed. Friends were becoming parents and here I was wondering what was wrong with me? Then, on the very month our first baby was due, I became pregnant with our oldest son.
A friend once told me that although she had also had a very painful miscarriage, she realized that if it hadn’t happened, she would not have her daughter. My story is the same. Had I not had that miscarriage I would not have my son and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Don’t misunderstand me here, I would never want to lose a pregnancy, but I did realize that I could chose to focus on the blessing instead of the loss.
Life has certainly not gone as planned.
No matter how hard I tried or how stubborn I was, life just had a way of knocking me right off course.
Life is so hard.
As you have probably already guessed, I did not graduate college as planned either. It took me a lot longer than expected. I transferred universities a few times and got discouraged more than I want to admit. When I did finally graduate, I had a 3 year old son and was 8 months pregnant with his little brother. My husband often reminds me that for as long as I was in college I could be a doctor right now, and he could be retired. I often remind him that it is his fault we moved around so much. We are at a stalemate on this one.
The point is- I did end up graduating. My goals were not met the way I thought they should be. Not one thing I planned has turned out the way I expected or wanted it to, but to be honest, (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) I really think it has turned out better. My plans were good, but the challenges and changes that life has thrown at us, has made me appreciate the outcomes so much more than if I had just accomplished them in my own way.
Change makes us uncomfortable but it also makes us see and experience things that we wouldn’t otherwise. And although some change can be painful, I can see now how it has all made me who I am today.
Change is the salt in our lives, it spices things up and takes us places we never thought we’d go.
It makes us regroup, re-plan, and refocus.
I can’t believe I’m saying this either, and I may not admit it later, but I have grown to really welcome change. I still don’t like it most of the time, but the outcome is always better than my own plans ever could be.
Maybe God really does know what He’s doing, and maybe I really need to just trust Him more.
So, the question is, do I still make plans? The answer to this one is simple, I most certainly do. I dream big, plan big, and then I ride this old roller coaster of life. It twists and turns my plans right upside down. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, and sometimes I just get sick to my stomach. My plans may change, I may accomplish my goals far differently than expected- but oh I do accomplish them. And along the way, I learn, I grow, and yes- I too change.
Change is good.
Life is good.
Hang on dear friends, change is coming. My prayer for you is that you can look back on your life the way that I do and be glad for every single unexpected turn.