“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 a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
I love a good plan. I like order, and I like to know what is going to be happening today, tomorrow, next week, next year,…etc. If there truly is a “Type A, ” I would probably get an “A+.” I think for us “planners,” order and organization give us some sense of control in our lives. We have all heard the saying about what God does when we tell Him our plans! I imagine He has had plenty of material from me over the years!
Growing up, after a very short time of thinking I wanted to be a nurse (until I realized what they actually DO), I knew I wanted to become a teacher. After all, I lived with one! I used to come home every day and line up all my dolls, teaching them what I had learned that day. My mom would always say she knew exactly how the teachers would talk to us, because I repeated everything they said to my “students!” I stuck with my plan, as I went to college and earned a degree to teach grades K-8. I was so excited to get my first job, even though it was across town and completely different from my upbringing in a private Christian school. I went on to get my Master’s degree a few years later, fully planning to teach ‘forever.’ During this time I decided that whenever I had children, my mom would just ‘conveniently’ retire in order to stay home with them. (I’m not actually sure if I discussed that plan with her. 😉 )
After struggling to be able to have a baby at all, I finally learned I would be having two!! The closer I got to actually having the boys and because it had been difficult to do so, I quickly realized there was no way I was going back to teaching for awhile once they were born! Sure, I went through questioning myself and wondering why on earth I invested all of the time and money to get my graduate degree only to walk away. I reassured myself that I could always go back if I wanted to or if it became a necessity for our family.
I would not trade my time at home with my boys for anything. When they were six weeks old, I remember crying at even the thought of having to go back to work and was so grateful to have that option at the time. I will say that each year when school would start back again, a tiny part of me would miss all of the supply shopping, room decorating,…etc. That feeling would pass pretty quickly, though, when I realized how much I loved my new job as a mother!
After a couple of years I started realizing that I would love to have just ‘one more’ baby. Again, I did not plan for it to take as long as it did, and I had no idea I would have two going to kindergarten just a few weeks before I welcomed number three! Looking back now, I see how God worked out the details perfectly as I could spend all of the time the boys were in school getting to know my new baby girl. Having her also eased the pain of letting my boys take the first of many steps into independence.
When we found out we were having a baby girl, we were all just elated! I had always, always wanted a girl. I had her name picked out probably as early as middle school, because I thought how neat it would be to have my daughter use my maiden name. My mom and I got busy shopping and picking out all of the fun little girl things we had dreamed of being able to get for years. I had the most fun picking out every detail of her nursery, discussing at what age we should take her to the American Girl doll stores and just dreaming of us being the best of friends one day.
By now, you know part of Lindsay’s story. I know part of Lindsay’s story, but I do not know it all. I know that some of my plans have and will continue to change. Instead of going on play dates and doll shopping, we spend a lot of our time in and out of different therapies. But, you know what? I do not imagine any of the mothers I see when I take Lindsay to therapy ever once had it in their plans to be there either. No one dreams that when they grow up, their job will consist mainly of driving to and from places designed to help their children do what comes easily to most. I did not get a degree in this. I am not trained in this, nor did I plan on raising a child with “special needs.”
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”(Ephesians 2:10)
This verse was brought to mind one day this week as Chip and I were talking, and he said, “You know, it’s like you were made to be her mom.” I told him I had been thinking about that very thing recently, as I had been reflecting on how so many of my plans of what I thought I would be doing have changed throughout my life. I’m sure that is true for a lot of us.
Each night at the boys’ bedtime, I like to read Jesus Calling for Kids with them. Much of what we read and discuss from the daily devotionals centers on trusting God’s plan for our lives. I include it in every prayer with them as well, but I have to admit it has taken awhile to “practice what I preach.” When I cannot make sense out of things that happen, such as untimely deaths of friends and family, diseases, and syndromes, it is harder to focus on HIS plan. I have learned that not once has He told us we always get to understand His plans. Sure, we may see glimpses of how He has worked details out in our lives that were different than what we originally thought best, but we might never see His entire plan. We are simply to trust.
From now on, as much as my “Type A” self loves to organize, plan, and make sense of my world, I must acknowledge that I am not in control. I have to focus on one day at a time. I am learning to be flexible even though I do not like to “bend.” I have people ask me somewhat regularly if I think I might ever go back to teaching. I have no plans to do so at the moment; however, I also have learned I am not a great “planner” after all! So I will go on trusting that God has me right where he wants me for this season in my life. I have a little girl who needs me.
Plans change. And that’s okay.
Until next time…