Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21
Oh I had all sorts of grand plans for when I grew up. I was going to marry prince charming, have four adorable and well-behaved children, own my own dream home with a white picket fence and a wrap around porch where I would sit in the afternoon admiring my children at play. Inside my home would always look like Martha Steward herself lived there. I would be a picture perfect mom and wife. Our home would be filled with the laughter and love of family and friends.
I became a mom for the first time at 17. I married at 19 and had our second (and last) child at 20. Nowhere in my plans did I dream:
- Raising a son with autism and cystic fibrosis
- My daughter struggling to learn to read due to severe dyslexia
- My husband and I working so very hard at our marriage
- Our home being empty of family and friends, because we were just trying to survive the day
- Only sleeping 2-3 hours each night for 22 years
- Being very lonely, stressed and at times miserable
- Fighting a public school system for my son’s right to be educated as he needed
- Fighting with a different school that my daughter was in fact dyslexic
- Having a daughter who would rather play basketball and baseball with her cousins instead of having pretty dresses and tea parties
- Being broken, lost and isolated
- Being a hands-on parent 24/7 for 23 years
- Spending a life time in hospitals (both medical and psychological), thousands of doctor’s office and many ambulance rides
Fast Forward 23 Years
I could never have dreamed of the blessings that came with God’s plans for my family. Yes, I called all of that a blessing. Why?
- Most marriages don’t make it through the kind of stuff we went through: married early, two small children, Marine Corps, special needs children, and life-threatening illnesses. But God knew exactly who would stick by my side through all of it, even if we didn’t like each other very much on some days. We will celebrate 22 years of marriage this year.
- I questioned, ranted and raved asking God “why? why me?” Then one day I realized God was teaching me about unconditional love, patience and the bigger picture.
- Because we didn’t have close friends we depended on each other very much and our dependence on God increased.
- Because I didn’t have a girly girl my daughter opened up the world of sports to me. I look forward to going to basketball or baseball games.
- I never thought our son would be able to move out. God knew though. Our son is flourishing in a new home learning daily life skills with the hope of one day moving into his own apartment.
When our son moved out in April 2011 and our daughter was in her own apartment at college I thought “finally smooth sailing – it’s been a very long 22 years!” I thought surely we have faced and conquered enough obstacles to last three lifetimes…….
God Had Other Plans
Six weeks ago our 20-year-old daughter was diagnosed with seizures. As we look back over the years we realize now that what we thought were migraines were seizures. This is a pivotal time in her college education – Spring semester of her junior year. Her life has changed. She needs other people to drive her. She has to ask for help and that bothers her greatly. I have to once again rely completely on God.
Do I still say all of this is a blessing? Yes – a thousand times over yes!!! The one central unchanged theme in my life has been I have needed God at all times, in all circumstances! Each time I thought “whew, that’s behind us, it should be easy peasy from here.” I would find myself on my knees asking God to see us through.
If I would have had my dreams come true, I wouldn’t have needed God for anything. His plans require that I need Him minute by minute. I have lived through hell, been broken and had my dreams crushed but through it all God has been and will continue to be my Refuge, my Rock and my Shield. Yes, His plans are always better than my dreams.
By the way – I absolutely married my prince charming.