Monday, October 23, 2006

In Other Words...

"Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace..."

~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned "

I know this quote is probably supposed to sound wistful, but it makes me laugh! It's been awhile since I've done any life planning, since it seems like everything I've tried to plan has turned out much differently than I would have imagined.

If you had asked me, in high school, when I thought I'd get married, I never would have answered, "Oh, maybe my senior year in college." If you'd asked me, during that first year of marriage, how many kids we'd have, I'd have told you, "An even number--probably two. Maybe four." (We have six.) If you'd asked me where we would live after college, the one place I could have told you where we definitely would NOT live--in the general vicinity of the college we attended--is where we've been living for the past 15 years.

After college, what job would I take? --I'd be a teacher of course, with the degree I had just earned in Elementary Education. (I substitute-taught for 5 months before becoming a life insurance underwriter at Allstate.) Would I work after having kids? --Yes, I'd work part-time somehow, just as my mother had. (I did that till #2 was 18 months old, then quit.) Would I homeschool? --What's that? I told you, I have a teaching certificate, and my dad was a public school teacher for 30+ years! (I've homeschooled for ten years now.)

Would I trade any of these surprising developments for "The Life I Planned"?

Never! The Lord knew better than I did what I really wanted, or what we really needed. It was a disappointment not to get a full-time teaching job after college, and subbing was boring, thankless and lonely. But I loved the underwriting job I ended up with (a whole 'nother story) and I was promoted so quickly that by the time I our first child was born, I could drop to part-time, making as much money--working 2 days a week, with benefits--as I would have made had a I landed a job at a small private school, like some of my college classmates. With my husband a full-time grad student, that was an amazing provision for us at that time--I can see God's hand in it so clearly in hindsight.

My desire for a nice manageable number of children was a smaller vision than the one God had in mind. He wanted to stretch us, cause us to put our trust in Him instead of in our own strength and multiply the rewards and the joy our children have brought. Having a large family has been the smartest thing we've ever done! (to swipe a line from a friend).

Homeschooling my own children through each stage of their learning lives has been infinitely more rewarding than getting a new classroom full of kids each year could ever be. Staying around this area because of an incredible church has been a journey into deeper faith, more understanding, greater trust, a rich tradition and for Papa Rooster, ordination to the Anglican priesthood. One never plans on hard times or detours, of course, and we've had our share of both, but with the support of this community and by God's grace, we've been strengthened and even blessed by trials.

So it's been awhile since I've done much life planning. People will ask about our future plans, and our answer is always something like, "Well, we have some ideas about that--here they are--but they're subject to change without notice as we wait and see how God leads us." We tell our kids, "There's no greater adventure than following God."

God has repeatedly given us so much more than we could have asked for or even imagined! I wonder what's next in The Life He's Planned?


MiPa said...

Thanks for a great post!

Joy said...

I am finding myself much like where you probably are. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Isn't it wonderful that He didn't limit Himself to you plans. I am more and more grateful that He does things His way with every post I read on this.

Jennifer said...

"Knowing" Beth Moore, she probably meant it to be funny, too! It just shows that you look at the glass as half full, not have empty.

Ame said...

Fun :)

I wonder, too :)

my bathroom is my sanctuary said...

it's neat how god works. He definanly IS IN CONTROL!!!

Anonymous said...

"He wanted to stretch us, cause us to put our trust in Him instead of in our own strength "

Gosh, Jeannie, this is just what I needed to read at this moment. Thank you. I have been wondering what lesson I am supposed to be learning right now, and I "knew" it was something like this, but I wasn't sure. Thanks for sharing :)


Amydeanne said...

stretching is a bit painful, but so worth it! I love your post!

Darlene said...

I would have loved a large family, in fact at one point I remember saying that we'd like ten kids at least. Unfortunately I had trouble with pregnancy, and so five little ones went up before their time of birth.

I'd love to roll on the hills of heaven with my nine children that God blessed me with, and maybe some day I will.

When I remember that the dog was drinking from the toilet this morning because I forgot to give him water again, I suspect that God knew I could only manage my four. :)

Enjoy your many blessings--that is so wonderful.

Andrea said...

Very well said.