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 hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
All my life I thought I was "just" a planner. From the time I was a young girl I planned what age I wanted to get married, what kind of home I wanted, what places I wanted to visit and how many children I wanted to have. My plans went on and on. As I advanced to my high school years, conversations with girlfriends revolved around all of our plans because we certainly knew our lives would end up exactly as we had planned them.
Year after year my life unfolded largely according to my plan. I moved away to go to school and then moved away again to experience life in New York City. I met a gorgeous boy in my early 20's and quickly married. We eventually moved back to my home state and bought a brand new home together. Life was rolling along, just as it should, just as I had planned.
We decided it was time to get pregnant. We, of course, planned for the exact time we wanted to get pregnant and started to try. Then, nothing. First year gone by, nothing. Second year, nothing. Third year, nothing. Wait, this is not how it was supposed to be. All my life I had planned to be married a year, then get pregnant the second year, then wait another year to try for my second child and then be done with having children so I could be a young Mom and still look pretty cute by the time they (a boy and a girl of course) graduate high school. (I hate to admit it but yes that was an actual a concern of mine, not to be the "old Mom"). Year after year my life was not going according to my plan. Each year brought more stress and more anxiety as my my desires were unfulfilled and I fell behind schedule on all my life plans.
Then, 4 years in, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. We had a vacation planned in just a few weeks and after had planned to start fertility treatments (our back-up plan). Now every vacation plan, back-up plan, future plan, life-plan was in limbo as our whole life stopped to battle my husbands illness. Never before had I felt my life so out of control. I didn't handle it well. I developed ulcers in my stomach and would dry heave into trash cans. My hair came out by the handful. I had chronic head aches. I gained dramatic amounts of weight, then lost it, then gained then lost. I didn't know what the next year of my life would entail, let alone the next week or sometimes even the next day. It drove me nuts. I fought against it. In whatever way I could I grasped to maintain some control of my life as day by day the stress was almost too much to endure.
Then it happened one day. I realized the true issue. I was fighting so hard against what my life had become not because I wanted to "plan" my life but because I wanted to control my life. Everything had gone according to the script for so long I had a false sense of security it would continue that way. Along came infertility, along came cancer, and I quickly realized I am not in control. The truth is I never really was. Is it wrong to have a plan for your life? No. Is it wrong to think you are the one in control of the plans for your life? Absolutely. None of us are.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
As I started to release the desire to control I gained the ability to trust. Trust in God and His plans for my life. I understood I wouldn't always know where those plans would take me. I understood I wouldn't always know how things would end. But the one thing I could plan for and know for absolute certain, was God loved me. And I knew within the very core of my being His love would never, ever fail me. I started to understand that truth in ways I never had before. It doesn't mean I never made another plan, I do still make them-loosely. But I do so with the caveat that in the end God is in control of the plans of my life. I trust in where He leads me. Yes, that trust took me through the fire in the eventual loss of my husband. My plans for my life at that point where blown to smithereens. But even in the fire His love never failed.
I will always be one who likes to plan ahead, but I give up the need to control and daily place it at the foot of the cross. I am not in control, Jesus is. God's plans for my life turned out to be way different than I ever thought they'd be. But He is the author of my story and I trust Him, more than ever, to lead me to a beautiful finale.
The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. Isaiah 14:24