My life after childhood turned out exactly like I thought it would. I graduated from college at the top of my class. Found the love of my life and the perfect job immediately. We had children quickly and they were all the picture of perfection….never cried or spit up and they slept through the night from birth . They always minded us and did all the right things always. My marriage and job and our finances and ALL. THE. THINGS? Magnificent! Dreamy! No worries or complaints.
And why wouldn’t this all be true? I mean, I grew up a good Catholic girl. I loved God and even wanted to be a nun for a while. Surely I had found all the favor and would have the picture perfect life. No problems. No stress. All the things in line.
And as I dreamed all these things, I imagine God was getting a good chuckle. Because He had some lessons for me that could only happen outside the box of my little perfect dream.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me , I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. “…The Lord (Jeremiah 29:11-14, The Message)
Well, very few of the perfect dream things actually happened. My reality has looked a bit more like this…
- I completed 90 hours of college and had to quit before I could graduate. Life got in the way.
- I had a beautiful, small wedding and married a man I wasn’t completely sure was “the one”. We divorced in less than 7 years. God lead me to “the one” several years later and we have been married now for 24 years. But we’ve still had struggles. Lots of them.
- I have dealt with one unsatisfying job after another because I never clearly decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. The nun thing never panned out! LOL
- I did have perfect children. Five of them to be exact! But they did spit up and cry as babies and they didn’t always make good choices in their pre-teen or teen years!
- I’ve dealt with single parenting, job loss, lack of income, the loss of loved ones, disappointments, broken promises, fears, insecurities, doubts and the list goes on and on….
My BEAUTIFUL , messy, complicated reality.
Every tear. Every sleepless night. Every cringe worthy moment. Every doubt and fear. All of these moments needed to mix with the joyful moments and the heart bursting moments of love and the deemed perfect times.
Every ingredient in the mix of my life has been needed to get me to where I am now. And that’s a place where I can so clearly see the blessing of my unanswered prayers for that elusive “perfect” life . Where I can clearly see God’s mercy and His grace poured out all over the place. Where I can see the perfection of His plan coming to be.
I love the blessing of hindsight. I love to look back on times in my life and imagine how things would be different now if I had made other choices. Or if things had gone according to MY plan instead of His. And honestly? Things would’ve been different. But I’m not sure anything would’ve been better. And I know I would’ve missed out on SO MUCH! So as the old Garth songs goes, “I thank God for unanswered prayers”!
So if you’re in a weird place right now and you feel you’re many shades away from perfect, hang on. God will use these moments in your life. But He won’ t leave you there because it takes way more than what you’re going through now to achieve the perfect life He has planned for you. He’ll mix this moment beautifully with the good times and the in-between times.
He WILL turn things around for you. You won’t be disappointed.