When your plans are altered…

Written by: Ms. O

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated our graduating seniors…as they finish one chapter in their lives….and anticipate the next. The question that was posed to each of them was, “What’s next for you?”…which really made me think about myself…years…and years…ago.

When I was in middle school I had grandiose ideas of becoming an artist. I loved creating things….with paint…pottery…metal. There was nothing more appealing to me than a blank canvas to work with. I felt like the possibilities were endless…and totally in my control. In my heart I just knew that my future was set….somewhere….in between the paint tubes and charcoals.

We moved to Texas and the art department was not as specialized at it was in my previous high school…so I lost my focus. I did not fit in to what was there…so my interest waned. I lost my direction….my ambition…my drive to move forward. I felt like a fish out of water…with no direction in finding the next pond. All that I thought I knew was gone….and I had no clue what I was supposed to “do” next.

I am not sure why college was not an option for me. I made decent grades…most of my friends moved on to higher education…but I am sure a lot had to do with lack of funds. I never thought it was a possibility so why pursue it.

What I did end up doing…after graduation….at the ripe young age of 18…was to get married. Again I had hope…feeling as if this was something I could do. I learned how to cook…which in the south meant batter and deep fry it up….to do the laundry (after many mistakes of mixing up colors and whites…who knew?)…and take care of the house. I felt so grown up…so “adult like”…being married….settled…and yet at the same time I felt like I was “playing house”…not making a life.

After I had my kids I clung to pouring myself into my children. I strived to be a good mom…attending every sporting/cheer/band event put on….diving into volunteering at their schools…watching them grow up. There is absolutely nothing wrong about that…it is the greatest blessing God ever gave me….but it was later that my focus had left me….confused.

This might sound crazy…and after reading this…it won’t surprise me….to see you  enter my office with a straight jacket…but it is my heart. As my kids grew up, it was like I was watching it from a seat in a movie theater. My own life was a blur of mistakes and mishaps….to which I had blocked out a good part of. But as I watched my kids grow up…I could ponder…and do a lot of hindsight into my past.

I look back into the face of that 17 year old girl…fresh out of high school…and wonder when expectations of myself…..changed?

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How did the young girl with stars in her eyes…go to a woman whose soul existence was living day to day….trying to stay ahead of my mistakes…or inability to carry this…life in general…off without anyone noticing. I loved being a stay at home mom…it afforded me the blessing of being a central part of my kids lives…except those middle school years when kids pull off the farce that they were hatched and did not have parents. I got to see their daily triumphs….cry at their disappointments…and pray…a lot…for their day to day existence…and their future.

The day came when they left for college…and I stepped back into my now empty home…divorced…. alone…and wondered, “What am I to be now?” The quiet that I had begged for all those years had been granted to me…and I rallied against it….since my identity had changed too many times…and I wasn’t sure what….was…next.

I know it is an over used passage in the Bible…mainly because it speaks so well to the soul…a voice from Heaven to remind us all:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”…… (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

Okay God…I thought I had plans…a future…what is up with that? I use these words with my youth…to give them hope for their future…to let them know that the future is waiting for them….but for myself?….not so much.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity…”

Then it occurred to me….an a-ha moment. During these lost years….as in not sure of the direction that I should take….I raised my kids. I prayed for them in earnest…begging God for the life He conceived in each of them….but did not see the relevance for myself.  I felt my life was set…the course mapped out…etched in stone. After my kids left I thought to myself…what is the point…now. I am over half way through my life…what is the point? As I speak these words…out loud…with heartbroken tears running down my cheeks…I hear my Father in Heaven speaking that promise to me again…adding….

“Linda…I want your whole heart…not what you are running from…or blindly reaching for into the future. I want you to earnestly search for me…and you will be found by me. The plans that I have for you?…they still pertain…some things never go away…they are merely waiting for you to search them out. Come to me Linda…I have the keys to Kingdom living…and it’s time you walk with me.”

So…here goes…(minus the stars in my eyes)…but more like a promise in my heart…Ms. O