“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
This verse didn’t find it’s way into my life until about 7 years ago but the actions of it have been there for a long time. I just didn’t know it was God’s promise to me. My plans for my life crashed and burned but God had his own plans.
My life has not turned out how I had imagined it would or hoped that it would. I grew up the child of a bitter divorce and I truly tried to not repeat the past; but that was not to be. I fell in love at 17 and married at 21 to a man that I was head over heels in love with from the beginning. We moved far from family so he could attend graduate school, and that is where i finished school. We were both in school full time and working full time. We were young, broke and alone, but God put amazing people in our lives.
After school, we moved back to central Texas where we began our careers and attempted to start a family. We suffered several miscarriages. After a conversation with a friend from church, I found a wonderful doctor in Fort Worth who understood the emotional loss of miscarriage and was an absolute Godsend. He was aggressive, compassionate and wonderful. My wonderful preacher was able to walk me through the losses and uncertainty as well as assure me that God had a plan for me. After tests, the issues were found, hormones and medications started, and I was finally pregnant again. We welcomed our daughter 3 years after starting down that road. She was an absolute gift from God. Her sister arrived with help from hormones 2 years later. God’s plan allowed two friends to overcome infertility because I shared my struggle. It was God’s plan, not mine.
Unfortunately, only months after my second daughter arrived, my marriage began to fall apart due to an affair my husband was having. We moved away from our home and family to try and make it work, but after a year of struggles and counseling, he finally chose her over our family. I was devastated and alone with 2 young daughters. Due to my teaching contract, I was not able to move home to family until the end of the school year which was 8 months later. I moved us into a small apartment and tried to move on. Yet again, God had a plan.
At my lowest moments, I would receive a card in the mail from a family member in Minnesota that contained encouragement and a check with instructions to take a night off and enjoy some time with my girls. These ALWAYS arrived on a day that I was at my very lowest. During this time, I also attended a school training where I met a wonderful woman who inspired me as a teacher and as well as a woman. Even though we have never lived in the same town, she became my best friend and is my rock that I lean on. We have been close friends since that first conversation 14 years ago. We have seen each other through divorce, teenagers, getting married, and sending kids off to college. God had a plan to prosper me!
During counseling after my divorce, I had to set goals for myself. Ways to develop my life that did not rely on making someone else happy; goals about me and for me. I set goals to buy a house, return to school, and live a happy life with or without a man. After living with my parents for a year to get back on my feet, I moved back to where I had started teaching, where I had friends who would support and encourage me. I settled in and my girls thrived. I was able to find a wonderful little house that had been gutted and remodeled that was perfect for me and two little girls. It was safe and wonderful for us and I could afford it on my own. We loved it. I went back to school for my master’s degree and was offered an amazing opportunity for literacy training through my school. Life was pretty good. I was following my plan. But God had another plan, a love and family greater than me and my girls. I met a wonderful man and after 5 years of feeling like I’d never be ready, I fell in love, got married, added two stepdaughters to my life and unexpectedly, a baby boy on the way. We didn’t plan on another child… 4 girls were more than enough but again, God had a plan. We welcomed a baby boy to our family. Our children spanned 15 years old to newborn.
After a change in plans at my school, we moved to my husband’s hometown and settled in to our life. He traveled a lot and it was hectic, but I finished my master’s degree, we were able to travel thanks to all his travel rewards from his work, travel and life was good. Then we were thrown another curve-ball; my mom had a health crisis and was not expected to live. I sat by her hospital bed one night and told her it was okay to let go. Yet again, God had another plan; two days later she began to improve.
A few years later, my husband got laid off. It was unexpected and scary. He was unemployed for a year and a half. But God had a plan; he went back to school and finished the degree he left when he joined the Air Force at 19. The savings that should have lasted 6 months lasted the whole year and a half. He was able to get almost done before he found a job; and able to manage work and school to finish. Through it all, I never feared or worried. I had learned that God had a plan. I just had to go along with it. He's now employed and doing well.
This summer my job took a turn for the worse and I began to worry but I shouldn't have. Two days after learning of major changes that would occur, God laid a new job in front of me. A job as a reading specialist in a wonderful school. He takes care of it all!
Today, we have a son-in-law, grand-baby, two in college, one who just got her driver’s license and a 5th grader. I have learned to go with God’s plan. His ways are so much more than mine. I encourage my children to work hard, dream big and know that God has a plan for them -- plans to prosper them and not harm them, plans to give them hope and a future. My life did NOT turn out as I had planned but God has given me so many blessings and has never left me in my times of trouble. God has a plan!
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Sending love, luck & calm vibes.