Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Five Year Plan

Engaged - 12/1984
When Daryl and I were friends, we would talk about our dreams and aspirations.  One of the things we talked about was our dreams for children.  Funny, but we both wanted to have 5 children!  Our running joke for years was that we just didn't know that we would marry each other and we'd each get our 5 children...and then along came Esther and we called her our "bonus baby" and now that Carese has arrived, we have decided that Carese is my bonus baby, while Esther was Daryl's bonus baby!  But I digress....

When Daryl and I married, we talked about having children and were planning to have them, but not right away.  Like many we knew, we felt it would be best to wait to have children until we were "settled in."  Since Daryl only had 9 months left in the Air Force, and the future after that was unknown, we formulated a "Five Year Plan."  Much like many other couples or our era and most era's since then.  We wanted to wait until Daryl was out of the Air Force, well started in his civilian career and we had purchased our first home.  Sounded good, right?

Well, God didn't think so.  He is greater than our plans.  He is not limited by our plans.  He knows better than we do what is best for us.  We found out just weeks before he was to get out of the Air Force that we were expecting our first baby.  Even though we had "other plans" I was thrilled.  I had always wanted to be a mommy - it was the ultimate life goal for me.  So we rolled with it.

We adjusted our vision of our future and worked around being parents.  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, but it wasn't easy....not by a long shot.  We had hoped that I would be a stay at home mom, but that wasn't in the plan either.  I ended up working part time in a business that we were partners in with Daryl's parents.  But God used that in my life to develop much of my ideas and perspectives about mothers working outside the home - it's hard on the mom, it's hard on the kids  and it's hard on the marriage.  Even though we worked together (and we worked well together), it was hard for me to be the kind of wife and mother I should be when I was spending so much time away from home, and coming home tired, with children who had been away from home all day saving up their naughtiness for when we got home.

First Anniversary
So, looking back, would I have wished for the 5 year plan, or the 5 month plan (I was 5 months pregnant on our first anniversary)?   I choose the plan God chose for me, as His was is always best.  We struggled and it was a long time before we owned our own home, but it was worth the wait.  God led us through the tough times and I learned so much first hand that I can pass onto my children, and we also learned many things that we were able to employ in our current home business, Snap-EZ.

Looking back helps me to remember that God does have a plan for me, but it might not always seem like the best plan while I am in the middle of the tough times.  But I can reflect on all the blessings the Lord has given us and know that He not only had a plan, but he currently has a plan for my future.  One of my favorite verses in scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord,"plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."  What comfort that is.

Our first born son, Jeremy
Born 16 months after we were married
We can not know the future, we can only base our plans on speculation, but God knows the future and knows so much better that we do what is good for us and what will bring about our sanctification (becoming Christ-like).    I totally believe that we can and should plan for the future, but we must hold those plans loosely and be ready to "roll with the punches" and find plan "G" (no, not plan B, but plan G - God's plan!). We did and God has brought blessings out of even the toughest of times.