There are many circumstances in my life that don’t go exactly how I imagined in my mind they would go. I am guilty of having a lot of romantic ideals on how certain situations will play out. But when it comes down to it, something often happens that will shatter all my hopes and dreams for that moment.
In August, I began to look forward to the beginning of school. The first day of school is always a special time when there is so much newness and excitement for a new beginning.
This year was no exception. Our oldest was looking forward to going to Grade 2 and our daughter was thrilled about going to school for the first time. On top of that, they were going to be riding the bus to school for the very first time. I was also thrilled they were going on the bus as I didn’t have to load all the kids up twice a day to drop off/pick up.
I have to admit, I was very ready for school to begin. I began shopping early. With little opportunity to make frequent shopping trips in the weeks before school, I started preparing early with little things here and there: a few pair of shoes on one trip, a backpack was purchased in July, and a soft blanket was spotted for SK way back in April.
When the big day arrived, after much preparation on my part, we snapped some pictures on the porch and I marched all the kids down to the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled time. We were prepared. We were excited. Ethan happened to cry the entire way down the sidewalk, but I dragged him along and we were excited so it didn’t matter.
Then the waiting began. We waited and waited and no bus came. I was getting concerned, so I took out my phone to see if I had any emails. Nothing. I texted a friend who also had her children on the bus. No response. I just was beginning to think I might have to drive the kids to school myself (!) when Ethan first threw up on the sidewalk behind me.
And there you have it. My dreams of the perfect first day of school send-off came crashing down. What was I to do? I couldn’t take him back to the house. I had nothing to clean him up or wipe his face with. All I could do was encourage him to move onto the grass so he wouldn’t mess up the sidewalk.
Eventually the bus came. It was late, but the route was new and the kinks would be worked out eventually.
Ethan also survived the bus waiting experience. He was sick several times, but we got through it. It wasn’t as I had imagined, but it really wasn’t the end of the world either.
I wonder how many times we go through life having an ideal set in our minds and when life doesn’t turn out the way we expected it to, we feel slightly crushed and extremely confused and frustrated.
We often forget we are not in control. As I was not in control of Ethan’s health at that moment at the bus stop, we are not in control of the many circumstances in our own lives. Our ways are not God’s ways. He often steers us in directions we are not interested in going. Our moment where all things come together may never come.
Months before my mom died, she had planned a big camping trip for our family to celebrate her and my dad’s milestone birthdays that year. She had planned in her mind a wonderful gathering of all her kids and grandkids, but she never made it there. We did all go as a family, but it wasn’t a weekend we wanted to celebrate as it was the first time she wasn’t there with us.
Life doesn’t come with a map and it doesn’t come with a fairy tale ending. It often doesn’t go the way we planned. But the best news of all is that God has a plan and he knows the outcome. He has a job for us to do to carry out his work of salvation.
If only we turned to him more often for direction, we would forget about our own way and come to trust how perfect his plan really is.
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.