The Plan.

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So I’m reading this awesome (at least so far) book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, my hero. The book chronicles Jen’s spiritual journey as she identifies seven areas of excess and makes seven choices to fight against each excess for one month. It’s really something to read, and inspiring me to perhaps try a little experiment like this of my own one day.During one of the months, Jen talks about going back to the Jen of 2004 to tell her a few things — things like “Stop chasing wealth” and “Pastors aren’t always right. God is your authority.”It had me thinking about going back to talk to the 2006 me. The 2006 me was just getting married to the love of my life and things were going as planned. We’d be married for about a year and then start having the babies. We’d have three kids, all two-and-a-half years apart (because that is the age spread between my brother and me and we are super close), and by the time in my early thirties I’d be a happy and young mother of three. I never really spoke of “The Plan” outloud, but it was definitely there, in the back of my mind — or more likely, at the front of my mind.

I set out to achieve life according to The Plan and shortly before we’d been married a year, we started trying to get pregnant. Turns out The Plan was not actually God’s plan, and it wasn’t until we’d been married almost three years that our first baby was born following my second pregnancy. But I wasn’t ready to give up on The Plan yet. Sure, things had taken longer for number one, but now I had proven to the world that I could, indeed, get pregnant and sustain a pregnancy. When our baby was a year old, we went back to The Plan and set to work out on Baby Number Two. As it turns out, Baby Number Two wasn’t conceived until two and a half years later when we signed some papers and officially began our home study. He was conceived after I spent many months on my knees in tears, questioning God and doing everything in my power to try and get my body to do what I wanted it to do.

I can’t help but think about my 2006 self a lot lately. I was guilty of trying to mold my family in a way that suited my needs. Perhaps the only reason I don’t still talk like that is because….well….things didn’t go according to MY plan.

So, while part of me would be tempted to visit my 2006 self and say, “For crying out loud, stop being so silly and selfish! Don’t you realize this isn’t about you?!” I think my 2006 self, who was all about me/her would probably have kicked my 2012 self to the curb and said, “Stop being such a pious brat — of course it’s about me!” So instead, I would maybe try this tactic:

“Carly — I know you think you have a plan. But it’s time to free yourself of it. It’s time to let go and let God be in control of your life. When you let go it will allow room for beauty and peace beyond what you ever imagined. God will break your heart only to show you that he can heal it and make it overflow with love and gratitude. He will use the heartbreak of another little boy — who has endured much more than you — to bring you together. And even though your family may not look like how you picture it now, it will be beautiful.”

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