When Life Doesn't Go as Planned

He looks up at me with his smiling almond-shaped eyes and says it almost daily, “I love you, Mommy! I’m so happy I get to be with you.”

And no matter what I’m doing, his words never cease to stop me in my tracks, bringing with them an indescribable thankfulness to my heart.

But I didn’t always feel this way and one day, I’ll tell him why.

I’ll tell him…

“I cried real hard the day I found out you were inside of me.

And at first, the tears were not of joy.”

You see, I had plans for my life, good plans, and you were in them, eventually, but not for a long time, or so I thought I could choose… 

Ephesians 2:10

“Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).” Proverbs 19:31

Yet regardless of our well-intended plans, Son, we don’t always get to choose the path before us nor is it always a straight and easy road all the way.

It’s actually hard most of the time and it comes with countless twists and turns and unexpectedly long, dark tunnels – more than we could ever have imagined or planned for.

And you, well, you were the biggest surprise of my life – the most unexpected detour I never imagined.

But sometimes when you think you’ve lost your way – when you hit those unexpected detours in life – it can, in fact, be the route to a better destination than you would have ever expected or hoped for.

After the shock wore down and the confusion ceased, what remained was my will.

I questioned His will, His sovereignty, His love. I wasn’t convinced that His plans were better than mine.

But the moment we start questioning God is usually the moment right before we fall as we lose sight of what is true.

And we cannot live by “what if’s” or “should have’s” or “maybe if’s”, for we have to live by a greater Word, a greater faith than our own, because yesterday is long gone and all we have is today.

Because doubting the past only cripples us in living for today.

And somewhere along the way, I had slowly begun to believe the lie that my life was my ownthat I could just fit God into whatever life I chose for myself and bring Him glory in the midst my own glory.

But that doesn’t work, Son, because glory isn’t meant to be shared. It’s meant to be given.

Romans 11:36

“For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.”

And you know what scared and frightened me the most, Son?

I didn’t want to lose my life. 

I didn’t want to sacrifice my wants, my dreams, and my desires for yours or anyone else.

And yet, I had accepted God’s sacrifice, His only Son, so that I could have eternal life – all the while, refusing to give up my own life.

But now I can see that I first had to lose my life in order to truly find it.

Matthew 16:25

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

And the longer I live, the more I come to realize that our lives are not our own – for we were bought with a price, created with a purpose, made to be poured out.

And don’t you ever forget, my Son, you didn’t ruin my life but in fact, you saved my life because God used you to stop me in my tracks and to remember what life is truly about…

That there’s more to life than seeking to live in the limelight – it’s about living in light of eternity.

That there is nothing in this world, no person, place or thing, that will completely satisfy our hearts – only He will.

That at the end of my life it doesn’t really matter what my status is or how much is in my bank account or what all I accomplished that will save me – for only He can.

So when life doesn’t go at all as planned, Son, remember that His plans for us are always better.

Always.

And now, sometimes when I look at you, I cry tears of joy…


We want to thank Faith Gibson who is a wife, mother, and writer who enjoys good coffee, good books, and good conversation. She graciously gave us permission to share her story on this website.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her very patient husband and two very adventurous children. Her heart is to encourage others to live intentionally, to never stop learning, and to pursue true abundant life by intimately knowing Christ. You can read more of her writings at faithkgibson.com

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