I’m a planner. I love it, crave it, thrive on it. Planning keeps me safe. I love writing in a paper planner. Seeing all my goings-on at a glance written in my own handwriting is soothing to me. Writing it all down also gives me the opportunity to navigate all the perceived pitfalls of putting certain events and activities on the calendar.
I am very good at worst-case scenario thinking, therefore my plans are created to side step those scenarios and move more peacefully through life. Unfortunately, I do not live a world where all my carefully written plans happen. Or more importantly happen the way that I mapped them out.
Precisely zero of the first or second positions that my husband has put on his career dream sheet have come to fruition. There are even places we were told we were going to be stationed that also didn’t happen. Can you imagine the heartache that comes with planning to move overseas only to have that opportunity taken away? Do you know what it looks like to be told you have 10 months to get onboard with moving overseas and then be told that you really only have 8 months and once again be told, actually when we schedule in the mandatory overseas training and a pack out date for getting your stuff from one country to another that your 10 month, turned 8 month timeline, becomes a mere 6? The timeline shifts aren’t even the worst part. It’s the research that goes into housing, and community, and school. And it’s the coming to terms with what this new duty station will look like and setting your heart to be content with it all. Yet, one single phone call proves that all your heart changing, community researching, and timeline planning was all for naught.
At least I write in pencil. Ages ago I switched from using fancy, fun, colorful pens for all my events and projects because it just became too messy and I had to purchase way too much White-Out. Gone are the days of graduate school when my partner in crime and I would meticulously pick pretty colors (the same, of course) to write out our class syllabi and project due dates. I loved those days, where pink was for Reading, blue was for Math, and green was for my work schedule. They were easy, they were planned, and they rarely required a re-do.
I don’t like messy. I don’t like purchasing White-Out (waiting for it to dry is far too much hassle when one is rescheduling).
Amidst the mess and the re-dos I am reminded of the saying I’ve heard over the years: God laughs when we make plans. Until recently I viewed this statement as punitive, like God was pointing a finger at me laughing because I wasn’t cutting it in the planning department. What I’ve come to learn is He’s probably just chuckling and shaking His head, because I could not write out in color or in pencil the plans He sees for me.
That overseas move cancelation saved my family a lot of heartache and brought my family a lot of health. I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have benefitted in some ways from moving overseas. What I am saying is that because we didn’t go there, we came here, to San Diego. And here, we have found health providers that really speak to needs of our family. Here we found a community of friends who have similar familial situations and are therefore both mentors and beacons of hope during our more stressful times. Here we joined a church that meets the needs of everyone in our household. Here we have more sunny and warm days than not, that allow our active boys to have ample outside time. Here we have been reunited with old friends and made new ones that helped us grow.
This wasn’t my plan. It was not written down. Honestly, it wasn’t even a blip on my radar. Yet, I can see in my family and myself how much this plan being fulfilled was so much better than what I could have written out.
We’re at another crossroads of possibility with my husband’s job. Honestly, I have no idea how it will work out, if it will work out, and some days that makes me really anxious, because I really want to be able to know the future and scrawl it across the pages (all the pages) of my 18 month planner.
Here’s what I do know, all the “other plans,” the ones that I never wrote down, worked out pretty well. They were all implemented for my good. The big overall good, the good that would grow me and shape me and soften me and bring me here, to today where I can truly see the good.