Today is July 20th

This was "supposed" to be my wedding day.  I put that in quotations because I feel like every time I try to make plans, God goes ahead and arranges the opposite.

  • I was "supposed" to attend Azusa Pacific University in sunny California.  Instead, I somehow ended up at Western Oregon University in tiny little Monmouth.
  • I was "supposed" to be a bilingual kindergarten teacher.  Instead, I somehow ended up teaching third grade, hating it, and going back to school for a Master's in Social Work.
  • (on that note: I was "supposed" to get into grad school the first time I applied.  Instead I somehow ended up on the wait list and found myself teaching for the Salem Keizer School District.)
  • And today, I was "supposed" to marry a man and move with him to New Zealand.  Instead, I somehow ended up on the other side of the world, volunteering at an orphanage in Peru.
When I look back over that list, I see a lot of things that once caused me to feel anger towards God.  Do you know what it's like to watch your dreams shatter?  I was trying to explain it to one of the other volunteers today and God gave me an image (He does this sometimes when I don't have the words):

Picture a beautifully set table.  Elegant candles, rich linens, fine china, real silver...the works.  This is the kind of meal you dress up for.  A black tie affair.

Now picture someone walking up to the end of that table, grabbing a hold of the cloth, and ripping it out from underneath all the fanciness.  Can you hear the china breaking?  The clatter of the silverware as it hits the floor?  Where once there was elegance and beauty, now there is wreckage.  A total disaster.

Take that sensation and plant it right into the pit of your stomach.  That's what it feels like to watch your dreams shatter.

And yet, my life isn't over.  My heart is still beating. Somehow, I've survived. More than that, I've changed. I've grown. I'm a different person.

The truth is, while I never believed it could be possible through all the pain and brokenness of my shattered dreams, I now find myself in a reality that is far more beautiful and vibrant than any fantasy.

And so, rather then pledge my love to just one man today, instead I give my heart to:
this boy and his identical twin brother
this tiny little wonder who surprises us every day with her rapidly growing vocabulary
these rambunctious children who always want to play rougher than their tiny bodies can handle
this gigantic head and even bigger heart
this squeaky little voice
this face-splitting grin
and these beautiful volunteers 
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)


Joelle said…
Maybe God rips out the table cloth because he says "hey, I need this for your's over here, silly."
Vanessa's Dad said…
Lovely, poignant blog and photos.

Many ironies in the fact that my One Year Bible reading for this morning including Proverbs 19-20.

Even more irony in "The Living Bible" translation of that verse:

Man proposes, but God disposes.

Carol J. Brown said…
I, for one, am glad your table wasn't destined to be in New Zealand, and that you'll be back among us at the end of the month.

Am enjoying your blogs from Peru.

Love, Aunt Carol
Kendra said…
LOVE Joelle's comment - so true.

"...Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3

I, to, have made beautiful plans, only to have them shatter.

God's plan was better.

It always is.