When I was an 18-year-old college freshman, I had a plan for how my life was going to go. I would get my education degree and become a teacher. I would either meet my husband during the four years I attended ASU, or I would meet him soon after. We would get married, and we would start our family. I would be able to teach and have children because teaching is one of the more family-friendly career choices. This was my plan. It was a great plan.
But it was MY plan.
Fast-forward 15 years ... I had my degree, and I had been teaching English for 12 years. Part of my life's agenda had come to pass. However, I was without a husband, without kids, and without many prospects for these dreams to come to pass, as I had moved back to my hometown of St. Johns, where single men do not generally settle in droves. I was the spinster, the third wheel, the one well-meaning people tried to set up with the single man they knew. So I devised a new plan.
I would teach during the school year, my mom and I would travel together in the summers, and we would have many, many cats. I liked this new direction for my life. I was happy with it, truly.
Once again, it was MY plan.
Two years later, I met Paul. A mutual friend set us up, and I agreed with it only to get another well-meaning person off my back. Cats! Travel! I didn't need nor want a stinkin' man to mess with my life at that point.
Paul and I were sealed together for eternity in the Snowflake Temple in November of 2006. After two more years of teaching, I left my career to become a stay-at-home mom to our son, Cael. Bye Mom. Farewell feline companions. Adios travel. A new chapter in my life had begun, only it started a lot later than I had expected, than I had wanted.
This was HIS plan.
In Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6, we read, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Hindsight is always so clear, isn't it? My Heavenly Father knew what direction my life would take. He knew that Paul and I would meet when the time was right for both of us. He knew that Cael would be our son, and that we would be parents when we were ready for that. It didn't matter that our friends were all already married, that their kids would be able to babysit ours, that most people had given up on either of us ever finding a spouse-- too old, too little options, too set in our ways.
God's plan was what mattered. It is what matters.
"All I ever wanted
All I ever dreamed of
Everything I hoped
And all the things I prayed for
Couldn't hold a candle
To what I've been given
I've been given what I need."
(What I Need lyrics by Michael McLean)
When I think back to my 18-year-old self, I marvel at how different my 42-year-old self is, as it should be. I no longer rely on MY plans, but on my Heavenly Father's plans, not on what I think is best for me, but on what He knows is best for me. I may not understand why things happen as they do, from broken hearts to losing loved ones to job promotions that didn't happen, but I do understand that there is a grander plan in place. A plan that may have nothing to do with what I think is best or what I want to happen.
It is when I am hugging my husband in the kitchen after he is home from work, and my son runs in exclaiming, "Hey! I want some of that!" jumping in between us for a family hug, that I know I have been given more blessings than I can possibly count. MY dreams, MY hopes, MY plans. They pale in comparison to what I actually have.
I've been given what I need.