Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When Life Isn't as Planned

As a young girl I had grandiose dreams of being a mom, raising a house full of children, and making a home into a castle for the man of my dreams. Somewhere along the way those plans morphed to include having a big house set at the foot of the mountains with lots of open sky for boys, ponies for girls, free range chickens and home grown veggies. I saw trees and fields streching for miles with space for orphaned children seeking hope to grow wild and free within the love of a family. God planted the seeds of adoption in my heart and nurtured them gently long before I realized I would need them. 

Of course my dreams were a little fuzzy. I eventually married my prince who turned out to be a farm boy and I learned that ponies don't just roam...they need care and grooming, that chickens are stinky and messy, and that veggies only grow with hours of sweat from the tired farmer.

And most disillusioning of all, our castle remained empty. Inspite of intense prayers and deepest longings, in the quest for expensive doctors and treatments those yearnings were left unanswered. Reality seemed a far cry from dreams of younger days. 

"For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

I have never had children born of my womb, but I have two precious boys born in my heart, born in the seeds God planted years and years ago. As I told some friends recently, they may not be mine biologically, but they are mine eternally.

I do live at the foot of majestic mountains under the bluest sky God ever created.   The path He set me on was not the plan of my choosing, it's required many a detour from the dreams of my youth. Raising a child with disabilities has been one of the most challenging tasks God ever assigned to me.

If I could take away my sons disability, I would. Absolutely, with no hesitation, I would.

Yet, the blessings, the lessons, the joy that has come to me because of his disabilities are ones I would otherwise be without.  It's not the life I planned. It's not what I expected or longed for all those years... but I rejoice in the gift of this the future and the hope that is in Christ.

I recently came across this poem which so beautifully describes my life. (I take the liberty of sharing it and would gladly link to the authors blog if anyone has information.)


c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

1 comment:

  1. I have read that poem many times. I love it. It describes exactly how life is with a child with disabilities. We are so blessed to have landed in Holland! :)