When Life Turns Out Differently Than You Planned

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Twelve years ago, I stood on the precipice of a decision that would shape the future of my family. Staring into the chasm between what I desired and what God desired for me, I wondered which ledge would hold my weight, or if I’d find myself lost, falling in the echo chamber in the center. Our family had made a home for ourselves in London for almost four years, and the tendrils of roots had begun to take hold. We had extended my husband’s work contract twice–this time, we needed to decide whether to stay long-term or go back home.

Together, we had birthed a life of deep friendships, rich culture, and journeys across the English Channel to enjoy Paris for the weekend. Tucked away in my wallet, I carried my hard-earned UK driver’s license and our National Health cards. We grew in new ways too, our family of three grew to four as I labored in the upstairs bedroom of the house on Second Avenue, giving birth to our son. We filed my son’s British birth certificate under “Important documents”, and from the filing cabinet on the third floor it pulsed like beating heart, reminding me that we had birthed a life here.

We’d labored long and hard, shaking with the pain of  tender skin stretched taut, watching our family breathe the oxygen of adventure for the first time.

I wanted to stay. I envisioned a future rooted in sprawling London under low grey skies heavy with rain. But, it became increasingly clear that our future lay on the other side of the chasm, across the Atlantic Ocean. I refused to loosen my grip, but the ground beneath me crumbled and fell away. I felt myself falling and falling and falling. I didn’t know if I’d ever reach the other side.

I stand on the other side now, after many tears and accusations and flashes of anger, and I know we ultimately made the right decision for our family. After the fall, we are planted on the other side of the chasm. Rooted. Thriving.

I continue to dream big dreams for my future, but at times I still fear the tearing away of the ground where I stand. I fear the wide gap between my own desires and the unknown plans God has for me. I fear the crumbling of solid ground, the loss of my footing, the falling.

Over the last few months, I’ve scrambled to safety as I’ve watched some of my desires crushed beneath my own weight. The future I envisioned in minute detail has grown more and more fuzzy, and across the way, I see other opportunities beginning to take root and grow. I didn’t dream them into existence, but there they are, pushing up out of the ground, an unexpected unfurling.

The ground holding my sacred circle of dreams no longer holds up beneath me. I’ve wondered whether or not it’s time to release them entirely, but I’m not ready yet, even as new things unfold across the way. I’ve decided to carry them with me, tucked under my ribcage, beating like a record of a new birth, beating like a heart.

………..

What unexpected or new thing is being birthed in your life? How do you reconcile it with your vision for the future? Where do they intersect?

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