PLANS CHANGE BUT IT'S HOW YOU RESPOND THAT MATTERS
From time to time, I think about what advice I would give my younger self. I’m a natural planner who enjoys planning my life, my schedule, and events and I have been known to surround myself with pretty calendars and inspiring vision boards. What I discovered over time is that plans don’t always happen the way I planned it. Quite the contrary. I learned that life is meant to be lived and as it unfolds, plans often change. These changes have taught me how to be resilient, patient, and purposeful even while some plans were denied, delayed and expedited. My relationship with Christ has shown me that when plans change, I had to learn to trust Him, embrace the change and enjoy the journey. Ana, a former client who recently went from a family of three to a family of four, reached out to request new family photos. After the photoshoot, we talked and she also shared the same sentiments about plans. We talked about motherhood, marriage and family and how our faith allows us to navigate changes in our plans.
THE PLANS FOR MOTHERHOOD
Ana and Ben decided that once they got married, they would wait three years to expand their family. However, a medical emergency shook those plans in a mighty way as Ana was rushed to the hospital because of ovarian cysts. After surgery, the doctors discovered that it was benign (praise God!) but they cautioned her that if the cyst grew back, it could prohibit her from having children in the future. After prayer, Ana and Ben decided that they would try to expand their family sooner than their original plan. Looking back, Ana says that being flexible with their timeline was one of the best decisions they made because their babies have taught them so much about managing responsibility, living selflessly and prioritizing things that matter.
THE PLANS FOR MARRIAGE
Ana and Ben, having gone through pre-marital counseling, knew that they wanted to go into marriage with the mindset of always striving to make it stronger by reading the Bible together, praying together and scheduling regular date nights. What they didn’t plan for was being called to serve in ministry as newlyweds. Their pastor asked them to lead the youth ministry and they were hesitant because they were newly married with one baby and full-time jobs. Once again, after praying together, it was confirmed that they should answer the call as youth pastors. Ana said this was not a part of their immediate plans but their marriage has gotten stronger because they are intentionally working together to change lives.
THE PLANS FOR EXTENDED FAMILY
Ana has been praying for salvation for her extended family, but she never planned that it would happen in the midst of some unforeseen hardship that her family is currently experiencing. Difficult times have hit her extended family and like most of us, she wasn’t prepared to handle the magnitude of the events. However, this situation has shown her that God has prepared her for such a time as this. Her husband has been a pillar of strength, patience and compassion. This hardship has also unified her family and she is ecstatic to see family members turn towards a relationship with Christ.
If I had a conversation with my younger self, I would say it's ok to plan but don’t be so rigid or disappointed when it doesn’t work out the way you expected or when unforeseen things happen, that were never part of the plan. In life, our plans will change, but learn to embrace change because the outcomes could change you in ways you never imagined.