2016 didn’t quite go as I had planned.
I planned to work a lot more after the girls were born (HA!). I planned to keep the house clean, the laundry washed, and supper cooked. I planned for my mom to be here to meet her new granddaughters on their birthday. I planned for her to be here to teach me all the things only a mother can teach her daughter. I planned on celebrating each sweet day with our long-awaited miracles, soaking up every beautiful moment. I planned on laughing more than I cried. I planned on having a fully healed heart, not one that was still broken. I planned for things to be a little easier. I planned for the good life.
But most of the plans I’d made for 2016 just didn’t work out like I thought they were suppose to.
One of the first verses I memorized as an adult was Jeremiah 29:11. I thought I understood what it meant for a long time. Seems pretty promising… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
As the situations of this past year have unraveled, I’ve questioned this verse, and God, so many times. “If your plans are not to harm me, why am I in so much pain? Why did you take my momma away from us like that? How can I prosper when I feel like I’m drowning? How can I be so incredibly grateful one moment, and so stricken with grief, guilt, and sadness the next?”
I’ve gone back to this verse a lot in the past 9 months, and one day recently it just hit me. I hadn’t read the back story. I was just focusing on God’s promise – the good life, not realizing that God was telling this to His people who were in exile. Tired, confused, hopeless people who had lost everything they knew. These are the people He spoke this word to. And when He did tell them this, He said it would be 70 years before He would fulfill this promise to them. 70 years! So, yea.. Jeremiah 29:11 is an uplifting verse, but I read it like this now, “Hey girl, it’s your Heavenly Father. I know you’re worried and I know you’re hurting, but please just trust me through it because I promise I have a good plan and a fulfilling purpose for your future that you just can’t see yet. Stick with me, kid, because I love you more than you’ll ever understand!”
For the longest time I’ve kept a calendar on my desk documenting quilts I start and finish and other family events that I need to be reminded of. I’ve always found joy in these little things.. highlighting another quilt started or finished and special dates, but 2016 was even more fun because of our doctor’s appointments with the girls. Ultrasounds, another week bigger, gender reveal, weight guesstimates, heart beats. All of these things I’d longed to experience for so many years. The first 2.5 months of 2016 were a rainbow of highlighter markers.. marking up my calendar in the most beautiful way, going right along with the plan.
And then the week of March 14th came along. Just another week counting down the days until we met our sweet girls and me trying to work as much as I could with that big belly I was carrying around. I had a doctor’s appointment that Thursday morning and called my mom on the way home to tell her that all was good with the girls and me. I didn’t know that would be the last time I heard her voice. That definitely wasn’t part of my plan.
My momma went to be with the Lord around 7:00am Friday morning, the 18th of March. My calendar has been stuck on that week ever since. No more highlights. No more quilts. No more family events written down to remember. Just a book, covered in dust and empty days. My calendar stopped abruptly that day, but I feel like so much of ‘me’ did, too. It’s like my life just stopped, and I’ve been on auto-pilot just trying to get by since that awful day.
Don’t get me wrong though, I am SO grateful, and SO in love with our sweet girls, Vayda & Vivi. 2016 gave us the greatest gifts! They have completed us. They’ve filled huge holes in our hearts. They are precious gifts from God and I cry just looking at them… how could we be so blessed? How could God love US so much that He allowed US to be their parents? I thank Him everyday, multiple times a day, for blessing us like He has. Those sweet girls have given me a reason to smile.
As 2017 approaches, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for a better year. I’m not making any detailed plans and I’m not assuming how this next year will go, I’ve just made a promise to myself, and to my family, to make the next year count. I want to be present each day, with a fully open heart to receive ALL that God has planned for us. And even when the plans don’t work out like I think they should (because it’s bound to happen), I’ll just give it to God anyway. He didn’t promise the good life all the time, but He did promise that He’d be there (even if it takes 70 years!) for us to lean on and give our troubles to.
I’ve already got my 2017 calendar lined up, ready to go, and this is my intention. To love and live with my eyes wide and my heart open. To work with the skills that God has given me. To create joy. To be a blessing to people. To tell our story. To share the Good News of a Savior that loves us so much. To live my life on purpose. To be a living example of love to my girls. To sing to them. To pray with them. To believe in them. To love them. And these are my only plans for 2017.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~Proverbs 19:21
I’m so thankful for new beginnings. I’m so grateful for Jesus Christ and the price He paid so that we could have new beginnings. I’m thankful the He will take my worries, troubles, and fears.. I lay them at His feet, and He gives me new life.
Happy New Year, y’all… xo, Lauryn
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
– 23rd Psalm