When I was a child, I had big dreams—starting with first grade when I wrote that I was going to be a missionary and look like Princess Diana when I grew up. Of course, as I got older those dreams changed; because of my many interests as well as my admiration for my mother, I made plans for majors and minors in college that would have taken me half a lifetime to complete. One of the dreams that recurred most often was my dream of being a wife and mother. I also dreamed of having a large family. After watching the 1950 version of Cheaper by the Dozen at a friend’s house, I decided I wanted to have a dozen children and made plans for how they would all have their own rooms and maybe only have to share a bathroom with one other sibling—coming from a family of nine children made sharing a bathroom with only one other person seem like a dream come true. After my dad and another adult from church told me they thought I would make a good pastor’s wife, marrying a pastor and being his helpmeet in the ministry became a favorite dream of mine. When I got to college, I found myself meeting guys and wanting to know what their plans were because I desired to find that one man who would fit all my dreams of serving the Lord as a pastor’s wife. I planned out my wedding to this wonderful man and even chose names that at the time seemed perfect for the children I dreamed of having.
As an adult, I look back at those dreams and smile or even laugh, whatever the case may be, at the naiveté and enthusiasm that went into these dreams. I have ceased picking out names for imaginary children and even look at the possibility of a dozen as a nice idea but perhaps a bit impractical with the cost of living today. I still have dreams, but my life is quite different than I had planned. You see, instead of my getting married and having a family, God has ordained another path for my life—at least for now; you never know what could be around the corner. I live at home with my mother and help her care for our family. Daddy has now been with the Lord almost seven years; and my youngest sister, who was only six when the Lord called him Home in what seemed to us a sudden manner, is now thirteen. Momma broke her back this past fall and has experienced multiple setbacks. Instead of having a husband and a dozen children of my own, I enjoy lavishing care on Momma, my siblings and the three hundred plus students that I affectionately call “my kids.”
While my life is quite different than I imagined it might be, I am thankful for the care of my Heavenly Father Who “no good thing will…withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11) His plan for my life is far better than any I could imagine. In teaching elementary music at a large Christian school, I have the opportunity of molding young lives for the Lord’s glory. I would rather spend time with my family than with any other people in the whole world. In my current path, I get to do that every day—watching ballgames and school programs, planning and preparing meals, caring for Momma as she regains her strength—the list could go on and on. God prepares each of us for the path He has planned for us whether or not it’s the plan we have in mind. The talents and abilities we have are divinely designed to enable us to accomplish His goals for our lives. Each of us must make a choice about what we will do with those gifts and the path He has determined for us. Will we stubbornly hang on to the childish dreams of yesterday and how we imagined life would be, or will we submit to the loving guidance of our Heavenly Father? Our Father says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an unexpected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) His plan truly is best; and while we can’t see the end result now, we can know that He is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) The same God Who planned out a perfect path for Joseph, leading him through a pit to a prison to the palace, has only our very best at heart.
I haven’t given up on having a husband and family if that is God’s plan for me. But in the meantime, I am thankful to know that as I “delight [myself] also in the LORD; . . . he shall give [me] the desires of [my] heart.” (Psalm 37:4).
Written by Joanie Pegram. This article was published in the Summer 2011 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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