Friday, September 27, 2013

Picture Perfect

I remember being a little girl dreaming of the day I'd be an adult.  I had this picture in my mind of what life would be like.  I'd be happily married to the most handsome man ever.  A man that was kind and compassionate, funny, a leader, and who fervently loved Christ and His church.  I would be thin and fit, contemporary and stylish.  I would work doing something fun, although I dreamed of being a counselor but just didn't want to go to college.  I would have 4 kids who were perfectly behaved and excelled in everything.  I'd be a soccer mom, a baseball mom, a football mom, and a perfect wife.  I'd be patient and understanding.  I'd live close to my family and we'd get together every Sunday for lunch after church.

I had this picture.

Life doesn't typically turn out how we dream it to be.  Sure, we can try to make these things a reality, and there's nothing necessarily wrong  with that.  However, at some point, I've found that I have to let go of that picture and embrace the puzzle pieces God grants me at different times in my life.

A lot of my dreams have come true.  I'm married to my prince charming - my tall, dark, and handsome knight in shining armor.  He's kind and compassionate, makes me laugh all the time, he leads our family and loves Christ and the church.  He loves me.  He loves our children.  He's faithful and honest.  He has integrity.  He works and provides for our family.  He's been through a lot of ups and downs with me and it's drawn us all the closer.  Sure, there've been times I've wanted to give him a good kick in the pants.  I'd be lying if I said otherwise.  Marriage isn't always roses and sunshine.  But it's what you do in those moments that define you.  And I choose to be defined by the commitment and love we have for each other.  I look back at some of those moments and find them comical - like our argument over who was going to get up to let the dog out in the middle of the night or when we were fighting over turning the air on in the van because I was hot and he wasn't.

I had a picture but only part of it is there.

I'm not thin.  I'm not fit.  I'm not stylish and contemporary.  I'm not working full time.  I don't have 4 kids and the 3 I have are certainly not perfectly behaved nor do they excel in everything.  I'm not a perfect wife and mom.  I'm not always patient or understanding.  I don't live close to my family or have Sunday lunches every week.

I had a picture but part of it is missing.

There are parts of my life portrait that I never imagined.

I never imagined arguing with my husband.  Yet on occasion we do.  I never thought I was impatient until we had kids and that quickly changed.  I never thought I wanted to be a homemaker.  Truthfully, the thought of it was at one time repulsive to me.  I never thought I'd be more than 15-20 minutes away from my family, yet I'm over 2 hours away.

There are parts of my picture for which I was never prepared.

I never imagine sitting in a doctor's office being told we may never be able to have children on our own without some form of medical intervention.  I wasn't prepared to hear that, come home and tell my husband and then spend the rest of the day crying because my dreams had just been shattered.  I wasn't prepared.

I never thought about miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.  Those were just statistics that happened to other people.  And now I'm all too acquainted with each of them.  I wasn't going to be the woman that people looked on with pity, that they avoided because they didn't know what to say to me.  I wasn't going to be her.  That wasn't part of my picture.

But it was part of the picture God has for me.

I didn't think I'd be the mom of a son with Asperger's/Autism and a sensory processing disorder, yet I proudly am.  I always looked at those moms as super heroes - people God had granted an extra dose of grace and dedication while looking at myself as someone who would never be equipped to raise a child with a disability.  Yet I'm doing it and finding that He daily grants me that grace and dedication that I've witnessed in other moms in my situation.  This wasn't part of my picture.

But it was part of His.

My picture is far different than I had ever imagined.  Yet as God hands me each piece of the puzzle, He hands me a glimpse into His perfection and His bigger picture for my life.

I didn't want to move away from my family, yet here I am.  And looking back, it was one of the best decisions we ever made.  Sure, it's been hard.  I miss my family.  And now that we have 3 kids running around, I miss having help.  But being away from them taught us to depend on each other and because of that we're all the stronger.

I didn't want to go to college - now here I am with two college degrees.  Two degrees in counseling.  Two degrees that enabled me to see signs in my son at an early age and allowed me to work with him to ensure that he was diagnosed correctly and can now receive the treatments he needs.

Piece by piece, the puzzle is coming together.

I didn't want to deal with infertility, yet we did.  And through it, God showed us that it's not always what the doctors think, but rather what He has ordained for our lives.  And he has blessed us with 5 children (3 living, 2 in heaven).  And although I didn't want to be a statistic, (1 in 4 that experience pregnancy loss), I'm more understanding, can relate to so many people, and have been able to use my experiences to minister to others.

God didn't completely rework my picture.  I still got my handsome hubby.  I'm a mom five times over.  I even get to be a soccer mom.  I'm a counselor (although incredibly part time).  And although I don't have weekly Sunday lunches with my family, I'm still incredibly close to them and enjoy going home to visit.

Sure, my picture is different.  It's not what I had imagined for my life.

But He's shown me time and time again that it's picture perfect.

And alas, it is.

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