Approximately 10 years ago I had my life planned out. If I can remember (and these days it's hard enough to remember what month it is), my plans looked something like this:
Finish Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance
Complete Master's Degree in Violin Performance
Get an Orchestra Job
Have Fun Performing and Attending Performances and Festivals
Have Fun Being Married
I don't think I ever imagined life past the age of 25 and even though the desire for a family was always at the back of my mind, it certainly was not part of my plan as a person in my early 20's. Marriage was as far as I ever thought and that (as the culture generally teaches) was supposed to wait until I had finished school and had a job.
Well, things were on track for about two minutes. And then my plans started to head in other directions. I was successful in completing my Bachelor's Degree - a degree for which I am still paying and using very little in my every day life. But, at least I finished, right?
How and when the plans changed course I can't definitively say. Some people would look at my life and say that the changes were a direct result of my choices. Some people would say that the changes were mostly a result of circumstances. And others would say it was a combination of the two.
While I agree that choices and circumstances worked together to bring me to where I am today, I firmly believe that God directed me every step of the way. Exactly how His sovereignty is worked out in real life still stumps me, but after believing Him for salvation as a 16-year-old, I have continually submitted my life to Him - not perfectly, but consistently.
So, today as I found myself sitting in an open air pavilion, surrounded by summer day camps and sifting through a bag looking for snacks that my 2-year-old couldn't seem to get enough of, I remembered a life that I once lived. One where I attended performances with other people who could sit still for more than 10 minutes and from which I did not exit the performance venue covered in smashed bananas and smelling of spit up. It was a life full of aspirations and dreams - dreams that revolved around me.
Sure, I wanted to help others. I wanted to minister and serve. But through what means did I want to do these things? Through spending hours in a practice room, getting a good job playing in an orchestra, or giving recitals where others would be blessed by the music that they heard. I think God can work through this kind of career to reach people who need to know the Gospel. I think that He calls people to performance-based careers for all kinds of reasons, both temporal and eternal. I will not discredit those who are using their musical abilities to glorify God. It's an avenue by which many people's hearts can be opened without them even realizing.
However, I'm pretty certain that my intentions were a bit mixed up. Yes, I wanted to minister. Yes, I wanted to serve. But I also wanted to look good. I wanted praise and approval for my performing abilities. I wanted attention for myself.
|This photo was 3-5 years "early" according to our plans.|
If my selfish ambitions were the reason that He took me up on the many times I turned over my heart's desires and plans to Him for His will to be worked out, I also don't know for certain. But I do know that the life I currently live is one that requires humility, selflessness, and mundane service that the practice room never expected of me. Perhaps His desire for me was one of ministry and service. And maybe the means to those ends didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.
The reasons for the Lord leading Claude and I to marriage and starting a family when we did are undoubtedly many. I see so many opportunities to be made into the image of Christ with each passing day and the adjustment with each new stage of family life that I wouldn't have it any other way! I also think our budget is thankful not to be accommodating the debt of a dust-collecting Master's Degree!
|We look pitiful, don't we?|
I looked at this woman and smiled as big as I could. I don't remember if I said anything but I realized then that the changes I was allowing and the choices I made to follow God's lead in marriage and family were not exactly popular. Pursuing a career as a performing artist - that's popular. Pursuing a path of humility and non-recognition - I must be oppressed and if I knew any better I would choose differently.
I have days when I don't particularly want to get up in the morning. I don't always want to change the diapers, do the dishes, prepare meals, and keep up on disciplining the kids. But neither will I consider turning back. My hand is to the plow, and whatever the reasons, God's path for me now is to love and serve Him by loving and serving my husband and kids - wholeheartedly.
|The reason I quit part-time orchestra gigs. :)|
And can I just say that sitting in an audience of children, most of them chattering and wriggling in their seats, is quite refreshing. I may have judged the caretakers and parents at one stage of my life. "Why won't they just teach their kids to sit still and be quiet?" While the Chew Crew did sit quiet and still for most of the program, I was thankful that it didn't ruffle anyone's feathers when I had to walk two rows up to chase down a roll-away sippy cup!
Times certainly have changed. And they couldn't be better (laundry excluded)! :)
The Crew enjoys some PBJ before finding seats at the concert.
Children's concerts are the way to go, folks! Forget about stuffy concert halls. Here you can eat your snack, take off your shoes, and put your feet up while you listen! :)
Or, if chairs aren't an option because you're too busy or don't weigh enough to keep the chair from folding up on you, why not go exploring?
How have your plans changed over the years? Are you still working through those changes or have you fully embraced where you are today? What plans, if any, do you still have for the future?