My life's Journey has not been what I expected at all.
My teenage plan for my life was to be married young (say 19?) with a couple of well-behaved children... I pictured myself in the year 2000, standing on a balcony overlooking the Millenium celebrations (I would be thirty i.e. old.) I imagined my thirty-year-old self cuddling up to my (faceless) husband while my well behaved children slept peacefully; I would be content and satisfied with life, observing the fireworks in a kind of warm glow.
I was the last one of my sisters to be married and have children. I am the eldest; my sisters both married at age 19. I didn't meet Mr Right until I was 30.
I thought getting married was the icing on the cake, the reward for all my years of service and sacrifice. I never expected to break down and spend the first few years of marriage in an emotional hell.
I thought I knew what it took to be a great parent. I said to myself, "No child of mine will ever do this that and the other..." I hadn't reckoned on children having minds of their own.
My twenty-something plan for my life was to be New Zealand's answer to Jackie Pullinger or Donna Crouch (two women I admired). I would single-handedly work miracles in the lives of teenage down-and-outs. I would throw myself completely into youth work and serving God, whatever the cost. I would be a pastor and community leader, I would travel round the place speaking and inspiring people; my life would make a difference. I would be significant.
I was sure I was going to do big amazing world-changing things. I did manage to do some good things which helped other people... but I never reckoned on the price being so high.
I thought I would always be strong and dependable, a doer, a leader. I never reckoned on Depression and Anxiety ankle-tapping me.
I thought I knew what God had planned for me. I was a pastor, a leader, a person of influence. And so it would always be... I thought.
But God had other ideas.
Since He knows me so much better than I know myself, He saw below the surface of my skill and my ability. He saw past my "noble" aspirations and into the core of my insecurity. He understood that I based my value on Doing. He knew that I struggled with Just Being.
He didn't want me to live my life on the treadmill of People Pleasing, the tightrope of Fear of Failing; the rollercoaster of Insecurity.
So He stripped me.
He peeled away all the things I had relied on to give me a sense of Mattering.
It hurt. Oh how it hurt. But in his kindness, He made sure I would survive by bringing Mr Right along just in time.
How many years had I cried lonely tears waiting for The One? Not a minute too soon he arrived.
My Mr Right believed in me and fought for me and refused to let me give up on myself.
"If I love you, (me, the Great Mr G who could have had his pick) if I think you're worthy, who are you to say otherwise?"
God knew that I couldn't reach up to heaven; I couldn't hear or receive His divine Words because I was hiding from Him (I didn't want to hear what He might ask of me). So He sent me this man who would be Love to me.
If I thought this Unexpected Journey was a brief detour, a mere sidetrip, I was mistaken. I am forever changed and can never go back to where or who I once was.
The old dreams have been let go of. New ones are slowly emerging; small seeds only, but still they are there. Once not too long ago I thought I would never want to dream again.
The old ways are in their death throes. People Pleasing raises its head from time to time: that one is hard to kill. But Just Being has taken precedence over Doing.
I know I am worth more than just what I can Do: I am valuable because I am Loved. I am Worthy because I am His child. Mothering has taught me this. Pain has taught me this.
I'm not in any rush; I know I'm a work in progress. When I've learnt all I'm meant to learn, and become all I'm meant to be, only then will my journey be complete.
This Journey will take my whole life.