Then comes graduation day. Based on whatever plan you’ve already decided upon, or in some cases, what has been chosen for you, you move on to the next step of your life. College, the military, the family business, etc. If you were like me, college was the obvious choice and the one I never questioned. Much like I never questioned whether or not 7th grade would follow 6th grade. I just knew it to be so. Each previous step designed to propel me into the next one. My logical thought process while in college was to graduate, find a good job & get married. Though, I didn’t necessarily have a preferred order in which those events had to occur... However, they ended up falling into place rather traditionally. Graduated after 4 years, landed a very good job in a large company just months before graduating, and met my husband not long after. Nothing was too surprising for me. I went to the college I wanted to go to, got the degree I worked hard for, I got married and after a few years, I had a baby boy. To a certain point, I never really had to question the next step of my life. Of course, I didn’t know all the details - quite a bit of learning as I went along, actually. If our life is a path we walk down, then my path had it’s various forks in the road. Like most do. And on occasion, it took me a while to realize that I chose the wrong direction and had to turn around and start over. But I assume that’s quite usual for most of us. And, though I may have needed “directions” along the way, I always knew what it was I was heading towards next.
So what happens when all of the things on your “early years” checklist have been checked off, and a few (major) curve balls have been added to your overall life experience that you’d never anticipated. What happens when your life is no longer mapped out in front of you like it was when you where a child/teenager? What do you do when you take a minute to stop and re-evaluate the path your on, only to realize that you can’t see anything. And instead of there being a simple fork in the road, you see a 4 way stop. What path is your life meant to take now that there is no “road map”… no laid out plan to follow? And the aforementioned curve balls have changed your perspective on just about everything in your personal life that you once understood?
Well, that is a poor attempt to summarize where I’ve been as of late. Standing in the middle of a crossroad and not at all sure what it means. Not at all sure what the next step should be. Not at all sure what the next step will be. So, being the reflective person that I am, I’ve been doing a bit of self-examination. Wondering why I haven’t been able to see “life” beyond what I know it to be right now. Looking for the Hope that got lost somewhere in the process of finding my footing in my own life, once again. And I’ll be honest, my “research” hadn’t produced much of an answer to the apathy that had set in. In fact, my being oddly content in that apathy, became quite problematic in my day to day living. I knew how to be Adam’s wife and I knew how to be Ethan’s mom, but I forgot how to glean joy from either of those roles because I became so afraid of what joy would be robbed of me again, should I let myself get my hopes up about something involving them or me.
It actually became quite a depressing way to live.
But then I realized something, well… am realizing something.
My life hasn't stopped. I did. I stopped living it. Content to let each day pass me by, assuring myself that no effort of Hope spent, meant no Hope wasted - no Hope that could be taken away. Low expectations = low disappointment. But really, all it meant was that I had given my future over to fear. Simply resigning to allow myself to look forward to nothing, believing that if I did that, I couldn't be hurt.
See, the plan didn't stop. The purpose is still there.... my purpose. The path didn't end. I simply stopped walking.
So what does one do when they are in need of direction?
Pray. Become quiet before the Lord... for however long it takes. And allow Him to lift the veil of fear that had been covering your eyes. My eyes.
When I look through His eyes of love and grace, I see I'm not standing at a 4-way stop after all. It's still the path of my life. There's not even a fork in the road this time. Simply a straight path in front of me, and it's path lingering behind me. One choice to be made. Turn around and linger in the past. Sit down in fear, never to further open the gift of the days ahead. Or... take a step forward in Faith.
I took a step today.... a step forward. Reclaiming my life from the grip of fear's stronghold. I can't control the future. I understand that. But what I failed to remember, is that my future is in the palm of God's hand.
And He has never left me without the desires of my heart.
For I know the thoughts that
I think toward you [Kasey], says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.