She studied the pieces on the table in front of her. So far she had matched several blues together, surely part of the sky. And the greens were probably the grass. She wasn’t sure about the yellows or reds yet, but they could wait.
She picked up another blue piece and compared its shape to the ones she’d already matched. It didn’t quite fit with them, but if she used a little force, she could get it to fit. If it was blue, it had to be part of the sky, right?
“That’s what you do with your life, too,” came a still small voice inside her. “You try to fit the pieces of your life together to figure out the big picture.”
She thought about that.
“You’re right,” she agreed. “I do tend to try to make things that happen in my life fit together to form a picture. Is that wrong?”
“No, not as long as you do it for fun. Just keep in mind that you may not be fitting them in the right places. Like that blue piece in your hand.”
“This sky piece?”
“If you think that’s what it is, fine. You can work with it as if it were. But what if it’s a water piece, like part of a lake?”
“Hmm… I think I get it. I can have fun trying to fit it where I think it goes, but be open to the possibility that I might be wrong.”
“Right. If you get stubborn thinking your way is the only way, you’ll miss the big picture. And if you try to force pieces together that don’t belong together, you’ll get something totally different than the amazing picture I’m making with your life.”
She took another look at the blue piece in her hand, then at the puzzle pieces on the table. Maybe she should put it to the side and wait to see where it really fit.
After all, she wanted to see the completed picture how it was meant to be seen. Right?
I had planned to be there when my daughter had her first baby. Both my mother and my mother-in-law had been there when my babies were born. And I wanted to do the same for my daughter.
But I was 500 miles away when I got the call. “Mom, don’t panic, but they want to take the baby now…”
I knew my daughter had struggled with high blood pressure throughout her pregnancy, and that they were planning for an early birth. But that was a month away! Surely the doctor could wait twelve hours before inducing, giving me time to drive over there.
But before I finished packing, a picture of my newborn granddaughter popped up on Facebook. Proud daddy and adorable AJ. An awesome shot of the two of them together moments after the birth.
I knew I should be happy. I knew I should be thankful for both mom and baby doing well.
But all I could feel was disappointment. Which quickly turned to bitterness as I added this event to so many others in which I didn’t get my way. Why couldn’t I be there with them at this incredible time? Just one more example of the bad luck that followed me my whole life? Another dream that was not allowed to come true?
But was it luck? Did God really have control over every detail of my life? If He was in control, then it wasn’t luck, it was His plan.
Grieving over my broken dream, I wailed out at Him: “Why didn’t you want me there?” He let me cry, but He didn’t answer me as I struggled with questions that rose up from deep within. Why was I denied what so many other grandparents got to have? Didn’t God love me as much as He loved them? Was I inferior to other people, as life had convinced me I was since I was little? Always second class, never first? Never worth enough for God to bother with fulfilling my dreams? Always dealing with second best answers?
I knew God loved me regardless of what I felt at this moment. I tried to choose to believe His word over my feelings. “God, I don’t understand this. But I know You are good and that You love me.”
I wish I could say that peace flooded me or that light filled me or some other wonderful result of my prayer. But nothing changed. I still hurt. I was still 500 miles away. And I still had questions.
An hour of packing turned into three, and an eight hour drive turned into twelve. I couldn’t figure out how getting to my daughter took an extra six hours. There had been no incidents that would account for that much delay. Where had the time gone? Was it more bad luck – or God’s plan?
I didn’t want to get into that again, so I ignored the pain, put on a happy face, and went up to the third floor of the hospital. At least I would be able to spend time watching my grandbaby through the nursery window.
But that was not to be either. Baby AJ, being six weeks premature, was in a special ward where visitation was very limited. I wouldn’t be allowed in there without my daughter or son-in-law, and then only for a very short time.
Eventually, I did make it to my daughter’s room, And meet my new granddaughter. And watch with pride the strength of my daughter and son-in-law as they dealt with the curve ball God had also thrown at them. They hadn’t planned on such an early birth either. In fact, their curve ball was much larger than mine. My daughter could hear the other full term healthy babies as they passed in the hall on their way to visit their moms while she was denied her own baby due to medical concerns. Her husband also had to deal with the stress of closing on their new house, which should have happened months ago but kept getting delayed, and packing/moving/unpacking pretty much by himself. Were they questioning God’s love for them also? Were they also feeling inferior to others who’s plans always seem to work out?
“Count your blessings.” “Focus on the good, not the bad.” I can hear people saying as they read my words. I know it’s good advice. So many years I have walked with Him, learning of His love and faithfulness. Time after time I have seen Him intervene in my life in one form or another. Yet evidently this whole experience has revealed that I still have deep issues that need healing.
I know that God is in this. My husband and I were both able to leave at a moment’s notice and drive through the night without an accident despite how sleepy we became. And I am able to stay here with my daughter indefinitely, helping with the move, and later with the baby. Hearing my daughter’s story, it’s amazing how many things “just happened” to happen at just the right moment from the time her body went into crisis and continuing even as I type this.
The bottom line? None of us got what we wanted. God had a different plan. Now we have to decide whether or not we truly believe God has full control over our lives like we profess, and whether His plans were made with our best interest in mind. Are we going to believe our circumstances – or – are we going to believe God’s Word?
The struggle is real.