I’m a planner. I make lists because I think that if I write down exactly how my day will go all my tasks will miraculously get accomplished. Wishful thinking, but at least it is fun to dream that I’m super woman! I was reminded the other day that I’ve done this list making from a young age. I left an old journal out and my daughter asked if she could read it. I warned her that I claim no responsibility for what came from my 12-year-old brain. As she read she laughed and when I saw what she was reading… it was a list. I was telling myself exactly what I should and shouldn’t do and how I needed to prepare for the future. Man I was bossy to myself! At least you couldn’t accuse me of not having a plan. I would decide in my head how my week, month, year, life would go before I even got out of bed in the morning.
So what is that quote by Woody Allen? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Often when we talk about miracles we speak of obvious blessings, joy and triumph. Sometimes though, miracles come in the form of God taking your plans and leading you in a completely different and often difficult path. We kick and scream not realizing the wisdom and blessings in store.
I left home 2 weeks after I graduated from high school. I couldn’t wait to get off on my own. Finally, it was time to live out the plans I had made when I was 12. Graduate, go to college, serve a mission for my church, marry a cute guy who put God first in his life, finish my degree in elementary education, start having cute babies AND NEVER LIVE IN NEW MEXICO AGAIN!!!!
Some of my plans worked out, some weren’t exact and I was ok with that. For some reason the one plan I was determined to stick to was to never return to live in New Mexico. I know it is the Land of Enchantment and all but I guess I wasn’t enchanted. Mostly, the adventurous side of me thought, “been there, done that, want to experience something else!”
Hubby got his first job in Las Vegas, Nevada and so we moved from Happy Valley, Utah to Sin City, Nevada.
I loved it there! Not necessarily because of the sin part but I met the most wonderful people there. We had an amazing group of friends that felt more like family. My husband was happy at his job, and life was good! Soon after we bought our second home for our growing family of 3 my husband got the itch. By this time in his career he thought he’d be on the East Coast working at corporate headquarters but doors just weren’t opening. He wanted more of a challenge and an opportunity to be promoted into management. We sat down, looked at a map and discussed all the places we’d be willing to live. There were several neat states on the list and of course New Mexico WAS NOT one of them. Hubby started searching for jobs and sending out resumes based on our list of locations. He was excited to get an interview for a job in Colorado. His family had recently moved there and I thought it would be nice to have some green instead of multiple shades of brown. He kept getting asked back for more interviews and we were destined for Colorado. They wanted him for the job! It started in one month! The only thing left was a final interview to seal the deal and discuss salary.
When Hubby got back from the meeting he had a hesitant smile on his face. We both sat down on the steps in our entry way as he gave me the news. I’m glad I was sitting. “Well, I got the job! There is a catch though. One of their employees quit this week so they have a more important position they need to fill. They said the job is mine as long as we are willing to move to… New Mexico.”
You know when your mind won’t accept reality? You kinda feel like you are in a dream? Yeah, that’s how I felt. He had to be lying. I even laughed and asked him if he was kidding. When he said “no” that’s when reality struck and I lost it. I screamed, “What?????” and burst into tears. Yes, yes, I should have been grateful that my husband just got a fantastic job and promotion but I couldn’t get past the New Mexico part. Obviously, I had some issues. When I gathered myself I realized I had the perfect solution. Of course we weren’t going to accept the job, more jobs would come along. I would pray about it and the Lord would say , “nope, not New Mexico.” So, actually maybe I didn’t need to pray about it because I already knew the answer. Phew! Close call.
If only it were that simple. I had no idea how much emotion I had tied up in the idea of going back to New Mexico. It wasn’t like I had a bad childhood there. My parents and siblings who I loved were still there. Clearly, there were some things I never wanted to return to though. As a result Hubby and I argued and struggled more than we ever had in our 7 short years of marriage. He knew we were supposed to go and my stubborn self knew better. I decided he didn’t actually KNOW we were supposed to go. He just really wanted to be done with the job search. Didn’t the Lord know this was NOT my plan? I even had written proof in my journal!
Even though I couldn’t agree that moving to New Mexico was the right thing to do, I did want Hubby to be happy. I was grateful for how hard he worked for our family and I didn’t have the heart to hold him back from what he wanted in his career. I made a compromise that we would move only move IF we didn’t live in the mountains were I grew up. We had to live in the city, on the opposite side of the mountains, 1 hour away from my childhood mountain life.
So we moved. And I cried, and cried, and cried some more.
The only thing that gave me a little confidence was a very calming feeling that we were supposed to make plans to move in with my parents and brother. What? I don’t know how that idea would be calming to anyone but I was grateful for any confirmation that we were doing the right thing. We wouldn’t have to live with my parents very long anyway. The housing market in Vegas was hot. Our house would sell and we’d be able to buy a new one in no time.
Seriously? Had I not already learned my lesson in making plans?
The month we put our house on the market 100 other people within a few square miles also decided to sell their houses. The market was crashing. To top it off, the week my family of 5 moved into my parent’s 1500 square foot house, my sister also decided to move in with her daughter. Why not invite more to the party? My dad’s best friend from his childhood needed somewhere to live so he moved into a Tuff Shed out back and shared our 2 bathrooms and kitchen. 11 people, 3 dogs, and a cat living under one small roof and only one person who did most the cooking and cleaning. Remind me why I felt peace about this?
Our house took 7 months to sell. In that time we decided we would build a house… in the mountains six miles from the house I grew up in (not part of the plan). We hired the cheapest builder instead of the best builder and had one of the most stressful experiences of our lives.
The project took a year and a half so we remained with my parents after our house sold. In the middle of all this Hubby started working on his masters degree and traveled 2-3 days every week. Yeah, fun stuff.
This is where I’ll skip forward and acknowledge what I couldn’t see in my moment of trial. In the one year I was living with my parents I got to help take care of my brother with special needs. Even though I was overwhelmed and depressed my brother was often the one that brought a smile to my face during that year. I loved how much my children enjoyed playing with him and it was such a joy to be with him again. That was the last year of his life. I wish I would have known the gift Heavenly Father was giving me in the moment. How could it be that one of the most trying times of my life was also one of my most treasured gifts?
During that time I also realized how wonderful it was for my busy children to have a bunch of land to play on. It wasn’t so bad to live in the mountains after all. We realized that is where we were supposed to have our home.
We also learned how well we got along with my parents. As we lived with them we all agreed that they needed to live with us after they got older.
Fast forward 13 years. (Did I ever mention that when we moved to New Mexico “the plan” was to only live there for 3 years?) I don’t dare say the plan is to live here for the rest of our lives because then The Lord would give us a different one. So that plan will just stay between you and me ok? We now live in the second house we’ve built which was a miraculous experience that I will share in another post. My parents live with us in their own attached apartment. Every day I wake up with such joy and amazement at how blessed we are. I love my life. I love living in New Mexico. I love that my children get to have their grandparents in the same house to love and counsel them. I love that my children remember their sweet Uncle Billy. How blessed I am that Heavenly Father completely messed up my plans and perfected them in the process.