It was a year and a half ago that I discovered my life was not going to continue on in its happy, stress-free pattern.
My husband, two-month-old daughter, and I all laid on our queen-sized bed and cried.
With most of a doctoral degree behind him, my husband still could not even get an interview at any of the many colleges he’d applied to work at. This was something I had never even considered as a possibility. When people asked me what we would do after he graduated, I always said we would go wherever he could find a teaching job. I would stay at home with our daughter and any future children after he had a full-time job. I’d be a happy professor’s wife, charming fellow academic folk with my lovely housekeeping, gorgeous meals, and charming children.
January 2009 forced us to face the fact that we couldn’t plan out life to our specifications. Having just returned to work after a ten-week maternity leave, I continued to work full-time without knowing when I’d be able to quit, despite the fact that I’d informed anyone who would listen I’d be out of there in July. I dropped my baby at daycare, not knowing when I’d be able to fulfill my heart’s desire to be at home with her.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
I spent most of last winter panicking, trying to control my husband, and feeling sick over the future. We concocted a million different plans, the most sensible seeming to be that my husband would find a job teaching high school in Nashville, where we lived, so that we could stay in our house a few more years and he could get some experience. In two or three years, he would reapply to colleges.
He had one interview in Nashville and was quickly rejected. I, who had built my hopes on that one position, crumbled.
Then in May, a quick turn of events landed my husband a job at a prestigious private school in Chattanooga, just two hours from our current home. We put out house on the market and prepared for a move. We had no showings for the first two months.
To make a long story short, in August my husband moved to Chattanooga while my daughter and I stayed in Nashville. He’s been happier teaching high school than he’s ever been. On January 4, 2010, I was finally able to wake up to my last day of full-time work outside the home, and we moved to Chattanooga on January 12. Our house still hasn’t sold.
And yet, I wouldn’t give up this experience for anything. For in these impossible times, I’ve had to come up with a new plan: I have no plan. None. For the first time in my life, I am completely willing to let God do what He wants to do without piping in my opinion. Sure, I still want to at times. But in my heart of hearts I know that letting God lead is the only way to be truly fulfilled.
It’s a lesson I hope will never be far from my mind and my heart.
by Jessie Weaver, Vanderbilt WifeLeave a Comment
Marilyn Yocum says
A moving story, well-told. Love your openness and honesty about your response to circumstances and eventual discovery.
Vanessa Gooch says
Thanks Jessie for sharing this amazing post. How timely! Things for us have NOT went as we had planned at all and I have really been struggling with it. I am a bit of a Control/Planner freak, but I need to let go, release it all to the Lord and let Him be the true leader of our family, of our household. I am a work in progress and I have learned so much as well during this time. Thanks again for sharing!
Oh wow, Jessie, I get this, I really do. The limbo-ridden, plans-tossed-out life has been mine to live too. I joke that God never takes my ideas (even the absolutely fabulous ones), but honestly, this is one of the deepest rooted struggles in my life. I seek security in a plan….and God wants me to find it in Him. End of story. And, well, the beginning of one too…the one God wants to tell through us.
Found such encouragement today in your post, in knowing I’m not alone, in being reminded that a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
oh amanda says
Beautiful post, Jess! It’s hard to NOT have a plan. And sometimes hard to lean on God’s plan…but we know it’s better–and packed with hope and a good future!
shelly @ Life on the Wild Side says
Thanks for sharing your heart, Jesse. I know it will really encourage a lot of people.
Love this post Jessie!! We’re always *supposed* to have a plan – we’re the moms & in charge!! It’s so hard to release that! Thanks for your honesty!
Monica the Writer Chic says
So proud of you, Jess. Miss you, too. Jason’s just isn’t the same. =(
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Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
This is a life lesson that usually comes about the hard way, huh?
Oh, and we own a house where we no longer live that hasn’t sold, either. There are more lessons in the waiting!
So thankful for this today! Good stuff.
Melissa | Madabella: made beautiful says
Thank you for sharing your story…after being in a career for 14 years and leaving it all to be a stay at home mom, i can attest to the challenge transition brings. To shelve our plans in exchange for His is never easy. Oh how it’s hard in life’s unexpected plans, but I liken God’s ways like a big scavenger hunt with no map, just one clue after the next leading us closer and closer to Him…and it’s indeed worth it and can actually be quiet delightful even in the challenging times b/c you know He’s right there…guiding you along…. I want to surrender, too. 🙂
Jeri @godsdreamsforme says
Thank you for being so open and transparent. You have encouraged me.
Funny how God does not need us to “pipe in our opinions” at all. I learn this over and over it seems!
So glad your family is together under one roof. May God bless you as you continue on this life journey with Him!
Hillary @ The Other Mama says
So true, Jess. I love your and your story of faithfulness. I think once you realize you don’t have a plan and surrender that uncertainty to God, that’s when you’re released. Thanks for sharing your encouraging story! You are amazing! xoxo
Arianne @ To Think Is To Create says
SO much of this story is my story, too. Hugs to you on this beautiful journey, God is doing amazing things in you! <3
Myra @ My Blessed Life says
Thank you Jessie for this wonderful post. I’m almost in tears. I’ve thought and prayed Proverbs 13:12 about my life in the last few months…yet, I’m reminded of the verse from Jeremiah that says that God knows the plans He has for us…hope and a future.
Praying that your house will sell. Our has been on the market for too long. We have a dream house fixer-upper waiting on us. Sigh.
Tammy@If Meadows Speak says
Jessie, ah yes. I recgonize your story. Only no PH.D.’s and professorly ambitions here, I’m wife to a retired military pilot who now flies in air ambulance in Texas. And we too made changes, moved, and have had to “stand still” and let life be different than we imagined for ourselves. So that part of your story, I’m so there. I’ve found this too: having no plan can be a mix bag of excitment (at what God’s gonna do) and anxiety (at WHEN God’s gonna do). I’ve given up on exactly “when” so I can just rest and wait for the excitement to begin. Hope you are able to rest too. Thanks for sharing. I truly enjoyed my stop here.
Vanderbilt Wife says
Thank you, everyone, SO MUCH for your comments. It means the world to me!
Melissa Brotherton says
I too have had a year of God dealing differently with me than I hoped or wanted. But through it all He has remained faithful. Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you for this, for your transparency. The Lord keeps ripping up my blueprints, but then I forget and make more. This summer, illness has put all plans but blogging on the shelf (or in the shredder), and I don’t know when we’ll be able to make new ones, even simple ones like visiting family an hour away. Bottom line: I needed this today. Thanks.
Oh Jessie! Thank you for sharing this story! I am in the midst of my own heartbreak of having to leave my son to work. I too needed this encouragment for today! Bless you!
How well you express where I am right now. I had just lifted up my impossible prayer and then here comes an answer straight to my inbox. God taps on your shoulder in such interesting ways. Thank you for reminding me that I must have no plan.
thank you for sharing!!! waiting is hard. i understand completely about thinking you know how your life will go and then when it doesn’t, you’re suddenly unsure what the next step looks like. i’ve always wanted to teach and majored in education. after graduating with my bachelor’s degree, i went on to get my master’s, never thinking i’d still be looking for a teaching job two years later. God is faithful and i know He has a plan. the fact that you said you wouldn’t trade your experience stands out to me – not everyone has that same attitude. again, thank you for sharing – you’ve given me a much needed “i’ve been there and here’s how i got through it” moment. thanks 🙂
Southern Gal says
Oh, the lessons learned when we realize our plans are not His plans. Releasing control (which we don’t have anyway) feels like a freefall. But He’s got us. He’s always got us right there in the palm of His hand. Love this.
Isaiah 55:8 is my life verse for the very reasons you wrote. God has proven to me over and over that His plans are better than mine!
Such a lovely quote about having no plan! Thanks for sharing. I have a situation of my own I’m dealing with (different from yours, but everybody has their own unique thing), and it’s so comforting to know that even though our circumstances may not be similar, the God who takes care of all of them (and all of us) is.
“But in my heart of hearts I know that letting God lead is the only way to be truly fulfilled.”
Amen to that! I’m starting to realize now that planning sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I wish I could get my husband to realize this too. All too often he’s looking at his watch and sighing heavily when things don’t just go a certain way. I’m like that too but I’m trying not to be. I’m trying to realize that humans aren’t robots and can’t be programmed to move at a certain speed for a certain length of time. We aren’t built like that. We make mistakes. We tend to be late sometimes and sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s just life. Patience is a big thing I’m trying to introduce into my life. That, and confidence. I’m praying for both for myself and my husband.
Holley Gerth says
I love that your plan is to have no plan. To accept what God brings with an open heart and feet that are ready to go where He takes you. Beautiful. And such a wonderful reminder for all of us. Thanks for sharing your story with us!
As we often say in our Sunday School class or Bible study sessons, a proverb Man makes plans and God laughs.
Best wishes in Chattanooga!
THank you so much – indeed we are all in an unfamiliar place – ruining all of our plans and expectations – “forcing” us to a deeper layer of trust than we knew we needed. Trusting Him and not our plans, or our giftings, or our talents-just trusting Him – the One who knows!!
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“I am completely willing to let God do what He wants to do without piping in my opinion.” That’s what I’m striving toward. Thank you for sharing!
Janis@Open My Ears Lord says
Such a beautiful lesson to learn~and such a hard one, too. Just to know you have no plan~and that your whole reliance is on Him. I’ll treasure this.
Thank you for your fantastic post Jessie! I know the Bible says that Man makes his plans and God laughs, but sometimes it’s just hard to take. So happy that you have reached that point of surrender and are moving into HIS plans! ~Jessica