Monday, May 2, 2011

What happened to Plan A?

I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I hadn't gotten sick.  What would that have been like?  My dream was to finish school, majoring in art or possibly horticulture.  I love photography, gardening, and landscape design.  I probably would have a successful career and a couple kids by now.  I'd have a modest house with a nice, big yard and old shade trees.  I'd probably still play soccer when I had time.

Life doesn't always go according to plan.  After hearing a moving sermon during church yesterday, I knew I had my subject for today.  The church I had gone to since birth dissolved after the pastor retired, and we wandered around looking for something that felt like home.  A few years later, I found a great friend in junior high, and visited her church.  I loved the upbeat environment and the fun lessons we got in the teen group.  I had a couple of great youth pastors that helped me through a tough time in life.  My mom's second marriage didn't work out, I was at a new school, and I started having horrible headaches.  I had somewhere to turn when I started getting ulcers in my mouth, and I was scared when I was being tested for everything from HIV to yeast overgrowth.  The doctor's had seen nothing like it, and that alone was scary.  In fact, I don't think that I told many what was going on in my life, but they knew I was going through a lot.  Eventually, I was baptised with my best friend by the same youth pastors.  We lost touch when the church moved to a much larger location, and I became lost in the busy life of a teen.
Pastor Brian Benton, myself, Larissa Cook, and Pastor Steve Conrad

I decided one day last year to post old photos that I had from that time.  The internet is an amazing thing.  Within a few hours I was reconnected with the group from church.  The youth pastor had started a church of his own, Crosspointe Community Church.  I didn't have a chance to attend services at the time.  My spasms were uncontrolled, and I was having a hard time even getting out of the house.  This Easter, I got another invitation to attend the service, and I knew I had to go.  It felt right.  Even my husband, not raised in church, knew we had to come back, and so it is.  The sermon this past Sunday?  Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?

This morning, I stopped to read the blog of a dear friend.  Her daughter was critically injured almost two years ago, and her blog allows her to let her emotions out and keeps us all updated. On Mondays, she encourages her blog readers to join in. Her topic today?  "I am wondering the difference between what you thought your life would be, and what it is? How do you handle the difference between the two?"

Thank you for the image, Jen!
I am at a crossroads in my life.  There are so many uncertainties that cloud my vision at times.  How will this progress?  Will treatment help stop or reverse some of the progression?  Will I live a long, happy life, or will I succumb to the disease?  Will we be able to have more children?  Will we be able to adopt if that is how we need to grow our family?  I have had to accept that I can't know the answers.  This wasn't my plan...but somehow, blessings have come from this chaos.
-I am learning to bite my tongue when I'm frustrated.  I love my husband, and he doesn't deserve my grumpy attitude when I'm having a rough day.  He loves me unconditionally, and despite my shortcomings.

-I get the chance to spend most days at home with my little girl.  She won't be little for long, and I want to soak it up.

-Even though we no longer own our own home, we're in a comfortable place at my mom's.  It is wonderful that Emma gets to spend so much time with her, and they are best buddies.  Mom helps so much with Emma.  In turn, we do what we can to keep the house maintained and the yard welcoming and relaxing.  

-Our fence blew down, and while that was crummy, another blessing came.  Emma found a new friend, and now there is a kid-sized doorway in the fence for them to go back and forth.

-Even though I probably won't be able to return to work in any sort of normal fashion, I have time to get some college course out of the way.  

-I haven't been able to travel far in a few years, so we've been able to explore the beauty of Northern California.  There is so much to see near home.

-I've found new friends, and it feels like we've known them forever.  

-I have been able to put aside differences and grow a closer relationship with my Dad.  He has been so helpful, especially since this diagnosis was confirmed.

-Even though it was spent in a chemo center, I spent more time alone with Adam than I have since Emma was born.  It wasn't ideal, but that time was precious.  

-When I can, I break out my camera.  Our yard is filled with flowers of all sorts, and they make beautiful subjects.  Not only am I shooting my first wedding this month, but I have also entered a couple photos into the Sacramento County Fair.  (Wish me luck!)

-By the grace of God, I have found a church that feels so right when I needed it the most.  

-I have had a chance to research our lineage, and in short, it is amazing.  My great-grandparents were the kings and queens of England, Spain, France, and during the crusades, my great-grandfather was the king of Israel.  I need to do the math, but I also realized that Adam and I are cousins through the Spencer Family line.  (Don't worry - it is out 15-20 generations or so.)

-Through this suffering, I have become closer to Christ.  I feel empathy and understanding for others that I didn't before.  I consider the challenges a checker faces in their own life before I become frustrated at their slow check-out times.  Do they have a brain injury? A learning disability?  Are they dealing with health issues, or is someone near them suffering?

While Plan B wasn't what we planned on, it very often brings blessings in disguise.  I just had to open my eyes to them.

She always knows how to make me smile. :)

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