Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life Plans can change...and it's okay

We lived in this house for about seven years before we moved to The Swamp for school. Our plan was to come back after three years of university life, and settle down there when we were done. But so far none our Life Plans have turned out the way we wanted.

Before we moved to The Swamp, Chris worked for a university, where he was able to get his masters degree for free in the evenings. While he was doing that, I repeatedly had the strong impression over several years that Chris needed to go back to school and get his PhD, but I fought it. Hard.

Leaving a good job and a great neighborhood, and dragging our family off across the country to be poor college students wasn't in our Life Plans. Especially if we had to live where there were alligators. Plus, we were too old, our kids were too big, we didn't want to go into debt because we were saving for our retirement.

But one day as the impression struck again, I was filled with peace: this unwanted stuff needed to happen for whatever reason, and Heavenly Father would take care of us because it was obviously part of His plan for us. I let Chris know, and eventually he felt that peace, too. And it's been an amazing experience even though it's been hard. I wouldn't trade it for the nicest house and the biggest piles of money. (Okay, if someone offered me a big house and a big pile of money, I might trade our two bedroom apartment and the garlic smells that go with it. But then again, it's all part of the experience, isn't it?)

Chris's sister Marianne and her sweet little family were nice enough to live in our house for two years before he recently got a job somewhere else and they had to move suddenly. Then we had to figure out whether to sell or become long distance landlords for a year. It was a difficult decision, and Chris and I may or may not have cried a little bit for a few days. But it's interesting when you step back from the emotions of the moment, you can see Heavenly Father's hand in all things.

We loved our neighborhood and schools there, but we didn't want to rent our house to just anyone. We'd had too many friends who had their homes thrashed by renters. But two years ago the housing market was still pretty bad, and we wouldn't have sold our home fast enough. Then things miraculously lined up, with a nice stipend for Chris, and a decent place in The Swamp where we could live and not go into any debt for school. And Marianne's family needed a house with a yard. It worked out perfectly for that time.

And when Marianne needed to move (because her husband got a fabulous job offer in a place they really wanted to live!), the timing was right for us to sell our house within one week of having it be on the market. It took a month to close the deal, which happened last night. It was a bittersweet feeling, but we have no doubt in our minds that we're being looked after (including Marianne's family, too).

Our Life Plan now? We don't really have one. I think that when (if?) we come back after school, we might live in my parents house so they can go on a mission. Which they might not be able to do without someone reliable to live in their house. But who knows. Life Plans change...hard things happen...and it's okay. Things always workout better when we do what we need to do and not just what we want to do.

Trust that Heavenly Father is helping us along, and like a good parent, he knows what's best and he does it all out of pure love for us.


  1. Love this post! This is so true, as long as you trust Heavenly Father everything will be alright. And when you think that things are not as you wanted them in the end you see that it was all for better. I am sure you are sad, Gaylene, to sell your house but also, I am sure everything will work out for you guys when/if you decide to get back. :)

  2. What a great perspective. It takes a lot of faith and courage to trust our Heavenly Father. You and your family have been such a blessing to our ward here in Gainesville, and great things are ahead for you and your family when it is time to leave the Swamp.

  3. His plans have always been better than my plans--and never the same! We are so glad you came to the Swamp!