**Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here.
I had a plan. I was 15, and I knew exactly what my life would look like at 25.
I was going to study acting at drama school until my dad encouraged me gently towards studying English and Drama at university instead.
I would go on to become an actress. Naturally, I would be a famous film actress. I would get picked up by an agent, spend years working hard on my career, and then eventually marry and settle down to have children. Several, because I longed to be a mother.
I would go to England for university, and then move away again, probably to the US. I would travel the world, live for short periods in many places before choosing my favourite to settle down in. If I needed to, before I was ‘discovered’, I would work waitress or retail jobs and go to auditions in between, earning just what I needed to keep moving round the world and working just enough to give me time for pursuing my real dream.
It’s funny, what life throws at you.
God must have chuckled gently to Himself as He listened to my ambitious plans. He must have smiled congenially and whispered: “Just you wait, my darling girl, just you wait.”
Because, as it turns out, God had other plans.
As God started to ask me to let go of my acting dream when I was 18, a catch up with a friend who was giving up a relatively successful start in acting to start a family unclenched my hand for good. I don’t know to this day whether she knows the impact she had on my life for the better in just one afternoon!
I realized that day that while some can somehow balance time with family and acting, I was not one of those people. Sporadic work, lots of time away from family while on the road, and financial insecurity was not something I could cope with. And I became aware that I just didn’t love it enough. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to have a family, and with Quality Time as my love language, the thought of being away from them often was too much to bear.
At 20, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of cancer. 6 months of chemotherapy passed, I just about got through my second year at university, and my life was transformed. God used something dark and difficult for the better, and as hard as it was, I wouldn’t erase it. It made me who I am today.
At 21, I graduated university and met the man I would marry a year and a half later, a month after my 23rd birthday. A beautiful baby girl would follow at 24. A desire God had been speaking into my heart over several years to be a stay-at-home-mum was realized.
And it is always good to dream.
But I can’t help but look at my life so far and realize it is nothing like I thought it would be. It is so so much better.
So perhaps God’s plans, although they may not always start out as my plans, are better after all.
And maybe I need to keep trusting in that. Because if there’s something I could tell my 15-year-old self full of ambition, dreams and determination, it is that.
It’s humbling. But it’s oh so beautiful.