When the Life You’re Living Isn’t the Life You Had Planned
by Tracie Miles
One Saturday afternoon several years ago, I found myself in need of a project. Something, anything, to occupy my hands and reroute my thoughts from falling into another epi, solo, pity party.
I wandered upstairs to the hot attic, breathed in the musky, damp smell, and began scanning the room for a project. Two cardboard boxes spilling over with forgotten items caught my attention. I plopped down on the bare wood floor and began sifting through the contents.
I smiled as I pulled out various long-forgotten items, one by one. Photos of my children’s cute little faces when they were young, vacation photos with sweet memories, pottery pieces with my children’s initials in the clay, painted handprints on construction paper, and more sports team photos than any parent should ever have to purchase.
But when I moved a few other things around, a big white book shifted and peeked out from under the pile. My smile instantly faded.
The wedding album.
A book which used to be a treasured keepsake now held the power to evoke immense heartache. I reached down and pulled it out of the box, wiping off dust that had settled on it over the years. As I opened it and began flipping through the pages, with each photo and memory my heart sunk further.
Life hadn’t turned out the way I thought it would. Wedding vows were broken, dreams were shattered, so many hearts were hurting, and my family was splintered. Disappointment overload began to consume my thoughts. Yet again.
When it comes to having our life turned upside-down due to separation and divorce, shock and sorrow are powerful emotions that can keep us stuck in a pattern of focusing on what we lost and mourning failed dreams. These toxic emotions have the potential to prevent us from believing God’s plans are good.
However, we can choose to allow disappointment to be a hindrance to our happiness, or we can change our perception and consider it a redirect from God, not a neglect of His love.
Over the years I’ve often reflected on Psalm 30:5 (NLT) which says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” This verse is a great reminder that despite how disappointed or sad we may feel, it won’t last forever. We don’t have to keep drowning in grief or regret, trapped in our current chapter of life. Instead, we can choose to trust that God loves us and He has our best interest at heart, our life in His control, and good plans for our future.
As I trudged back downstairs from the attic, I took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. As my mind swirled, I suddenly realized I was tired of being stuck on a torn-up page of life. As hard as I knew it would be, my heart and mind were finally ready to move forward by turning the page and trusting God. I wanted to be happy again.
I shed oceans of tears over the past several years, but over time my weeping stopped, God dried those tears, and my heavy-heartedness has been gradually replaced with joy. My choice to be positive and trust God with whatever the future might hold was a game changer.
The truth is, God is always up to something new. And His new is always good. We have to release our past disillusionment with life and instead embrace what is yet to come with open arms.
The life ahead of us is far more important than the life behind us. It took me a while to understand this after the deep hurt to my family, but when I finally allowed myself to believe this truth, my outlook and life changed for the better. Yes, God is always up to something.
© 2022 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Tracie Miles is a successful author and the director of Compel Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She has written six bestselling books and contributes to numerous devotionals that reach millions of Christian women around the world. Tracie has three grown children and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn more at traciemiles.com.