The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. – Robert Burns
My parents moved our family to Haiti when I was seven years old. I had just finished first grade and was thrilled for a new adventure. I adjusted quickly to our new life and grew to love one of the poorest countries in the world. Someone once told my parents that “the best thing a missionary can give to a country is his children,” and my parents determined to do just that – encouraging us to love and help and let Haiti into our bones. It worked.
By the time I graduated high school, I had decided my life’s course was going to be to work in the sphere of government and help rebuild Haiti’s crumbling political infrastructure. I studied political science, did internships overseas in Africa, and started looking at graduate school.
God had quite a different idea, so instead of grad school, I headed back “home” to work for the same mission my parents do and before long, married the neighbor boy I had grown up with. We always said we wanted to raise our kids in Haiti and live there. Again, God had a different plan. We ended up moving back to the states, Stev finished his engineering degree and got a job in America. And we had three kids.
I’ve been thinking recently – with Christmas just over and everything – about Mary. A young teenager who no doubt had some plans and ideas about where her life was headed. Falling in love. Getting married. Settling down. Having some kids. Living close to her folks in Nazareth. Then her plans went “awry.” And she had Jesus.
Sometimes I look at how things ended up different for me than I imagined, wishing sometimes we lived in Haiti, wishing sometimes to be part of a movement to change Haiti. I look at how my plans went awry. And then I look up and see my kids.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future…” – Jer. 29.11