Sometimes life doesn’t turn out how we thought it would.
When I was young, I played house like any other girl. I wasn’t thinking too much about the husband part but of course, there were always baby dolls involved.
Thankfully, I eventually did start thinking about a husband and God provided (and He provided a great one at that).
Life continued. We began our careers. We got a house so it seemed like the next logical step was to start expanding our family.
But that didn’t happen. We tried various treatments but nothing worked.
A part of me was disappointed but God graciously gave us a real peace about it, even before we began the testing. We knew if this didn’t work, we were going to be just fine. The fact is that our lives were so full that we did not feel like we were lacking.
But to be honest, every Mother’s Day I am reminded that the life I had imagined as a child wasn’t exactly turning out how I thought it would.
This morning, I recalled the story of Anna in the New Testament which is summarized in 3 verses of scripture.
Luke 2:36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple…and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
A widow after only 7 years of marriage…and no mention of any children or that she ever remarried.
It looks like I’m not the only one whose life didn’t turn out how she pictured it.
Many women would have let their lives stop there. After all, especially during that time period, being a mom…being a wife was everything.
Last year, you may have heard the story about Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO at Facebook. Her husband passed away while they were on vacation. Here is what she posted just a month after the loss of her husband:
“A childhood friend of mine…recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.”
She continues, “I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, and constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”
She also recalled a conversation with a friend about a father-child activity. She stated, “We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the (you-know-what) out of option B.””
I think we would all agree that it’s one thing to say this, and another thing to live it. We all want option A – that’s why it’s option A. But when life presents us with option B as our only option, then what happens?
Anna showed us that while option B may not be our first choice, our lives can still find fulfillment and purpose beyond what we ever imagined. If we let it.
Anna positioned herself to receive another promise – meeting the Messiah. And it didn’t stop there. She spent her days telling people about Him.
I would say she kicked the you-know-what out of her option B.
Maybe for you, your option B is that your mom is not around this Mother’s Day. Or maybe you have lost a child or like me, maybe you never had one.
Option B may not be the life we imagined, but it is the life we have. And God has a way of making that life “exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask or think.”
He did it for Anna. He is doing it for me and I believe He is doing it for you too.
Let’s show Option B Who is boss…and kick the you-know-what out of it. ~Anu