This is not the life I planned.
As a teenager, I imagined my life something like my mother's, married in my early twenties and a little family to go along with it shortly after. A home, a family, a cozy little life.
First I was going to be a teacher, then a massage therapist, and finally a nurse. Spreading my university through half my twenties, I pushed my dreams forward. Perhaps this marriage and family, this settling down would come after starting my career. Yes, that seemed right.
And then I started dreaming of travelling. No, let me amend that, I started dreaming of travelling in elementary school. At that point, travelling was something you did on vacation. You went in between the important parts of life, when you got holidays from your job. I've always dreamed of travelling. Australia and Africa were places I definitely wanted to go. Europe too. Someday I would vacation there.
A life defined by travel... well that didn't occur to me until I finished my degree. Suddenly the idea of travelling and working where I travelled was possible! Nurses are needed everywhere. Work a little while close to home, some experience under my belt... and then the world was my oyster! Missions would be great, but I needed far more experience before doing that. Plus, wasn't it better to go on missions with a spouse?
So I worked, and then I travelled and worked with a good friend (see the first year of this blog). Life was an adventure. Travelling with a friend was amazing... and difficult. I started to learn lessons about myself and those around me that I wasn't expecting.
I returned home for a year, and then was off on a solo adventure to the north. It was stretching, grounding, wonderful, difficult and more. I matured and grew into more of who I was meant to be. And still I dreamed that there I might find the man, the spouse who would go on missions with me. But it was not to be.
In the stretching and growing, I realized that here I was alone, and God was enough. He had led me here and made me strong enough for what was in front of me. Why not go on missions alone? I wouldn't truly be alone, for God was with me.
So I packed up my life in the north, visited home once again, and then set off for the Africa Mercy. And like taffy, I was stretched and strengthened more. Leaned on God more. Learned that if God is my center, and I am in the center of His will, my dreams do come true. Not the dreams I had for me. The dreams that God places in front of me. With finances running out and my year almost up, God called me for another year on the ship. I placed my hand in His and He was faithful, always finding the finances were enough.
Two years on the ship, and once again God called me home. Why? I don't know. I am home and soaking in the time with family and friends. Enjoying the challenges of a new job that pushed me to think in new ways. I am where I am supposed to be. And yet...
I know that God has more for me. At this point, to settle down would be wonderful, to find a belated version of my teenage dream. But I could never feel settled outside of God's will. Having walked the path he laid out for me, I can't imagine trying to set my own path. So instead I wait for His next call. What more does He have?
Each time I step out of my comfort zone into that place that I have been called, I find peace. I stand in a place right now where my job ends in April. And I am searching for that God path. Is he calling me to more of the same? Is there a new path for me? Will I protest the stretching in a new place? Will I find myself protesting his call (either to stay or to go) because I think my dream is better?
This is not the life I planned. It is SO much more than I could have dreamed!