As I sip my twice-reheated coffee holding one baby and watching another run laps around the messy living room, I catch bits and pieces of the Good Morning America news broadcast. My mind drifts off for a second to the dreams I once had of being the one on the screen. Live from New York City with hair and makeup fixed before 6 a.m. I really believed that would be me. I just knew I’d be the one telling the mama with unwashed hair and tired eyes about the world events that happened overnight while she rocked babies and pumped milk.
I never dreamed I would be on the other side of the screen. That wasn’t my plan and I certainly never thought it was my purpose. I was fixated on a calling that included bright lights and big names. And I began the path to greatness right after college, landing a job at a local news station with hopes of working my way upward and onward. Being a wife could wait and being a mom wasn’t even on my radar.
I remember a sorority sister in college sharing her goals with me: My dream is to be a stay-at-home mom. I nodded and smiled as her eyes lit up, but I internally scoffed at the lackluster future life she would live. I pitied her for aiming so low. Didn’t she want to accomplish anything worthwhile? Change the world? Make a difference?
I never wavered in my decision to get a degree in broadcast journalism. While friends changed majors, I stayed married to mine. I knew what I was made to do, and I wasn’t about to let the fantasy of a white picket fence with 2.5 children derail me. My eyes were set on a higher prize, and I was ready to do whatever it took to achieve a life that mattered.
I still wanted to serve God and further His Kingdom, but I wanted to do it on my own terms with my own plans in place. I wanted to make His name famous, but I was hoping mine would become famous in the process.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21, ESV). God has a way of making a way even when we try to get in our own way, amen? I have no doubt God cares about our ideas and dreams and goals, but He won’t let us achieve them if they aren’t what’s best for us. He’s too good to let us settle. He’s too faithful to give us only what our finite minds want instead of what our eternity-bound hearts need.
I had become accustomed to being recognized in grocery stores. I took pictures with starstruck little girls at restaurants. I felt like God was using the small screen in my small city to prepare me for the big screen in the big city. But He had much bigger dreams for me than the kind of fame I anticipated.
Little by little, God changed my heart and then He changed my mind. He shifted the circumstances around me and spoke to me through prayer, through people, and through the problems I faced. And He eventually led me away from the spotlight I longed for into the glorious light of His provision.
My resume doesn’t equip me for my current job and my past work experience hasn’t fully prepared me for my most prestigious position to date. I often power through lunch to meet the demands before me and sacrifice sleep to ensure the tasks are complete. Most of the acknowledgment I receive for a job well done won’t happen in this life because I’m putting in the hours for a payoff that’s to come.
The friend’s dream I once scoffed at is now my reality, and it’s more than I could have imagined–abundantly more. My name is famous to two little boys. My broadcasting voice is now used to announce my toddler’s triumph over the potty. And my interviews are all about preschool friends and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Being a mom isn’t my identity–my ultimate purpose is found in Christ–but it is a job that matters, and it’s one I don’t take lightly. I won’t make six figures or win any type of award for my years of service, but I will see the seeds I’ve planted grow and flourish through my sons, in the name of Jesus. My plans were many, indeed, but the Lord’s purpose for my life prevailed.