This Was Not My Plan


My life, it’s a lot different than I expected. I had a plan. From the time I was little, I always had a plan. I had chosen only three possible professions. The first was a doctor. That plan changed shortly after a minor household accident in which my brother bumped his head on the corner of his dresser and proceeded to bled out what seemed like 20 gallons of blood. I hid under my bed until the whole grisly affair was over.

Next was astrophysics, the first stepping stone to becoming an astronaut. I would go to the Air Force Academy for my undergraduate degree and complete my stint of eight additional years, all the while working toward a PhD and NASA. That plan changed, too. Too much math and too little space travel.

Then, I set my mind on a journalism degree from California Polytechnic State University, at the time the west’s number one ranked public undergraduate university. I plotted the next four years with such precision that nothing was going to distract me from my goal.

I had the rest of the details worked out, too. I would begin my career at either the New York Times or the LA Times as an investigative reporter and move through the ranks at an unprecedented rate, becoming a syndicated columnist by the time I was in my late 20s. The way I planned it, I was going to split my time between the east and west coasts, attending all the best social events and traveling to wildly exotic places. When I wasn’t, I would sleek around in a trench coat and fedora hat, carry a notebook filled with delicious secrets, and have terribly rabid contacts of whom I could never reveal.

According to the plan, sometime in my twenties I’d marry, a prince in his field of, no doubt, astrophysics or engineering. It would not be a conventional marriage but more of a love affair, comprised of surreptitious rendezvous’ in those exotic locations, keeping our marriage as fresh as the day we met. I figured our desire would never be quenched and our lives never mundane. We would have children, of course, twins, raised by an au pair and perfect, I might add. Incredibly intelligent. Prodigies. We’d be the proud parents of this generation’s Einsteins, with absolutely no effort on our part whatsoever. After all, don’t brilliant, ambitious, and disciplined children just kind of raise themselves?

But exactly how I got from there to here, a minister’s wife, a mom, and a freelance graphic designer/writer, is a nothing less than a miracle. There is little about my original plan that has come true. I did graduate from Cal Poly. I did get married in my twenties—to a long-haired, diehard musician with a call on his life to lead people into presence of God—and we have two children, a girl and a boy, not twins. What I never factored into my plan was that in my senior year in college with just six months to graduation, I turned my life over to God and told Him He could do whatever He wished with my life. I was His. At that time it never occurred to me that He didn’t want exactly the same thing I wanted.

So, my life, it’s different than I planned. It’s not saving lives in hospitals or flying through space or overturning rocks to expose social injustices or jetting off to romantic getaways. It’s really a string of bad hair days spent in yoga pants, endless laundry and housework, constant mediation between my brilliant children, timeouts, homework, carpool, runny noses, doctor’s appointments, committee meetings, and trying to get everyone to work, school, and church on time, fed, and in clean clothes. It’s a balancing act of tremendous proportion, the attempt to maintain some semblance of sanity, piety, and well-being. This morning alone, the girl and I were mourning the loss of Barbie’s hair chopped by the boy--a deranged stylist who was a little too vicious with the scissors he is not allowed to have--and starting triage for Ken and a long line of other unwitting victims of the Superhero/Monster High smack down of 2014. I will be reapplying limbs with superglue and duct tape well into the afternoon while answering email, designing a marketing campaign, and meal planning for the next week.

But even in the midst of such a seemingly ordinary life, I’ve seen things even more extraordinary than I could have dreamed on my own. Along the way, I discovered that it cannot be my plan alone. God says, “Come let us reason together…and if you are willing and obey, you will eat the best from the land” (Isaiah 1:18-19). When my plans failed, I laid everything on the altar, and together God and I began to reason. I no longer have the same desires for fame and riches, not Time Magazine and not NASA. Everything in my life, every lesson, every experience, every failure, and every victory has been leading to this moment, an amazing supernatural place where there is still a universe to be discovered, still lives to be saved, and still stories that need to be told, right here, every day. It’s just different.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t still get distracted and try to do it on my own. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still mess things up. However at the end of the most routine day, when I have been chasing kids, cleaning the house, fixing lunches, talking to clients, or simply being at the right place at the right time, when I most need a shower and a few minutes to just breathe, I am reminded of how God’s plan is still at work. His plan, our plan, it hasn’t changed.


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Kat Groshong is an award-winning graphic designer and writer who lives with her husband, Brently Groshong, and their children in a old blue house on a hill. She works from home and shares a desk with her 3-year-old boy. It’s not easy, she says, because he is not a good administrative assistant: he writes illegibly, crowds the workspace with action figures, and takes too many breaks. On the upside, he can be paid in Cheerios.

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First published at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem blog