Have you ever found yourself at a crossroad in life? Here you are, looking down your path, envisioning your hopes, your dreams, your plans. But suddenly you are stopped. There’s a crossroads. And the road that God seems to be indicating for you to take is the one going in the other direction from where all your hopes, dreams and plans lie.
These moments can take your breath away, as you feel your dreams turning to ashes. Feelings run the gamut from anger to fear to grief to a deep, deep sadness. This is not what I expected. It’s not what I hoped for. It’s not what I envisioned for my life.
Crossroads come in many forms in life: A financial crisis, a failed marriage, a tragic loss, a difficult diagnosis, a job loss, a broken friendship. Sometimes we see it coming, but sometimes, it hits us out of nowhere and leaves us panting, bruised, bleeding, shocked.
Many have followed the sage of my health issues since fall of 2015. I suffered months of vertigo, experienced hearing loss, and was diagnosed as a stroke victim. It was all rather alarming, to say the least. I feel way too young and way too healthy to be having so many health problems. Plus, I’ve got enough going on with all of Sophie’s trials — I don’t need trials of my own! Right? So, over the past six months I have undergone a plethora of tests, all seeking a source for this vertigo, hearing loss, stroke. There have been no answers. Nothing has come up anywhere.
In what I thought would be my final neurology appointment last week, I began posing the difficult questions in my heart. If we can’t determine anything else that caused this stroke, then it’s likely it happened because of one of my pregnancies? Which pregnancy? What caused it? Would I be likely to stroke again in another pregnancy? What are the statistics on that? Could it be a worse stroke? With true compassion, my neurologist told me that my questions were likely unanswerable, but that yes, my likelihood of stroking again in a future pregnancy was increased because of the past stroke, and that yes, strokes are unpredictable demons that can be completely life-altering. A risk of stroke is not to be trifled with.
Why is this a crossroads? you ask. Because I wasn’t totally sure that I was finished having children. I love my two blessings immensely. I will never take for granted the gifts that I have been given in them. But it’s like I said before, we’ve all pictured life a certain way, only to realize that maybe it’s not going to look that way. Maybe. I haven’t gotten any further than maybe yet. I’m allowing myself time to process, to grieve, to pray, to consider. My neurologist has ordered one final MRI to ensure that nothing about my imaging has changed. It’s his hail mary at finding out anything at all that can help me in this difficult decision. Perhaps what showed on the first scan was what’s known as an artifact — it’s not actually there, but the MRI machine makes a mistake. (I can’t even think about the irony…) Or, perhaps it has changed some and this gives us a new direction to look. Or, it may be the same, and my questions will go unanswered. Maybe. So, I’ll stand a while longer at this crossroads. I’ll ponder. I’ll pray.
But in these moments, at life’s crossroads, I have one reassurance: He’s a good, good Father.
Even if God’s path for my life is not what I envisioned, I can walk forward into his path, knowing that he is good. Yes, I may need time to grieve the losses of things that I never actually had, but dreamed about and planned on. I need to go through the process of surrendering those things to God. Perhaps in walking on his path, he has other good things in store for me. Or perhaps his path saves me from unimaginable pain. Perhaps his path will indeed hold the very things that I must now surrender to him. I can’t know; I can’t predict the future. But I can choose. Even though I can’t see what his path for me may hold, I can choose it in full confidence because of his goodness.
I made this choice with Sophie when her life began to unfold in a completely different fashion than I expected, and I make it again with my own future. I want to be on God’s path, because ultimately, I know that on my own I lack the wisdom to choose the best path for myself. If I planned out my future, I would undoubtedly mess something up, badly. Even in walking in God’s plan for me, I may still mess things up. But I want my heart to be pointed in the right direction, my feet to be on his path.
Can we just take a minute to say “yes” to Jesus, even if everything in life looks terribly wrong? Can we just acknowledge that he’s in control AND he’s good? Though my emotions all over the place, with my heart, my mind, and my will, I choose God’s path; I choose his plan. There is sadness in letting go of my own plan, but there is peace in knowing I’m choosing the plan crafted by the only wise God who is indeed a good, good Father.