Just before Christmas, a friend from Bible Study recommended a children’s book called The Tale of Three Trees. This is the same friend who originally recommended Jesus Calling to me, so I asked very few questions and thanks to Amazon Prime, this book arrived on my doorstep approximately two blinks later.
I quickly found out that my friend obviously has no regard whatsoever for the fact that I am hysterical level-five crier complete with the ugliest ugly-cry-face ever. I’m still trying to get through that book even once without tears. I have tried all my tricks, including mentally making my grocery list while I read. Nothing has worked.
Allow me to summarize.
Three small trees on a hill dream of the amazing things they will become when they are grown. One wants to be a treasure chest, one wants to be a sailing ship fit for a king, and one wants to be the tallest tree in the world and point to God from its place on the hill. Years pass, and when the trees are finally cut down, they are each disappointed by their apparent fates. The first tree is made into a feed trough, the second is made into a simple boat, and the third is cut down for scrap lumber.
Eventually, though, they realize that God has fulfilled their dreams in even better ways than they could have imagined. The first tree serves as Jesus’s manger. The second tree is the boat from which Jesus calms the mighty storm, and the third becomes the cross where He is crucified.
I, too, am one whose life has turned out far differently than I ever imagined.
My dreams for myself when I was younger were decidedly less amazing than these. In first grade, I wanted to be a maid. In fifth grade, I remember shocking my teacher by telling her I wanted to be an obstetrician gynecologist [can’t imagine why she would have been shocked by that!] after watching a few too many episodes of The Cosby Show. In high school, as an editor on my school’s newspaper, I imagined buying The Nashville Graphic and being a newspaperwoman. Being an educator wasn’t really on my list of career choices until I’d already been teaching for two years, but by then I’d caught the bug.
I never considered that I would be a stay-at-home-mother.
Sometimes still, I catch myself thinking: what am I going to be when I grow up? This can’t be it. Even though I love it, it lacks the…I don’t know…paycheck? office? pencil skirts?… I once envisioned I’d be enjoying.
And then I think, let’s see:
I wanted to be a maid. Check. Only there’s much more joy in folding my babies’ socks than in folding a strangers’.
I wanted to be an OBGYN. Well, I birthed two babies, endured many failed fertility treatments and two miscarriages. It doesn’t give me an MD, for sure, but then, I never really liked the sight of blood anyway. Check [ish].
I wanted to be a newspaperwoman. Instead, I blog with no deadlines. Check PLUS!
I wanted to be a teacher. And I am. Only now I teach more than American Literature, and I don’t get angry parent phone calls. Check PLUS PLUS!
So I don’t get to wear pencil skirts, or go on lunch dates to anywhere besides Chick-Fil-A, and my life is definitely not as I had imagined.