It’s been in her a while now, this yearning to break free.
She’s spent a lifetime doing just what she should. But should brings with it a heavy weight of expectations, and when you live under a burden as heavy as that, eventually you have to get out from under. Because expectations filled with should never satisfy.
She’s always known what she should do.
That path she should take? She’s been on it.
The decision that would be most responsible, most noble? She’s right on it.
The next step that would make sense and be best for everyone? She understands it.
But at some point along the path of should, she found herself in a place that wasn’t her own. The good girl veil of obedience and doing everything she should became heavy and it was hard to see through. She knew her true life’s path was still good, likely even great, but different. And not that of others’ choosing, but of God’s choosing and her own.
She began to struggle, she sat in the pain. Hints, glimpses of another path were there, but she was so unsure.
She wrote in desperation. There must be a way to write out of this, to reason out of this, to make sense of this. She scratched and sketched in those books for years. On and off, they were her solace, her place to express things no one else understood. The questions, the unknown paths, the wanting to be free of should, she wrote it all there.
As she wrote, she birthed new lives. And with each new life came a little more clarity about how to get off this path of should. She began to make wishes and dream big dreams. In-between the pages of pain were pages birthing hope. She dreamed big, really big. The pages were free, open spaces for her to be who she wanted to be. The burdens of should had no place.
She wrote just as she needed, and the years added up. She didn’t write because she should, she wrote because she could.
After a while, it was hard to deny. The far-flung wishes she had scratched on pages were becoming the daydreams of her heart. In-between doing all she should, she dreamed of all she could. And it set her free, if only in her dreams.
She sought wise counsel from one who knew there was a different path to choose. And for the first time, she was freed to follow the call of could rather than the burden of should.
She followed the call, without inhibition. It was wonderful and glorious, and she felt right in this place.
But after a while, she found herself straddling two paths, the path of should and the path of could. She felt a bit desperate, stuck. She wanted to jump out of the should right into the could, but the forest was thick and dense between the two. It didn’t seem there was a way.
Quiet moments led her to pages she scratched in those books all the way back to 2000. She saw with fresh eyes God’s master plan embedded within the pain-filled pages of should. On one page, confusion and a wanting out. The next, His master plan, in detail. She knew clarity came only because she read the books in their entirety. The significance of each page would have been lessened if not read in the context of the next page, and the next, and the next.
And on that day, in the midst of her confusion and near desperation, she discovered even greater detail that helped her trust God’s master plan is in place, even when it’s hard to believe.
She found this, scratched little on one page of 30 brainstormed visions from March 2007 – No more supermom.
It was April 2013, and she had just written this, Turning Capes Into Gowns.
And she found this, also scratched as vision in March 2007 – Special moms.
It was April 2013, and she was about to launch a month-long Special Mamas series on her blog. Her wish became a dream come true thanks to the willing hearts of Jennifer and Tamara and Jessica and MNAutismMom and Jennifer and Lisa.
And she found this, a detail she had not recalled from conversation with one who affirmed her vision and dreams – Walk and follow the lily pads of grace. One by one God will place them for you if this is His call.
She knew she needed to trust. She must proceed with abandon towards the path of could. Because the expectations of what should be always disappoint, while the possibilities of what could be provide hope.
So she’ll make wishes, she’ll keep dreaming, and she’ll keep following the lily pads of grace. And maybe one day, she’ll discover all of the scratches and sketches came true.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11