The Better Plan

Written by Melissa Smith

I have three children. My oldest son is 23, my daughter is 18 and my younger son is 17. I love them more than anything in this world. They are the funniest, kindest, most amazing people I know.  Talking about them swells my heart with pride and joy. I cannot say enough about them. Yet, I limit myself in the amount of time I spend actually talking about them. It doesn't seem to make sense. Why wouldn't I want to talk about the very people who have played such a role in making who I am today? Well, they aren't a part of my everyday life. They live in another state with their father and have for the last four years. That statement alone makes me cringe. Not because of their father. He loves them dearly and is a great dad. Not because of some terrible drama that forced me to make this choice, but because it feels new each time I say it.

My plan was to live with my sister for a year or so and then, after getting my finances together, move back. I saw my brief absence as a way for me to become a better mother for them. But, plans have the most inconvenient way of not working out in the way you thought they would or wanted them to. My plan was moving along quite well until my health decided to stop cooperating and I lost some of my vision a year into my plan. I could no longer work or drive. I needed a constant support system. My resources for that were here, in the state where I live.

Making the choice to leave my children with their father was the most difficult thing I have had to do. It was the biggest sign of my failure as a mother and nothing I said or did could make that feeling go away. Having to face the fact that I may never again live in the same place as my children only added to that feeling.

My story could be really sad. It might even make you feel sorry for me in some way. I don't want you to do that though. My story isn't over. In fact, it's only beginning. God has this awesome way of taking our plans, and the failed attempts at implementing them, and turning them into something amazing. He brings us into situations that soften the blows. for me, this has been the youth group at my church. Through this ministry, I have been able to mother an average of 20-30 kids every week! I can relate to them because of my children. I love them. I care about their lives. It's hard to say if the feeling is mutual since they are teenagers, but what they bring to my life matters so much more.

While the relationship with my children was rocky in the first year, it's so much better now. We communicate on a daily basis and have been able to spend time together during their vacations. I know that our situation is not what I wanted it to be. It's not what I planned, but I also know that God has an even better plan for us. I am so excited to see what He has in store!