I certainly wasn't thinking twenty years down the road when I said "yes" to the young man kneeling in front of me on the wooden bridge on Tall Pines Trail. Twenty years later, and a lot of water under the bridge later, we revisited our past and discovered just how much difference a couple of decades can make. It was like a trip down memory lane, or at least down the hiking trail, as we took our family camping at the same state park where my husband proposed.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were both in the last semester of our senior year of college. We had been dating almost six months. Neither of us really had a plan for life after graduation, or so I thought. I hadn't even begun to seriously consider my employment options. After all, life was good as a student. My dad paid for my car and my part time job covered all my other financial obligations. I was content living in my state of limbo between student and responsible citizen.

I didn't know that my boyfriend was about to shove us both into full fledged adulthood with those four simple words, "Will you marry me?" Quite unexpectedly, as we were hiking down the Tall Pines Trail at Lake Ratcliff, he paused on a footbridge long enough to gain from me a promise that would determine the direction of the rest of my life. With only the squirrels as eye witnesses, I accepted his bended knee invitation to become Mrs. Tony Wier.

From that day forward, we began to plan; first for the wedding and then for real life. It was such a thrilling time to face a world of possibilities and have someone beside me to share my dreams.

Twenty years later we stood on that same footbridge, only this time we weren't alone. Our three teenagers hiked along. As Tony and I shared a sentimental moment, reenacting that pivotal point in our lives, the significance was lost on our children, but not the humor.

"Careful, Dad. You're not as young as you used to be. You want me to help you get up off your knee?"

"Mom, did you have that many wrinkles the last time Dad proposed?"

"No," I insisted, "and I didn't have three smarty pants kids tagging along, either."

Despite their groans and rolling eyes, and even the ravages of time, I wouldn't turn the clock one minute. Planning for life was fun, but living life has been the far greater adventure - made up of things we expected and things we never saw coming.

As we dreamed about our life it included children and a home of our own. We planned for good jobs and enjoying some of life's comforts; we dreamed of baseball games and backyard cook-outs. All that and more we got. Of course, I also dreamed of a summer house in Spain for which I am still waiting.

Then there were the things we hadn't planned for, but came all the same (and I'm not talking about the mini van and the cellulite). We got -- but didn't plan for -- saying goodbye to friends who moved away and mourning the loss of people we loved. We faced trials at work, financial strains and health crisis'. There were disagreements, disappointments and disasters, none of which were on our list of hopes for the future.

Yet every expected and unexpected moment has created something far more valuable than "happily ever after." As we discovered that not every thing in life can be planned, we also discovered by God's grace that everything in life has been planned for - and we can trust the Planner.

I am the LORD; there is no other God. I have prepared you, even though you do not know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things...This is what the LORD, the Creator and Holy One of Israel, says: "Do you question what I do? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the millions of stars are at my command." Isaiah 45:5-7,11,12

No matter how carefully we orchestrate the details, life will always hold the unexpected. Our confidence doesn't come in being able to plan for such times, but in trusting the One who commands the stars and who superintends good times and bad. Those who do, find the same peace Job discovered in the midst of his trials when he declared, "Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" Job 2:10

God, who holds all things together by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), will surely hold our families together as we brave the trail set before us.


Kim Wier Copyright © 2005

Kim Wier is the director of Engaging Women, a ministry of women encouraging women through speaking, writing and broadcasting. The author of four books, an award winning humor columnist and radio talk show host, Kim regularly speaks to audiences around the country with depth and humor that focuses on discovering God in the everyday experiences of life. For more visit
www.engagingwomen.com.