How often do we have a plan in mind for a big occasion in life and dream it all up in our minds only for it to be destroyed, or even worse, for it to happen that way for someone else?
I’m in my twenties, and that means that plenty of my peers are getting married and having babies and walking through similar seasons of life in one way or another.
As soon as I got engaged, I felt like I was in some sort of club with all the other engaged girls – we would send each other advice or let each other use decorations without thinking twice because we all understood the stress and the struggle of wedding planning.
A girl I know through mutual friends got engaged before I did and was getting ready for her big day coming up in a few months when her plans changed. I was scrolling through Facebook one day when I saw that she and her fiance had broken off their engagement. I was devastated for her and could feel her pain through her Facebook post.
She didn’t go into detail about what had happened, but she so gracefully wrote the post and pointed it back to God, ensuring every reader that she knew it was part of His plan and that her life would go on, wedding or not.
There’s no doubt she faced heartbreak and all the things that come with a bad breakup, especially one you were certain would never come.
But her following posts were all about the mission trips she would be taking and the way she was diving in to what God wanted for her – it was seriously so inspiring. She took a situation that could have easily knocked her down and let it lift her up – and that’s the point of the Gospel and of Christianity and of a relationship with Jesus.
A few weeks after she announced that she was no longer engaged, she posted that she was selling sparklers that she had bought for her wedding.
If you don’t know, a popular way to “send off” the newlyweds after their ceremony and reception is with a spirit line of sorts, and everyone lights a sparkler and waves it around so it lights up the couple’s path (and it looks awesome in pictures.)
I originally wanted to do something “different.” I know my mother is tired of me saying that about my wedding, but she bought some cute pendants that have words of encouragement for us to see as we leave to grant my wish of being “different.” (Newsflash: It’s almost impossible to be totally unique on your wedding because, well, Pinterest). But when I saw the girl’s post about sparklers, I thought I might as well buy her sparklers for a great price – and seriously, the pictures with the sparklers always look great.
I messaged her and she agreed to meet me to exchange my money for her sparklers.
She is such a kind girl and wished me all the best as she handed over a celebratory item she had purchased for the day she had always dreamed of.
But as I drove away, it hit me – She had to load up boxes of sparklers, meant to shine on her big day, to take to someone else so they could shine on their big day.
How often do we have something we know is ours, we have planned out, and we are gripping onto so tightly only for it to be taken away and given to someone else so they can shine?
As I opened of the box of second-hand sparklers, I couldn’t help but think of her heart and what it had suffered over the past few months, and yet, she willingly gave over her shine for me, knowing that our journeys were different and hers had taken an unexpected turn that would lead to something beautiful.
She didn’t throw the sparklers away to make sure no one else could use them – she passed them on.
Sometimes, when life doesn’t go our way, it’s so easy to make sure it doesn’t go that way for anyone else either. “If I can’t have it, neither can she.” But no, that’s not the way it works.
Jesus has a plan for you that is unlike any other plan ever – it’s unique and custom-made just for you and your heart. And sometimes, the end of your path is the beginning for someone else.
Sometimes you turn off the road so that someone else can turn onto it without any traffic. When you stay on a road you shouldn’t be on, that’s when you get lost.
If God is calling you to take a turn, put your blinker on and go see what He has for you on the next road – I’d be willing to bet it’s quite the destination with quite the view along the way.
My sparkler girl will have her big day, but right now, she’s having lots of other big days for the Kingdom, on the road she’s meant to be traveling.
I know that as my wedding day ends and my groom and me leave to start our next adventure, we will see all the smiling faces waving the second-hand sparklers, and I’ll be thankful that one girl turned with grace and boldness so that I could have a little bit of the sparkle she gave away.