Most people agree life has a way of throwing not one, but dozens of curveballs at us — sometimes all at once. Even though we know life is full of difficult moments, why are we so thrown off when they actually happen? Why do we get disappointed so easily? Shouldn’t we know by now that life rarely goes “as planned”?

So, how do we handle an unexpected death, loss of a job, cheating spouse, or serious illness? Where is God and how is he working these unexpected detours into the “grand plan”? I don’t like when things don’t go the way I planned. Shocking, I know. But as much as I don’t want to admit this, I also believe deep growth only happens when obstacles and challenges are put in our way.

It’s not easy to see the goodness in disappointments. But, I do believe it is possible to put the broken pieces of our dreams back together and create a new masterpiece.

I just finished reading an inspiring book called “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered” by Lysa Terkeurst. Lysa bravely writes this book in the middle of her struggles. She never admits to having all the answers and doesn’t even know how her story will end. She draws from the depth of her own disappointments to show her reader (and herself) that strength is available and where we can find it.

Right now, I’m on a detour from my original life plan. I have a daughter with severe anxiety who needs a special parenting style you can’t find in a typical parenting book. So, I’m on a journey to find unique ways to reach her, love her, and better understand her struggles. Although this path is not something I envisioned or dreamed, I’m confident I’m on the right path. I’m reminded daily that although I’m not in charge, I am gifted with the tools I need to live this life well. While I’m on a detour from my plan, I’m still exactly where God wants me to be. He knows how it all fits together in the end and that gives me the confidence to put one foot in front of the other — even if I can’t see where I’m stepping.

I’ve read or listened to many people tell their story — how they walked this crazy journey and finally arrived at the other side. They saw the beginning, middle, and end and could look back at their “trial” and finally understand why they needed to endure it.

Although their stories are encouraging and inspirational, I want to know the people who are still trudging through the muck and somehow finding joy in the middle of the mess. These are my people. I want to know I’m not alone in the mud. I want to know I can still see growth even when I’m feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

I’m glad I’m in the middle of my story and excited to share it “in real life”. I hope it will encourage others and give them the courage to reach out for help. Childhood anxiety shouldn’t be battled alone. Let’s fight this together, for the sake of our families.

I’m raising a glass to my people — the middle of the muck people. Here’s to the journey! May we encourage each other and be a light to those walking the same path.