This Is Not How I Thought My Story Would Go

Sharon JaynesExpectant Living, When You Don't Like Your Story 48 Comments

I wonder, has your life turned out like you thought it would? If you’re like most of us, your answer is probably “no.” Maybe it’s better than you imagined. Maybe it’s worse than you thought possible. Most likely it’s just different.

When I hit 40, I realized life wasn’t turning out like I thought it would. There would be no gaggle of laughing children filling my home, no crowded kitchen table at mealtimes, no juggling of kids’ busy schedules.

My first child would be my only child. And while I was so grateful to have this walking, talking, bundle of love, this wasn’t the way I had envisioned life unfolding. When the news came, I had a choice. I could get trapped in disappointment, or I could trust in God’s sovereign plan. I could get stuck crying “why me” or move forward with “what now.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the same choice. Her life had not turned out like she thought it would. Before Gabriel spoke his prophetic words announcing the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she was well on her way to marrying the man of her dreams. I imagine she thought about setting up house, being a carpenter’s wife, and raising a quiver full of Joseph’s children. But Gabriel’s news changed everything.

With the words, “You will be with child by the Holy Spirit,” her life was turned upside down.

Mary knew there was a good chance she would be disgraced by her community, disowned by her parents, and disavowed by Joseph. We know from the other gospels that Joseph seriously considered divorcing her because he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him. (In those days, a couple was considered married during the engagement stage. The wedding made it official.)

And how did Mary react to this turn of events? She remembered God’s character and His ways. She remembered God as Israel’s helper…as her helper. She remembered God as faithful to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now, to herself. As Joshua reminds us, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled, (Joshua 21:45 NIV).

Why did Mary mention Abraham and his offspring in her prophetic prayer of praise? (Luke 1:46-56) Mary understood that her life was part of God’s unfolding story. Gabriel’s prophetic proclamation was not random, but part of the ongoing drama of God’s activity in the unfolding of His eternal plan past, present, and future.

And we can be sure of this: No matter what twists and turns our lives may take, our lives are part of God’s unfolding story as well. And for that, we can praise Him.

Mary’s prayer alludes to Old Testament Scripture, including Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 with references to Psalm 103, 22, 44, 89, 98, 147, and 25. What a beautiful example of how Scripture embedded deep within our hearts will help us keep a Biblical perspective in the twists and turns of life:

  • Her knowledge of Scripture helped her accept Gabriel’s message.
  • Her understanding of Scripture gave her assurance of God’s promises.
  • Her saturation in Scripture enabled her to have the faith to rejoice at God’s call on her life.

Like Mary, knowing and believing God’s Word and His promises gives us the faith to praise Him when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would.

Like Mary, we can embrace the story we have been given, and trust God to keep writing our story into His.

Father God, I am amazed once again just how much Mary trusted Your plan for her life. “Let it be done to me as you have said,” are the words I want to say each and every time my life takes an unexpected turn. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is one situation which hasn’t turned out like you thought it would that you are willing to praise God for His sovereign and perfect plan? Leave a comment and let’s share to encourage one another.

We all have pages in our stories that we wish we could rip out and throw in the trash. Chapters of heartache from what has been done to us and what has been done through us. What if God doesn’t want to remove those stories, but repurpose them for good? If you’re ready to turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories, know this, God is ready too.

What has been done to you and what has been done through you does not disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without it. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths of When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. The next chapter is just beginning.

Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups. Downloadable Video Lessons are also available at

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Comments 48

  1. In May of 2011, I became a widow before the age of 40. I thought my world was coming to an end. But God had other things in mind. I’ve since remarried and gained a bonus daughter. Life is good. Thank You Lord!

  2. I wish almost everyday this was not my store, but GOD.
    Almost 20 years ago my daughter announced she like women. It was the worst thing that could happen to our family. A few years later she married a woman. Just writing this hurts. How could God let this happen to us. I had dreams of her being married and having children. I felt shame, anger, hurt and what had I done to cause this. The one thing I have learn is how to love when you want to hate. I am learning how to love with the love of God, even though I disagree with the life she has chosen, love is the way God wants me to go. This is a very hard journey, but I have chosen to follow God path and trust that even this is not to difficult for HIM.

  3. I thought my son would always show his love for me. That my daughter would in adulthood lose the problems she has dealt with regarding living with ADD.
    I thought my life would be “happy.”

  4. dear sharon, I just finished reading your book. It took me almost a year because I started reading and didn’t think I could read anymore. I picked it back up and the part I stopped reading was the part That blessed 😇 me the most. Thank you and also I read Take Hold of the Faith You Long For. Both excellent books🙏

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      1. yes they are but they helped me so much. The Lord has been reaching out to me after I had just given up hope and doubted he was even there. He got my attention by sending a bright penny under my chair after I kept finding pennies everywhere. I know there was no penny under my chair . I knew then it was Jesus and. I got on my knees and prayed. and cried for forgiveness. Then my dog named penny busted a box open where I had put away 52 weeks with jesus and Jesus. calling and my bible . I knew he was telling. me to pick back up those books praise the lord! I read every book I can get now and read the Bible everyday! Can’t wait to get another book from you.! I love your writing and your stories! God Bless You😇

  5. Thank you dear Sharon. This is just what I needed and what I have been walking through the past two years. I can stay bitter and angry or embrace whatever God has next, leaving all retribution to Him. Thank you for this timely post encouraging me to take His way out of this rather than my own. You are so gifted with words and my heart needed these this morning. God bless you and Merry Christmas to all❤️

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      1. I imagined my life at 47 with two married, successful (career and world wise of course) adult children. Everyone gathering at my parents’ house for holidays and loving the beginning of our golden years….. Instead I have 2 adult children who have not finished college and have jobs they both love but not “successful” careers. One is getting married next year and moving away, and one is living out of wedlock with his “baby mama”. The parents’ I dreamed of gathering with have both died in the last 2 years and my whole world has been turned upside down.
        I know that this is ALL part of God’s story and I’m reminded often that His plans are not my plans, BUT honestly I’m not at the praise Him
        For the sharp curves in the road quite yet. I’m praying, reading, and spending quality time with Him to help learn to navigate the sharp curves with more ease and praise, but it is a slow process. However, I do praise Him for Christmas, His GRACE, and mercy!
        Merry Christmas Sharon thank you for always blessing my soul with your words!

  6. Lowliness is the wrost thing in the world. I lost everything. My family is lost and I have prayed for a long time on it and I don’t see a change. What am I doing wrong.

    1. Ana, you did nothing wrong. We have no control over the choices others make in life. Trust God, keep praying and most importantly stay hopeful. Our God is a God of hope! I am praying for you.

    2. You are doing nothing wrong. These are their choices. Reach out to someone today even if it is just smiling and saying hi to the person behind you at the grocery store. Ask a friend to lunch.
      You family are those you surround yourself with. You relation are those connected by blood. Go to your pastor and ask to be connected to someone who understands. Keep praying for a new family. I had to do the same thing. God wants to heal your hurts.

  7. This was so timely. I have been on my feelings about my marriage and other relationships. I spent too much time trying to get people to like and accept me for who I am. But God is faithful and always shows me who truly is in my inner circle if love. I am so blessed that I can go to His Word to bring me out of my emotions and to the truth.

  8. My story is not what I want I have to deal with the law my whole life I prided myself on being an upstanding citizen but childhood wound may cause me to be punished. And I’m facing consequences of possible loss of freedom or my housing. I’m trying to accept this is how things are turning out but I’m not very happy

  9. I have wondered why I have never gotten married, I have dated many men, been used by men. I understand now that the only Man I need in life is Jesus Christ. He loves me fully and completely. If he decides to give me a loving Christian man it will be a blessing. But I am living my life for Christ, and that fulfills me ❤️

  10. My marriage is having some difficulties lately, I never imagined I would suffer so much. We are still together but this is not what I imagined my marriage would be. I pray everyday for the restoration of my marriage, so love can flow easily between us, and the distance that we both created can disappear and we can be a loving couple again.

    1. I understand what you are going through.. I thought my husband and I would have a great relationship in our latter years. It is not what I thought it would be, but God has been faithful and if not for God I know I would be a very miserable person. I put my trust in God and his love for me. I can’t change a person but I let God change me. His plan has not change and he has great things planned for my life. It is not over until we close our eyes and enter into heaven. Hold on and don’t give up.

    2. Hi, Karol. I feel like I’m in the exact same place in my marriage that you are in yours. It can be a very lonely place. The very best thing through all of it, though, is the deeper relationship I’ve grown with Jesus through this struggle. I am not sure what the future holds and I literally feel stuck in a situation that I want to be a part of fixing but the other person does not want to put the effort into fixing, and/or doesn’t see the issues. I feel very helpless, but in the midts of all of this, Jesus has become my “enough’ and I hope He can be that for you too. I’m praying for you!

  11. I’m facing a serious health issue just as my husband is set to retire in 16 days. I very much needed this devotion this morning. “I can ask Why me? or What now?”…..Please pray for me as I try to walk this journey with strength and dignity and respond to Go’s plan for my life as Mary did.

      1. I understand what you are going through.. I thought my husband and I would have a great relationship in our latter years. It is not what I thought it would be, but God has been faithful and if not for God I know I would be a very miserable person. I put my trust in God and his love for me. I can’t change a person but I let God change me. His plan has not change and he has great things planned for my life. It is not over until we close our eyes and enter into heaven. Hold on and don’t give up.

  12. This Oct. my only son died of covid . He has served Christ since he was saved at 9 . He even started an after school Bible study in High school . He and another close friend witnessed and lived their faith. In adulthood he has led thousands to the Lord through utube and other forms of communication. He traveled to 15 countries taking Bibles and money to underground Communist countries. He was 52 and writing books, speaking , and living as close to God as he could . Then after speaking at a convention he came home with a cough….and after two months on a vent his heart said ENOUGH. We were all stunned by his death. Why??? But after much sorrow and praying God has given me peace that I should celebrate as he is now where he has witnessed and he is with our precious Savior . I think of Mary who was so blessed but still had a lot of heartache and her faith has helped me too. It has really made me think of all she suffered as a mother. May God give us all the love, forgiveness, strength , and faith to live our lives in His grace.

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      Carolyn, I cannot even imagine the sorrow you must feel. I know Christmas is going to be especially difficult. I will be praying for you sweet sister. Consider yourself hugged today.

  13. I guess I needed to hear this today. No my life is nothing like I thought it would be. I’ve always been an outgoing people person and yet here I am all alone staring at four walls. Family lost to greed over estates, no children, no companion, and health questionable. I just have a hard time understanding why God’s plan leaves me so devastatingly alone?

  14. I never imagined I’d be the sole caregiver for my mom diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Six years later and the toll on my life has been unspeakable and I trust God is still in control. Trusting his hand and his timing.

  15. I pray His will over my will and stubbornly hard heart. At almost 50 years old I act like a child when things don’t go my way. I resent my husband for his will to better my family’s life and do not see the blessings He sets before me. I get so tripped up and stuck on the word submit that I almost didn’t write this because I HAVE to select SUBMIT to get this to you! I pray for the spirits of anger, control, shame & guilt to be bound and cast out of me. Good Lord, you know my deepest desire is to honor you in whatever you have for me. Please, help me to be clear for You. In your Holy Name, Amen

  16. My husband’s job was reduced to half-time last year. It was a very rough season because on top of this, I was undergoing treatment for a breast cancer recurrence. I have to admit, I thought it was unfair to have yet another layer of stress added on my family. That year, someone we didn’t even know ended up spending hundreds of dollars on my family in Christmas presents and all the holiday trimmings. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that level of generosity before, let alone from a stranger. I thought I was a pretty generous person, but that experience taught me to give more freely just as that person had done for my family. Through our financial hardship, my family also learned to cut out unnecessary expenses. Even though this season was rough, I’m grateful for the lessons in generosity and financial stewardship that I learned. God took care of all our needs during that time and eventually restored my husband’s employment to full time. Thankfully, I’m cancer free once again too.

  17. I’ve been grieving the loss of my husband and my life as I knew it. It’s been 3 years, and I’m still trying to come to terms with my life as it is now. I needed to read this today. I need to praise God for my blessings both tangible and intangible! I need to say, “Okay God, I accept where I am. Where will you guide me now?”
    Thank you for these words.

  18. After helping to raise my oldest granddaughter it seems like she forgot who was always there for her she has nothing to do with me she won’t even text to check on me my other grandkids has nothing to do with me I have always wondered what I done so wrong I’ve put it all in God’s hands it seems my prayers is bouncing off the ceiling but I keep holding on hoping for a break through

  19. I wish I knew how to put into words what has happened during my lifetime starting at age 16…I am now 61 years old…& the struggle is still ongoing… I “think” my story would be good fodder for a psychiatrist journal.

    I learned early on in life to “slap a smile” on my face…& create the illusion that everything was just fine & dandy. My story puts the “D” in dysfunctional yet I was trained to be functional…& very seldom allowed to express any kind of hurt… physical or emotional. Conditional love shaped my upbringing as well as many other chapters of my life….what I’ve learned up to this point is “what you bury alive” is going to come up sooner or later, & denying hurts, pains etc and having to always be the actress is extremely exhausting & detrimental to the wholeness God wants for us.

    I have always wanted to use my life experiences as a testimony to help others; however, since it is ongoing I have no clue how God could use this mess. My life resembles the backside of a cross stitch piece of art work… I just wonder if God will ever show me how to turn it over to reveal what was really going on.

    I have always felt a measure of fear in revealing these hidden things, & fear the potential fall out from making these things public… but it sure would be cathartic to know my life has not been wasted.

    I do stand in awe of God’s love for me knowing HE sees what a mess my life has been. I MUST read your book… it may give me the needed courage & strength to move forward..

  20. I thought by now (35years) I would have owned my own home either married or single but I don’t.What’s more painful is, my mom doesn’t have her own home either, still living in a rented House.Am trusting God that He will make a way for us.

  21. My husband asked me for a divorce after 32 years. I did not want it. He was an alcoholic who called me “old woman”. Now married to a man I met online whose wife left him after 37 years and he hasn’t drank for almost 40 years. He calls me “baby girl”. I could never have imagined my life this good. Favorite bible verse is Ephesians 3:20.

  22. This is not how I thought my story would go. I’ve always found inspiration in your writings. I’ve not read your book but I hope to one day.
    Tomorrow I will be attending my divorce hearing. It’s sad. I’m 34, married 4 years with 3 kids. 12 years old not of the marriage. Her father abandoned us. Got married and thought I could give her a father plus 2 brothers. But my husband was no different. He abandoned her just like he did me. But God. I believe in God and I know that he will see us through. The place we call home, we’re being evicted from. But I’m trusting God for my breakthrough for my deliverance for my new story of victory.

  23. My life definitely hasn’t turned out the way I planned , After 14 years of marriage and dating 4 years prior I was divorced…… It’s been 8 years now , it’s been hard with children and balancing work and family , although I’m not married now, I believe and have hope ( and remind myself daily) when the time is right it will fall into place ….

  24. As I read some of the above stories of how life has not turned out as they wanted, I sense that many women have been lured by the lies of Satan that they deserved the type of person they married or their life that turned shallow and hard. I too have found my life turning out to be what I never thought. My husband probably suffers from Asberger’s syndrome or is a narcissistic person. Either way, it has driven me to leave and move near my son about 4 hours away. The enemy wants our lives to be empty and hopeless in order to keep us from a victorious life in Christ. I know this is not God’s view of marriage to be controlled and verbally abused and demeaned. His truth will be revealed. I need to keep moving forward to the transition of a life full of joy and peace. There will be problems with my husband, but I am seeking God’s will and finding hope that He will sustain and keep me focusing on Jesus.

  25. My life changed when I lost my father, my sister and my husband in 14 months. I was lost, thinking how am I going to get through this, how was I going to get through comforting my niece’s and nephew’s, being there for my sister’s and brother while trying to get through my own grief of not only losing my sister and father but my husband. How would I help my adult children? Getting over loosing my job after almost 25 years was easy but grief is not. Only GOD has brought me this far today after almost ten years, GOD has help me. Praying and trusting GOD. Did this happen overnight, No.. Grieving is a life time but faith and depending and trusting GOD has made it easier. Everyday I have to try my best to love more and to choose to enjoy life because I know that’s what my dear love ones would want. Is it easy? No. but with GOD all things are possible. Mathew 19:26
    Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  26. Thank you Sharon for reminding me that God’s plans are so much better than our plans. I went through a devastating divorce and struggled with alcoholism for years and years. BUT GOD had plans for my life and when I surrendered my life and my problems to him and let go of the stearing wheel, he blessed me beyond my dreams! At 58, I’m happily sober, single and closer to God! TRUST is the answer.

  27. This summer my 18 year old son came out as transgender. He’s eager to start medically transitioning. He walked away from Christ a few years ago. My husband, friends and I are praying fervently for the Lord to capture his heart again. I’m desperate for him to see that his identity is in Christ. I’m fearful for his future… For our family’s future… For this Christmas break when he comes home from school to live with us and his siblings who have not seen him living out his new identity. We need wisdom to parent our young adult son. How do we live and set healthy boundaries? Lord, help!

  28. Praying for each of you. Your personal stories blessed my life in many ways. God is the only one who knows the end of the story and He will fulfill all our needs for his Glory.

  29. 3 years ago I left a good-paying job and thought I could work in the family business with my husband. The retirement money I was given was scooped up by my husband and spent. He didn’t tithe or it or anything, just spent it. We are now hanging by a thread and I now have to re-enter the workforce. Unfortunately, this has not been as easy as I thought it would be. I have not been able to find anything yet in the job market. However, bills still need to be paid. I thought it was God’s plan that I retire when I did. Now I have my doubts. Was it my plan or God’s? This is the first time I have ever put my thoughts about this on paper. I feel disappointed and let down. I’ve been seeking and asking God what did I miss.

  30. My life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would, but I still have hope in the Lord. His has a plan for me to give me future and hope.

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