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Contest Winner: When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

When life doesn’t go according to my plan, maybe it’s going according to God’s plan.

"As you walk along your own bright path of discipleship, I pray that faith will fortify every footstep along your way." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

From a very young age, I had a general plan: make it through school, attend BYU, marry an attractive returned missionary, have a fantastic career, raise a family, and live happily ever after.

Up until the beginning of this year, life had gone according to my plan. I was happily married and about to graduate from BYU with high hopes of turning my passion into a dream career. When I did face setbacks in the details of my life—unwanted grades, job rejection—a saying that I heard growing up rang in my ears: “Everything happens for a reason.” And I moved on with my life. I trusted that God had a plan for me, and I was pleased that mine seemed aligned with his.

Then my husband and I found out that we were expecting a baby.

As a person who does not cope well with change—especially unexpected, life-altering change— I had a hard time accepting this twist in my plan. Of course we wanted children, but we wanted them on our timetable. Selfishly, I yearned to have things back to how they were.

I was depressed for a while and felt guilty for feeling the way I did. I could not figure out why God would let this happen. I was not ready; it was not time yet. I searched the scriptures and conference talks, trying to find comfort to get through this change. Nothing seemed to help.

Then, during the general women’s session of the fall 2015 general conference, I heard what I needed to hear. My baby was about a month old and I was still having a hard time accepting the change and feeling happy. I was still wishing I could go back to what I thought were happier times.

One talk in particular that helped me was “A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose,” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. President Uchtdorf told a story about a young girl named Eva who, despite her reluctance, was sent to spend a summer with Great-Aunt Rose. Throughout the summer, Eva noticed how happy Aunt Rose was.

At the end of the summer, Eva asked Aunt Rose why she was so happy. Aunt Rose showed her a painting of a pioneer girl skipping along a bright, happy trail. She explained that even though being a pioneer could not have been easy, that girl was choosing happiness and was moving forward with life.

Aunt Rose confided that she had not always been so happy. Life had not gone as planned, and she was miserable and angry. When Eva asked how she became happy, Aunt Rose said, “I discovered faith. And faith led to hope. And faith and hope gave me confidence that one day everything would make sense.”

Parables like this allow us to draw parallels to our own lives. The message I found was that I needed to have faith that God had a plan for me, and that his plan would lead to true, lasting happiness. For the past few months, I had been, as President Uchtdorf put it, “swallowed up in past or present things that [didn’t] go quite the way [I] planned.”

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I faltered in that belief for a while, but this talk reinforced my faith that he loves me and wants me to be happy. His plan for me is much better than anything I could ever plan for myself. With faith, hope, and trust, I can “live joyfully now,” skipping down the brightly paved road Heavenly Father has built for me.

Watch or read President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk on finding happiness. 


—Aimee Robbins, Ogden, Utah

This article was selected as one of four winners in the Fall 2015 Submission Contest for Mormon Insights. The work is original and is a true story from the life of the author. We are grateful for their contribution and encourage interested authors to look for another Submission Contest in early 2016.

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  1. I read this talk by President Uchtdorf just the other day, and I had a similar experience. My life is pretty dramatically different than Aimee’s, but the principle is the same. We don’t always get to choose what directions our life is going to go, but we can choose how we react. If we have that foundation of trust in the lord, it’s easier to accept the plan He has for us. I loved hearing your experience, Aimee, thanks for sharing! This is a beautiful article.

  2. This is such a beautiful talk, and definitely a topic that we all need to remember. I have a hard time letting go of my own timetable, but I know that when we put our trust in the Lord he gives us the strength to get through our trials even if he doesn’t explain them to us. Everything is for our benefit in the end.

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