I’ve never been a planner.


As a child I spent a lot of time constructing cloud pictures, taking long walks in the woods and playing with ant lions in the dirt. Each day rolled from sunrise to sunset in haphazard bliss.  As a teen, idealism and searching for answers to life’s big questions were intensified by the 70’s culture. I was determined not to follow the status quo. Problem was, I didn’t have an alternate plan. I enrolled in college but at the last moment changed to another school in another town, which changed the direction of my life forever.


How can I describe the state of my being at that time? To sum it up in two words: total confusion. I had zero confidence in myself, zero direction, zero comprehension of “the real world”, zero experience. I dropped out of school because I had no idea what I wanted to do—I just knew I wanted something different.  I felt empty inside and didn’t know how to fill the emptiness. I met someone who filled the emptiness with everything alluring…someone different. This was the first twenty years.


The next twenty years were spent getting educated in the school of Life—all courses were mandatory, no electives in this school. Again, there was no planning ahead.  During times of pain and struggle, it’s enough just to get through the day. The silver lining is that this “dark night of the soul” led me to turn towards the Light. 

The Light came into my life and began to illuminate everything that had to go. This is where the emptiness was truly filled—not with the alluring, but with Truth. Four “unplanned” lives gave me purpose and courage. We hadn’t planned them, but God did. Towards the end of this time period I began to plan—to leave.


God is gracious, full of mercy and compassion—I’ve seen it over and over; but he’s fair and not a pushover. The next twenty years were full of regret and sorrow, but also healing and hope. The reaping of what I had sown wasn’t over. There were devastating effects of the choices I’d made in ignorance, in darkness, in confusion…choices that affected my four innocent and beautiful children, and extended family. It’s been a time of transformation, restoration, and consolation—a time of overwhelming thankfulness and joy because of God’s goodness. I’ve experienced more forgiveness and grace, especially from my children, than I deserve…but that’s what grace is, isn’t it.


Light came in and delivered me from the darkness. That simple statement doesn’t convey the complex process that began and never ends while on this earth, just as this simple story doesn’t convey the complex details and timeline of our lives. I’ve come to know the reality of GOD WITH US. There’s much I don’t understand, but I believe God was working out his plans all along. I feel like a tool forged in the fire for a purpose, and I’m planning for the next twenty years.


Be encouraged! When you step into the Light of Christ, he begins to dispel the darkness and makes a way where there seems no way.

The Next 20 Years
by Dina Cavazos

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