I have always been the type of person who likes to have a plan, a To Do list, and a definite vision of what the future will be like. Everything has pretty much turned out like clockwork in my life -- education, marriage, children, home, job, publishing, travel -- all the things I wanted for myself. I always believed that if you did what you were supposed to do, as best you could, everything would always turn out the way it was "supposed to."
The older I get, though, the more I understand how little in life we really control. There's only so much planning and preparing you can do for the future, and then you just have to hang onto your hat and go with whatever happens. If you get too inflexible and set on what should happen, you miss what is happening. And if you spend too much time mourning the things that didn't turn out the way you wanted them to, you miss the joys that are before you.
You may think you know what is best, and you may lay the greatest plans, but in the long run only God knows what life holds in store for you and what strengths you will need to develop to face it. We are expected to learn and prepare and grow stronger. But ultimately, we have to hand it all over to God and believe he will work things out in the best way for us. That is a difficult thing to do when you are a micro-manager like I am, and it involves having to humble yourself and admit you may not know everything or be able to handle everything on your own. You can study and prepare and do all you can to lay out a plan for your life, but it all comes down to trusting God in the end.
As a gardener, I should have figured this out long before this, of course. We can research and select the best seeds, till the soil and set up trellises and push our seeds carefully into the earth...but then it is basically out of our hands. The seeds will germinate or not, run true to variety or not, and plants will get pollinated or not. The rain will come or not, the sun will shine or it will be cloudy. There is only so much we can do. Even if we have taken every precaution, it still comes down to relying on miracles.