The Life You Want, But Can’t Have (oh, but maybe you can …)



“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” Joseph Campbell

I doubt I’d remember my dog being hit by a car since I was only three except I heard the story dozens of times. I think Mom repeated it to prove her point about being cautious with hope. The afternoon my uncle brought the puppy home, I played with her on the front lawn until she darted into the road. I have no recollection of the scene, just that Mom said I cried for days and she told Uncle Jimmy, “I told you not to get her a dog.”

Mom didn’t mean to relay messages like, “You can’t have what you want.”

Dad didn’t either when he frequently said, “Don’t get your hopes up.”

They meant their warnings to shield me from disappointment, just like when I’ve said similar things to my children. Instead of feeling protected, I thought they were saying I shouldn’t hope for anything and, even worse, I wasn’t worthy of what I hoped for. 

Mom told me about problems she had getting pregnant when I let her know John and I were trying for our first child. She was afraid I’d have trouble conceiving also.

Dad cried when I told him we were selling our home of 18 years to buy my dream house, a fixer upper on a corner lot with hanging live oaks and more work than he thought we could handle. He asked, “Why can’t you be satisfied with this house?”

They both expressed disappointment the day I quit my job to venture into business for myself. Mom said, “I don’t understand why you’d leave teaching. It’s a good profession.”


Thankfully, the life I somberly planned (in light of giving up hope) wasn’t the one waiting for me.

The life waiting for me included a son and a daughter who are starting their own families.

The life waiting for me included years of renovations on our nearly century-old fixer upper that led to opening a home improvement business and landing an article about the house in This Old House magazine.

The life waiting for me included a few false starts like owning a cleaning service and working as a professional organizer, but it also included my calling to write.

Oh my goodness, how difficult it’s been for someone like me (fearful, doubtful, and cautioned against hope) to accept God’s goodness, believe I’m worthy, and hope for more.

A couple of weeks ago, I set up an appointment with a real estate agent to look at a house. I let her know upfront we weren’t in the market for buying and even if we were, we’d have to sell our house first. We were looking “just for fun.” I didn’t want to get her hopes up. I wasn’t very convincing when I stepped into the living area and said, “I want this house.”


I’m (still) a little afraid I’m not supposed to get what I hope for, but we put a For Sale sign in front of our house anyway.

What are you afraid to hope for? Can you believe along with me that it’s okay to have the life that is waiting for you?

#GettingYourOwnLife #GettingtheLifeThatisWaitingforYou

In This Together,

Thanks for the photos, What a beneficial service you’re offering to artists everywhere.


8 responses »

    • Thank you, Joel. it’s wonderful to have supportive friends like you. Ooooh, I wish the new house had a pool … oops, got sidetracked by “plunges.” 🙂

      We’re happy to have the house For Sale. It feels right.

  1. I just love this blog Kim. I immediately saw the similarities once again! My parents had trouble conceiving and my mom also had miscarriages. They wanted boys and mom produced two girls. I thought I would never have kids. I had FIVE, three girls, and two awesome boys! I left stable jobs to venture out and do my own thing. I love being as I am. Not too many, including mom, really understands this for me. I know YOU understand! LOL. I have no doubt that I could have created the most wonderful stable life with a great stable job. It was good while it lasted but if I had stayed there, I would have never experienced the rush of public speaking, the starting of two churches, the beginning of a counseling-coaching practice, and a recent jaunt to Texas that landed me in a place of blessing I had NO idea was coming! I hope for you the BEST possible deal on the house(s) that could ever happen and completely believe it WILL happen for you , or maybe even better….

    • Jenine, I can’t believe us! LoL. I think we need to compare birth certificates and see if we’re really twins or something. We have so much in common. I know you understand too, which makes me more comfortable and willing to write this stuff down and press “publish now.”

      I could have lived a more stable life also, but I think about all the things I would have missed. I just don’t think you and I were cut out for that. And even though we say we could have done it, I’m not so sure. I think I would have climbed a wall or two if I’d been stuck somewhere for very long. LoL. You inspire me with all you’ve done.

      Thanks for your prayers and for believing for me that the house will sell. ❤ I appreciate our friendship more than you'll ever know.

  2. Kim, once again I can certainly relate to what you’ve written. I think much of it has to do with how our parents grew up and were parented. That generation didn’t question much, and they learned to accept what was. Our generation has spent more time looking inward and trying to fix the things that haven’t served us well. Hopefully we can pass on our insights to the next generation so they don’t have to deal with the same patterns, and therefore their children will be better, and so on. My mother thought I had lost my mind when I decided to leave a good job and strike out on my own. To her dying day, she asked me when I was going to get a “real job.” I am so happy you are getting the life you want, and are writing about it so eloquently and honestly. I continue to work on getting the life I want. Moving into a newly built home in Myrtle Beach, and starting to write again, are important pieces of getting that life.

    • I’m thrilled for both of us, Mary. It’s encouraging to watch you continue to strive for the life you want (especially in the midst of some really hard times) because, you know, we’re not spring chickens. By now, some people are retired and resting, while we’re just now digging deeper into our lives and writing about it. I’m happy to have company. I hate digging alone. 🙂

      Make sure I know when you post a new blog post. I don’t want to miss it.

  3. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Karen Hucks Weisen, Diana Hurwitz and 16 others

    1 share

    Summer Turner Once again you’ve made me laugh out loud and at the same time think deeply about my own hopes after growing up with cautious parents.
    I’d internalized them as my Inner Critic. But now I understand that they were trying to protect me. They were children during the Depression and had internalized their own parents’ messages.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · April 29 at 4:18pm

    Kim Henson Summer Turner, I’m still taken aback by how uncomfortable I feel when I get excited about something and hope for it. It’s crazy! Time to let that go, which is why it’s important for me to write about this stuff. This is one way I release it and heal. I wish I could have written about a lot of my feelings sooner, but I couldn’t. Thanks for helping make it happen now. heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 2 · April 29 at 5:27pm

    Summer Turner There’s a French saying that translates to “To understand all is to forgive all.” (It sounds better in French.)
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 29 at 5:28pm

    Kim Henson Summer Turner, i love it in English.
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 29 at 5:30pm

    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 30 at 2:55am

    Kim Henson It sure can, Marenda S. Jordan.
    Like · Reply · April 30 at 3:07am

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