I’m not pregnant. Just thought I’d get that out of the way before the questions start when people read this post. It’s about to get real up in this blog.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be “open to God’s will,” especially where having children is concerned. You see, while I homeschool, my sons do have outside activities. They’ve done tennis, and art class, and right now they take dance class (hip hop in particular; it’s hilarious and adorable at the same time, but I digress). Going out and about means being involved with people. With lots of people. With lots of different people who have different beliefs and lifestyles. This is really more to do with my relationship with the other moms sitting in the hallway with me than the kids in the classes with my sons. Kids are basically kids. It’s the moms that ask questions, like the ones about how many kids we each have. It’s the moms that, after I tell them I have five, give me the gobsmacked expressions and the raised eyebrows and finally managed to get out the questions like, “But you’re done now, right?” I generally respond with something akin to, “I certainly hope not.” If I’m feeling particularly feisty on any given day, I add, “That’s not up to me. It’s up to God. He sends them when He wants to and we receive them happily.” After this, it’s the moms that generally look at me briefly like I’m a crazy person and then start to tune me out. I’m used to it. I shrug it off and figure it comes from their not understanding my life any better than I understand theirs.
Lately though, after losing Gianna in November and the fact that I haven’t gotten pregnant again yet, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it really means to be open to having children on God’s schedule and not mine. Even being unemployed and living in an apartment that’s getting more cramped by the day, we want more children. We feel called to have more children. We pray for more children every day. And then, we wait. You know what? Waiting sucks.
I’m realizing more with each passing day that I’m not pregnant, that when I’ve always said I wanted to leave all of the control in my “family planning” up to God, what I really meant was that, since I want a large family and will never use any means of preventing children, God will surely send me a large family. Even before losing Gianna, I was feeling almost gypped out of “baby time” because she and the Baby Girl would be 20 months apart. Now that Gianna has gone home, and I’m still waiting for the next baby, I’m feeling sad and almost angry that he or she will be at least two and a half years younger than the Baby Girl. Suddenly, 20 months doesn’t seem that bad.
These recent experiences have forced me to take a good long look at what it means to really, seriously be open to having the children God sends me, even if that means accepting that He isn’t sending them right now. Being truly open to God’s plan means being open to it even if, for whatever reason, His plan involves me not having another baby at the moment, or ever. Do I believe God still has more children to send the Husband and I? Absolutely. Do I also believe that right now God is teaching me a long, hard lesson on patience and acceptance, and truly being open to His plan? Yes. Sometimes, we have to learn that following God’s plan for our lives is not merely a matter of being open to all the good parts, and the babies and the houses and the new jobs. Sometimes, we have to back up our words with our actions. It’s not enough to just glibly say that God plans our family. Sometimes, we have to actually let God do the planning, and simply wait with patience until His plan is fulfilled.
And yes, we’re still praying everyday that He sends us more babies (who wouldn’t? Babies are awesome). But we’re also praying everyday that He sends us the grace to wait patiently, living the life we have now with the beautiful children we already have here with us. I think that’s a fair bargain.