I don’t know if it ever happens to you…you are reading and all of a sudden the words seem to jump off the page. It is as if they were written just for you. This happened to me recently. I was reading a devotional that has different scriptures listed one after another, each selected by the author who reportedly prayed for specific revelation for each day and then recorded the verses he was given. Here is what I jumped out at me:
“We do not know what we ought to pray for–He shall choose our inheritance for us.” (Taken from Romans 8:26 and Psalm 47:4).
This post deserves some background. You see, I love children. I love the children I teach. I love the children in my family. I love my friends’ children. And oh, do I love my own child. I can’t begin to put that into words. I always imagined that I would have a house full of kids: the pitter patter of several sets of feet. Some years into our marriage, Jaime and I felt we were ready for children. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t conceive right away. I knew that I may have some challenges getting pregnant because of my cystic fibrosis. However, I had no idea that a perforated appendix followed by an emergency appendectomy I had when I was 18 had wreaked havoc in my abdomen. What I thought might be a few minor fertility issues turned out to be a complicated nightmare.
It took us nearly six years of trying various interventions to conceive Lucas, although we weren’t always actively trying for a pregnancy during that time. There were other storms we were weathering–my CF health crises, another major emergency abdominal surgery, the death of my beloved sister–at times it seemed best to put the dream of children and the effort of trying to conceive on the back burner. I was happy without children. Jaime and I had a wonderful and full life together. However, having a child was a dream I just couldn’t give up. I didn’t need a baby to be happy, but I felt that motherhood was a part of me. I was a mother waiting for a child. We were elated when we found out that I was pregnant with Lucas. All those years of trying, trusting, hoping, praying, fearing, all came to a sudden, sweet and blessed end.
When I was reading my devotional the other day, I was dealing with some emotional pain. You see, we would really love to have another child. We always wished for multiple children, and those feelings intensified after we had Lucas. Parenting has been grueling at times, but we adore Lucas and have loved watching him grow. We wish to have that experience again. We want another child for ourselves and we want a sibling for Lucas. But it looks as though that is not God’s plan for us.
I was surprised at how devastated I was when this became clear to us. After all, I am a mother now just as I’d always hoped. But giving up the dream of another baby was awful. I felt angry, cheated, confused, and broken. Why wouldn’t God give me this good gift? Why?
Time has passed and some healing has taken place. Most days I’m content with just having my sweet boy Lucas. He is a blessing and a miracle–a precious gift. We have a wonderful and happy life, the three of us. There are things I can do with one child that I probably couldn’t do with multiple children. I don’t pretend to know the ramifications more children would have on my health, our lifestyle, or our future. Still, there are times when that pain comes back, grabs me by the throat and takes my breath away. There are times when I grieve the loss of the children that I want, that my heart longs to love, but that I will never have.
Here is the entire devotional from that day (taken from A Daily Light on the Daily Path, compiled by Samuel Bagster):
Let your requests be made known to God.
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”—A thorn was given me in the flesh. . . . Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses.
I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.—Hannah . . . was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and . . . will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” . . . and the Lord remembered her.—We do not know what we ought to pray for–He shall choose our inheritance for us.
(References: Philippians 4:6; Mark 14:36; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Psalm 142:2; 1 Samuel 1:9-11, 19; Romans 8:26; Psalm 47:4)
I could write an entire post about each of these verses. There is so much truth, so much comfort, and so much of my life in these verses. That night, it was the last two that stuck out to me. Part of living a life of faith is trusting that God’s plan is best, letting Him choose, and being willing to surrender our lives to His plan. That is so difficult when what He allows in our lives involves pain and hardship. It’s hard when His plan is a diversion from what we long for, dream of and expect. Many times I have prayed for what I thought was best only to see that God had a different, better plan for me or for those I love. It’s not always obvious though. Sometimes I can see God’s purposes and sometimes I can’t. But whether or not I can see it, whether or not I understand, God’s plan is best. His plan is best even when the path is wrought with suffering, even when I face bitter disappointment.
I don’t mean to suggest that God causes the heartache in our lives. We live in a broken world and we can’t escape the repercussions of that. God doesn’t always prevent our pain, however, and that can be very hard to swallow. I have been disappointed with God, angry at Him and confused by Him. I have questioned Him. But ultimately, it’s the experience of His love for me and the memory of His great faithfulness that brings me back to the place of trust. God lives in eternity and I am bound by time. He sees the big picture; I can only see what’s right in front of me. He is sovereign and I am finite.
I don’t know why God has not given us another child, but He owes me no explanation. I know He loves me and I know he has a purpose and a plan for me. That is enough. Children are an inheritance from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). They are an allotted portion, a gift, a blessing. I trust my Savior. He has chosen our legacy for us. He has chosen to give us the rich inheritance of one.