I married my best friend when I was 31 years old, with no plans on having children. Actually, more specifically, there was a plan -- and it was to NOT have children. It was a part of our Premarital Counseling. My husband definitely wanted a family, and much to my shock and complete dismay - I found out only then, how I felt about having kids. That was a fun session, let me tell you. Pure mortified hysteria. I was quite certain marriage was now out of the question. But my now-husband supported me in this, wanting a family with me alone, was enough. And of course, we now have two children - so what gives, yeah?
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
When God gave me a desire to Live - He also gave me a passion to learn to Love others well. He gave me an intense drive to try and understand how to help and support people in the differing ways that are needed for each unique individual and circumstance. I found purpose in moving parties, cleaning houses, babysitting, and always giving gifts (as that’s my favorite way to love on people).
The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I dreamed of a future where I owned a home that I could share with others who were broken and weary, in need of a safe place to rest. Fostering children, providing a home for young adults in need was my dream. It still is. But doing this while bearing children, raising them - wasn't realistically possible for me. I’ve had to learn my limits the hard way. I know many of them with vivid clarity. And I had no rose-tinted glasses about how difficult child-rearing can be. I simply did not have the Strength for both.
I wrestled with this decision, as I often do; constantly refining my thoughts and beliefs, developing them, and you know - that fancy word, Sanctification. This led me to recognize something so Simple; yet so Big, so Difficult.
I didn’t have the Strength to raise children AND to foster them. But God did. And there has been NOTHING that I have done, that I have been through, that has truly mattered - that God did not give me His Own Strength in order to not only survive but to thrive and come out of closer to Him than before.
And boi oh boi was I right. I could not survive parenthood without God. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say - that I would have run away by now. But isn't that one of the really Awesome parts of God? His Miraculous Nature? He makes the Weak, Strong. He brings Perseverance out of Trials. He uses murderers, prostitutes, and tax collectors for His Glory. God’s Nature cannot be confined to any human preconceptions of what is possible or not possible.
I might want to leave my family now and then. But never for long. I couldn't bear it. Because God gave me a desire to Love them. And every time my strength fails me, which is often - He is there to encourage me through it. He Loves me in that all-encompassing, unfathomable way that makes the oh-so-many Difficulties, Worth It. And I pray every day, for Him to teach me, my husband, and our children, HIS way of Love.
After we had our second daughter, I realized that rearing children is basically a Navy Seal kind of Bootcamp for how to Love others well. It is the training I needed, for the passions I have. And I am so Incredibly Grateful for the Mysterious and Wondrous ways that God works. Confusing and Frustrating often, but Miraculous and Mesmerizing Always.