...but I did fall off the wagon. The wagon being that ever-elusive carriage of contentment.
For many months I was handling my desires for pregnancy, for more children in general, for a houseful of little ones--adopted or born of my womb. I reconciled my deep longings with God's sovereignty, I thought. Lots of people I knew were pregnant. I was fine.
But then, one day in October (right before my last post), I got a phone call that shattered that sense of self-composure I had so carefully cultivated. I wrestled for two days with the fact that I was going to have to handle the pregnancy of someone I did not expect to be pregnant, should not have expected to be pregnant. A situation frought with disobedience and indiscretion. But here it was in front of me. And I knew in my gut that I'd have to hold the hand of someone with a womb filled with all I desired, and quite frankly believed I rightfully deserved.
Writing that last sentence makes me cringe a little. In my sense of self-righteousness, I fought with what felt unjust to me. Why? Why, Lord, would You allow her to conceive and not me? I spent a lot of time weeping on my knees. Because of my calling in life (my husband is a pastor, if you are a new reader), I knew I would have to be the support for this woman who was, in many ways, alone. A litany kept leaking out with my tears: "God, I cannot walk through this with her! I can't do it! Please don't ask this of me!" But I knew that this was exactly what God would require of me. I knew it with all of my being. And I knew that if He required it, He would give me the grace to endure it.
Which He did, of course. Because He is good.
The situation did not turn out as expected. The young woman involved ended up miscarrying, and then my ministry to her went in a different direction. I look back at my initial reaction and wish I had handled it better. Why did I let it get the best of me? Why, after all these years of infertility, did the sting feel like the very first time?
Since then, my desire for more children has only intensified. I can't explain it. I used to disdain women who had given birth to one child only to write about their desire for more. I thought, "You have one child already--be thankful! Some of us don't have any." What a hypocrite I am! I understand it so much better now. I love my son so much, so fiercely, that it just makes sense to have many more children to love and raise and spend my life on.
I was reading a blog the other day where a young mother was extolling the joys of having her children so close together (2 under 2!). She talked about her plan to have another baby next year and then possibly another because she loved having little ones in the baby stages. Astounded, I wondered what it must be like to have the freedom to think like that. I only ever thought that way before my husband and I began trying to have children way back in 2004. (Can it really be almost 6 years since that first negative pregnancy test?) After about 6 months of disappointments, I thought--how could I ever have planned something like this?
After reigning in my intensely jealous thoughts, I realized that that sweet young mother doesn't really have any more control over the size of her family than I do. "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." (Proverbs 19:21) We all make plans and act accordingly, but it is the sovereignty of the Father that holds our lives together. And while I fight against His sovereignty at times, I know that He does what is best because He is good and faithful. I wonder if I will live my life forever as a barren woman, as the mother of one child through adoption. If that is all He allots me, then it is more than I deserve.
In spite of the negative turns of this post, I do take great joy in the role God has given me. I often look at my son, Isaiah, and wonder how in the world the Lord saw fit to grace me with him. It is true that my husband and I long for more children, and we are praying and thinking about how the Lord might lead us to additional children. We are talking foreign adoption, domestic foster-to-adopt programs, and who knows what else?
Whatever the next step is to be, I am learning to take hold of that carriage of contentment who is Jesus Christ. I hope to hold tightly for a while.