As many of you know, thanks to the magic of Facebook, we recently broke the news that we are expecting baby #3!
Even typing that sentence makes my heart beat a little faster while tiny beads of sweat form along my hairline. We’ve known for weeks, yet the reality still hasn’t fully sunk in.
Telling other people, however, has a way of bringing it home. Our family is growing and we are going to be outnumbered by our children. Lord, praise You—and please, help us!
Many of you also know that we struggled with unexplained infertility for two and a half long years before God miraculously called our son’s life into being. I’ve written a little about our journey, and if you or someone you know is in the same boat, you can click here to read that post. It would give me great joy to encourage and inspire others in a similar situation, which is why I’m willing to share so freely about such a personal, painful issue.
In the darkness of those days, it was nearly impossible to imagine being on this side of the equation. Looking back now, it takes my breath away, seeing all that God has done and provided. I love the advantage afforded by time and perspective. When Aaron and I packed up our little Honda Civic and two dogs and headed out across the country, we had no earthly idea all that God had waiting for us just on the other side of that journey.
On the morning we left, our families gathered around us, praying for and “commissioning” us as we prepared to head west. I’ll never forget my mom’s tearful, heartfelt prayer, asking God for babies. Well, God heard, and He listened—and answered in ways we never could have imagined!
The thought still floors me, and I can’t help but think Lord, what if I had insisted on my own way? What if I had refused to rest in You and trust Your timing? The thought makes me shudder, and I’m thankful that—in this instance, anyway—I did not seek my own plans and will. God will always do things far better than we ever could, even when His plans surprise us or don’t meet our narrow expectations. He is worthy of our trust and hope!
Learning to surrender my body and all hopes of motherhood was an excruciating process. Yet what I learned about God and myself through that process was invaluable. Now, I wouldn’t trade our struggle and those years of waiting for the world, as the Lord used it all to forge in me a deeper faith … a depth and a faith I so very much need now that I find myself on the exhilarating, overwhelming front lines of motherhood!
But in looking back, I see that my surrender was only partial, or one-sided. When I finally opened my hands and fell to me knees, I was prepared to live a life without children, without ever experiencing pregnancy, birth, motherhood, etc. The Lord led me to a place where I could truly say Your will be done—meaning, if that will did not include the children I had so long envisioned and desired.
I did not, however, surrender to the possibility of the other side of that issue—e.g., the place in which I now find myself: about to have three children ages three and under! And what I’m learning is that it takes faith to walk the road of life, on whichever side of surrender you find yourself.
It wasn’t easy experiencing disappointment month after month and bad news from every doctor we visited.
It wasn’t easy having my first baby 2,500 miles away from home, family, friends, and support.
It wasn’t easy welcoming a second baby just 12 months later!
And I know it won’t be easy to add this third miracle to the mix.
The point I’m making is, God wants to bless us, and we of course want to be blessed … but those blessings do not equal an easy, carefree path in this life. I am so incredibly, joyfully, over the top thankful for the gift of motherhood—it is a miracle! But I am not somehow more complete or more whole now than I was a few years ago. It took faith to wait on God’s blessing, and it’s taking faith to steward and enjoy His unexpected blessing now.
Whatever road you find yourself walking these days, the truth is that you and I must learn to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 2:7 NKJV). It’s so much easier to identify our deep need for God when we’re walking a hard road, be it infertility, divorce, financial troubles, etc. etc.
But when we reach the other side of those hardships? Yup, we will still need God just as much as we did before. And, considering that God’s ways most often end up looking vastly different than what we had in mind, we have all the more reason and need to lean into His vision for our lives.
God is always working, in a million and one ways—some expected, many unexpected. And we can rest in the knowledge that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
One of my favorite, silly reality t.v. shows often tells its contestants to “expect the unexpected.” The same can be said for the life of faith. I never expected to be living in California and pregnant with my third child. I’m willing to bet there’s at least one circumstance in your life you never expected.
Whatever the case, we can expect that God will always be working tirelessly and often behind-the-scenes on our behalf. The picture will most likely look different than we imagined … but if we will only surrender our expectations before Him, we place ourselves in a position to experience the immeasurably more of God (see Ephesians 3:20).
And when we arrive in that place? Expect to be dazzled by the tireless, perfect love the Father has lavished on us!
*Note: the picture this week comes from my own archives–those are the precious feet of my son, when he was 8 days old!