Something I believe the Lord has been teaching me over the past couple of years, and especially during quarantine, is how to trust Him and His plans for me, and not focus on where I believe I should be. This is something I have been struggling with for years now where I always seem to be striving for what I don’t have, rather than being thankful for what I do. In the more recent years, this was the strong desire to have a child.
Michael and I got married a little over 7 years ago- I was 20 and he was 22. Many assumed we either were pregnant and that’s why we were getting married, or that we would end up pregnant shortly after. For the first several years of marriage I was still in college and at the time, having a child was something that would have been more of a devastation than excitement; but, some time after I graduated it was something that was on both of our minds. As the years went by, something shifted: many of our friends from high school began having children…on purpose. They were starting their families, and of course posting all about it on social media. It was especially difficult when people much younger than I was started hitting those milestones before me. I know SO many people who can relate to the societal pressures of obtaining “success” in a timely manor whether it be going to college, buying a car, buying a house, getting married, finding that perfect career, retiring, etc.
We can put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve certain goals based on when society tells us we need to; but that’s not what He tells us. He tells us to be patient. He says in his word He has a plan for us. And ultimately, He wants us to be focused on Him. I think all believers would agree they would rather patiently wait for His perfect will, rather than control our circumstances and take things into our own hands.
If Michael and I had pursued fertility treatments and conceived sooner (something we did not feel like the Lord was leading us to do) I’m not so sure the decision to move to Nigeria would have been so easy for me. I’m not so sure our relationship would be where it needs to be for us to be a cohesive family unit. I’m not so sure things would have worked out so beautifully as they have now. This isn’t to say that I am against medical treatment- if that is what you feel the Lord is telling you to do-Do it! I am saying that is not the path we believed the Lord was taking us on- and it also doesn’t mean it was easy. The Lord will always present trials and challenges to help us grow and increase our faith.
There were so many times I felt hurt, bitterness, or annoyance when someone would bring up the topic of children. “Why don’t y’all have kids yet?”. “When are y’all having babies?!”. “You guys have been married a long time. About time for kids isn’t it?” This past Mother’s day I remember having a mental pity party seeing everyone posting up about their children and seeing social media flooded with pictures of annoyingly cute babies. gross. I specifically remember getting a text message from an old coworker, whose new number I didn’t have saved in my phone, kindly wishing me a “Happy Mother’s Day!” And I remember my snarky remark of “idk who this is but I’m not a mom. happy mothers day.” yikes. That same night I felt the Lord telling me to take a test, something I had done countless times before, and something I wasn’t feeling too hopeful about. That same night at 11:58 I was looking at a positive pregnancy test.
For those struggling with infertility or any other “milestone” you think you should be achieving, yes, it is absolutely hard to see others moving forward when you feel like you aren’t. There will be days where you are feeling sorry for yourself and have a good cry. Through it all it is important to understand the love of God and to desire His plans for you above your own. I must choose daily to surrender to His perfect will and to be okay with the unknown of what tomorrow will bring. I must choose daily to trust in Him and His perfect timing. I must choose daily to live in the moment and praise Him for the many blessings He has given me. I must be thankful for His mercy and grace in times when I fall short. And above all, I must remember to seek Him and His plan for me above all things.
“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” -Jeremiah 29:11-12