Before our marriage Mark and I decided to trust God with planning our family. We would allow Him to bless us with children when and how He wished.
However, after the very difficult birth that we experienced with Matthew, Mark and I began to doubt. God had blessed us with 3 children in two and a half years. With each pregnancy I experienced significant morning sickness well past the traditional first 12-14 week range. Now I was still recovering from a difficult birth and I was tired and overwhelmed with our houseful of toddlers. We certainly couldn’t handle another child as close together as the first three had been.
We had allowed God to plan our family thus far, but now in this place, in the midst of this situation, it didn’t seem as if He knew what He was doing.
Of course that is not how we expressed it. Our thoughts and feelings were couched in much more acceptable terms:
- “God has given us the intelligence to know how much we can handle and He has given us the means to space our children.”
- “God wants us to be responsible and risking another pregnancy soon after such a difficult birth wouldn’t be healthy and our kids need a healthy mom.”
- “God has called me to be a mom to 3 young children, I can’t possibly do that well if I’m struggling with morning sickness.”
We convinced ourselves that we were simply trying to obey God by being good stewards, preserving life and health and doing a good job with what He had already entrusted to us. We had excellent reasons for not trusting God, we were being responsible.
We were still open to the blessing of children, we just wanted more space between them. By the time Matthew was three weeks old, we realized we were making a mistake.
Not allowing God to control the spacing of our children flew in the face of what we said we believed.
We believe in the sovereignty of God and we believe that He says that children are His blessing. If God is in control of all things AND if children are His blessing, then there was no reason to purposely avoid having children. God is not surprised at any of our circumstances and He is not going to accidentally give us more than we can handle.
The only reason that we wished to take back this control is that, when push came to shove, it was hard to be obedient.
- Our desired action said we didn’t believe that God is sovereign. Perhaps He didn’t foresee our specific situation. He didn’t understand what we could handle, didn’t care about my health or perhaps He just didn’t know how hard pregnancy and child birth would be.
- Our desired action said we didn’t believe God when He says that children are a blessing. We had accepted the notion that accepting the life that God SOVEREIGNLY and miraculously creates in the womb is only a ‘good idea’ if it doesn’t interfere with our ‘good life’. We accepted the idea that life is only a blessing if we have the energy, desire and means that we think it will require.
By the time Matthew was 3 weeks old we realized that we simply could not reconcile our beliefs with the action that we wanted to take and so we relinquished our perceived control and turned our family size back over to our sovereign God.
Lord we believe, help Thou our unbelief. Sometimes believing feels like stepping off a cliff.
I thought that I couldn’t handle another child so close together, I thought that I couldn’t manage our three young children with morning sickness and I thought that my body needed a rest from pregnancy.
And God laughed at my thoughts.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~Is. 55:8-9
His way was more wonderful, more marvelous and more amazing than anything we had considered.
Alyssa was born 14 months after Matthew, our smallest gap between children.
His plan included a pregnancy with NO morning sickness. (The only pregnancy out of 10 that I wasn’t sick.) His plan included an uncomplicated, easy birth after three very difficult births. His plan included a happy, easy-going baby and friends and resources that enabled me to thrive with four children 3 and younger whereas I had struggled with three children.
After Alyssa was born, we realized our pride and arrogance. We thought that we knew better than God. Alyssa was God’s kind and gracious message to us that He does know, He is good and He can be trusted.
Mark and I did not know what the future held and yet, based on our small and incomplete understanding of what we thought would happen, we wanted to take things into our own hands. We wanted to create our idea of a perfect life rather than being willing to accept the life that God had for us.
We are desperately grateful that God did not allow us to “lean on our own understanding”. We call Alyssa our sunshine and if you’ve ever met her, you understand. Alyssa brings so much light and joy into our home and yet, if we had had our way, if we had made the choice that we wanted to make, she would not be.
People often ask if we have ever struggled with our decision to allow God to plan our family. Yes, we’ve struggled, but Alyssa is our living, breathing testimony to the fact that God is good, that He knows what is best and that we can safely and confidently trust in Him.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but every one’s life has trials and struggles and we are blessed with ours.