I have been putting off writing this post for some time now because I recognize there are many out there (both those non-Christian and also many Christians, including those I know and respect) who may not agree with me. And as previously discussed, rocking the boat scares me. But as this blog serves as a journal-of-sorts for me, I feel it important to share a recent struggle I had with God.
About a month or two ago, I stood in church, attempting to offer worship through song - a particularly favorite method of mine - but finding myself unable to truly connect with the words. If I was entirely honest with myself, I had felt this way for a number of weeks. It was as though I no longer believed the words and my faith was slipping overall. And I did not know why.
Longing to find the source for these feelings, I thought perhaps I could trace them back to when I first began in my unbelief. I initially thought I would never be able to pinpoint an exact moment, but almost instantaneously, it popped into my head: the moment I found out I was pregnant.
And then I got scared. How could I admit this to anyone without sounding like a horrible mother? One was supposed to rejoice in pregnancy, especially considering I never wanted to stop with just two children - so a third should not have been so faith-shattering. And, yet, for weeks I had been hiding behind a facade. I wanted this child, definitely, but just not so soon after the previous one. Having a positive pregnancy test the day after Emmett's first birthday would not be how I would have planned it.
This is where my faith comes in. And herein lies the controversy.
When Micaiah was only three months old, we acted on something I had been feeling for a long time. We stepped out of the realm of birth control and into the idea of completely trusting God to open and close my womb according to His will. It was a little scary, to be honest, but my argument for birth control was always, "If God really wants us to have a baby, He can do it - birth control or not. So, we're not really trying to stop Him." And I realized, if that was how I truly felt, why was I taking a pill every day? To give ourselves a warm fuzzy feeling of control? Because control is definitely my idol.
Thus, we gave it up. We gave up the control we tried so desperately to cling to and we handed over the responsibility of planning our family to the One we knew could truly be trusted to do it right.
I know this is not always a popular topic and I do not wish to open a can of worms. I do not look down on others who have not made the same decision, because I truly do feel as though it is a personal conviction. Like I said, control is kind of an issue of mine, so I really felt God was calling me to give it up. But it may not be your issue and it may not be your calling. That's not between me and you, that's between us and God. It is truly my desire that none read this blog as my saying I know the one right way of planning families - because that would just not be true.
But as I said, this is the path we have chosen. And I truly trusted that God would honor that. What I did not realize was that my belief that "God would honor our decision" was my telling myself that He would continue to give us children on our preferred timetable. I did not (and do not) want 18 children (or even close). I did not (and do not) want to be pregnant for the rest of my child-bearing years. And I told myself that God knows that and, thus, He would follow my plans - as a reward for trusting Him.
Funny how that's not how He works.
Thus, that positive pregnancy test scared me. Not because I did not (or do not) want this particular baby, but because of what I felt it represented for our future. This baby was coming earlier than I wanted. And if this pattern were to continue, we'd have a dozen kids before we knew it. What was going on? What was God doing? I had trusted Him. And now I was not so sure that was the wise thing to do. Could He really be trusted?
And this was where everything I thought I knew about God began to crumble.
I feared what others would think - that we were being irresponsible or just plain stupid. And it's true - the first question we received from almost everyone was, "Was this planned?" Because it is a common belief in our culture that planning our families is what the responsible adult does. Were we being irresponsible?
So there I was that Sunday morning a month into my knowledge that a baby was on its way, ready or not, crushed by the reality that I no longer trusted God, because it felt like He had failed me. I was scared of Him and did not know if His plan was truly what I wanted.
And, yes, it's scary to be that honest with so many people (though I can probably rest assured that this post is too lengthy for the average reader and no one will have made it this far - whew! ;) ).
The amazing thing, though, is that like so many recovery programs tout, the first step to overcoming a problem is recognizing you have one. And this was the place I found myself that Sunday morning - acknowledging my problem. And simply being able to name my fear and proclaim it back, in full honesty, to God was a breath of relief in itself.
Over the next days and weeks, as I talked to my husband and read through Scripture, I began to fully understand what I had always been taught. God's ways are not our ways. Though this timeline is not what I would have planned, I know we will be blessed through this child and whatever else God chooses to give us along this path called life. Giving control to God did not mean I should expect Him to work as I demanded - that was counter-intuitive. Though I had physically given Him control, I had not done so mentally or emotionally.
And, yet, what has my control of my life ever produced other than bitterness, anger, rivalry, jealousy and, well, everything falling apart? And what has a history of following God's leading produced? Joy in unexpected outcomes, peace, friendship and love.
Why would I ever trust myself over Him?
Thus, here I am - still struggling occasionally, but definitely on the road to mending.
And this is what I know:
God is faithful. God is forever. His love never fails. And I am grateful.