It’s way too easy to have the wrong mindset about children and family. All too often we say things like: “I really want a baby.” “I really want another baby.” “I’m done having children, 2 (or insert any number) is plenty for us.”
I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. When I started to feel the baby “itch” after getting married, I thought about how wonderful it would be to have a baby of my own, a child to hold and cherish. I loved the idea of building a family with Justin.
I wanted kids.
When six months went by of no positive pregnancy test, I was a bit bummed to say the least. I was ready for a baby so I should have one. But it didn’t work out that way. It was half a year before we found out we were expecting our son. When we hoped to grow our family with a second child, we experienced 2 miscarriages in between our son and our daughter. Then, we were led into foster care/adoption when our daughter was only 3 month old. I’ll never forget the podcast (The Blessing of Walking in Faith) we listened to the day God nudged us towards adoption. It was about letting God write your motherhood story. It was about giving him control rather than clinging to our own ideas of what our lives should look like.
It’s all too easy to make our children and families all about us. We want to have kids for our benefit, for our joy, and for our future. But the truth is while God tells us that “children are a reward from him,” he never tells us that they are created for us.
They are created for God’s glory, for HIS purpose, and at HIS discretion. Often we spend our energy laboring towards some ideal life we’ve planned for ourselves then wonder why we continually come up feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. - Psalm 127:1-2
Are you letting the Lord plan out and build your house or have you already written out the blueprints and timetable and are now just bringing them to him, asking for his stamp of approval and blessing? The reality is that it doesn’t work that way. You see God doesn’t need or want our neat and tidy plan for our lives. He is the one writing the story, it is HIS story and it will be written for HIS glory. His desire is for us to live a life of complete surrender to his plan and his purposes no matter where they lead us.
I think we would all love to say that we trust God and desire his will to be done in our lives. But often, what we say and how we live don’t match up.
I didn’t realize how much control I wanted in my own life until God started changing my plan…
...Taking me places I didn’t want to go.
...Putting me in situations that I was not “ready” to handle.
It's been a humbling experience to see how weak my real trust in God was. I desired my own way rather than being willing to do any and everything it would take to draw closer to God and have a deeper intimacy with him.
Despite the pain of being humbled, seeing yourself in the right perspective allows you to view God in his proper place. Children aren’t for us; they belong to God and God alone. Who are we to tell the God of the entire universe where, when, and how many children we have or don’t have? The truth is that if he is big enough to bring the rise and fall of nations, to work out our eternal salvation, and to hold the entire world together, then he is big enough to decide the size and dynamics of our family.
If you honestly evaluate your own life, have you set limits on your family based on your own plan? Are you waiting to have kids until you are done with school, financially secure, or have established your career? Have you ruled out more kids or adopting because you don't feel capable of handling it? Does letting God write your family’s story make you too uncomfortable because it may require you to change your job, lifestyle or hobbies?
What if we started living life letting the only limits on our lives be the ones God puts there? What if we started trusting that God does not make mistakes? What if we were willing to experience any and everything if it were to bring God glory?
I've been learning that letting go of my blueprint in exchange for Gods, while painful at times, has brought more joy and fulfillment than I could have ever imagined. I'd like to leave you today with the second half of the verse I quoted above:
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. - Psalm 127:3-5