Growing up, I always imagined that I’d be like most women I knew: get married, and then after a few years of happy matrimony and responsible birth control, have two children (ideally a boy and a girl, about two years apart). Then back on the birth control, because overpopulation and college savings funds.
That was the plan.
Fortunately, as I read and prayed and learned over the years, my views changed: I rejected birth control, learned NFP, and opened my mind and heart to become the mother of as many children as God would send. Sure, it would be a challenge, but big families look so fun!
And yet, I’m finding that I hadn’t done as great a job as I thought of giving up my personal plan. All I did was change my plan from a small(er) family to a big one.
Right now, my first child is 16 months old, and my fertility hasn’t returned yet after his birth. I’m not medically worried—my son has continued to nurse a fair amount, and some women don’t get their fertility back for two full years post-partum. I’m still in the range of “normal.” And yet almost daily, I find myself thinking, “How are we ever going to have our big family if the kids aren’t close in age??”
So much for turning my plans over to God, right? I know. It’s humbling.
So my spiritual project right now is to let go of my pride and my desire for control, and truly open myself up to God’s providence with no reservations–no pretending I know what that will look like. Maybe this child will be our only one—or our only biological one. Or maybe he will end up being one of several after all.
Fortunately, I know that God’s ideas are always better than mine. He knows what’s best for our family better than we ever could. Even if it’s difficult and painful and confusing from our limited perspective, I am trying to keep my heart open, to follow His plan with humility and gratitude.
Humility and gratitude. That’s my new plan.