Truth be told, I never really wanted to have kids. I figured it would happen eventually, but I wasn’t in any real hurry. I only started to feel that maternal itch when my friends started to have babies. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my firstborn that I realized what I really wanted. I wanted to hold that child. Everything in my heart and soul yearned to hold that baby in my arms. Over the course of those nine months, I changed from a carefree adult to a MOM (yes, in capitals letters). And I loved the change both in my body and in my way of thinking and how I approached the world.
When my daughter was finally born, I couldn’t get over how beautiful she was. We snuggled constantly in those first few months. I fretted over how much she ate and was frantic to decipher each little cry or whimper.
By her first birthday, I was already planning ahead for the next one. Now that I had the hang of this baby thing, I wanted a whole houseful of kids. My husband and I went house shopping and found an older home with four bedrooms and a huge backyard that would be perfect for the large family that we were anticipating. But, sometimes, things don’t work out the way you plan. Sometimes God throws you a curve and you find yourself struggling to keep up. We would lose our second child to Marfan’s Syndrome, a disease marked by a fatal defect of the heart. That tragedy was quickly followed by the birth of our third child, a healthy and handsome boy. We hadn’t had much time to breathe, let alone grieve. Undeterred, we continued to try to expand our little family but it didn’t quite work out that way.
My two beautiful little ones grew and grew. They started pre-school and then made the jump to Kindergarten. Although I would not have any more babies, I managed to raise one dog, four cats, and assorted tropical fish. I was also called in as consultant by my kids to help with their four guinea pigs, gerbils and chameleons. And through it all, I kept the baby clothes, high chair and play swing neatly stored in the attic. I still had dreams. You might think that with all this going on I would have laid aside those dreams, but not so. I still would have loved to have had just one more baby. To fill the gap, I volunteered to help with Children’s Ministry events, Youth Group and Sunday School at church. It was around this time that I noticed a curious thing starting to happen. As much as I doted on my kids, I always had room in my heart to genuinely care for the little ones at church. I’d plan lessons and games for my Sunday School class and couldn’t wait to share what I was learning in Scripture with other people’s children on Sunday mornings. And then I figured it out. Though I had wanted a whole houseful of kids, I wasn’t going to get that. Instead, I was getting a whole churchful of kids. And I started to realize that my dreams weren’t big enough for the plans that God had for me.
It seems like God’s plans began where my dreams fell short. Now I can see that He has given me the best of both worlds. Two young adults at home, whom I love and adore, plus all the kids at church to love and play with. As I prepare for my youngest one’s high school graduation, I continue to teach Sunday School and volunteer at kid’s events. We laugh and play and learn together about this wonderful God whose plans are always so much better than anything that I could have ever dreamt about.
I wanted a houseful…
He gave me a churchful…
Not a bad deal when you think about it.
Happy Mother’s Day!