Needless to say, my plan is vastly different than what God had in store for me. Rather than "mothering" my own children, I find myself working with young adult mothers and pregnant women.
Huh? Wait. I thought you meant...oh...I see...
While I thought, for all these years, that perhaps I would have my own children one day, God was merely preparing me for the role of another kind of mother. One that takes care of others, but not in a traditional sense. That drive upon my heart I mentioned earlier...that was God leading me toward something greater than myself and my own, personal desires. He was laying the groundwork for my new career choice as well as revitalization of my faith life. Yep, that God, He's a funny one, indeed.
"Ask and you shall receive" - isn't that the saying?
Well, I asked for the opportunity to take care of others, I just wasn't aware that God had a particular plan in mind that did not necessarily include my own children. LOL Well now, isn't that interesting?
If you've read over my previous blogs, you will know that I have been unable to conceive since I was 17 years old. At that time, I chose abortion and my life became a series of bad decisions directly after that incident. It was the worst "choice" of my life and not one that should have been available to me at all. However, regardless of the ways in which I numbed myself to the thought of what I was doing, the bottom line is I made that decision...even if my decision was "no decision" at all. I permitted other people to decide the fate of the innocent life within my womb. Is it any wonder I punished myself so much for years afterwards? The guilt, the horror, the sadness was my constant companion no matter the "outer shell" I presented at the time.
I received healing from attending a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat around 4 1/2 years ago, however, and I continue to grow in my love for The Lord daily. Healing is a process and one that I gladly take on in order to find ways of helping others who might also suffer. If my suffering aides another person, then it was not in vain. What a wonderful God we have who knows the despair we feel and is able to find ways of using it for good, in spite of our many attempts at messing things up! Good thing He is in control and not me, that's for sure!!!
As I have traveled the road towards acceptance of my fate, I've struggled with the knowledge of never again conceiving a child of my own flesh. Later, I also had to reconcile the fact that my husband and I are quickly growing beyond the age limits for eligibility for adoption, as well. During my journey of emotions, I found a great deal of peace in my faith and in turning to others in my times of grief. It has been the love of Christ that delivered me from pain. The people God placed into my life were also key factors in my healing process and I am ever grateful and humbled for each of them along the way. Although I chose to end my sweet baby's life and therefore, some might say I have no right to grieve my infertility, I know that God understands my grief and He knows my repentance for that terrible act is sincere. It gives me great hope to know He is such a loving and forgiving God that no sin is so great that it reaches beyond His all-encompassing hand of mercy.
Now, in my 38th year of life, I am without natural children and little hope for adoption considering the direction of my life at this time (yes, I am a student in college). It strikes me how amazing the gift God placed in my hands ever so subtly truly is. I am speaking about my career choice and degree plan. What better way of acting upon the motherly spirit of caring, love, guidance, advocacy, understanding, and helpfulness (all characteristics of any mother) than to be in the midst of those who need those very things the most? Can you imagine a better way to serve our Lord than to be among the people whom He loves? I cannot. And, it occurs to me that if I did get my original wish...if I had been able to conceive and bear my own children, I would never have experienced the joy that is now my life.
Working at the Madonna House (residential program for pregnant women who are in crisis) and attending college for social work are things that bring me more fulfillment than I could ever imagine. I am able to bring Christ to "the least of these" every day and that is, in a word,
Every day at work, I am encouraged to bring Christ into every aspect of my interactions with the ladies at Madonna House. I am constantly surrounded by reminders of our Lord God and the Staff works together to ALWAYS be the Hands of Christ to each person we encounter. Wow...just wow!
I could never have the time to commit to such a career if not for my infertility. I could never work toward a college education in the field of social work if I had my own children. Yes, some can and do pursue such things while being parents...I am simply aware of my own, personal limitations...whatever I do, I go "all in" so if I had children, I simply wouldn't be able to balance other things such as schooling and an intense career. I have deep respect for those who can...I am simply not that talented! So I suppose that I am finding blessings even in the midst of suffering and isn't that what God hopes we will come to eventually? Rather than focus upon the hurts of lives or disappoints, shouldn't we always strive to embrace the positive and joyous moments instead?
God is all knowing and all powerful. He could easily have forced His way into my life...forced me to choose what He wanted for my life...and given me no choice at all. Sure. He could have left me to suffer an entire lifetime of despair after my abortion, as well. But, no, we have a loving and merciful God. He is not only a just God, but He balances the two things, perfectly. Justice and mercy go hand-in-hand. I suffered for all of the missteps of my life, whether through accountability or simply consequences to my own actions. However, never did God withhold His love and mercy during any of those times.
It is by His permissive Will that I came to make my mistakes, even though He cried at what I had done. It is by His Grace and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ that I was able to return home to Him afterwards. And, it is because I chose (yes, CHOSE) to follow Him in spite of all my mistakes that I now experience the joys of a loving and supportive marriage, unimaginable joy in my career, and the thrill of growth in spirit and mind while attending college. He permitted me to choose and because I freely came to Him, I am even more committed to fulfilling His Will for me...His Plan than I would have had I been forced into it.
So...my plan was basic and simple...essentially, going through the motions of life until I figured out something...anything. I wanted children, but had no real plan. I wanted to feel fulfilled and thought I had a plan. That plan fell apart and I was lost. Then, God placed a few things in my path and fortunately, I was ready to start listening to Him. Since that day, since that journey of humbling myself to His Will began, I have experienced more true happiness than I could have ever "planned" for myself. Through all of the anguish in my life, God gently lifted my chin, wiped away my tears, and helped direct me onto a path that would lead me where I wanted to go because He knew better than I what I searched and longed for in my life...even if it was different than the map I had in my hand at the time.
God is good, indeed. We should all learn to "let go and let God" more often.