After months and months of trying to get pregnant, there was a part of me in the back of my head that was convinced that maybe we would be one of those couples dealing with infertility. There were articles I read that stated that 6 months to a year was the typical amount of time it took, but at the same time, I knew of people that got pregnant rather quickly or without even trying. I told myself that it would happen at the right time, but I kept thinking that with the health problems I've had since college, I'd come across some issues preventing it from ever occurring.
At the same time, Howard and I had also been searching for a new place to live. Initially, we started apartment hunting and found an apartment we LOVED in a great location with a ton of space and a reputable landlord only to realize that there were no hookups for a washer/dryer and it wasn't possible to add them up because it was above a dental practice. Another apartment was actually a newly renovated townhouse, and the two of us seemed to really get along with the family and daughter that were renting it. We told them of our interest, and it came down to two parties, but the owner ended up not choosing us and apologized because of how much he knew we loved it.
We then switched to looking at houses after our parents advised us that it made more sense to pay a mortgage than pay rent, but the houses we liked sold quickly. I didn't think we'd be able to handle a down payment on a house, so we then began poring over the online listings for townhouses. There was one we absolutely adored and even put an offer on it, but the owners insisted that they wanted $5000 less than full price. It wasn't worth it in our opinion, and even our realtor said that their counter offer was ridiculous.
As you can see, there were many internal struggles and even faith struggles throughout this time because I felt that we were ready to move on to the next stage of our lives. We both cried many times when the pregnancy tests came back negative despite symptoms suggesting otherwise and also when housing situations fell through.
Of course, now that I have hindsight, I see just how BEAUTIFUL all that time was. Howard and I not only grew stronger as a couple, we really grew stronger in our individual faith in Him. When I was upset, he wasn't. When he was upset, I wasn't. We learned how to support each other and remind each other of God's perfect timing. And suddenly, things seemed clearer to us. We were ready to give up the pen and stop fighting the Creator and Author of our lives. And doesn't it just make sense that things then fell into place?
On Monday, February 22 of this year, I was on the schedule to share a devotional with the staff at my school during the morning meeting. This is what I wrote and read to my colleagues:
If you know anything about me or if you've ever sat in on one of my classes, you know just how much I love everything Disney. My husband and I love it so much that we even chose to go to Disney World for our honeymoon. One of my all-time favorite movies is actually the recent 2010 animated film Tangled, which is the story of Rapunzel. I find myself singing or humming the songs without even realizing it. One in particular is called "When Will My Life Begin?" The beginning goes as follows:
7 AM, the usual morning lineup:Start on the chores and sweep 'til the floor's all clean,Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine upSweep again and by then it's like 7:15.
After listing some more activities that she partakes in while being locked in her tower, she sings, "Stuck in the same place I've always been" and "When will my life begin?"
Now in no way am I comparing my life with the plight of a young, long-haired girl confined to a secret location, but as I think back on my own inner monologue, I find myself asking myself something to that same effect - when will my life begin?
I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I spent my middle school and high school years waiting for the day I could finally have a guy call me his girlfriend. It was as if my life would surely have more meaning and purpose once someone else determined that I was worthy. I eagerly waited for high school graduation when I could stop worrying about the competition for being ranked first and second. Once I began college, I would be able to study what I wanted to study and leave behind the world of classes like economics and history (sorry, Jess). Then after receiving my Bachelor's degree, I was anticipating the moment when I would finally have my MRS degree. Knowing that I would undoubtedly have my spouse by my side for the rest of our lives gave me feelings of comfort and peace. And now that I have been happily married for almost 4 years, there are two things that I look forward to hopefully happening sooner rather than later. Much of what Howard and I have thought about is how things would be easier if we were as financially "set" as my brother or his sister.
Some of you already know that Howard and I have been looking to move. We initially thought we were going to rent a 2-bedroom apartment, which would be an unbelievably amazing upgrade considering we live in a studio right now. After many prayers and seeing God close many doors and giving us the clear "no's" that we ask for, we have been house hunting instead. I feel that once we find the right place and we can move, we'll have more closets to get organized, better kitchen appliances and space to prepare healthier meals, and more room to finally be able to repay our families and host dinners. And don't get me started on just how thrilled we will be when we finally have access to our own washer/dryer!
The other stage of my life that I am looking forward to is having a baby. I have always felt that being called a mom is such a prestigious title. I think fondly about the way my mom parented my older brother and me and feel that it is such a high calling. I thoroughly enjoy my nephew and nieces, but there's part of me that wonders when it will happen for my husband and me.
During all these instances, it's as if I'm somehow always thinking that at the next phase, I will be set and my life will surely begin. Since the start of the school year, however, I have been learning how to be patient with all the things that I think will mean some sort of completion in my life. I have been reminded time and time again that God is the one whose plans will far surpass any plans I attempt to make. I have worried about many things, but I see over and over again that He orchestrates all these phases. For once, it is as if I am finally learning to fully submit the desires of my heart to the One who knows it all.
Yesterday in church, I was especially touched. There was a new song included in worship called "Death Was Arrested." Part of the lyrics are as follows:
Our savior displayed on a criminal's crossDarkness rejoiced as though heaven had lostBut then Jesus arose with our freedom in handThat's when death was arrested and my life began
Oh your grace so freeWashes over meYou have made me newNow life begins with youIt's your endless lovePouring down on usYou have made us newNow life begins with you
Those lyrics just seem to directly address Rapunzel's and sometimes my thoughts of "When will my life begin?" I admit that I sometimes lose sight of God's plan for my life when I try to take things into my own hands and plan and organize it the way we all plan our lessons and organize our classrooms.
I hope that over the past 31 years, I have gained wisdom and not just head knowledge and looking to His Word is definitely the best way to get plugged into the true source of wisdom. Some of the many verses that have reminded me of God's wonder can be found in Psalm 139:1-6, 13-16.
1 You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar.3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways.4 Before a word is on my tongueyou, Lord, know it completely.5 You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me.6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,too lofty for me to attain.
13 For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well.15 My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your bookbefore one of them came to be.
When I am reminded of how great He is and how small I am and how much He knows and how little I know, it kind of puts me back in my place to realize that I can hope and plan all I want, but ultimately, He is the one who is in control since "all the days ordained for me were written" even "before one of them came to be."
Just a few hours after sharing that with everyone, Howard texted me to tell me that after adjusting our initial offer, the new offer we had made on a house the day before was accepted! And then as you all read in my previous post, it was just a little over a week when we saw those two lines indicating that we were going to be having a baby! It's funny looking back on everything that happened and seeing how God was in charge the entire time even though we kept trying to control our steps and do things according to our own timing. It was clear that He was wanting us to surrender and trust, and I can truthfully say that I'm glad He waited for us to get to that point. Because in the end, what do I know? Nothing. What does He know? Everything.