Trusting God to Plan My Family
Like most little girls, I had baby dolls. One of my favorite things to play was “house” and much to my younger sister’s disappointment, I was always the wife and mother. In my pretending, I changed the baby’s diaper, fed the baby, rocked the baby, sang to the baby, and put the baby down to cook dinner in our play kitchen. This imaginative play did not end when I got older; in fact it intensified as I became a teenager and young adult. I selected courses and studied well in the hopes of preparing myself for life after school. My favorite project in high school was a “Wedding Project” I completed in Family and Consumer Sciences class. And in college my favorite classes were Marriage and Family as well as Parenting. Like most girls, I was preoccupied with what life would be like when I would one day become a wife and mother. And once I met my husband, my plan seemed to fall into place.
We were married two years after graduating college, and then two years later became pregnant with our first daughter. We wanted our children to be between two and three years apart, and our second daughter arrived almost exactly two years later. Everything seemed to be going according to my plan. You see, I am an organizer, a list-maker, a preparer, and a planner by nature. Even to this day, if I accidentally forget to write a plan on my calendar, it doesn’t happen. I always seem to find my plans to be the best plans. My ideas are good, and I pride myself in preparing and executing them, whatever they may be. I had a preconceived idea of what marriage and family life would be like, and I had enjoyed a certain level of control over the circumstances of my life. As our youngest neared her first birthday I discovered the beauty of Natural Family Planning and the Church’s teaching on marriage and children.
Being open to life was an easy decision at that time. We were planning to start trying for our third soon anyway, since we wanted similar spacing between children. And like clockwork, as soon as we starting trying we were pregnant, and the baby was due almost exactly two years after our second daughter. We were overjoyed, and it seemed as though things were going according to schedule. And then we lost the baby, we lost Quinn. In my grief, I was so confused – this wasn’t part of my plan. Soon after, we started trying again, and we were happy to find that we were pregnant again. Things were looking up, getting back on track. But then we lost that baby too, we lost Arwen. And in my grief, in my confusion, I finally turned to the Lord.
I realized that I wasn’t in charge, and I had never been the one calling the shots. I thought I was in control, but the Holy Spirit showed me that my life is not about me. Everything I am blessed with – my marriage, my children, my family – is a gift from God. He pours out His love through so many blessings, calling to me, seeking a relationship with me. And it finally hit me – I need to trust God with everything. That means entrusting Him with my marriage, offering Him my children, giving Him my fertility, letting Him plan my family. That means handing over my worry, my fear, my unknowing about the future.
In Ephesians 4:14-21, Paul prays for his readers: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
God has a plan for my life, for my family. His plan is good, and His love is steadfast. The Father has created my family, indeed we are part of the family of God. I do not belong to myself, but am His beloved daughter, and I can trust in His goodness. Psalm 127:1a tells us “Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.” I do not want to labor in vain building my family any longer. He is revealing His love for me. Offering the Lord my trust, I know He is going to accomplish far more than I could ask or imagine.
I do not know what God has planned for my life and for my family. Perhaps we will not have any more children. Perhaps we will be called to adoption. Perhaps we will have more children. Who knows? God knows, and I trust in Him. It is love for the Father that compels me, that opens my heart to life. I surrender to His will.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness, for your love. Jesus, I trust in you. I offer you my life. Plan my family in your goodness. Holy Spirit, speak to me and grant me the graces necessary to follow Your will. Help me to be open to life. I give you my fertility, that you would bless my family. Replace my worry and fear with your joy and peace. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.