Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a Mama. I spent all of my time taking care of my “babies” and playing Mommy to my brothers (much to their dismay). I would dream of being pregnant and of having a house full of children (I always said I wanted 6!). The Lord, at an early age, began softening my heart towards orphaned babies. I grew to love the idea of adoption and then (very seriously) tried to convince my parents that it was their christian duty to adopt these babies who had no one to care for them. But my mom insisted that it was my calling, not theirs.
Without even realizing it, I was forming expectations of what my life would look like.
Fast forward to age 25. About a year into marriage I found out I was pregnant. We were ecstatic! And a little scared. But so thrilled to be starting our family. We walked in for our first ultrasound just a few days after Christmas and all of my deepest fears were quickly confirmed as we sat staring at my empty womb. I was so, so sad.
But this was just the first of many trials that lay ahead of us.
Over the next year and a half we tried and failed to get pregnant again. How could this be? We got pregnant so easily once, why wasn't it working this time? I watched all of my closest friends get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. I was happy for them, really. But I was also angry. Angry that God would allow this. Angry because I deserved children. In the midst of my anger, the Lord in His infinite grace was tenderly teaching me.
I was learning, we must abandon all trust in self, for trust in Christ. My life was not my own.
It was March of 2013 at someone else’s baby shower, a dear friend asked if anyone knew of a family who would like to adopt twins. I basically jumped out of my chair shouting “ME! US! WE WOULD!” We didn't have the funds to pay for it. But I was eager. We decided to just go meet with the attorney to learn more about it. We were quickly thrown into the whirlwind of adoption and were scraping pennies together to help pay for it. Only four short months after meeting with the attorney, our twins were born!
As we anxiously waited outside of the OR for our boys to be born,all kinds of emotions were flooding our hearts. We were nervous but oh so excited. After an hour passed I started getting worried. Then we heard yelling and doctors rushed passed us into the OR. After what seemed like an eternity we were told that both boys were rushed to the NICU. Four long hours passed before we were allowed to go see our boys and speak with the doctor. The delivery was traumatic.
Baby A, Henry, had to be resuscitated and intubated and Baby B, Sawyer’s breathing was extremely labored so he was immediately intubated as well. Over the next 24 hours Henrys condition was drastically improving while Sawyers condition was drastically declining. At 36 hours of life, at 5 am I frantically answered a phone call from a nurses telling us to come quickly. Sawyer wasn’t doing well. We jumped out of bed and just as we were about to leave the house the phone rang again. I didn't even want to answer. I picked up and heard “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, he's gone. Please don't rush here. Just be safe driving.”
My husband quickly wrapped me up in his big arms and we sobbed. I couldn't believe it. We had two of everything. Two cribs, two car seats, matching clothes and blankets. While these boys didn't grow in my tummy, they had been growing in my heart since I was a young girl. And a piece of my heart had just died. We got to the hospital and they had him ready for us. Up until that point we had not been able to hold him because of the seriousness of his conditions. As the nurse handed him to me, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I sat in a rocking chair holding his lifeless body, sobbing. I will never forget the way he felt in my arms. And how he smelled like betadine and chemicals. All I wanted to do was give him a warm bath in my kitchen sink, sniff his sweet smelling little newborn head, and swaddle him in his freshly washed blanket. But I couldn’t. He would never know our home. He would never know us or his brother.
Once again, the Lord was teaching me that my children are not my own. My kingdom is not ultimate.
We eventually learned that Henry too had suffered damage during their delivery. He had a stroke while he was without oxygen for so long. They doctors explained all of the complications this could cause for him. But Henry is now 3 year old and he has exceeded all of their expectations for him and has almost no residual effects. How gracious the Lord was in allowing him to be healed! But if He had not, He would still be just as Good. And just as Gracious.
Throughout these past 3 years I have shamefully built idols of family in my heart and watched them shatter over and over again. The desires I have for my family were good God-given desires. I wanted more children. That was a good thing! But what I was doing in my heart was bucking against what God had providentially designed. He is right in all He does. God cannot be flawed. He is a good and trustworthy King of an everlasting kingdom. And although our families are but a moment in time, His kingdom will have no end. The goal of motherhood is not building pretty families who are “picture-perfect”. It is for making disciples out of our children to build into The only Kingdom that is everlasting. Our Savior came as a helpless babe into a broken and dying world (Luke 2). He came to make us free (John 8:36)! So we are free to love and serve our husbands and children! We are free from the from the worlds standards and desires! So take heart my dear, weary souled sisters. Run to Christ. Jesus became flesh and “dwelt among us” (John 1:!4) to make us free!
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION/REFLECTION:
1. In what ways to you see yourself trying to build your own little kingdom apart from trust in God's sovereignty and surrender to his will? Do you consider yourself more wise or more good than he is when you consider what "good" means for your children or family?
2. Christ came to establish and eternal kingdom. Spend some time meditating on the kind of King he is and the kind of Kingdom he is bringing.
3. Devote the next few minutes to praying over each of your dreams and each of your children. Pray that God would grant you your good desires. Ask that he would protect you from making them ultimate. Pray that his "kingdom come" and that he would get glory from your family.
Christi is a wife to Ryan and a stay-at-home Mama to Henry. She and her family live in Jacksonville Fl. She ventured out and opened an Etsy shop this year to help fund a future adoption. Christi spends most of her time corralling her 3 year old, sewing, serving at her church and spending time with her husband. She is grateful for the gift of adoption and prays the Lord would grant her and her husband that gift again!