Earlier this week a reader emailed me this question :

Do you think you would still have this wonderful message if you had never conceived?  I know that sounds really bad to ask, but I only ask because it is something that I am struggling with.  I feel exactly the same way you do with EVERYTHING that you have written but I just wonder if I will continue to feel this way if I never have children.  The thought of it truly scares me.  How will I live a happy, peaceful life if God doesn't give me the children that I so deeply long for?

As I sit and think about this question, I feel confident I would answer YES. I hope to use this month’s post trying to explain how I think I would feel based on something that will never happen to me, although for many years I thought that would be my ultimate outcome. Yes, I did conceive and give birth, and now I’m expecting my second gift from God, but I believe God taught me so many valuable faith and life lessons through my journey that I would like to think I would still have a positive message to tell and encourage others even if my outcome had been different.

Please forgive me if some of the things I’m about to tell are repeats of previous posts, but it’s the only way I can truly answer this tough question.

For as long as I can remember all I’ve wanted was to be a Mommy. I played dolls from the moment I understood the concept of pretending. It was such a part of my heart from early on that I never even came up with a “real” career that I wanted to truly pursue and climb the corporate ladder for. Yes, I went to college and got my Bachelor’s Degree, but I have never had a desire to be some super business woman. I even remember expressing to Matt early on in our dating relationship that I intended to be a stay-at-home mom if at all possible when that day came.  While I am not quite the super stay at home mom I’ve always dreamed I’d be, I’m pretty darn close!

One of the verses I’ve always clung to in my life is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I have always made it my goal to delight myself in the Lord. To seek His ultimate will for my life. I’ve always had a great need in my heart to do my best to please the Lord with my thoughts, actions, and decisions. I’m not saying I was or am perfect at these things, but I truly desire to please the Lord with the life I choose to live. I do not think that this verse says “Plan your own ways, do good and God will give you whatever you want," on the contrary I believe it is telling us that if we seek a true relationship with the Father and trust Him to lead and guide our lives that He will plant the right seeds of desire into our hearts, and our reward for following Him and His ways is to see those seeds HE has planted in our hearts grow into a reality in our lives. These seeds of desires could be anything from marriage, children, successful businesses, mission work, talents and abilities, the list could go on and on. What matters here is not so much the desire the Lord has placed in your heart, but that the Lord has placed it there instead of your own doing.  That is not to say that you or anyone else’s desire to have children is a bad one or a desire that the Lord will not allow for you - it's to remind you that if your heart is lined up with the Father’s, so will your desires.

If you’ll remember, I’ve said many times in my writings that I am so thankful for the delay in MY plans to have children because hindsight is always 20/20. If I would have had it my way, chances are I would have ended up being a single mother of a 4-year-old right now, struggling to make ends meet. I truly believed the Lord was preserving my marriage and my sanity by allowing me to struggle through my selfish desires. When I decided I wanted to start a family, I didn’t consult Matt, let alone God about it. I simply stated to my husband that I WANTED to have a baby - NOW! If you remember at the beginning of my story I literally had to beg Matt to even let me get off birth control. He wasn’t ready to make that change in our lives, but he gave into my selfish pity parties and tantrums just to keep me happy (What a sweet man I have!). I remember us not agreeing on why it was or wasn’t a good time to have children. I was pushing our original plan up by at least 2 years when I started asking if we could try for a baby. All my friends were doing it, so I thought I should too! This is a terrible reason as to why you should have children. I think if I had stopped to seek God’s wisdom on the topic at the time I would have found out that He would have wanted us to wait a little while. You see, the Lord had so many things He wanted to teach us individually and as a couple before we embarked down this path of parenthood. When I selfishly stepped out on my own to do my plan and not the Lord's, I had to learn many lessons the hard way.

The hardest moments for me were when I had to deal with the ugly green monster we like to call ENVY and the painful admittance of idolatry in my life. The jealously issue was more about personal embarrassment, but the idolatry issue was about me being separated from God because I was too busy with MYSELF and MY PLANS!

It wasn’t until I could fully admit, confess, and seek forgiveness from the Lord on these issues that I was able to  thankfully see the lessons the Lord wanted to teach me. You see, He had planted that seed of desire in my heart to be a mother all those years before, but when I decided to take things into my own hands I pressed pause or maybe just mute on the Lord’s will for my life. I was so selfish in my thinking that we could do this on our own without the Lord’s guidance and then I had the audacity to get angry with God for not giving me what I was demanding!  It wasn’t until I allowed the Lord to do amazing things in my heart that I learned a few valuable lessons.

Lesson number one: My relationship with God is more important that anything else in my life. If I don’t have a good, growing, active relationship with my heavenly Father, nothing else in my life will matter in the long run, it will always be a struggle to overcome.

Lesson number two: I sought out and learned that for me in particular it was not about becoming pregnant, but about being a mother. This revelation came to me after I spent an afternoon babysitting for a friend. She had a 2 or 3-year-old and a 12-18 month old. I realized that day, that if I suddenly became responsible for those girls for the rest of my life I would be completely satisfied in my calling to be a mother. This was a huge revelation for my prayer life and understanding of my God-given desire to be a mother. It's comparable to a wedding versus a marriage. While the wedding is fun and exciting it is not a preview of the actual marriage. I believe the same is true for parenting. While the pregnancy is amazing, fun, and miraculous, it does not define you as a parent. I’ve also seen this play out in the lives of dear friends who have biological children and adopted children. I believe God can give you the capacity to love like a parent whether the child came from your womb or not.

Lesson number three: Planting seeds while you wait. I learned to plant seeds of faith in many ways while I waited on the Lord to answer my prayers. I first chose to pray everyday for those women that were pregnant during that painful year I watched 12 friends get pregnant and give birth every month. I prayed for the pregnancies to be healthy and enjoyable, I prayed for the babies to be children of God, and I prayed for the parents to have the wisdom of the Father. I simply prayed for them all the things I would want for myself and my own children. I did this daily until each child was born. We also decided to sponsor a child through Holt International. This is not like World Vision or Compassion International, but rather an adoption agency that allows you to help support children overseas until they are adopted and placed in permanent homes. We decided we would do this until our first child was born! We chose to sponsor a newborn baby girl. Let me tell you, you absolutely reap what you sow, because God gifted us with our very own baby girl. We couldn’t bring ourselves to stop our sponsorship, and decided to sponsor this child until she was adopted and then considered canceling our giving. After our little girl was adopted, I did not feel God’s peace in cancelling our sponsorship with Holt. We were given another newborn baby girl who was born just weeks after our own daughter. We are still sponsoring this particular child. I am anxious to see what happens after our second child is born, and even more anxious to know if we are having a boy or girl, since our second sponsored child has been a girl.

The last way I chose to sow seeds was in my gift giving for my expecting friends. I took the time and money to really bless them with wonderful thoughtful gifts. I showered them with true love and affection during their exciting time and the Lord in turn blessed us beyond belief when it was our turn to receive. The practice of reaping and sowing is an amazing lesson teacher. You find that you enjoy simply sowing and forget and even don’t care if you ever reap in the end - because blessing others is rewarding enough.

Lesson number four: Letting go of your plans, and being patient enough to allow God to show you His plans. I’ll always wonder if Matt and I had learned these lessons sooner in our journey if God would have proven Himself faithful sooner. Every couple has that “perfect” life plan of being married 3. 37 years (or whatever it is for you) and suddenly becoming pregnant on your own clock and life moving forward in a happily ever after mode. My biggest piece of advice from my experience is to know and understand in advance that YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL!  We saw it in our own lives, the Lord extended our plans, and we’ve watched it in our friend’s lives when the Lord sped up their plans. Either way it feels earth shattering when your idea of a perfect plan doesn’t work out to your liking. That is why it is so important to make Jeremiah 29:11 a life verse!  It will quickly remind us that God has plans for us!  Isaiah 55:8 tells us, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Isn’t this such great news! If you continue to read in Isaiah 55 you find even more encouraging words of God’s word and promises not returning void! There are so many scriptures to back up God’s will and plan for women to bear children and couples to have flourishing families! Study His Word and hold on to these promises.

Read Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is serious stuff right here! In the journey to search and know God’s planted seeds of desire for you, you need to make these verses the true prayer of your heart and life. These are tough words to speak and mean. Maybe you need to focus on these words and truly seek and listen to what God’s response to you might be. If you will allow the Lord to speak truth into your life and help you weed out the offensive ways (usually those are “your ways” instead of his), you will be able to determine those true God-given desires of your heart.

I know for a fact that if the Lord had not allowed me to conceive a child of my own, that He still would have given me the privilege of being a mother or mother-figure to a child or children in the world. I would not have the faith, or the relationship with God that I have today if I had not journeyed down this path. I am so thankful that I was blessed to conceive and give birth to my own child but I know that I would be just as thankful to have adopted an equally special gift from God. It is so hard to not focus on the pain of right now in order to get to the joy of the future - but sometimes if you can even look back to the beginning and see how far you’ve come in your faith journey it gives you a hope for the future.

Take the following verses, write them down, tape them to your mirror, message boards, and dashboards and write these words and promises from God’s word on your heart!

Gen 1:28 “God said, ‘be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.;’” (FAMILY IS IN HIS PERFECT PLAN)

Psalm 113:9 “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord”

Psalms 127:3-5 “Sons are a heritage from the Lord. Children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…”

Psalm 128:3 “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house, your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.”

Psalm 128:5-6 “May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem and may you live to see your children’s children.”

Deut 7:13-14 “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, you will be blessed more than any other people. None of your men or women will be childless.”

Deut 30:19 “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life that you and your children may live.”

Matt 12:34 “…our of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Romans 8:37 “In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Exodus 23:25 “Worship the Lord your God and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you and none will miscarry or be barren in your land.”

These are just a few of the many verses that became apart of my life and are forever etched in my heart. I hope I was able to answer this difficult question and continue to give hope and light into the lives of those struggling through their journey today.

Until next time Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!