My whole life has centered on kids. As the oldest of eight, I have had a mama’s heart since before I can remember. As I grew older and started thinking about my perfect life, I envisioned a husband, a pretty little house, a dog or two, and kids. Not eight, but three or four. Then I grew even older and entered into the phase where kids just sounded like they would ruin every plan I had for my career, my travels, my LIFE. Why would I do that to myself?
Then I met Randy. And, frankly, my thoughts on kids didn’t change. He had two kids already and by the time we got married, we already had a granddaughter. But then we settled into married life and babies became all I could think about. There was no “baby-fix”. I wanted my own and I wanted it yesterday. My thoughts began to shift to the future and my want turned into fear. Fear of growing old alone. Fear of reaching middle age and living with regret of not establishing the next generation that shared my DNA. Fear of never being called “Mama.” It was difficult at the time to differentiate between longing and fear. It was one and the same and I was feeling ALL THE FEELINGS. My precious husband stood firmly planted in his lack of desire to add to our family. Oh, it was lonely and sad to feel alone in my need to procreate. He didn’t understand my loneliness or fears. And I became angry because he didn’t understand because he HAS children of his own. Children who have a mother, who are too close to my age for me to mother. Children who are grown and far past the age of needing instructional parenting.
Insensitive friends made comments such as “Well, you knew what you were getting into…he told you he didn’t want kids.” It didn’t change the fact that my mind had changed or what I believe to be a God-created desire to procreate with your spouse. It’s hard to describe the feeling, if you have never felt it, that feeling of so deeply loving someone that the only thing that makes sense is wanting a little one that shares the best and worst of you both.
After several years of wailing and gnashing of teeth, I gave it to God. Really gave it to God. I began praying that if we were supposed to have a baby, that God would give us one. And if we were not, that He would take away my desire. It’s only been in the last month or so that I began to realize that my prayers have been answered.
The answer was my desire being taken away.
The realization has brought a mix of emotions. The most prevalent for a while being guilt. Not so shocking, really. Instead of gratitude for an answer that I asked for, I have felt bouts of guilt over the joy I have felt, guilt over not fulfilling a misplaced religious/theological “plan” for my life as a woman, guilt over feeling a sense of freedom-freedom from the worry, the wondering, the need to have a baby. I felt guilty for thinking through future plans, for joyously planning travels, for enjoying date nights with my husband or spontaneous late night adventures and actively thinking about how hard it would be to do this if we had young children on a regular basis.
And then Jesus set me free from that too.
He set me free by graciously reminding me that He had answered my prayers and had allowed me to realize His answer. He reminded me that the Devil will actively fight for me when Christ is working in my heart. He reminded me that it wasn’t by chance that Sally, our granddaughter, came into our life when she did. He reminded me that we share a sweet love for each other, that I get to see her often and that we are sharing in the joyous responsibility of raising her. He reminded me that sweet friends are graciously sharing their babies with me, allowing me to be “Geege” to their children, putting me on school pick up lists. And that there will be nieces and nephews to love on one day who will give me even more opportunities to utilize my mama heart. He reminded me that He does not give us gifts and desires without providing an outlet. And then, to top it all off, Jesus gave me a gorgeous weekend in Nashville with my husband to remind me that this life He has planned for me is one of adventure, of freedom-not just from everything I have mentioned above, but freedom that can only be found in His love, in His grace and mercy, and in the joy of the personal relationship we share. Jesus set me free from my misguided thought process of long ago, from the bondage that is legalism, and in all of that, He took away my guilt and reminded me that my life, my future, my journey belongs to Him. He knows the plans He has for me, not to harm me, but to give me a future with hope.
For the first time in years, I have hope.
Hope for a future that is fulfilling. A future that is free. A future that allows me to live life to the max and to live that life joyfully.
What a relief.