I’ve always “joked” that I never realized how stubborn I was until I got married. My momma would probably argue that we’ve known it all along…she’s sworn by James Dobson’s “The Strong-Willed Child” ever since she had to read it when I was a toddler.
I also am a plaaaaaaaaner. Like for real. And, usually, my plans work out.
So between my stubbornness and my tendency to plan things out to the -nth degree…I’d say that a weakness of mine would be choosing to have “loose hands.” By that, I mean holding my will & plans in open palms; placing everything at the feet of Christ for Him to do with what He pleases. I tend to be more like a child, holding things tightly in my fists.
Just this weekend, I have worked my way around to a new understanding of what God has been doing in my life through infertility and as He has led us to adoption.
I had a little help in arriving at this understanding from my kinders. I have 18 kids in my class this year, and they are tough cookies. I love ’em, but they have been the most challenging class I’ve ever taught. More and more, it becomes apparent that the core of what makes them a hard group is that they see themselves as the boss, as opposed to the adults who are actually in authority over them. I see it when they try to tell me “no,” when they do the opposite of what I tell them to do before the words are all the way out of my mouth, when they act like my directions and expectations are for everyone ‘except them.’
And somewhere, between trying to figure out what I’m going to do this next week to make it a better week for all of us, and between the sermon & Sunday school lesson and all the reading I’ve been doing, I realized that I haven’t been all that different from them.
I try to tell God “no.” Even when I don’t say it in words, I say it in spirit and in action when I think my way is better than what He has for me…or when I think that His commands are for others, but don’t see how they fit into my life. I don’t always yield automatically to His authority in my life. If I’m honest, I struggle with seeing Him as the boss of my life…because *I* want to be the boss of me.
So when all of this infertility business came up, my fleshly, natural tendency was to want God to submit to my will. When it came right down to it, I didn’t want to give up the pregnancy experience. I wanted to tell everyone I was pregnant in a fun way, to chase Chris around the house with a big ol’ belly (he has always been freaked out by pregnant bellies), to feel a baby kick inside me, to eat whatever I wanted because I was “eating for two,” to experience the miracle of having a child formed in my womb, to have ultrasounds, a birth story to share when my friends start talking about theirs…to have the chance to breast feed. I wanted things to tick along according to the typical “plan” or timeline that happens with pregnancy. I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, the way I wanted it.
What a child.
So God began to do in my the same thing my parents did when I was a toddler, the same thing I have to do with the kinders in my class…He began to break my will. He began to show me that it wasn’t just about what I wanted. That, as a follower of Christ, I’m not “the boss.” That I must yield myself to Him as the authority in my life.
And the thing is, He was doing it for my good. It wasn’t about breaking my spirit, or about denying me the desires of my heart…it was (and is!) all about bringing me to a point of submission so that God’s will can reign in me and so that He can be glorified.
I reached a point in the struggle when I understood Jesus’ prayer to God in the garden in a new and very real way. As I began to sense God closing the door on pregnancy, I began to cry out in pain. “Oh God…isn’t there any other way?” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to adopt, it was just so unfathomable to me to think that I would not get the experience of being pregnant. My cries were the guttural sounds of a child screaming out to “Abba.” (*As explained in “Adopted for Life”)
As I cried out to Him, and as He continued to break my will in the way only a just, firm, and loving Father can, my prayers began to acknowledge His will as greater than my own. Then, one day, they became that of a daughter submitted to her Daddy…and I was able to pray “not my will, but yours.”
More specifically (and on a humorous note) I began to give over, and commit, my uterus to God. Seriously. It happened at church when we were singing a song about committing our eyes to Christ, our mouths, our hands…everything to His service. During the invitation, I walked down to the alter and committed my uterus to His service. (Possibly the first time that’s ever happened at FBC?! Haha!) Once I willingly turned my body over to God and to His purposes, I began to feel myself heal. I also began to sense an understanding that my uterus is not part of God’s plan for our family; at least not at this point in time.
There was grieving with that realization…hard, real grief that gripped me for a period of time. But praise God, because of Jesus Christ I didn’t have to grieve without hope, or alone.
Then one afternoon, after a particularly hard couple of days, God settled my spirit and called me out of the mourning. The days since have not been without moments of sadness or wistfulness, but they have been full of a new hope for the future God has planned for us.
My prayer as we move forward is that I hold onto God tightly, but onto the “plans” and my fears loosely. I also continue to pray for Chris…as God began to reconcile everything within me, Chris entered his own form of the grief stage. I believe that God is at work healing him even now, and I thank God that He promises to come alongside Chris and I in all things, infertility and adoption included.
And then there’s the one God is preparing us for…the little baby (and one day babies) that He has called to be our children. I already see the beautiful testimony that is rising up for a child that is just a twinkle in our eyes…and I already am so thankful to God for breaking my will, so that I could freely welcome the gift of a child through adoption.
Blessed am I.