I am in the middle.
It’s a story that feels so vulnerable to share. Not because I don’t trust that God will be faithful to us. I have no doubt that 20 years from now, I will look back with utter amazement at how God worked so perfectly, so precisely.
But right now, I’m still walking the middle. I’m leaning on God’s promises, wading through the questions and the wait and the wondering.
That is where God calls us. To the deep. To cast off from shore altogether and fully trust Him where we can’t stand on our own.
That’s what God asked of me several years ago. To let go. To relinquish and trust Him. Maybe God is wooing you to trust Him. It may be in something completely different from the kind of trust that God asked of me, but sharing our stories encourages our faith.
Or maybe you’re in the middle of your own story – trudging through the questions and the wait and the wondering. You know God is good — you’ve sung it, you’ve even proclaimed it — but the dust of reality is making it hard to keep propping your faith up.
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This is for us. Because faith lives in the middle. But first I need to start with some background.
I was in our long hallway with an armload of dirty clothes headed to the laundry room at the other end of the house. It was an ordinary, almost thoughtless chore on a most mundane day.
If I didn’t mean for women to have children after 30, I wouldn’t have made them able to.
The noiseless words invaded my thoughts with crystal clarity.
I already had five children. Dan had wanted two and was perfectly satisfied after our first boy and then girl was born. I thought three was a perfect number and after promising Dan that a third child wouldn’t forever prevent him from going fishing or hunting, we agreed not to do anything permanent. (As it turned out, Dan did do lots of fishing and hunting and loved nothing more than to take his kids along with him.)
We got pregnant with our third child a little sooner than we’d expected, but we were thrilled to be expecting. I’d been working as an attorney but had slowly been able to cut back my hours so that I was working only two days a week by the time our third was born.
Life was going just as I’d planned it. I’d wanted to have three children close in age by the time I turned 30. No children after 30 was for some reason my self-imposed directive and I mentally checked that box off. I could now forecast my next two decades: I’d raise kids and work part-time while they were in school.
And then I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child.
Our surprise was quickly replaced with excitement but this meant even more change for our family. It felt like we were now in the large family category. We needed a new vehicle. Juggling a baby, nanny, preschool and two careers became too complicated and so we took a huge leap of faith as I quit working altogether to stay home. We slashed our budget and got used to the new rhythm of four little ones.
Until we found out I was pregnant with our fifth.
Wow. We were two over our dream-size family. Our three bedroom ranch felt full. We were the largest family I knew and the doctor was writing words like multigravida on my chart.
And while we were in love with every one of our children, we were done. I’m sure, I told the obstetrician when he asked, emphasizing to me that this would be permanent.
My heart and hands were full. Overfull on most days. So a few hours after delivering our fifth, I was wheeled into the OR for a tubal ligation.
I had zero regrets. I was too busy with four little boys and a beautiful little girl all seven years old and under. My original plan had been thwarted with two bonus babies but I loved being mommy to them. I was deeply satisfied. Good one, God. Our blessings overflowed. But we’d ensured there would be no more surprises.
* * *
I’ll push pause on this story here for today and pick it back up on Thursday.
ETA: You can read Part 2 here.
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