Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for my children. Their existence is truly a miracle in my life. But I’ve been thinking lately about something that I’m equally thankful for, and that is the struggle we went through before having each of them.
It’s a relatively new thing for me to be able to thank God for a struggle. It’s easy to praise God when everything goes my way! But in this case, when I see so obviously what a blessing that struggle has been to me, there is no other reaction than to give thanks to the God who prepared me to be a mother in His own time. To give thanks to the God who humbled me enough to love my children in the way that they need to be loved.
Everything in my life to that point had been pretty easy. School, making friends, even teaching [which ok, I wouldn’t call easy, but at least it was a challenge I felt I could control]: I could find a way to make my life do what I wanted it to do. I’d never really failed at anything. [I mean, if we’re not counting Econ 10. Because let me tell you– I FAILED THAT CLASS WITH GUSTO.]
But getting pregnant was inexplicably hard. And, ever so frustratingly, out of my own control. Month after month I wondered: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? And I grew angrier and more frustrated as the year slid by, and even medical intervention didn’t help. And then Nicole Ritchie got pregnant, and oh. That was a dark dark time for me. Couldn’t God see that I would be at least as good a mother as an anorexic celebutant who was probably on all sorts of drugs and oh my Lord that awful show with Paris Hilton– REALLY? HER? HOW IS THIS FAIR?
I was big into who was getting pregnant besides me, but this one really tipped me over the edge [obviously— I remember it acutely].
And then, finally, I gave it up. I remember waking up in the hotel room in Las Vegas with Jen, and telling her we were going to jump off the train chugging toward IVF. Take some time. Why were we in such a rush, anyway? Maybe I’d try acupuncture. Just chill out for a while.
A week later I was crying again, with needles poking out all over. And for once I wasn’t crying over the needles. I was just crying because I was letting go of a year and half’s worth of frustration and nonsense. And it felt so good.
I drove home and talked to God on the way: I know you have a plan. I trust your plan. This was odd for me. I didn’t usually just talk to God in my head. I certainly didn’t usually tell him I was ok with whatever he had in mind. And I didn’t cry. I actually didn’t shed a single tear [not even over a Publix commercial] for over three weeks. Which, if you know me, you know: that was just out-of-this-world unusual. But I was just at peace. Real peace. Not the peace that comes from knowing I’ve worked something out myself, but the peace that comes from knowing I didn’t have to work it out myself.
In fact, I don’t have to work anything out by myself ever again.
A lesson that, as a mother, has been essential. I still forget it a lot, but God always calls my mind back to it right before I can really screw things up.
And so I thank Him daily for my children, yes. But I also thank Him for making me struggle, and for using that struggle to remind me who exactly is in control around here. Some days, Mary Bullock thinks it’s her! But it’s not. And it’s not me, either.