If you knew me when I was younger, you’d know I was ready to be a mom by age four. If you think this must be hyperbole, I’d like to introduce you to my niece. She just turned five and already has her future family planned; more specifically, the endless number of babies she intends to birth.
I met Chris when I was 27. Approximately five years after I thought I’d have my first child. This was also 10 years after I’d told my high school boyfriend I wasn’t sure if things would work for us because he didn’t know if he wanted to have kids in his early 20s. Scratch that. He knew he absolutely did not want to do so.
I share this to give you context: I know how deep a desire motherhood is. I know what a longing it can be in our souls.
As I watched my sisters have multiple babies while I was still single, I prayed I’d someday get to do the same. As I spent my 20s watching friends get married and start families, my heart yearned to be in their same boat.
For me, one of the hardest part of singleness was that I didn’t just yearn for a boyfriend or a husband. I yearned for children, too. My heart ached and my anxiety surged when I engaged with the sad truth: I didn’t just want a husband. I wanted multiple steps beyond it. I wanted it all.
If you’ve been around this blog a while, you already know I had to lay the future I idolized down at the feet of the Lord before I could move into that season. You know how hard I white knuckled my plans, my dreams. You know I had to give every inch of my plan over to the Lord before my heart was truly ready to meet Chris.
But what you might not know is this: Even after I met him, Chris moved a lot more slowly than me. I knew I would marry him six months into our relationship. I would have had his baby right then! It took another year and a half for his heart to be ready to propose. We also both recognized that, while I wanted to start a family right away, he needed time.
I had to fight against the angsty voice inside my head that wanted me to push him daily to be ready faster. I had to speak back the voice that wanted to remind him about my ovaries and the race we were running against the biological clock.
I had to get on my knees, daily, remembering to seek the Lord first and to put our marriage above my longing for a baby.
I don’t want to share numbers when it comes to how long it took us to conceive because I’ve learned it is only detrimental to all parties. What seems long to me might seem short to you. Or super long? It’s like sharing your weight. Numbers provide more shame than growth.
But, please trust me when I say this: I know how you can long for a future that feels so far out of reach for years. I know what it’s like when it seems you’ve done absolutely everything in your power to move toward your dreams, only to feel completely stuck in the waiting.
I know what it is like when you feel like you’re waiting for your life to begin. I spent a good portion of my 20s with this deep-seeded belief. Certain that if I could just find my husband, my whole world would open up. While I don’t recommend living this way - because so much life happens in the waiting - I wholeheartedly understand how hard it can be to get out from under this idea.
So know this: it’s OK to feel sad when you want something badly but it’s not in your foreseeable future. It’s also OK to feel jealous when others get what you want (but also - good to do something about it).
I believe, fully and wholly, that the Lord does not give us a deep desire with no answer in our future. The answer may take years and it may look different than we expect it to. But He is good and His plans for you are whole. Open up your hands a little bit - loosen your grip. Do not lose hope.
And, if you’re like me and mantras help you steady, a few for you to repeat:
The darkest hour is before dawn.
Good things take time.
He is working all things together for my good.
And if not, He is still good.