Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ideal Family

What is your ideal family? Now, come on and be honest. We all have ideas about our perfect family. Maybe it's a boy and a girl. Maybe it's three kids just like the family you came from. Maybe it's little girls because you love girly things like tutus, hair bows and dresses.

What process do we go through when we decide to grow our families?
We live in a world where people try hard to plan their perfect families with the perfect timing. You often hear people planning pregnancies around work schedules. You hear people talk about getting their house first before they start their family. You hear people saying that they want their children to be exactly three years apart.

I remember my husband and I tentatively discussing our plans for children when we got married. We initially adopted the typical 3-5 year plan to have children. After some complications with pregnancy preventatives, we began to educate ourselves on Natural Family Planning. I loved the idea of NFP but I was struck by how much time and attention I would need to give in order to be successful with this. I started to feel convicted that we should release control over this. I asked myself why are we on a 3-5 year plan? I could come up with no good answers. We didn't have our first house yet but what did that have to do with being ready to have children? I was nervous to share my thoughts to stop trying to plan or prevent a pregnancy with my husband, but he was completely on board. Letting go of that ideal time frame was incredibly freeing. I felt freer than I had in a long time.

Do we really believe God is in control of growing our families?
We know that there are several religions that believe in allowing God to be in control completely by not taking any preventative measures or medical interventions to conceive. I don't know all the answers, I just know that for our family surrendering our plan was very freeing and it felt that we were allowing God to be the author of our family. Now, three years later I am faced with being challenged to trust God to grow my family on the other end of the spectrum. Don't think for a minute I was exempt from having my ideal family too. I have always envisioned having 3-4 children and that they would be close together in age. I came from a family of two girls and we are two years apart. I always wanted a brother. I love large families. I love the chaos. I love all the different relationships each member has with each other. After our son was born, we continued the journey of allowing God to grow our family. It looked as though our first two children would be 23 months apart. I was so excited about that timing. Inside I would have been happy to be pregnant again as soon as my son was about 9 months old. Isn't it easy to trust God when we are getting what we really want? I unexpectedly lost that pregnancy at 12 weeks. I was devastated. I have prayed for acceptance. I have prayed to release again my desires to the Lord. And here we are... surrendering control over growing our family. It is scary. Sometimes I worry that I won't be able to conceive and carry again. Sometimes I start to think maybe I need to start looking at other options to grow our family. But I am more feeling the urge to release control and to allow God to grow me in the process. Who doesn't like control? Of course I would love to be able to dictate when and how I will grow my family but at this time, that's not what I feel called to.

What role does faith play in your ideal family?
I truly believe that I will one day look back on this time in my life and see God's authorship throughout our journey. I am reminded to look at the bigger picture. I am going to take care of what the Lord has given me today. I know He knows the desires of hearts. He loves us and wants us to prosper. I look around and see his mercies that are new every day. I am grateful for our son who I have the privilege of raising with my loving husband.

Here's to the next chapter...

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