Fertility vs. Infertility - God's Plans And My Agenda
Who ARE all these kids and why aren't they hers?
A friend and I were chatting, by email, the other day about kids. She said she had always wanted lots of children but only had one. Her observation was that, “God must have had other plans”.
I laughed. I’ve had this conversation before.
The observation many people make when they see all of us together is that I must love children. I do, but having so many of them wasn’t something I planned. It was something that just came into being. I jokingly tell people that, in the bible when God said, “go forth and multiply and replenish the earth” I thought he meant me, all by myself!
When I was married the first time my husband decided that having three was enough (we also had one that died at birth) and he wanted to stop. I didn’t quite agree but it’s what he wanted, so he had the vasectomy. Later we divorced and I remarried and, of course, I had more. When this husband decided it was enough to have four children all together he also had a vasectomy. I wasn’t in disagreement really, it’s just that it was less expensive and traumatic. Ironically, my last one, believe it or not, came three years AFTER the vasectomy! (‘I was the one getting things fixed after that!)
Obviously God had other plans for me too!
One day my sister Betty (who can't have any children) and I were talking about this same thing. I was pregnant at the time (with my surprise child- number 6) and my children were running around the couch yelling and arguing and generally just making noise. It was a particularly bad day for me that day and I had been crying earlier. My sister, who seemed to be loving every minute of my hoodlum’s antics, said, "Sometimes it's such a trial not having children".
I looked at those screaming children and my big belly and told my sister,” It is. But for some of us, the trial is HAVING children."
I believe that God gives us exactly what we need to progress and learn. For some it is the gratitude to have at least one, for some it is the gratitude not to have six! And still, for some, the point is to learn to find comfort in chaos (this is my own lesson I think!).
For some the lesson is to learn to love your own army when you wish you had time to be alone (as I so often do). For some the lesson is to learn to love other people's children as your own as Betty has done so well with my children. They adore her. Each of us is learning what we need to, even though the trial and the lessons are hard to bear.
So many people ask, “Why does God give children to women who don’t want them and not to those who want them so badly?”
I wouldn’t presume to ever understand God’s reasons for doing things nor would I try to minimize the frustrations of not having children, but I often wonder if those who get them and treat them badly are miserably failing the lessons they should be learning and those who don’t have any are missing out on the love of children who need them even though they aren’t born into their homes?
My sister tolerates my children when I can’t bear another moment of Playstation or karaoke. She knows how to love my children as if they were her own, only she’s better at it, because she never gets tired of talking about dragons or the latest teen movie and she never gets mad when they forget to put the cap back on the toothpaste. She doesn’t know how grateful I am (or my children are) to her for doing this.
Betty reconciled herself to her situation years ago. When someone asks her if she’d like to have children she answers with the natural and unfailing humor that my children love her for. She says, “We had children once - they taste like chicken.” She also tells them that “kids are just an excuse for seeing all those Disney movies you were going to watch anyway.”
In quiet, reflective moments, she tells me that she really is okay now. She says that she’s learned to love her time alone and that nurturing herself and her husband has become important to her. And even though my mother will probably never believe this, I look into her eyes and I can see that she really is okay. She loves spoiling my kids and then sending them home. It’s better than being a grandma because you don’t have to get old first to do it!
I’m sure God has lots of plans for us that aren’t in our own agendas. However, I’m thankful that God’s plans included the collision of my life with people like my sister. The plans sure are a whole lot more fun that way – for all of us.