April 5, 2010 by greenhouse04
Picture this: a small but comfortable home with a yard, three or four healthy, happy children, a loving mother who cares for them full-time, and a wise father who provides for his family from nine to five.
This is the home I grew up in, and the home I always envisioned having someday myself. I have a wonderful family and had a great childhood. It wasn’t perfect, to be sure, but it was probably as perfect as you can get in this world! So, naturally, all my life I’ve wanted the same thing someday – a wonderful little family.
I’m almost there. I have the small but comfortable home with a yard and the wise, providing husband… but where are the three or four healthy, happy children??
My all-wise Father is slowly changing my idea of what a wonderful life is from having the “perfect” home and family to what His idea is – living a life of loving and serving others. In the same way, my idea of family is changing to include all who are, like me, His children.
The greatest disappointment in my life has been my inability to have my own children. This has been a huge struggle for me. I imagine my life 50 years from now, retired and widowed, my parents gone and my siblings distanced by time and their own families. Who will I have if I don’t have children of my own? Who will care for me if I need it, who will share Christmas with me, who will be my family? I often imagine my life with kids, how fulfilled I’d be and how I’d finally have all I’ve ever wanted.
I’ve prayed for children, taken tests to try and find out what’s wrong with me, bought herbs and vitamins believed to help fertility, charted my cycle, and prayed some more. Finally, I started talking to Mr. Green about adoption, all in an attempt to get in whatever way possible what I’ve always wanted – a child, a family, a “perfect” life.
The arrival of Jake and Ellie into our home has caused me to re-evaluate my idea of a perfect life. Having children is much harder than I anticipated. It is fulfilling to care for children, and I love Ellie and Jake dearly, but I have felt just as fulfilled teaching and counseling and ministering to our church family. In the past two months since becoming a parent I’ve experienced contentment, but no more so than when I was serving God in China, building relationships and sharing Christ with those who’d never heard of Him. I loved the freedom I had before the kids arrived to pick up and go whenever a church member needed us. I loved helping Mr. counsel people. I loved expanding my own ministry to the ladies of the church, and I had many more ideas and desires yet to be realized. I love studying and writing my own bible studies. I loved counseling at Open Door Pregnancy Care Center and being a friend to girls who need one so desperately. All in all, my life now with children doesn’t seem to be any more fulfilling than it was before.
I suppose God is teaching me that His plans for me are what will bring fulfillment and joy, even if they’re not what I had planned. There is no guarrantee that my children would be there for me 50 years from now to care for me or share Christmas. There’s no guarrantee I’ll even live that long! I love my husband so much, but he might not be with me all my life. Life is never perfect, you never have everything you want, your relationships are never completely fulfilling, familes are never completely wonderful.
But I’m learning that my family includes more than my husband and wished-for children, offspring who look like me and share my genes. It is everyone who is part of the family of God, who has given their life to Jesus and made God their Father and Jesus their Brother. I’m learning that spiritual children are even more valuable and desireable than biological children – they will be with you for eternity no matter what!
Finally, I’m also learning that Jesus is the only one who will never fail me, who will be there for me 50 years from now even if I’m widowed, childless, family-less, friendless, and penniless. He’s been there for me through this new storm of parenting. He always loves me, challenges me, chastises me, and comforts me. He is the most important, the strongest, the closest, and the most trustworthy member of my family.
So let this encourage you if your life isn’t what you’d pictured:
Is your nine to five job really a part time, weekend and nights, minimum wage job that you don’t enjoy? Do you even have a job right now?
Is your loving wife not so loving anymore, or has she left you and your children? Is your wise, providing husband someone you can’t trust? Have you even met your loving wife or wise husband yet?
Do your children visit you as often as you’d like? Do they live too far away? Are they making bad choices for their lives? Are you like me, wishing for children that for all you know may never even exist?
No one’s life is perfect, we will always be wishing for something we don’t have. So cling to Jesus as your Brother, to God as your Father, and to other true believers as your eternal family, and you’ll find that life can be wonderful even if its not going as planned.
And if you do have a loving wife, wise husband, or happy, healthy children, just consider them icing on the cake.