We (the hubs and I) have prayed and longed for a big family for years…don’t get sidetracked by numbers folks (I know some of you will ask and it’s just none ya business). It was something we discussed while we dated and were on the same page about. Then came marriage and real life. We had Monkey…baby #1, the eldest – our strong-willed sweet southern belle! Whew, boy, the Lord definitely used her to show me many, many things!
- I do NOT know everything (shocker, right?!) 😉😜
- I was a very selfish person
- All my sins came wrapped in a tiny human version of me (so very scary…and sad)
- New mamas need grace – extra even because they are scared…and scared folks say and do some crazy stuff!
- If you go through life always comparing yourself to other mothers, then Satan is gonna steal your joy faster than my 15 month old can shove a bug in his mouth (lightening speed, y’all, lightening).
There were many other lessons learned over the next few years. Not the least of which was that we, humans, have no control over the conception of life. Sure, doctors have gotten pretty good at helping couples with infertility. Then there are those blessed women who can “get pregnant by just my husband looking at me.” I get it. I was naïve (Hmm, prideful would be the better term), too. But the reality is there is absolutely no life that comes into this world that is not ordained by the God of All creation. It’s true. But that’s a post for another time! I’ve written before about how it took us 3 years of trying before we were able to getting pregnant with The Booge (#2). But what I didn’t tell you was that the two years prior to that while being a new mama to a little blonde spit-fire, I had arrogantly decided in my heart when, if ever again, I would have another baby. *Oh, prideful, naïve Amanda*
I went through a lot those first two years and I didn’t always handle it in a way that honored my Savior. God did a lot of refining, sanding if you will, which made me realize just how selfish I was. To be a parent…a good one…selfishness has no place in the equation. Year 3, we had decided it was time to try for kiddo #2! Arrogantly, I assumed that we wouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant because – well, it only took like 2 months with #1; therefore, it couldn’t possibly take long for any subsequent children. Wrong! Remember how we talked about God being the One who ordains all life on Earth?? Yeah. He does. And I pretty much spent the latter half of year 3 & the entirety of year 4 questioning God and pleading with him for another baby.
Thoughts like – “I must be the most horrible mom to Monkey and that’s why God won’t give us another kid”, “Why, God, would You give that unwed teen a baby when she does not want it and wants to kill it?!” Oooo, that last one y’all…it hurt. Ripped-my-heart-out bad. Not only did that happen, but I also had an older lady confess to an abortion during her early 20s and sought my counsel. Oh, my heart broke. But you know what God was teaching me? His timing is perfect. His plan is greater than I could ever imagine…even in the bad, He is still good. He also taught me a great deal about being sensitive to those around me because we don’t know their stories. And the thing I thought was the hardest turned out to be the greatest lesson…looking into the face of a broken woman with years of guilt and shame over killing her precious baby and being able to confidently tell her – God can and will forgive you, if you ask Him. And at the same time knowing that His forgiveness of her sins meant that He forgives me and that His blessings were not contingent on my goodness or behavior, but in spite of. Knowing that if He so chose to, He would grant us more children in His time. A month later we found out about The Booge (#2)! Praise the Lord!
Truthfully, at that point we assumed that Boogie would be our last. Not because we didn’t want more (we still wanted a big family) but we were content with God answering our prayer and assumed that was that. Fast forward and it’s Christmas time! Monkey was a week shy of turning 6 years old, The Booge was a week shy of turning 8 months old and on Christmas Eve we found out that we were blessed with baby #3! Y’all, we laughed so hard! We laughed at the goodness of God and how in our simple human view we had limited Him.
After all this rambling, I’m getting to the transparent part. So, yeah, God answered our original prayer to have a big family and we were thrilled! Until I wasn’t. Wait what?! How dare she say that?! After all that you have been through, Amanda?! After all that you have seen friends suffer through with infertility, death of their precious children – how could you not possibly be super excited the entire time?! Well, because I’m a sinner and I let Satan sneak in some pretty crummy thoughts through other folks. Like…
“Y’all are still in seminary. Y’all live in a tiny apartment…how in the world are y’all going to fit a 3rd kid in there??” “Y’all are gonna have to get a new car because the Xterra can’t fit 3 car seats. How are y’all gonna afford that?” The best one came after sharing my struggle with a family member about The Booge not being the best sleeper. Her response was “Well, (scoff) if you think it’s hard now, how do you think it’s going to be with 3?” “Oh you’re going to have your hands full.” *Various other things that chipped away at the goodness of God’s gift and placed tons of doubt and insecurities into my heart and mind.
Why am I sharing this? Because it is important for you to understand that folks in ministry struggle just like everyone else. We need people who will reinforce God’s truth! The truth that God gave us this blessing and He will be faithful to provide! Y’all here is a major truth bomb – ready? Each child is a blessing from the Lord regardless of whether he/she was planned or not. Most importantly we MUST take every thought, comment, image that we see captive and measure it according to God’s standard – His Word! We cannot let the world be the measuring stick with which we gauge God’s truth…it must be the other way around. What happens when we don’t take those lies captive? When we let them creep in and instead of immediately kicking them out and telling Satan to “shut it & get behind me because my God is able!” Well, it leads to a troubled heart, unsettled mind and fear…loads of fear.
For me it’s been the last week or so, I have been so grateful for the extra help around here (my mother-in-love is a jewel!), but Satan started to put that doubt in my mind of – “well, Amanda, you’ve been struggling with keeping up with everything and baby 3 hasn’t even arrived, yet! You will definitely fail once baby arrives…there’s no way y’all are gonna survive!” And last night during some heavier contractions, I admitted it…I am scared about having a third kid. 👀😳 There I said it. (Just an FYI if you comment on this have nothing supportive to add, but only snark or criticism I will delete it…then you. Why? Because you are being a tool for Satan and I will not allow that. K?)
A wise mentor and friend said… “Baby R has been sent to a child of God by God, who makes no mistakes & He loves you both…” Let that sink in. God makes no mistakes. He chose me to be Monkey, The Booge and Baby R’s mama…not you, me…just plain me and that’s enough. Will we have a transition period? You betcha! Will there be tears…LOL most likely! Will we survive and thrive – definitely. Why? Because my God is able! 😍🙌
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8