Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let's Get Personal Part 2

If you haven't read yesterday's post, you should go there and do it, because otherwise this is just gonna seem weird.

I enjoyed reading your comments yesterday. I had no idea so many others were going through similar situations. I should warn you this is my longest post ever. Get some coffee and sugary nourishment before you settle in. It's a journey I'm glad to share, and one I need to record for my own sake as well...I'm likely to find myself back here some day.

I think the details are important because, as I've said before...God is in the details. He doesn't show me the details up-front. Just a small, teeny-tiny glimpse of the very next step. He knows I spook easily, and to keep me on course I can't know very much about His plans. My mind is just too small to be able to wrap around them. But once those plans are played out, He turns me around and throws the doors wide open for me to see...and each time, I just stand there in awe, uttering now I get it...sorta.

Early on in our marriage Ben and I both agreed that four sounded like a good number. The pregnancy with our first born, Noah, came as a bit of a surprise. A little sooner than we'd planned, but not shocking. When Noah was 7 months old I discovered I was pregnant with Eli. That was a shocker. I cried for a good week or two just from the sheer shock of it. But God proved faithful, and the girl who never wanted kids really close together got them anyway. And I wouldn't change it for anything.

By the time Eli turned two years old I was ready to try for another. Along came Jake, three months before Eli turned 3. Because my first two were only 16 months apart, I thought that the gap of almost 3 years between Eli and Jake was HUGE and would certainly make it easier.

I am and idiot.

Three rocked my world. I had a 4 year old, 3 year old and baby. Jake was a couple months old when the opportunity arose for Ben to pastor in tiny town. At the time, it didn't seem like difficult transition at all, but as I look back I see things I was oblivious to at the time. Over the course of Jake's first year of life I became more and more convinced that three was good. Three was plenty! Three was all I could handle by myself in the church pew every Sunday morning and Sunday night while my husband preached.

And to further convince myself I convinced everyone around me as well. Whenever the topic of more kids came up I gave a hearty no way and a lengthy list of reasons as to why this pastor's wife was busy enough.

And then the boys got older...and physically less exhausting for me. And that feeling that I talked about yesterday...or wondering, settled in. And I began to question what the desires of my heart really were, and it brought me to my knees before the One who knows what those desires are.

I mentioned yesterday that in my head I had sorted out all of the possible options. Ben and I talked at length about each one, but it always boiled down to the same thing...

  1. Doing something permanent, at this point in our lives, just didn't settle well with us. I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I might later regret it. That someday I might think...did God want us to have one more and we missed out on that life because I wanted a decision made right. now?
  2. The idea of purposely trying didn't settle well either because I was very content with our three wonderful little guys. Our family didn't feel like it was lacking, in fact, it felt quite full. I didn't know if I wanted to be pregnant again...and all that entailed, losing all the weight afterwards in particular. Maybe three boys was exactly what God had planned for our family.
Ben suggested we just do nothing. I may have had a panic first. But the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I felt like maybe that might work. If God wanted to move during that time, He would. And if He didn't, then we would know that three was exactly the number planned. We made this decision last October.

So for October, November and December I was completely paranoid. I bought pregnancy tests from The Dollar Tree (oh you know the store, where EVERYTHING is a paranoia made me buy in bulk ;) I freaked the few days before my period was due...because I really, REALLY wasn't ready to get pregnant. Ben, and my running partner Billie deserve a lot of credit...they were the only ones privy to my paranoia. :)

By January I began to calm down some. It's also when we needed to decide if we were going to go through with having a foreign exchange student for the following school year. I knew that either an exchange student or a baby would be ok...but not both. Again, we weighed the options. What if I got pregnant before she arrived? Would we have to back out? Should we not go ahead with it because of the possibility of getting pregnant? We didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it...we needed to pick a student soon in order to get first dibs. We had such a peace about Julie, that we knew we were to go ahead with it...certainly God wouldn't give me both. Certainly.

Then, in February or March He planted the idea of the 1/2 marathon. Billie used to tease me that I might get pregnant and be able to which I replied that I was quite certain I wouldn't get pregnant now, after all God had inspired this race for me...I knew He was behind it, and He'd definitely make me finish it. He certainly wouldn't call me to it and THEN have me get pregnant. So, it became a non-issue for awhile and I focused on my family and the running.

And that's when I felt a huge weight lifted from me. For so long I had been carrying the burden of what to do about the whole family planning issue. When I finally handed it over, and stopped freaking out, I found the freedom that He desired for me. I learned to be content in the uncertainty. I gradually learned not to freak out every month because I didn't know what was in store. I just lived life. Plus, with the boys we had gotten pregnant pretty quickly. The fact that we hadn't yet made me quite certain that it was God's way of telling me our family was complete.

Along comes August. Julie is here and We're three weeks out from the race. It's a Wednesday and we're due to have a 9 miler that Saturday. And for some reason it suddenly dawns on me that my period should have probably started already. I make a quick phone call to Billie (because your running partner keeps track of these sorta things) in hopes that she can convince me that I'm totally off on my days. She convinces me...but not that I'm off ;)

Two test later, I was certain. And amazed. And completely and utterly confused about the timing. After talking with the Dr. she gave the go-ahead to finish the half marathon as long as I could stay hydrated, and I thought wow...God's doing both.

The 9 miles that Saturday went great. The 10 miles the next Saturday went slower, but I felt good about it. I knew I'd be able to finish the half.

Thursday before the race the barfing began. No stopping in sight. By Friday night I had Billie pick up my registration packet, but I knew I would not be able to run it. Saturday morning I went and cheered Billie on...fighting back tears. We'd trained together, we were supposed to run together. I couldn't figure out why God would call me to train and then not let me run.

Later I realized that I'd only assumed the race was part of the deal...what He had called me to was the training, the discipline and the obedience. His timing wasn't was perfect. Without those lessons, learned literally through sweat and tears, I wouldn't be ready for this baby. I wouldn't have been ready for 16 weeks of nausea and barfing. I wouldn't have been ready for both a baby and an exchange student. What seemed like terrible timing was actually His perfect timing. But I am not exaggerating when I say His way of doing things is never how I think it's going to be.

The story is never finished. I have no idea what tomorrow holds...or the next minute for that matter. For now, I know that in April, Lord willing, we will bring home baby #4. And boy or girl...God has planned it. And most likely, over time, we will find ourselves back to the familiar question....are we done yet? Because really, like my mother in law says...what's one more?!? :)


  1. I love this part ... so true in any kind of {situation} we seem to be going through.

    {What seemed like terrible timing was actually His perfect timing. But I am not exaggerating when I say His way of doing things is never how I think it's going to be.}

    And although I am not expecting another baby ... I totally get everything you just wrote.

    Thanks for being you Sarah!

  2. Beautiful story. Lots of lessons to be learned here, even if I'm not having another baby ;-)

  3. I love that you shared the details -- I don't mind a long post when it's got as much good stuff in at as this one does :)

    I've often wondered who we're kidding when we say birth "control" -- because we know God is far more in charge of creating or preventing life than we could ever hope to be. And doesn't the Bible say children are a blessing? If God wants to bless us with another child, why would we refuse it? Like I said yesterday, my husband and I've wrestled with this -- b/c I don't know that I want to have 18 kids Duggar style -- but I struggle with how the issue of family planning fits in with my belief in God's sovereignty.

    A tricky thing, and like you said yesterday, everybody's got to come to their own conclusions. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  4. Beautiful. =) I have a friend who is adopting two little girls from the Ukraine, and one day at church I asked her if she wanted to start training for a half-marathon with me...Turns out just earlier that week she had discovered she was pregnant...AND adopting, both happening around the same time. It's so cool, and I know she freaked out at the time, but I know she's excited about having her April baby -- it's going to be a girl as well. =)

  5. Loved it!
    What a sweet, awesome story to share with your son or daughter one day.:)

  6. Sarah, thank you for being so open and honest. This was an amazing testimony. You've GREATLY encouraged me today.

  7. AWESOME!!!!!


  8. thanks for sharing your story, Sarah! It was so wonderful to see God moving in your life! very encouraging!

  9. Sarah -- This is an awesome post! What a testament to obedience to God.

  10. THis is such a great post. I totally appreciate your honesty and transparency. I didn't read your post yesterday, but now I must go back and read it! I've kicked around the idea of another baby too, but can't get myself to 'give in' to it. I feel like I'm being pushed to make some decision. Either have another baby already or do something so I certainly won't. I don't think having another baby is in my future, but on the hand, I'm not ready to do anything permanent.

    Ahhhh...the back & forth in my own mind makes me crazy sometimes.

  11. Loved reading about this!
    Thanks for sharing, it helped put it all together for me. I was always feeling bad for you that you trained so hard and never got to run, but now I see how God was working it all out so perfectly. So happy for you guys!

  12. This is an awesome story....your mother in law said 'what's one more' several times, didn't she ?! Hehehe :) I doubt she'd give a single one back :) Although with Ethan there may have been moments!
    God's plan is awesome when we let Him write the story, isn't it?

  13. I'm so excited for #15!

    And this was all very thought-provoking for me, as a mother who is just getting started.

  14. I can relate with this post in many ways. We spent the past year doing a lot of praying and talking about whether we wanted to go for a fourth or were content with our three. I thought I knew what I wanted, then wasn't sure, then thought I knew, then wasn't sure...

    as I mentioned in an earlier comment on an earlier post... I too am expecting my fourth. And while there are still times when I am a bit nervous about the changes he or she will bring, I am so excited to see God's design for our family play out.

  15. Wow, I'm so in your shoes. We have three boys and I just didn't know if a fourth was in sight or not. My husband wasn't really wanting another, but neither of us were ready to do anything permanent. My boys are 6, 4, and 1. I started praying back in June that God would either take away my desire for another baby or help my husband and I to agree on wanting another. And then several weeks later, my husband starts talking about having another baby! Haha. We are praying for God's timing in this as well. :)

  16. Awesome Sarah - I am so glad you took the time to write all of this out. Four is a great number by the way. :) It's super busy, but I really love having four. We feel at peace about our family being complete and I just love to read about/hear about how God is working on others lives.

  17. Sarah, your heart is so beautiful.

  18. I love this. And now it helps me put my own disinclination to do anything permanent into perspective. I've joked about it with my husband, but really, I don't want him to get anything done. Not yet. Even if my baby is 5!

  19. Thank you for sharing Sarah!
    I'm still confused, but that has nothing to do with you...I just wish, what one of the other gals said "Give me a clear answer or take away my desire..."

  20. Uncertainty...It is a great teacher. Sacrificing our comfort and plans on His alter is, I believe, one of the greatest acts of worship there is. And to have *peace* in the face of uncertainty only comes from a loving heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing this story. You were right: God WAS glorified in the details. :-)

  21. Thanks for sharing this story, Sarah! What a blessing to have a Sovereign God!

  22. That's a cool story, Sarah. I loved reading the details. I see God in them.

  23. Thank you for living transparently for us. I've been thinking about this {lesson}

    You spoke RIGHT to me heart.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  24. Good post! I'm in a similar situation as you were before the half mary training. Wondering, freaking out...trying to just let things take their course! Love you!

  25. Fabulous story shared from your heart. Thank you!

  26. So blessed to find your blog today. I have 3 boys, and 2 of them are Noah & Eli! I pray you & your sweet family have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

  27. This is a great post.
    I have to ask though, if you were not pregnant now, do you thing you would still be worrying about it?
    What I mean to say is, when the pregnancy happened, was it just "the answer". What if you didn't get pregnant for another three years? Do you think that it would still not be an issue?
    Please don't read those questions as harsh. They are not ment to be. Just honest questions from struggling with those same things.

  28. Tamara: Good question. I think if I had not gotten pregnant I would still think about it, as in it was still an option hanging out there, but I don't think I would be consumed with it like I was before. The past several months before getting pregnant I was actually quite sure it was God's way of saying we were done...I'm guessing I would have continued to assume that had we not conceived. And although this pregnancy brings a sense of closure for right now, it doesn't mean I won't find myself right back at the door-step of that old familiar issue. :)

  29. No words, just tears.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  30. ok, i have to admit that i read this post the moment you posted it...but why did i not comment? it is just so personal an issue, that you let us in on, AND that we are struggling with too! i really am still unsure of what to say, except...thank you so very much for sharing so graciously!! i'll keep you posted ;)

  31. Thank you for sharing your journey Sarah. (hugs)

  32. Thank you. What a blessing your posts were. :)

  33. These two posts were so meaningful to me because I am in that spot you were in a year ago. I'm asking myself all the same questions and the thought of another baby is constantly on my mind. I know God is doing something in my heart. I loved reading your story, and I'm so looking forward to meeting your Baby #4 in a few months!

  34. I had a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 1 year old when I found out I was pregnant again. Though we weren't actively preventing it we weren't actively trying either (marking the calendar, etc) and discovering I was pregnant left me MORTIFIED. And all the "don't you know what causes that" comments didn't help either! :) So I totally get your testimony and I will completely agree: His timing PERFECT and His gifts BEAUTIFUL. Even when you're not sure it's what you wanted or asked for! ;-)


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