Friday, August 5, 2011

God Keeps Changing My Plans

Let’s continue with my story. After graduating from college in 2005, I became a full-time stay-at-home mom. But in early 2008, my oldest son was a few months away from beginning kindergarten, and I was getting restless. I knew I wanted to go back to school for a master’s degree, so I took the GRE and applied to two programs that interested me– one in counseling and the other in social work. I was accepted into both programs. But during the time between applying and being accepted, something happened to change my plans: I found out I was pregnant with our second child.

We hadn’t been planning to have more children. Our oldest had experienced some special needs, and we were afraid of having the same challenges with any future children. But in March of 2008, there I was with another life-altering positive pregnancy test– and not just one test this time, but three. I wanted to be absolutely sure!

Upon discovering I was pregnant, I knew I would not be going back to school just yet. As much as I wanted to pursue my education, I felt sure that what I was supposed to do at that point was continue being a full-time mom. So my back-to-school plans were put on hold.

Let’s skip ahead to January of this year. My younger son had recently turned two, and I was becoming restless again. As I began dreaming about finally starting a master’s program this fall, my plans came to an abrupt halt– this time in the form of a few lightly positive pregnancy tests followed by what appears to have been a very early miscarriage.* By my calculations, I was only around 5 weeks pregnant. It rocked my world; my focus shifted away from my education plans as I came to terms with the unexpected pregnancy and loss. After that, I decided to change my birth control methods in hopes of never having to experience something like that again. I began faithfully taking a birth control pill and we started serious discussions about more permanent measures. And again I began dreaming of school, only by then it was too late to apply for the fall, so I set my sights on the spring of 2012.

You already know what’s coming, I’m sure. A positive pregnancy test– and on April Fools Day, of all days! I just had to laugh at that point. It seemed to be clear that my path for the time being was supposed to involve mothering. Once again, my other plans were put on hold. (You may wonder why I wouldn’t just go ahead with my education plans while also welcoming a new baby into our lives; after all, I did it when I was eighteen. Why not do it again? I’ll get to that, but in a later post.)

It’s easy to understand why God would have changed my plans when I was seventeen. The things I wanted to do then were clearly not what I should have been doing. But time and time again, it feels as though he’s changed my much more innocuous plans as well. The truth is, I have had a dream since I became a mother at the age of eighteen, a desire I truly believe was placed there by God– to work with young and/or new moms, educating them about things like pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, child development, and so on. And the graduate programs that have gotten my attention are ones that would help prepare me for that very thing. Yet each time I move in that direction, God very clearly says, “No, not right now,” and reaffirms my current role as a mom. Many times I have wondered if perhaps working with young moms is something I am called to do later in my life, but right now I am simply called to motherhood.

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this idea that perhaps my calling for right now is to be “just” a mom. And that is what I’ll talk about next time.

* For clarification, no, I am absolutely not saying that I think God “caused” my miscarriage. I don’t think that at all. Some things just happen. It is part of my story, however, so I included it here.

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