I work as the director of Children Youth and Family Ministry. This basically means that I am in charge of spiritual development and programming for all ages cradle to grave at my church. A large part of that has to do with working with children. Lining up and finding Sunday School Curriculum, providing solid Wednesday Night programming for our elementary students and working with the kids at our Early Childhood Center. Our center has children age infant through pre-K. I love being able to be in the classrooms as I teach Jesus Time. I love visiting the kids during lunch. I love it so much but it is also challenging at times.
Everywhere we look (I say we because Adam struggles with this too), there are always children and babies. Isn’t that the case with all couples trying to conceive? New enrollment of infants at church, yet another high school classmate with a facebook announcement and seeing those shoppers with screaming kids at the supermarket.
Don’t get me wrong we can be happy for others (and i’m not saying that if you post about your kids our world will fall apart) but it is just hard. It’s also hard when well meaning friends offer unsolicited advice “relax and let it happen” or “it will happen when you stop trying” — like when your friend’s cousin’s niece’s wife’s aunt’s boss tried to get pregnant for a year. It doesn’t work that way, and it just implies that it is somehow its my fault…like we are infertile because we are stressing too much. I know they are well intentioned but it’s still frustrating. To that here’s what I say to you: best thing you can say or do is not offer advice or send research reports, but best thing to do is listen and say, “I’m sorry you are going through this”.
With kids everywhere Adam I came to a place of bargaining. For me I was so mad with God that we had followed God’s path, waited until marriage, waited for good jobs, and done it otherwise “by the book” and ended up comparing ourselves to others. Our prayer life became “God give us a baby” and each month God would say “now is not the time”. We started to question what his plan was, were we doing something wrong? Is there something we are supposed to do before this happens?
As angry as we were we also drew closer to God and stronger in our devotional life. We focused back on God and tried to find the good that he was doing in our lives rather than “I lack this, please give us this”. I remember Adam one evening as we did devotions before bed ask me what the purpose of having a child was. I gave him the “look” as I sat in frustration. His gentle spirit spoke explaining that the purpose of a child is not a means to the end. That if we were having a child, just to have one we were missing the point. That having a child meant having him or her be part of God’s plan, that God would use him or her to point others to Christ. That having a child is not the end of the process but the start of a time to pass on our faith.
Adam is good at that. Keeping me grounded when i’m irrational. Maybe it’s because he’s a less hormonal or simply that he’s a boy but I’m grateful for him. Until then we cannot avoid the supermarket, or be bitter as another couple welcomes a joyous bundle, until then we hope and smile and press on wearing the armor of God and boldly as a follower of Christ.