I used to pray I that could have some sort of roadmap for my life.
Knowing what was going to happen and how to prepare mattered to me. I wanted to have a plan.
I’m one of the most type-A people I know. Freshman year of college, I agonized over switching my college major even though it would make no difference in my projected graduation year, because thus far I had only taken the required courses. I stressed over the color of ribbon that we would wrap around our wedding bouquets. I worried that I would never be able to have kids because I’d always feel mentally crippled about living without a clear plan.
Now, I realize how grateful I am not to have a roadmap and understand that it’s okay to live without a plan.
If I had been able to flip the pages of my book of life and see how difficult my pregnancy was going to be, how sick I would feel, and how overwhelming the first weeks of parenthood would be, I don’t think I would have had the courage to try to conceive. Seeing God’s plan in my life would have crippled me far more than not knowing what would happen.
When we’re living through something difficult, I think it’s natural to want to skip ahead. It’s hard to tell ourselves that everything will be okay and even harder to believe it. And it’s basically impossible to act like it.
That’s because we can understand pain. We can envision it, sympathize with it, and even describe it. What I cannot describe, though, is the freeing feeling of letting God work through me and my husband when we said, “let’s try this month.” Getting to that point looks different for everyone, and that’s okay. There is no perfect plan, no perfect roadmap, no perfect timeline. That’s the whole point. Our lives are not a book where we can flip ahead and see how everything will turn out.
I could not imagine the joy I felt when I saw my son for the first time. The empowerment of giving birth. The insane peace in the storm of new motherhood that only comes with the intense love for a child you bore.
So many times, when I was pregnant, I wanted to give up. I wondered why anyone ever chose to have kids and prayed for relief that just never came. But the night Peter was born, when I stood over him in his hospital basinet staring at his beautiful face and feeling lighter and better than I had in nine months, I just thanked God. I thanked Him that He did not tell me His plan.
Because I would have shied away from the pain and not believed the happiness.