Last week was my daughter’s 3rd birthday in heaven. Like always, it was a difficult day/week/month to walk through, and her anniversary always makes me think about how different my life looks from what I dreamed that it would be. Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a missionary and changing the world for Christ. I went to a Christian college and majored in Biblical Studies with plans of heading to seminary when I graduated. I hoped to get married one day and dreamed of falling in love, but I never had specific dreams of becoming a mother. I assumed that I would one day have children, but my focus was on sharing the Gospel with the world.
However, God had very different plans for me. I met my husband my Freshman year of college and ended up getting married before I graduated. I finished my degree online the next year, and a few weeks later, I got a positive pregnancy test. It was a huge shock to me! I was excited to become a mother, but I was also terrified of how much my life would change. Matthias came 9 months later, and my heart exploded with a new kind of love that was deep, powerful, and nurturing. When he was about 9 months old, I was ready to try for another baby. I really loved being a mother and I could see that motherhood was a mission field in its own right. It felt like this was my new calling. We soon got pregnant with Hope, and I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl. My plan was to have all my children close together so we could just power through the baby stage all at once. I dreamed of having 5 or 6 kids because, after all, weren’t Christians supposed to have big families? Wasn’t I supposed to have a quiver full of arrows for the Lord?
When Hope died, it felt like my dreams were slipping through my fingers like sand. Not only had I lost a child, but I had also lost my entire life plan. I questioned whether God was punishing me; I wondered why He would take a baby away if children were a blessing. Did I not deserve the blessing? I immediately tried to fix the situation by telling myself that I could get pregnant again quickly, which would still allow my children to be close in age and my plan would still work. I did get pregnant again, but unfortunately, I lost that baby at 9 weeks. That moment was when I realized that my plan was destroyed; the waves had crashed down, and my castle had been utterly ruined. I felt like I was just sitting alone, surrounded by the wreckage of my dreams.
I constantly asked myself and God, “Why does that woman get to have so many children, but I can’t even have two?” “Why did you ruin my dreams?” “Why don’t you want me to have a big family?” One day, I was convicted by a passage in John. John 21: 20-22 states, “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
A few verses before this, Jesus had told Peter that he was going to be martyred for following Christ. That’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, so Peter looks around, sees John, and asks, “What about him?” Essentially he is asking, “Why do I have to die? What about John? Will his life be hard too?” And Jesus basically says for Peter to mind his own business. If Jesus wants John to live a long life for God’s kingdom and wants Peter to die for His kingdom, that’s up to Jesus. It doesn’t mean that He loved one disciple more than another. God wanted to use both disciples’ lives for His glory, and in Peter’s case, that would include immense suffering, even unto death.
When I view my life through the lens of this passage, I understand that I don’t have the right to question why God gave certain women more children than others. I don’t get to question His plan or His motives. Instead, I can rest assured that He is good, He loves me, and His plan is for my good and His glory. My dreams, while seemingly beautiful, were not part of God’s greater plan. He wanted more for me; He wanted for me to become more like Christ. In order for me to become more like Christ, I had to endure the intense suffering of child loss. But for others, it will require something different. It might be financial hardship, sickness, conflict, depression, etc. Whatever it may be, trust that God has your best in mind. Trust that He is transforming you into the person He has called you to be. Don’t compare your lot to those around you. Keep your eyes on Jesus and believe that His plan, even when it doesn’t feel good, is ultimately the best plan for your spiritual and eternal life.
Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January). She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano. She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia. She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.