Everyone knows that chicken noodle soup is a good food to eat if you are trying to acclimate your body back to the land of eating after your body has involuntarily been purging everything you have put in it. There is something about chicken noodle soup that brings good nourishment to a weak body.
My son, Joshua, got sick over the weekend and has been laying on the couch watching movies for the last couple days. Today it seems like he is almost back to normal. As I sat and watched him finish the last of his chicken noodle soup, I was reminded of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. These books are filled with real stories of real people. Right then, I realized why the authors named those books after the miracle soup. There is something medicinal found in hearing another person’s story. It does not matter if your story mirrors the other. Encouragement and hope can be found in sharing in another’s suffering, their joy, their perseverance, and their triumph. The stories of God’s people can bring nourishment to your own soul as you realize that the same author is writing a story in your life – a different story, a unique story, but a story with the same trust-worthy God as the Author.
It is with that sentiment that I hope my story helps you trust deeper in the unchanging God of the universe, brings you hope, and encourages you to persevere through whatever trial you are facing.
Here is a blog post I wrote a couple months ago and feel the time has come to share:
This is a blog post I really did not think I would write.
I am surprised. I am shocked. I did not think I would be where I am now.
As many of you know, Todd and I have spent the last 4.5 years (since Joshua’s birth) hoping that we would have a 3rd child. I can vividly remember holding Joshua in the hospital after just delivering him and thinking to myself, We are not done. I want another.
I just knew we would have a 3rd child, even though I had literally just delivered a baby. Those are not the typical thoughts of a sore, sleep-deprived momma who is freshly adjusting to the “new normal” of having a newborn baby. I assure you, the thoughts I had then were not the cognitive, well-thought-through type of thoughts that came from the reasoning part of my brain. We are not done was the cry of my heart and had little to do with my mind.
Four and a half years have gone by and somehow miraculously I have gotten to a place where I am really okay, in my heart, if God only planned for us to be a family of four. It has felt strange to admit that. I have almost felt like I was betraying all the intense longings and emotions I have experienced over the course of the past seven and a half years of dealing with infertility. Yet, peace is not something you want to argue with.
So in April, we gave away and sold all of our baby stuff. I had 8 years worth of baby and kid items built up and saved for “just in case.” Our basement is finally clear, making room for new memories to be made. We are moving forward, trusting in God’s good plans for us even if they do not look like the plans we had laid out.
Everyone’s journey is different.
There is one thread that is woven through everyone’s story, and that is God. He is always there, whether we want to accept it or not, whether we acknowledge him or not. He is there. And he is good. No matter how our roads may turn or dip, the fact that God is good, does not change. Sometimes that truth is really tough to embrace and accept.
Though he does not change, he is far from predictable. He is so creative that truly every person’s story is unique.
If you are not aware of a portion of our story, allow me to share. We ended up using fertility treatments to get pregnant with Joshua, and we are so thankful we did. We are beyond grateful for the gift that he is. So, after we had been trying for a while to conceive our third, we opted to try fertility treatments again – fully expecting for it to work, as it had before. We did over a year of fertility treatments only to come up with empty arms and a lot less money in our bank account. We stopped treatments over a year ago.
Just like any good story, just as you are wondering where this particular thread of the story is going, the picture becomes clear.
That’s right. On June 23, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive!!!
Let me remind you, no two stories are the same and God is NOT predictable. I am still in awe, in shock, in denial, etc. I will be honest with you. We were packing for a trip and I took the pregnancy test because I was slightly later than normal, and I just needed to make sure I should pack my feminine products in my suitcase. I was irritated that I was late because that meant I would be on my period when we were on our trip. I thought I was finally going to go on a trip and not be on my period. I took the test, just to confirm that I was NOT pregnant.
Only God was witness to what took place in that bathroom, at 7 in the morning, when I saw a plus sign instead of the minus I had grown accustomed to seeing. I literally gasped out loud and then began looking around the room. I do not know exactly what I was looking for. Maybe I was looking for Jesus, standing their with arms wide open offering me his congratulations. I looked up (because that is where we imagine God) and then fell to my knees and wept. When I felt a little nasueaus curling on my knees, with my head near the floor, I got up. My mind began swirling.
Many times I had sat and wondered and planned and schemed how I would tell Todd if we got pregnant again. Many times I had sat and worked out all the details in my head about when and how we might tell people. I had calculated due dates and figured out what would be going on when certain holidays occured and life events happened. However, somewhere along the way, God had gently put a stop to my planning and scheming.
I found myself with no plan. All I had to work with was shock. I had no romanticized plan that would wow the masses on Facebook. It was just God and I alone in a bathroom. A few holy moments of pure gratefulness before stepping back into a broken world full of highs and lows.
I decided to wake Todd up with the stick in hand and we both stared at each other, eyes wide open, stupid grins on both our faces, shaking our heads and trying so desperately to take in the reality that God has given us another child.
God has given us another child…
With all my heart, you have to know that I do not take that reality lightly. I know too many people who long to say those words. For those hurting hearts, I pray for that peace that surpasses understanding. I pray for the peace that stares circumstances in the face and says, You will not shake me. My hope and my trust is in the Maker of the Universe. His plans for me are good. I will NOT be shaken.
If you are in a place of wondering about the future (as we all are to some degree), I hope you will accept a piece of wisdom God has granted me in my journey. “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” In other words, do not let your mind (with all its desires and hopes) plan about future things until you know you have the right to do so. This truth covers so many areas of life. There will be plenty of time to plan how you will tell people you’re pregnant, plan the wedding, imagine yourself doing the job, scheme about how you will tell people other exciting news, etc. If you resist the urge to live in the future until you have a green light from God, you will spare yourself a lot of heartache and disappointment. Once you have the green light, you will experience a peace and a freedom that can not be found when we try to force our own plans forward.
If you are sitting at an annoyingly, long red light, my heart goes out to you. Since the only thing you can do is sit, I hope you can rest. Rest in the truth that the Author of Life is writing a good story for you. Rest in the truth that God is good. Rest in the portion of your story that has already been written and revealed. Your story is unique – though it may share similarities to others – it is a story written just for you. Do not be tempted to look at the story of another in hopes of learning about your own. Live in the present. Trust God for the future. In both, trust that he is good and his plans for you are for your good. I know it is easier said than done. But you know that fighting for that peace and contentment while feeling stuck at a red light in life will provide good rewards if you do not give up. Do not give up.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
“be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid'” (Hebrews 13:5b-6a).