Today I’m excited to share the story of how the Lord planted seeds of motherhood in my life. For a little bit about me, you can head over to the “About” page.
“You can tell me if I’m wrong, but it kind of sounds like you might not want to take the job,” she said, as we drank coffee together on my dark brown hand-me-down couch.
I breathed a sigh of relief, and poured out my hesitation to my friend. It was May of my Senior year of college, and I had just been offered a teaching job in Chicago. It would mean relocating, a long commute to seminary for David, a strain on our relationship. We were willing to work through it, but the more we prayed about it, the less it seemed like a wise decision. So far, everyone I talked to just assumed I would take the job. I assumed I would take the job. I had been working with kids since I was a kid, I had set myself apart with my academic excellence and my unique experiences. And so, when we started to feel like the wise decision was to turn the job down, I didn’t really know what to do. And I would sit quiet while my friends excitedly suggested plans for my future.
David and I were just getting ready to celebrate our first anniversary. Since our wedding the previous May, we had made a home in 4 different apartments, visited 3 continents, and traveled to 14 different states. We were tired, and we felt like this decision was a lot bigger than turning a job down. We felt like we were choosing what kind of a life we were going to live. I don’t remember all that we talked about that day, but I do remember one question she asked me. “Lindsey, if you turn this job down and end up working at Starbucks, will you be okay with that?”
I was quiet for a minute. “Yes,” I replied–and added silently in my head, but God won’t let that happen.
To make a long story short, God did let that happen, and I wasn’t okay with it. Over the next year, I would struggle with depression, deep sorrow, and a serious faith crisis. Being a teacher was so intertwined with my perception of myself, my understanding of God’s will, and my pride that the uprooting of that idol in my life was excruciating and slow. I moved from clinging to God’s word to wondering what would happen if a pastor’s wife didn’t believe in God anymore and back again. Repeatedly. I prayed. Over and over again, asking the Lord for direction, for clarity, for anything. And for months, there was nothing. The silence was suffocating.
Six months later, I was still desperately praying for a job and for a way to pay our bills. Hoping against hope that some school was hiring full time teachers in November (they weren’t), frustrated that my responsible adult plan wasn’t working out, and depressed because I felt worthless and aimless. And right smack dab in the middle of all that praying, I heard the Lord for the first time in over a year.
Doesn’t make sense, does it? It didn’t to me. I was confused. Poll a few people on the street. “Hey, I’m 22 and I have a large amount of student loans and my husband is in graduate school for a career where he will likely always make a low salary. Do you think it’s a good idea for me to have babies?” People will probably 1) look at you like you’re crazy because you’re sharing so much personal information and 2) say something like “definitely no.”
But when I think back on that 22 year old who was tired of filling out job applications and staying awake at night wondering if life would ever be happy again, my heart breaks for my initial response to the Lord, for my reluctance to obey. For the way I thought about children. Because my confusion and my hesitance and the response that you get, even from Christians, when you have babies young, before you buy a house or get out of debt by following the Dave Ramsey gospel don’t jive with the things the Bible says about children.
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep,
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying–I’m just telling my story. I no more think that everyone should have kids young than I think that all women should be barefoot in the kitchen. But I do think that I was supposed to have kids young. I don’t believe that everyone who chooses to wait to have kids or to have no kids is viewing children in an unbiblical way, but I know I was.
I squirmed in the wooden chair in the principal’s office. It was June, and I was finally getting job interviews. The hum of the air conditioner muffled the voices in the conference room. The secretary sent me in. I sat in that chair confident, ready for any question that the principal might pose.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I was caught off guard. For the first time, since the day I turned down that teaching job the year before, the future didn’t look like a depressing wasteland, but it also didn’t look the way I had envisioned it for most of my life. I don’t really remember what I said; I think I made something up about professional development, but if my life were a movie, I would’ve stood up and said, with conviction, “Not here,” and walked straight out of that school carrying my wonderful secret with me.
I was pregnant.
The reason I didn’t have an answer to the principal’s question wasn’t because I saw a new future where I was a momma. It wasn’t because I had crazy early-onset pregnancy brain. It wasn’t because I was so tired of interviewing that my mind was fried. It was because, for the first time in my life, I looked into the future and I saw freedom.
Instead of seeing God’s will as a tightrope that I could easily fall off of, I saw a vast ocean where I was being invited to swim. Instead of feeling pressure to meticulously plan and orchestrate every detail of my future, I was feeling the peace that comes with trusting. Instead of anticipating all the ways that I would make a difference, I was anticipating all the ways that God would be faithful.
For the first time, instead of seeing a story where God is silent, I saw a story where God answers.
And nine months later, when his answer was placed on my chest, screaming and pink, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. For his faithfulness to change our hearts, for his watchful eyes that see us, and for the way he gives us himself.
Over, and over, and over again.