Having just gone through hours of labor — the pain of childbirth — you are basking in the glow of first sight and first sounds. Cuddling your soft, warm, adorable newborn child in your arms, a visitor arrives…
…and tells you she’s ugly.
They go on to tell you that things just go downhill from there. They tell you all the ways their own child has crushed their spirit, ripped out their heart and left them for dead.
No, this did not actually happen to me, but haven’t we all come across those people who think it’s their purpose to warn us about the troubles ahead?
Maybe it wasn’t your baby.
Maybe it was your marriage.
Maybe it was a new job.
Maybe it was a dream you had.
As Josh and I prepared for our wedding day, we had numerous couples forewarn us about what married life would entail.
“The first year is great, but it’s awful from that point until year seven. Then it goes back to almost as good as year one.”
“You think you know each other, but married life is hard. Most couples don’t make it.”
“Put an M&M in a jar every time you have sex the first year. Then take one out every time you have sex the second year. You won’t even come close to removing half of the M&Ms.”
I got to the point where I wondered why we should even get married at all. How could all of these people be so negative about it? Were they trying to encourage us? What was the point in their comments?
Then, it happened again when I was pregnant with Elijah.
“I can’t believe you told everyone right away. Don’t you know how many people have miscarriages with their first baby?”
“Don’t get an epidural. People can get paralyzed from the waist down if they get one.”
“Get some rest now, you aren’t going to sleep for the next 18 years…or longer.”
“Life will never be the same for you and Josh.” (they did not mean this in an encouraging way)
Again, I couldn’t figure out the point in these communications.
We are currently on the cusp of following our dreams. We are hoping to be able to serve in vocational ministry so we can live out our calling, and also support our family financially. Something awful has happened to me…
All of those negative comments from people over the years, their awful predictions regarding something I hoped for, have seeped inside of me. I cannot talk about our plans without addressing the cautions that I feel people are thinking. I don’t want to give them the chance to say them, so I voice the warning and my knowledge of it before they can.
“We want to work at a church. Of course, we realize that this is a bad time for the economy and so our hopes of getting a full-time position at a church are crazy. We’re prepared to work somewhere else for a few years if we need to.”
“We’d love to start a ministry for burnout prevention in ministry leaders. Of course, we don’t have the immediate start-up funds for it right now, and we have four children, so we’ll probably have to do something else for a few years until we can build up the funds.”
I’m giving God an out. I’m calling my newborn dream ugly. What I feel that God is doing with us is unacceptable. I’m trying to make people more comfortable with our crazy, by showing that we’re being logical.
Two 20-year-olds coming together and committing to spend the rest of their lives together is not logical.
Having a baby while living in someone else’s home is not logical. Either is moving out-of-state six weeks after having a second one. Add to that having a third one while working part-time and in school full-time. Oh, and we discovered that having a fourth is never logical.
Quitting your job without a new one lined up is not logical.
Hoping for a full-time position in ministry is not logical.
Yes, I get it. We do things a little crazy.
We lean not on our own understanding, but we Trust in the Lord. We look to Him. Not to make our paths straight, but to lead us around the hairpin course He’s got us on. Hair pin turns are the easiest way to get uphill.