By Katie Warren
I married my husband when I was 20 years old. Young and in love, we dreamed of filling the rooms in our home with little feet, toys to trip on and lots of baby giggles. We both wanted a big family, and we set about the business of having one — immediately.
Months went by and we talked about how excited we were for the day we would learn that we had a wee one on the way. The months stretched into years, and I began to wonder if we’d even have one child, let alone the big family we had hoped for.
As those years passed, I watched countless family members and friends welcome babies, always happy for them, but hiding jealousy over their baby joy. I figured for some reason unknown to me, I must not have been meant to be a mother, and I became bitter.
In my jealousy and bitterness I took a step away from the Lord. That step made the next step easier to take and the next even easier. Before I knew it I was on a negative path, and my faith was only visible in the rearview mirror. I had lost my trust in the Lord’s will for my life, and that caused me to waste years living for myself instead of for God.
As life has a way of doing, things got rough for me for a period of time. These struggles really illuminated areas of my life where work was needed. Shamefully, I realized I was nowhere near the woman God wanted me to be. Thinking about the opportunities I missed to be a good witness to those closest to me during my years of selfishness still bothers me. Vowing to make things right, I set my priorities straight: God first, family and friends second, and everything else after that.
In doing this personal work, I found that my relationships thrived. I focused on helping others, and in doing so I was actually helping myself. Life became less about what I wanted for myself and more about what God wanted for me. For the first time in a long time, I felt good about the mark I was making on the world. I realized how richly I was blessed, even without children. Finally, I understood the meaning of Romans 8:28. I let go of the controls.
And then it happened. The day my husband and I used to dream about finally became a reality — I was pregnant. Nearly 10 years after we married, our beautiful daughter Elizabeth joined our family. She arrived happy, healthy and every bit the miracle we had always wanted. Our blessing came with a lesson it took me nearly 10 years to learn: God’s timing is perfect. When in doubt, don’t. He knows what you need, and he will give it to you, but not a second too soon.
I look at myself now and at the demands of motherhood, and I understand so deeply why Elizabeth came at this exact point in my life. The woman I was for many years was nowhere near ready to be a mother, no matter how badly she wanted to be. It’s funny how frequently life makes sense when you’re looking backwards.
I’m not sure what’s in store for our family going forward. Will we be blessed to pick up our dream of building a big family, or will we be blessed to remain a family of three? Either way, I am a very blessed woman. And even though I don’t know what our future holds, God does and I trust him.
Katie Warren is a member of St. Martin of Tours Church.
If you have a story you would like to submit for, “A View from the Pew,” contact Sal Della Bella at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-3291.