Sweet sixteen and never been kissed. Sweet sixteen my heart full of dreams.
I had a plan for my life. I thought I wanted to be a marriage and family counselor. I headed to college with this goal and a dream. A dream to meet a guy, get married, have kids. I wanted five boys! My prideful heart wanted to raise young men who were fun, gentlemen, and knew how to treat a girl – I didn’t always find this in the college boys I knew! I flirted with babies and cuddled them. A stranger in an airport once commented that I must love children as I made friends with a baby across the aisle. I nodded – of course!
I was 25 when I had my first date. I was shy of 31 by two months when I had my first “real boyfriend” – I’d only gone on a handful of dates with a handful of men before that. I married “my first real boyfriend” two years later on my 33rd birthday. This man is nine years older. God gave me cysts on my ovaries while in college, putting me on hormones for 13 years before I ever got married, causing doctors to not know what that would mean for having children later. God gave me an older husband, and a wedding long after I thought He would. God allowed things that would make conceiving difficult. And He took my desire for kids of my own and gave me peace even if I had none. Complete peace. No longings, no yearnings, no jealousy of others. He gave me nieces and a nephew, and great nieces and nephews on my husband’s side. He told me to love them, pray for them, and for their parents. He took my baby flirting too… and now I can hold and cuddle them, but the desire within me to have my own is gone. I pass them back with utter peace. How strange! How different than my teenage plan!
I had thought long ago that I knew what I wanted. Now I find myself unsure what I want. College and grad school to become a counselor came and went. That didn’t seem right, and a counselor I’m not. When dating my husband, we discussed children and thought we’d be fine either way. We discussed adoption and infertility before even getting married, and made choices against, regardless of whatever came. I struggled with feeling like I “should” consider these options, until my pastor said that if that’s not what God has put on our hearts, that’s not His plan for us.
It is now four years later. I’m not living the dream I had so long ago. What am I living I sometimes ask? Why am I in social services, I never thought I’d be doing this! What do I want? I muse over and over. This life is good, and yet it’s not what either I or my husband thought we’d be, me this close to 40, and he to 50! We thought we’d have more, be more, do more. Hmmm.
My husband, my friend. Our lives now one. We can’t make decisions alone anymore. My goals and dreams now encompass another. Being one with him becomes the plan. Yet we are individuals too. What is God’s plan for us? For him? For me? I question this now over and over and pray that he and I become all we were meant to be – which in God’s plan includes unity between us, and following His plans, not just my dreams. Hmmm. I ponder this life, my old dreams, and who I am now.
And then, COVID 19. Things we love stripped from us: socializing, hugging, connecting, church fellowshipping. Easter weekend is here. No church! No family gathering! No Easter baskets or hunts! (Which by the way, I’ve decided children really do promote some of the “fun” of holidays.) No shopping just for fun. No eating out. No going for a lazy drive just because – at least while we are under stay at home orders. No friends in our home. Travel reduced. Work cut off. Finances less. Life in general right now.
I ponder all this. I ask myself: Is Jesus enough? Really enough? Enough to be my everything, when everything around is different than the dream, or even the norm? Enough when there is no other? He says He is. I say He is Lord over me. But here I find myself wanting things this world gives or wanting my dreams to become reality! (Which dreams aren’t bad! But all thing are to be under the authority of Christ over me, even dreams and life as I know it.)
It’s Easter tomorrow. Jesus died and rose again for my sin and yours. He bought my life and the right to each day as He chooses to give it. He made a way for a relationship with Him both now and through eternity. He is enough! But praise be to God who gives so generously! He gives a world full of beauty and color and emotion and relationships and delight! He gives work and meaning and purpose. He gives blessing after blessing. He allows us to choose. And sadly, so many of us choose other loves over Him first and foremost.
Perhaps this strange Easter season, this season of social distancing, and quarantine, and a pandemic –new words to our ears — perhaps this is all to remind us that Jesus is enough, and to show us just how much hold all these other things have over us. Perhaps? Oh precious sisters in God — press on to know Him. He promises to be more than enough for all we need, and to give us all we need for life and godliness! Press on, and Happy Easter!