Endless Strength Header

 photo blogheader-2.jpg

January 18, 2012

Pondering the Unknowable Future

When I set out to work in my field, I had every intention of working my way to the top as quickly as possible.  Craig and I hadn't intended to have any children (I'm sure God has slapped His knee and had a hearty laugh over that one!) so we would give everything to our respective jobs to make as much money as possible so we could have lots of fun vacations and cool toys.


Having more than two children...depending on where in your timeline you have them...limits options in the professional realm.  When it comes to the industry I am in, there's a decision to pursue advancement or have a family that seems to take place all the time.  I have accepted the fact that I made the decision to be open to a larger family and that has limited my professional opportunities.  As a matter of fact, I have retreated and sometimes simply side-stepped in my "career" (for lack of a better term) in order to ensure I can balance my family commitments and work commitments in such a way that I can be fairly happy with both.


I feel like I make that decision to pursue professional opportunities or pursue my family over and over again.  The more children I have, the more the decision has been in favor of family.  


There is a part of me that wonders if I might have ever reached the professional heights I started out seeking had I never married and had children.  -----Because, you know, I might have had a wreck of a career anyway.



I feel like I go in phases with where my thinking leads on this stuff.  Sometimes I am jealous of those folks who have their one or two or three kids and say, "Enough!  I have had enough children!  I am going to move forward and know that I am DONE!"  (DONE referring to the having children thing)  Other times, I am bewildered by those folks.  Internally, I ask, "how can you KNOW?  I mean, for sure.  Like even when you know....how do you know you're right about that?"  


There is this part of me that wonders if I will ever feel the finality of childbearing...before the physical reality of menopause hits.  -----Because, you know, I might not ever be ready to be done.  What then?



I guess what I do know is this:  Having children changed what I valued.  Over the years, baby smiles, First Communions, Christmas mornings, days at the park, sharing books, and ball games and practices have all proved to be greater than a spot in the board room, overtime and networking.  


Over time, and through my reversion and the precedence my relationship with God has taken in my life, I have come to value gifts from God in the form of eternal, irresistable, goodness (those irresistable souls of my children!) over money, prestige and material importance.


Further, the idea of being done receiving eternal souls entrusted to us by our Heavenly Father, continues to feel elusive.  There are times I pray that I could receive such a sense of surety about the matter.  And others, where I believe I will feel sad to receive that surety.  Because let's face it:  the day will come when I am no longer able to conceive, carry and bear a child -- God, in His infinite goodness and mercy, worked it out that way.  


Sometimes I feel like the one-who-is-opposed-to-everything-God (Satan, himself) knows how to prey on my weaknesses; my insecurities.  The devil points to my house or to our van and he says, "See, you don't have any room.  Would you make all your girls share a room again?!?  And...you'd have to buy a new car if you had another baby."  


And the devil points to my lack of savings and says, "See, you don't have any money saved.  You can't afford another baby."  


And the devil points to my hectic schedule and says, "See, you don't have enough time for the children you have now...why do you think you could ever handle another?"

But then I wonder...why do these ideas have to be the bad ones? Just because I feel weak?



But then I try to view these things through the heart of Jesus.  And I think Jesus might say, "Yes, you might need a different vehicle, but would it really kill you if you had to drive two vehicles to Grandma's house?"  Or even, "If you need a different vehicle, it will happen, just maybe not in the form that you thought it would."  


Jesus might look at my lack of savings and remind me, "Blessed are the poor."  And Jesus might point out that our bills are paid, and no we're not rolling in money, but we have what we need.  


As for my schedule, instead of pointing out what I think I may not be able to do for my children, Jesus might point out that my children benefit from having both parents involved as much as we are.  They get to see their father after school and before he goes off to work and then have their mother to tuck them into bed.  Jesus might point out that I have time to coach volleyball and read with my children.  And Jesus might also point out that as siblings, my children obtain benefits I cannot measure as their mother.  I can pull from my own sibling relationships to see there is value in those that cannot be found in the parental relationships.

But then I wonder...why do I think these are the good thoughts and not the evil ones? You see, sometimes I wonder if I am ordering my thoughts to MY wishes and desires instead of truly seeking what God wants.



A wise man once gave me the advice that should Craig and I ever feel that we are "done" having children, as the world views it, we should take that feeling with us into prayer, in front of the blessed sacrament and also have a talk with a good priest about the issue.  


I'm experienced enough to know that whatever I am feeling right now about this topic is really not to be trusted as I am in the throes of new-babydom since Vincent is just over 6 months old.  It's a tricky time to be deciding anything for sure.  


But yet, there's the pressure to decide.  Sometimes, the rewards of the eternal are difficult to embrace in the face of the immediate, material sacrifices.


And so I continue to pray that at the very least, my husband and I can stay close to the same page with regards to the future and to what blessings we remain open.  


And I pray for the wisdom to recognize God's call - whether it be to postpone or pursue His Supreme Blessings.  


And I even pray for the grace to understand and the courage to accept that God's call may be to proceed indefinitely as we are - with the trust that we are complete - a family of seven.

Would you please pray for me through this process?


4 comments:

  1. Prayers that you discern God's calling! I know that as a single person, I like being able to have some of the things that I didn't have growing up, but I wouldn't trade my growing up for any one of my siblings. I also question if I would have been able to have more if I did certain other things. There are just no guarantees in life.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this post... I am stuck at work right now but will visit later when I have more time to write :-) Have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my gosh, yes! Yes, this is so similar to the post I just wrote! It must be that we are both at approx. the same place postpartum and these are the feelings that come with this phase of babydom! :) Great post Michelle and many prayers for you on your journey.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Michelle, I am finally getting a moment to respond to your post from last week. Our backgrounds seem so similar... When I first married, I promised my husband I would have "1 child" with him... (and that I wanted to post pone THAT into the long distant future.) We were too busy traveling, amassing big screen TV's, living on a golf course. I was 110% into my career, trying to "climb the ladder" and making a a very comfortable six figure income... work was everything... fast forward, after having children, EVERYTHING changed!!! We downsized, I make about half of what I used to make, I changed careers so I wouldn't have to work weekends so I could go to church with my family, we are now usually "broke" (or at least feel like it in comparison to how we used to live...), we shop at Good Will, (I could go on and on...) basically having a bunch of kids changed our lives and our priorities. At times I regret not having had more children sooner and having a larger family now... The joy of watching my daughters play and laugh together, warms my heart. I always smile when I see "large" families (5 or more) and think "wow, they are so lucky, they GET it..." It's so beautifully counter-cultural and life affirming, you are are definately swimming against the current, but you have so much wisdom and grace and so many blessings. I know it is not easy... Heck, a typical scenario with me is: getting into a fight with my husband because I left papers all over the counter and dirty clothes piled on the floor, my 5 year old running around like a crazy person, not listening, and us sending her to her room for talking back, then she starts to cry. My youngest also crying, then I'm crying, things are getting spilled at the dinner table, mass chaos, my daughter calling me up to help her "wipe" #2 that she accidentally smeared all over the her legs and the toilet seat, because it was "a messy one"... and then my younger pooping on the floor because I was in the middle of changing her diaper when I was assisting the other one... etc. etc. It's moments like this, when I think, dear GOD, I can't even handle this. I am a completely incompetent mother. I can't handle another kid. I am having a baby in 2 1/2 months, and my life is falling apart, let alone thinking about MORE after that? Are you kidding? Every two weeks at my pre-natal appointments, my OBGYN, is asking me if I am going to get my tubes tied!!! I keep saying NO, but he keeps asking. "Do you want more kids?", he actually rephrased it more delicately last time, maybe he is getting the point... I say, "I am open to it..." but I was thinking at that moment (internally and in silence of course) "ummmm, not really...not right now"... Well, one day at a time, right...? I don't have any really good advice to give, I'm the last person to offer you any sound advice, but I'm just letting you know I have read a lot of your blog and you are one good mom!!! I think your kids are so lucky to have you, and I applaud your strength and courage to manage a career yet put your family first and hold onto your faith the way you do. What an inspiration to me! Your precious little baby is only 6 months old... too soon to know what the future holds. I think God does have it all planned out for us, though, even if it seems overwhelming. Trust Him, and I will say a prayer for you tonight that you find peace with whatever it is that God is calling you to do - even if you aren't sure yet what that exactly means...
    God Bless!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)