Wednesday, August 13, 2014
When God’s Perfect Plan Disappoints, Guest Blogger - Megan Lee
My husband and I are childless.
This was neither our choice nor our plan when we got married. I had never been one who was chomping at the bit to have kids, but once I got married, it seemed the natural and normal progression of things. I laugh now when I think about our initial attempts at planning a pregnancy around my summer vacation from teaching, and how we would space out the ages of our three children.
We achieved pregnancy easily the first time, but lost the baby within a day of a positive pregnancy test. This was followed by months and months of trying again until finally seeking help. Medical intervention also resulted in a pregnancy lost at 8 weeks. Finally, in our desperation, we sought a reproductive endocrinologist and endured three more pregnancies—all lost between 8 and 10 weeks.
Completely devastated mentally and physically, my husband and I settled into a long process of acceptance and grief accompanied by a substantial spell of anger towards a God who seemed cruel and unloving. It took roughly a year following our final miscarriage to relinquish the idea that God hated or just wanted to punish us. Following intensive pastoral counseling and prayer, we slowly realized that we weren’t entitled to children, it wasn’t a right, nor did God guarantee us a shot at parenthood. It took me a little longer to realize, accept, and embrace the fact that having children was simply not in God’s perfect plan for us.
We’re asked all the time now why we didn’t (or still don’t) consider adoption. There are many reasons why, after all of the pain and heartache of infertility, we decided against that path. The main one is that we don’t believe God wants us to adopt. After six years of having no peace in our lives, relief came only when we began to completely submit our own wills to the Lord and stopped demanding that he give us children. Little by little, we learned to kneel humbly at his feet with open hands and say, “Your will, not ours.” It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I only had peace after completely relinquishing the idol of children.
I came across a quote one day from Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, and it spoke to me so deeply as to bring me to tears. In the book, Amy is attempting to give advice to the distraught Laurie, whose love for her sister, Jo, was rebuffed. “Love Jo all your days, if you choose, but don't let it spoil you, for it's wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can't have the one you want.” I’ve had to choose to explore the other gifts God has given me—gifts I may never have had time to use if I’d had children. And I praise the Lord for these bittersweet opportunities.
As humans, it’s often so hard for us to imagine that God might deny us something we want so much. He loves us—doesn’t he want us to be happy? To that idea, the late, great writer and theologian C.S. Lewis would have answered: “We will never be happy until we make God the source of our fulfillment and the answer to our longings.” God may give us that thing that we wanted so much, but after that there will be a need for more, for something else; our inner being is too corrupted and empty to ever be filled by anything other than the Lord.
· I receive great comfort knowing that I will see all of our children one day after this life ends. In many ways, that has given me a new type of longing—one that will only be answered in the next life, but one that I know without a shadow of a doubt will be fulfilled. In the meantime, I am content to follow the Lord into whatever perfect plan he has for me. We will never be happy until we make God the source of our fulfillment and the answer to our longings. He is the only one who should have power over our s
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV: Jeremiah 29:11)
Megan Whitson Lee grew up in Tennessee and moved to the Washington, D.C. area as a teenager. She worked for criminal attorneys before earning her master’s degree from George Mason University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Previously she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music followed by a year-long residence in London where she worked as a Literary Assistant. Her self-published first novel All That is Right and Holy won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Book Awards. Currently, Megan teaches high school English in Fairfax County, Virginia where she lives with her husband and two greyhounds.
Attorney Landon Kingsley never fails to meet expectations or fulfill responsibilities, living a well-ordered life in his hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee. Recently engaged to the beautiful nursing student, April May, Landon’s new fiancée is everything he could want in a wife. She is devoted to her faith and family and truly loves him.
April’s cousin, Ella Casey, has returned to Kingsport after ten years of pursuing stardom as a country music singer in Nashville. Ella’s failed career and affair with a married music producer scandalizes her in the eyes of the town, but her legal troubles drive her to Landon for help. Landon finds himself increasingly attracted to Ella and more discontent than ever with the path he has chosen for his life. Amid a firestorm of family and town gossip, Landon is tormented by his past and the complicated decision of whether to listen to God’s voice or follow his own desires.
A retelling of Edith Wharton’s classic novel The Age of Innocence, Song from the Ashes, explores the struggle with contentment in marriage and the dilemma between striving for personal happiness versus acceptance of God’s perfect plan.