I am a planner. I am a first-born girl. I am a type-A personality. I am, in short, a control freak. And for most of my life, I lived under the illusion that my great planning contributed to my success, happiness and the achievement of goals in my life. And conversely, for all those who were struggling, suffering, bumbling along….well, that was just your poor planning. Don’t misunderstand, I had experienced some loss, grief and disappointment in my life. But for the most part, I believed if I set a goal, worked hard and planned well, I could achieve nearly anything. At some point, when I began to live as a disciple of Christ, I even threw in a prayer every now and then, knowing that Jesus would honor my hard work.
Well into my twenties and thirties, I had set goals, planned and worked hard and as a result, I was married to an amazing man, had two beautiful and well-behaved girls, living in a lovely home in an L.A. suburb and working in ministry. All that and Jesus too! Man, my planning sure had paid off! See…it works.
And then…. life started to happen. I suffered two miscarriages – it was the first time that I couldn’t work hard enough to keep something I wanted. In 2012, when our girls were 13 and 9 years old, our family experienced a significant and concentrated season of loss. We lost a family member in August, one in December, one in January, and two in February. My in-laws moved in with us. And then, the most shocking and UNPLANNED event of all: in our season of loss, grief, pain and CHANGE, I got pregnant. There are not enough words to rightly express how much this surprised us – suffice it to say, we believed this was a near physical impossibility.
And I cried. I cried for months - nine months to be exact. I cried in therapy as I tried to wrap my head around how my plans and expectations were crumbling. I cried that my life would be forever changed. I cried in doctor’s appointments as I tried to convince the doctors and nurses, ultrasound in progress, I COULD NOT be pregnant. I cried with my husband that yes, this means by the time this baby turned 18 and moved out of the house, we would indeed be nearly 60 years old. I cried at the thought that when I walked this little one to Kindergarten, someone would surely call me her grandma. I said, more than I care to admit, I don’t want to have another baby.
And then she was born. They laid that 5-pound little human in my arms. And I cried. I cried that I could ever have thought that I didn’t want this precious gift in my life. I cried that God would give ME the honor and privilege of being HER Mama. I cried that my life had an entirely new perspective and purpose now that she was here. I cried that she was mine.
Willow Rae has changed me entirely. My body, my schedule, my energy level, my checkbook, my calendar, my house, my marriage…my life. She is teaching me to enjoy EVERY season – the good and the painful. They don’t last forever, we don’t know what’s on the other side, and we may miss what’s happening right now. She is more than I could have ever dreamed but not at all what I had planned.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.