Yep, you read that title right. In fact, I looked for a picture of myself with anyone under the age of 18 to go with this post and I couldn’t find one, so instead here’s a picture of my dogs (they’re the best).
It’s not that I necessarily dislike children. I’ve just never been that girl (most girls) to goo-goo ga-ga at infants, to stare and make faces at toddlers in a crowd, or to yearn for the day I have some of my own. My husband, on the other hand, is a natural. Every girl under the age of 10 that he has ever met has blushed and giggled his way, and he never fails to get the shy kid at church to give him a high-five. It just seems to come so naturally to him.
In fact, I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to have children until I met Ryan. I pursued a career in education (though not as a teacher because that would have been way too much interaction with kids) because I saw it as my way to contribute to the next generation and relieve my guilt of not raising children of my own. And then I fell in love. Somehow my love for Ryan stirred up a desire to make little humans who would hopefully be just like him in every way. But it was still such a far-off concept. We’ll have kids one day, I thought, just not any day soon.
I was confused when I began feeling the Lord place on my heart a specific burden for orphans. It didn’t fit with my spiritual gift of administration and my affinity for social situations that did not involve anyone who wasn’t eligible for a driver’s license. But it was precisely the fact that it DIDN’T fit that I knew for sure that it was the Holy Spirit. Unlike other times in my life where it has been hard to discern whether a desire is Spirit-led or self-led, this call did not make me comfortable and did not fit with the life that I had planned for myself. I definitely didn’t conjure this one up on my own.
Some of you may be concerned that we are planning to adopt a child when I don’t relish the thought spending time with children. Here’s my response: me too. Most all women my age have some fear about becoming a parent, but my worries are a little more uncommon. I worry that I won’t like being a mom. I worry that I won’t be naturally good at it. I worry that those “maternal” feelings and instincts that everyone says are so natural will never be produced in me.
A couple weeks ago, Ryan and I were driving to dinner to celebrate our two-year anniversary, and I was quieter and more solemn than I should have been for the occasion. When Ryan inquired, I word-vomited all of the above thoughts to him. He considered for a moment and then asked me, “If those things became true – if you don’t especially enjoy motherhood the way some women do and if you never get the mushy feelings, would that invalidate our decision to adopt? Would that mean that we misheard our calling from God?”
The answer is no. God doesn’t call us to the easy, comfortable, or glamorous. He instructs us to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel and for the good of others, to trust Him, and to obey Him. Although He gives us all natural abilities, He does not promise to avoid calling us to tasks that are hard for us (for instance, Moses speaking to Pharaoh; see Exodus 4:10-12).
So, I accepted the conclusion that parenting may be, and probably will be, harder in some areas for me than it is for other women. But in one way I think it will be easier: I will have peace and confidence that I am walking in the path God set out for me. On the especially hard days, the days with no sleep and an abundance of dirty diapers, mood swings, and runny noses, I will never have to wonder whether we did the right thing. God is never wrong.