1.02.2014

Incredible Things Planned for Us

I read this recently - written by a momma who had just adopted her son after infertility and attempts to adopt in which other families were chosen or birth parents chose to parent rather than place for adoption:
He truly does have incredible plans for us even when it's hard to see.

I want to be clear before I continue, this isn't about this blogger, or her saying the wrong thing, she didn't, not at all. I'm not trying to call anyone out (that's why I'm not linking to it) or to make anyone feel bad. I'm so happy for this lady and her sweet baby, that kind of pure happy that seems so hard to come by as it relates to baby announcements.

This new momma, having her child in her arms, her prayers finally answered in the affirmative, she can now see the path clearly looking back on it. Her words are true, He truly does have incredible plans for us, even when it's hard to see. So many of you who have gone on to become parents have said similar words, no less true than these.

In the days of treatments and filling out adoption paperwork and waiting, we see the next step on the staircase, but we do not know if a baby awaits us at the top. It is hard to see. Rather than seeing incredible plans, we feel forgotten, left behind, abandoned to our sorrow.

When I read words like this, they sting. As I've said before, not because of the words themselves, but because they are a reminder of my own pain. Though, I've figured something else out, they hurt because they challenge me. Regardless of whether or not I ever hear the words "I love you mommy", I must remember that He does have incredible plans for me. He has them for all of us. It is easy to forget this when AF arrives on Christmas Day or when pregnancy announcements seem to multiply all on their own.

For some of us, these incredible plans will include physical motherhood. For others, it will not. Only He knows the outcome (and I'm guilty of demanding that He show me what ours is...I'll leave it to you to figure out how that's working out for me...). Our task, and what I long for is to be able to see and say and feel it deep within my bones that "He has incredible things planned for me" while I'm on this dark road that I can only see a step or two in front of me, rather than the whole journey. That I might believe and have faith without seeing.

So these words of truth, spoken most often from one who has had their prayers answered in the way they hoped, shine a spotlight not only on my own pain, but on my own lack of faith. On my own inability, or perhaps refusal, to see that He does indeed have incredible things planned for us.


At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. (John 20:29)

30 comments:

  1. I know what you are saying and so many say it AFTER they are holding the baby. I think a better thing to say would be (less stinging to us to are still waiting) is..."I am so grateful for this blessing and I never thought God would bestow this upon me." Because in reality...we never know....and those that say "It's worth the wait." Sure it is once you are holding the baby. Everyone who once was childless need (us in the IF world) need to realize and be compassionate of those who may never have a child. Some childless woman may have to move on...that was just God's plan for her. He has something else planned...that just doesn't involve children. Being a woman who has had over 10 years of waiting and I'm still waiting...I feel a little compassion from those who "cross over" is warranted...even a good Christian act. If I do get blessed with adopting a baby myself...I will be compassionate. I have been through too much not to be. There are some bloggers out there who have babies that have remained compassionate towards women still waiting...not many but they are out there. So, not everyone forgets.

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    1. I, too, hope to be compassionate. And I think our dear friends who are now mommies strive to be compassionate. I think it is very hard to forget this pain. At the same time, their joy in motherhood helps to remind me, however painful it may be, that it is worth it. That the reason the waiting hurts so bad is because it is so wonderful (and hard and humbling); that the reason the decision to stop pursuing parenthood is so difficult to make for those who do make it. However much it may hurt me, they should be joyful and relish in their motherhood.

      All that to say, I wasn't really wanting to focus on whether or not someone forgets or was compassionate or not. I was wanting to focus on the fact that this statement is true (He has incredible things planned for us even when it's hard to see), and that IN the midst of infertility it IS hard to see, but that faith calls us to see it. It's easy to see it when a dream has come true, but it makes it no less real if that dream is still just a dream.

      I don't know whether my dream of motherhood will come true or not. I am striving to believe with every fiber of my being that whether or not that dream comes true, he does indeed have incredible things planned for me. I'm not there yet, and when I read words like these, the honest reflections of a new mother sharing her heart, just as she did when she was not a mother, I am reminded of just how far away I am from this, of just how little faith I have in the promise that He does indeed have incredible things planned for me.

      (Sorry for the long comment back. I'm not trying to argue, your comment just made me realize perhaps I wasn't as clear as I thought :).)


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  2. Like so many things you write, this is both comforting and challenging! (A good combo, I guess =)) I too want to thank God for the incredible plans He has for us *right now*, whether or not we're ever blessed with a child. And I try to remember that God is with us right now (Emmanuel) - He's not just orchestrating events in our lives so they come to some perfect resolution - He's with us every moment, maybe even closer when we're going through a trial.

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    1. Oh, that's a really good point! I hadn't thought of the Emmanuel part, so true and so important to remember that we are not merely His puppets, but that He is walking this journey with us, no matter how alone we might feel.

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  3. This is so wonderfully kindly shared (and you know I'm cheering for your actual point as well!).

    I think that one of the tough things for me is that I don't believe that God has "incredible" plans for everyone if "incredible" is intended to mean wonderfully happy. Or maybe God has the plans, but I believe in the reality of sin that God doesn't stop. And I'm seriously supposed to be happy as long as I get to raise a healthy baby, because who cares about everyone else who is suffering and all the children who are starving or abused?

    So your view means a lot to me because the truth is that there is no real "incredible plan" if it isn't incredible enough to allow for redemption and hope with even the darkest endings.

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    1. Yes! And what I thought I was alluding to, but not perhaps doing well either, is that these "incredible plans" may not be something we experience in this life, at least not in the form of happiness. We trust that He does have incredible plans for us when we are with Him, after the darkness of this life. And, it is in fact our suffering, our wounds, that will shine with the most glory, just as Christ's did (do). This mystery of human suffering goes so very deep.

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  4. I like this post and can relate to it from my grieving perspective. Yes, I have held my babies and thought "God has incredible plans for us" But now, I've had the experience where I've held my dear, dead baby boy in my arms and forced myself to believe that God truly does have incredible plans for us. So, I guess kind of along the lines of Rae's comment -- incredible plans doesn't mean we're incredibly happy...and sometimes it takes a lot of work, a lot of sorrow, a lot of seeing past the hurt -- to see the incredible plans.

    Hugs and prayers to you, sweet friend.

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    1. "incredible plans doesn't mean we're incredible happy...and sometimes it takes a lot of work, a lot of sorrow, a lot of seeing past the hurt - to see the incredible plans." Yes!

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  5. One thing that runs through my mind is how almost everyone at some point in there life will go through a trial or deep hurt... Just as much as the well wishes often say the wrong trite thing, us who are hurting can do just as much damage if not more... We (anyone, not directed at a specific person) can steal the joy of others who are going through good times, we can make the less eloquent speakers feel terrible for trying to reach out when they don't know how, we can create awkwardness because others (including ourselves) don't know what emotions are going on today to even know what we can handle... Etc. recently we were at this training and we were working with a group of single ladies of all ages. Those who were older often were the most bitter of their situation and really went out of their way to make all who are married to feel terrible. In their grieving they had unrealistic ideals and expectations. Because we were there to care for them we knew we had to forgive there hurtful words... However deep inside it was harder for many of us to want to try when their pain was at the expense of anyone around trying to be sensitive. I can think of so many cases like this with other kinds of hurts, that is why we are always trying to reign in our pain to not hurt others... I know we fail at it at times... I just continue to pray others will give DM and I as much grace and forgiveness when we unknowingly say trite things because our intentions are to never hurt anyone...

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    1. Yes AM. My first reply was getting long, so I , and you said it much more eloquently than I would have. But yes, those of us who are hurting as just as likely to say or do something to hurt someone else. Being in pain doesn't eliminate our capacity to cause or touch pain in others. This was the whole reason we finally told my family about our infertility, I was getting so very close to yelling at my Mom when she said something about wanting a grandchild, and I knew that no matter how bad I was hurting, to yell at her would not have been fair or charitable towards her at all.

      Prior to infertility, I always thought someone's bad attitude or inconsiderateness was just rudeness, where now I realize that it is more likely a mask for a deep hurt that I don't know about. It creates such a different response from me than when I was thinking people were just rude. (I know some are, but I really do think more often than not it is from a suffering of some sort - either current or in the past).

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  6. Rebecca - this is such a hard topic to talk about, well at least for me personally but for different reasons. But something that Michelle said, really hit close to home for me. "...incredible plans doesn't mean we're incredible happy...and sometimes it takes a lot of work, a lot of sorrow, a lot of seeing past the hurt - to see the incredible plans." Honestly, after having 4 miscarriages and being scared to death that I have nothing to look forward to but more miscarriages, I am not yet at the point of being able to see past the hurt. But this is where I just need to white-knuckle my way through this paralyzing fear when it rears its ugly head and remember those words and to also remember that we are not the sum of our life experiences here on earth, we hope for reunion with our miscarried children in Heaven. So thank you and Michelle for that.

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    1. M, your deep faith despite the sufferings in your life is always an inspiration to me. I'm so glad Michelle's words were able to encourage you (I hope that is the right word choice). I think there are times where all we can do is white knuckle through, I have to believe that our willingness to hold on in these, when we least "feel" our faith matters greatly.

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  7. I LOVE AM's point! She took the thoughts right out of my head. We who are still waiting can hurt others a lot more than we think. We are sometimes so focused on our own pain, I am totally guilty of this, that we feel entitled for people to understand and have compassion for us. Redemptive suffering is a great mystery and it is so hard to overcome the hurdle and believe that He does have incredible plans for us in the midst of the suffering and after it (if it's ever removed). To believe this we must face our unbelief first or realize our lack of trust in His plans for us which like you stated is a challenge to us and we must decide if it's worth it to us to explore these feelings or overcome these hurdles in our relationship with God. Thank you for so beautifully expressing your vulnerabilities and your journey, it helps more than you know!

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  8. This is exactly where I'm at right now, spiritually. I keep thinking "if only I KNEW that there was a baby at the end of this for us -- I don't even care how far off it is, just knowing that there is a child at the end of this hell -- I'd be able to get through this all so much easier". But I guess that is what faith is. Believing what we don't know. Hebrews 11:1 (Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.) has become my favorite bible passage -- I need this tattooed backwards on my forehead so I see it every time I look in the mirror ;-)

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  9. Hi, when I think about the wonderful things planned for us I think that with the gift of grace and faith we are able to embrace here on earth our daily struggles with patience and great love while treasuring in our heart the hope of eternal life. Hugs and prayers on your way.

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  10. It is very difficult to see past a suffering situation when one is in one. Very difficult. That is where faith and hope come in. Good reflection, R.

    A wise counselor told me her prayer and it helped immensely during our IF, "Lord, I want what You want, when You want it, how You want it. Amen." So hard, I know!

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    1. The advice from the counselor reminds me of this quote from St. Gerard: "Here God's will is done, as God wills it, for as long as He wills it." I've wanted to see if I can find that on canvas and hang it in our house - need to get on that, so thanks for the reminder (however random it may seem that your comment reminded me to do this :)).

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  11. If only life on earth were more like life in Heaven. We'd be able to know that God truly does have incredible things planned for us, and never question it. And we'd be able to truly enjoy the time waiting for incredible things to happen because we'd know exactly how long we'd be in waiting for the incredible thing to happen. Gah! The curse of earth.

    It's too bad our hopes have to get tangled up in all this stuff. If we could suffer through IF without having to get our hopes dashed approx. once a month, perhaps it wouldn't feel as much like suffering. It'd just feel more like waiting. And maybe it'd be easier. But I guess it's the hope that makes pregnancy or adoption or motherhood all the more wonderful when it finally does happen.

    Anyway. All this is to say, I feel you. Sending hugs and prayers your way!

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  12. What struck me was the reminder that until we get there, until we have some sort of sign or answer, we don't know what it is he has planned for us. I know he has *something* planned for me, some reason I exist, but for now, all I can do is trust and fumble around in the dark. Unfortunately it isn't the kind of dark where it's your own bedroom, and you know exactly where everything is, but rather a darkness filled with unknowns that could help or hurt, which makes it so much harder to keep fumbling around.

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  13. He does have incredible plans for all of us. IF is so hard, gut wrenching at times,(ok, sometimes it feels like all the time), but I think God sees everyone as truly special. We all have unique struggles that try us, tear us apart, and then rebuild us.

    I am praying that God's special plan continues to be revealed to you. You are not alone in this.

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  14. Today I had a moment of complete frustration with a couple of patients that have certain expectations of physical therapy... And if what I told them didn't match their expectations, then they weren't wanting to follow what I told them. It suddenly struck me, along the lines of what people are saying here, is that we know that God has incredible plans for us, but if our idea of "incredible" comes with certain expectations of what that should be like, then maybe we can't follow what He's telling us.

    Btw, one of those patients didn't want to take a simple suggestion that I gave her, and after a couple of weeks of not getting better, she finally started to improve after she tried it. Yeah, how many times have I done that to God? I get pointed in a direction I don't want to go or don't think that I need to go, and so I fight it forever, until I finally give in.

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  15. As usual, a beautiful post. I think this is something we can all take to heart, no matter what cross we carry. We try so hard to judge our lives based on our expectations that sometimes it can be hard to see the unexpected ways in which God uses us. As always, friend, you are in my prayers!

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  16. Those words are hard to hear, when we feel like the other side. As in our case, when we may not be able to adopt. But you are so right, they are challenging!...in a good way!

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  18. You reminded me so much about how I've railed against my mom telling me that God has perfect plans for us. Sometimes, I feel that this suffering is not part of God's plan (but just plain, old, earthly disease) but that God will bring good things from it because God works all things for good for those who love him, and that's as far as I'm willing to go.

    At other times, I feel more willing to surrender to God's entire plan for my life, and at those times I accept that, as you have said, incredible and perfect plans may be just the suffering, without the corresponding reward on earth. At that time, I try to focus on Jesus giving himself over to crucifixion freely and I know that I can weather this all my life. I have no desire to!, but I think that I can do it by the grace of God. I picture myself free falling and letting go entirely of everything I WANT, and it is sort of freeing. I try to think, if this suffering continues my whole life, is my life still worth living? The answer is a resounding YES. Still it is so so difficult to dwell on the grace and the redemption of suffering and see THAT as our own happy ending, our own spiritual "worth it" in the absence of the fulfillment of our desire to be mothers.

    Thanks for posting such thoughtful words.

    Cristi
    (not trying to be anonymous, just don't have a blog)

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  19. Sometimes I throw my hands up in the air and say who knows what the plan is and I am not trying to predict it or control it anymore! In those moments I smile and feel peace. I have been praying for you Rebecca that you will find some answers. God Bless!

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  22. God Bless you for writing this so sensitively and honestly.

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