the way i thought it would

I don’t know when I wanted to become a mother but I’ll find pictures in family albums of me breastfeeding my dolls. Likely, copying my mother who would’ve been breastfeeding my baby sister at the time. By grade five, I knew I wanted to adopt. The only reason I know this is because I remember going on a family trip to Toronto and my Aunty Siobhan asking me what my ambitions were. If my memory serves me correctly, I was quite positive I was going to marry rich and adopt a bunch of kids.

Friends have asked me if I would ever have kids of my own. Usually, I respond, no. I just first there are so many kids who need homes. Why have another one when you could help one who’s already living? Mind you over these past couple years, I’ve become more and more curious about it and wondered if I ever could do it. Could I be a mom? One that grows a baby in her belly and watches it stumble around every year after?

I don’t know but a couple of years ago, I started to look into fostering. I wasn’t sure about marriage yet. And it would be much easier to foster and stay home with a baby if I had a husband. I thought I found the man I was going to marry but I was hesitant and in the end, he didn’t choose me. But I still wanted to be a mom. So I went through the training to become a foster mom on my own. At the beginning of the program, I was mostly curious but by the end, I was in love. I want very much to be a mom. A foster mom.

But nothing was lining up. I didn’t have enough income to properly support kids on my own. Parents get some money from the government but the money is meant for the kids. Not for the parents to spend. And I couldn’t find the right place to begin or to start a home. And being a single mom is hard. It would be easier if I could get married. But things weren’t working out in the area of romance. There was also the problem of me finishing school which I was struggling with. Not necessarily with grades but university is a weird place to be a Christian. I also wasn’t sure I was called to be a teacher full-time. I love school and I love being a sub but I’m not sure I’m made for full-time teaching. Anyway, there were a couple of difficult scenarios that pushed me to the brink so I dropped out twice. Most of this journey was recorded in my blog, “Desert Design Writing” which was inspired by the story of Gomer in the book of Hosea. She was a prostitute that Hosea, the prophet, had married. God used Hosea to show His love for the Israelites who proved to be unfaithful. There’s this one part where God talks about taking Gomer to the desert to win her back again. It’s a very romantic passage and I’ve always been enamoured by it. So that’s where “Desert Design Writing” came from.

Coupled with at least three failed semi-romances, I tried running away twice. When I think about it now, I think I believed that if one dream didn’t work, then God must have another one for me. So I tried to go back to Los Angeles, where I was turned back at the border. A couple years later, I ran to Toronto, where I literally lived by faith, trusting God would lead me and provide. I felt like Hagar from the Bible running into the desert. Or from “The Stone Angel” by Margaret Lawrence (inspired by the story of Hagar). But when I was in Toronto, I learned I didn’t need a husband. Jesus was good enough and He took good care of me. I was in TO for about nine months which oddly felt like I was “coming to term” as I was eventually expelled back to Regina.

Whenever my mom told me the story of my birth, she said it was a very difficult labour. Arden, my younger sister came out ‘like a goose poop’ [mom was a nurse so this coloured terminology was rather common in our house]. Where Arden was ready to go, I seemed to linger and refused to leave so the eviction from her womb was a bit of a battle.

My time in Toronto felt like a difficult labour. Or what I imagine labour to be like.

It sounds so cliche but I had all these broken dreams and disappointments. But I didn’t realize they were broken. I just knew I needed to keep pressing on. I knew Jesus was there even in the midst of the loss but I don’t think I properly mourned everything that fell apart.

Yesterday, I did.

My church is doing this prayer thing. One of the women sends out a prompt almost daily and we pray. One day the prompt was to write down our prayers as a way to focus. I tried. But I kept avoiding the Lord, saying, I just have to put on a little concealer… Hold on, Jesus, I’ll be right there. Just need to grab a coffee from Starbucks… Just need to run to the bathroom… Oh and maybe check Facebook for a second.

By the time, I finally sat down to write and pray, my thoughts were all disjointed. I wrote bullet points of every thought that popped into my mind. Every lie I was believing and hoped that Jesus would show me what was wrong. Was it my sin? I had been confessing a lot of it. Usually that brings me freedom but there was still a heaviness. So I kept writing all these thoughts down and I think I realized mid-way through that I was sad that life didn’t go the way I thought it would.

I didn’t think mom would die so young. I didn’t think other family would die either. Nor did I think they would choose to die an assisted death. I didn’t think I would drop out of school twice and then finish it later. I didn’t think I’d live to see a pandemic.

But worst of all, and perhaps more selfishly, I thought I’d be married by now. I thought I’d be a mom. I thought I’d have a baby. Maybe it’s the social isolation talking but I’ve never wanted a baby so bad in my life. And I was heartbroken that I didn’t have one of my own and I didn’t have the foster babies I thought I would.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I tried to write another blog post and I tried to make a list of thankful things but I could barely finish the bullet points in the prayer journal without breaking down. So I went for a drive and sat in my car. I recorded my thoughts verbally into my phone. Wondered if I should share it. Decided not to.

Came home. Slept for an hour. Earlier that day, I saw this ad for a documentary called “Free Burma Rangers” about this missionary family that works in war-torn countries. I watched it that evening and it was the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long time. I actually watched it twice that night and will probably watch it again today.

This morning, I cried again over no baby but I suppose the documentary reminded me that God is working and I can trust Him even when things are hard. And that maybe my plans haven’t gone the way I thought they would but I do believe Jesus can make something beautiful out of this mess.

I don’t know what that is but I’m just going to trust Jesus will work this out. Maybe I will have a baby one day. Or maybe I won’t. But I believe God will work it all out for good one day. Even if I can’t see it today.

Thankful things:

  1. I am halfway through Northanger Abbey and enjoying it very much.
  2. A couple of friends have agreed to help me with another writing project. I’ll launch it after I finish my Northanger Abbey project.
  3. The sun is shining.
  4. I will go for a walk today.
  5. I’m learning how to lose weight in a healthy way and lost another pound this week.
  6. I had great conversations with a number of people this week. It was bucket-filling.
  7. It’s spring! I’ve heard some people say that they don’t like spring because it’s muddy and everything is gross but it’s my favourite season because new life is popping out of everywhere. A friend and I saw new branches on a tree with little buds of green. The new branches were kind of yellow in comparison to the dead branches near by but it was so bright and hopeful.
  8. An older couple were having a picnic in the park. They put out a tablecloth and everything. It was so beautiful. Just the two of them together. Old and in love.
  9. It’s a new month with new Justin Timberlake memes!
  10. Jesus is good, even when I can’t see or understand what He is doing. I know He is good.