As a young girl, I remember frequently playing MASH with my best friend, a paper and pencil game, commonly played by preteens intended to predict one’s future. These predictions included the two of us living on neighboring farms, marrying tall blondes with blue eyes, tending to our herd of horses, while raising our children. To be even more specific we each would have three children, for myself, it was two boys and one girl, with the girl being the youngest of the bunch. We would drive trucks, and ride and train horse for a living. Life on the farm would be perfect, and all personal needs/desires would be sufficiently met.

If only our future could be so easily predicted, dreamed up, and even as clearly mapped out as this. Often times as we try to navigate through our lives with such control we find ourselves only confused and disappointed when our personal plans and expectations fall through. We place such pressure to succeed and fail to plan how we will react when this expected success does not happen.

Around my husband’s and my seventh wedding anniversary we finally had decided to take the next step in life, parenting. Given the fact that we had the opportunity to witness many friends enter this stage in life much before our decision to. We realized we could be embarking on a “not-so-fun” adventure, trying to conceive. Both Jeff and I had decided to make a decision before we began trying to get pregnant, discussing how we would handle fertility, if we were to struggle, and at what point would we implement “plan b”, whatever that would end up being.

At the beginning of this new season in life, we made the heartfelt decision to adopt if getting pregnant was not on our side. We enjoyed the first several months of this journey and tried to make this time together fun and not stressful, however, reality and doubt began to hit. I would be lying if I said I did not experience frustration and sadness as I began to wonder about our future with the more and more time that passed. It was a future that years ago, was so clear, now fogging over with confusion and hopelessness.

Even though we had made a plan for the unexpected possibility that pregnancy may not naturally happen, I did not feel it was concrete or possible. Adoption felt so comfortable to discuss when it was just a plan that was never to be needed, but when the reality of our situation continued to hit us, adoption felt scary and unknown, yet a glimpse of hope. God began placing people in our lives who, had adopted children or were currently en route. We started using the term more frequently, as if we knew what it meant for our lives. The foreign word and concept started to seep into our minds, hearts, and relationship. This “plan b” became our primary focus, all we wanted, all we knew.

When it comes to God’s plan for our lives, all he is asking from us, in the way of helping, is to have faith in him. The day we brought our twelve day old baby boy home, was a day that my faith in God grew. God reveled his love for us through sending this little boy, who so desperately needed a family to love him, into the arms of a couple who so desired to share their love. I could not have pictured anything more perfect than this.

I recognize that starting a family and the decisions that need to be made are emotional, personal, and overwhelming. How can something so wonderful be so stressful? How can something so well thought out, planned, dreamed, mapped, feel so unorganized, messy, and frustrating? Without God completely driving the ship, we are left wandering through this scary place of life alone. My encouragement not just to parents, but to every individual, is to put down the paper and pencil that continues to map out the perfect scenario and future, it will never be perfect, as long as you continue to try and draw it out on your own. Pray that God change the desires of your heart, pray that you begin to see more clearly his plan for you, that you feel the passion for his calling. Allow time to grieve and readjust your lens on life, and make sure to submit to God’s plans and understand, that no matter what they are they will always be best for you.