There is a tension I feel when it’s time to pick up one of my kids and something gets in the way. My investment in other goals vaporizes. I start feeling irritated by conversations I would otherwise enjoy. My arms and chest feel crawly, needing to move toward my girl or else the anxiety spurts out in testy, regrettable remarks. I enjoy time alone to think whole thoughts without interruption, but leaving my little one always hurts a little. I look forward to reaffirming her trust in me and celebrating our togetherness.

When our youngest was born in 2017, having four children ages 5 and under and a new house was beautiful, wild, and exhausting. I proclaimed a gestational hiatus, so we planned to pick up our next tiny one from Magee Women’s Hospital in fall of 2020, in order to work through the newborn gauntlet when my youngest would turn four instead of two years old, our previous target. When she actually turned two, meeting their many needs got easier, so we considered moving the time table up. I met with the fertility practice, but God led us to wait. We thought the reasons were to enjoy a little more simplicity in our home life and to save up money. Six weeks after that decision: cancer.

I was not pregnant when the cancer was found. That is a miracle. I have to remember that. I have to thank God and worship Him that He spared us that terrifying conflict. I have to consider that merciful providence when waiting hurts. I think so often of my brother’s friend who lost his wife to uterine cancer shortly after their fourth child was born. We have no idea the calamities that God keeps from us. Satan has only destruction planned for us. Think of the loss he inflicted on Job, when in His sovereignty, the Father agreed to allow it: instant, complete ruin. My Father has kept me from all of this. He sustains me and our family every moment. Job 12:10 – “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” That’s not just abstract humanity. That’s me. Every breath is a gift from Him.

I want so badly to meet our little one on my timeline: cursory meeting with doctor in July, unremarkable testing in August, a frozen embryo transfer in September, then if need be, in October and November. It truly burns in me like the panic of having my toddler stuck in a locked bedroom . But there isn’t a door to smash. It’s maddening to rage against an absence. I cannot safely carry them. Why has He put us here?

My only sanity is His Word, like oxygen when my fear is strangling me. 1 Samuel 7:12b “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” That passage explains how the Israelites set up a monument to remind them of God’s miraculous destruction of their enemies. Remember. I have to remember to keep moving through fear. He saved me from sin and despair. He is forming godly character in my husband. He gave us children when it seemed impossible. He gave us a family of believers to walk with in faith. He took my cancer away. These are things He has done. I cannot ever know all the grief that He has kept from us.

The long-term plan belongs to Him because He sees the entirety of the story, not me. It is His story, not mine. At any point He can bring His will to pass. In a moment. I am given only days, moments of days. That’s all the farther I can see. Miracles are His prerogative. Obedience is mine. That is His grace. His provision. Remembering His faithfulness lets me trust His promises. I ask Him to simplify my perspective. I pray over and over: Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” He has assigned to me: small steps. Miracles are up to Him. Thanks be to God.