Smaller and slower is how I would describe our desire for children. When we were first married, my husband and I both wanted a large family with lots of kids which by default would have had more activity. We had our first, our daughter Hannah, when we were still in our twenties. We decided almost immediately to start trying for more (within months of her birth).
We didn’t get pregnant again for ten years. That unexpected pregnancy ended in miscarriage a few days after we found out about it, we got pregnant again within a cycle or two only to have another miscarriage at the beginning of our second trimester. It’s been five years this February since our third and what appears to be final pregnancy.
All of that small and slow family time has taught me so much about God. In that longing and foolish bargaining I almost missed out on what we were blessed with. But accepting the small family that we were given has provided so much for us that we didn’t even know that we needed. We didn’t need large and fast. We needed small and slow in order to have the time and space to draw near to God.
I love our small family. It’s exactly what I needed as a mom. It’s exactly what I needed to be a good wife to my husband. It has allowed me to be a good daughter when my mom has gone through cancer treatment. It’s helped me be a better member of our church. Our small family has helped me become the best version of myself. It reminds me that gifts from God are often small and not obvious if we’re moving too fast.
In the book Captivating the author shared a story about wanting to experience something her husband had. He had gone to the beach and asked God to show Himself and huge pod of whales showed up and played around. She sat out on the beach and waited, no whales. When she finally got upset and started to walk home, she rounded the corner to be met with a shore full of starfish. I was thinking about this story during a family vacation when Hannah was not quite two and we were still actively hopeful for more children. I was at the beach and asked God to show Himself. I looked to the ocean and there was nothing, I looked to the shore and there was nothing. Upset and returning back I picked up a handful of sand that I let run through my fingers when there, amidst the sand stuck to my hand was a perfectly formed seashell the size of a grain of sand. God reminded me that he’s in the small stuff and true to his word, he’s always met me in the midst of the small ordinary work that has made up my life.
I would say that small and slow has not been easy. It’s been heartbreaking in so many ways. But those broken places have all been touched by God. Even now, with 15+ years of infertility, I struggle with that desire I had as a young woman. Even with seeing how good it has been for us to be small, there’s still pain. There’s still growth, even if it wasn’t the way I expected it to look or feel.