Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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When Plans Change

There are things that are naturally hard for us. And we can go with the flow and get pushed backwards sometimes, or we can fight against those challenges to get where we need to go.

I took this video of salmon in a fish ladder last summer when we were vacationing in Oregon and Washington State. On our way from Oregon to Washington, we stopped at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River and got to see the fish swimming upstream. In the video, you can see that sometimes they seem to be making great progress, when all of a sudden the current overwhelms them and they are pushed backward, only to have to do it all again (see especially the little fish starting at about 00:12).

I think–and this may be wildly inaccurate–that we face certain tests in this life over and again until we can pass them.

For me, one of those tests I keep failing and retaking has to do with changing plans. 

For some reason, I am terrible at this. If I make a plan–even if it’s just in my mind–I intend to follow through on it. Now, I’m quite forgiving of myself. See, today I was planning on doing some little chores around the house–vacuuming and dusting and so forth–but I’m not doing them today because I had a headache earlier and I’m on my period and I can do them tomorrow. I’m so very flexible with myself.

But when my plans have to change because of other people, I am less forgiving. And if I know you well enough, like my poor DH, I may get angry or at least frustrated about the change in plan. I’m really terrible.

And the truth is, sometimes plans change. Definitely more often than I’d like.

Once, a few years ago, DH was really sick. Now, he is a boy, so “really sick” for him is maybe or maybe not the same as “really sick” for me. But anyway, he stayed home from work and was certainly not feeling well. We were living in Arlington, VA, and were supposed to go that evening to an event to see Elinor Ostrom speak. She won the Nobel prize in economics in 2009, so I suppose this was in the fall of 2010. I went to work and DH stayed in bed. And then, after work, I went to see Ms. Ostrom speak, as I’d planned. 

DH didn’t appreciate my going. He thought I should have come home and taken care of him instead. And maybe I should have.

I don’t like it when plans change.

I didn’t like it when our plans to get pregnant two years ago did not come to fruition. I was concerned something must be wrong within the first few months because things weren’t proceeding according to plan.

But I’ve noticed this problem I have. I’ve made enormous strides with all the plan-changng and rearranging we’ve dealt with in our IF treatments. And I’m trying to get over it. I handled our move to College Station and, shortly thereafter, to Katy quite well considering that both moves were not according to our plan. I’m evolving and maturing and getting good at this whole plan-changing thing!

And isn’t it funny that when you think you’ve mastered a new skill a little, tiny, insignificant test comes along and you fall flat on your face?

This morning, I was running a little behind what I had planned. I did my grocery shopping, albeit about 2 hours later than I’d wanted to leave the house. I’d created a to-do list that would have been completely doable if I’d not been behind but which would be tight now that I was late. I was sitting on the back patio reading my Bible study workbook for my small group tomorrow night, nodding right along as I read, “Complete obedience to God requires a commitment to modify and change our plans at a moment’s notice,”* when my phone rang.

Now, DH never calls me from work. But here it was, 12:07 p.m., and our conversation went like this:

ME: Is something wrong?

DH: No. I was wondering, could you take my car for an oil change this afternoon?

[He had switched cars with me this morning to avoid driving many more miles before getting the oil changed.]

ME: Oh. Really? I thought you were going to do it. I don’t know…

DH: I found a place. I can make an appointment. It’s right by the house and it’s much less expensive than anything I can find near the office. You can do it tomorrow. Or, well, any day this week. Does any time work for you?

ME: I wish you’d told me earlier. I mean, if I’d known, I would have taken it before I went to the store. Now I have other things I’ve planned to do . . . whine . . . whine . . . [You get the idea.]

DH: Never mind. I’ll do it myself tomorrow. Thanks anyway.

I turned back to my Bible study and reread the paragraph I’d been reading when he called me, “. . . a commitment to modify and change our plans at a moment’s notice,” and I knew I had failed this test . . . again.

I did end up getting the oil changed. But I was so whiny about it, and I made it such a chore. I suppose I should be glad I was able to redeem my failure and that this test was just a little thing.

I’m still learning.

And that evil, current still gets me backsliding when I least expect it.

*Quotation from Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, member book (Nashvile, TN: LifeWay Press, 2006), 112.

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Feeling Sheepish

So I guess I’ve been whining a lot lately. Not just here, but also at home to my husband and to one of my dearest friends. I really appreciate how nice they’ve been to me while I just keep rambling on about my problems. My husband has been so helpful in talking through all the crazy things I’ve been thinking about and helping me find perspective.

This morning when I woke up I had a message from the one friend I’ve told about this blog. She texted to see how I was doing. I guess the blog is good therapy, though, because when I woke up this morning I was feeling a lot better. The combination of blogging, talking to DH, and letting my brain process overnight seems to have worked wonders.

I think the reason I was so upset yesterday after Bible study was that it forced me to confront the possibility that our infertility might be God’s desire for us. Until then, I had been comfortable with the idea that it was just a side effect of living in a fallen world, something that happens because the world just doesn’t work the way it should all the time. That’s why there is pain and suffering–from the very tragic, like what happened to four students in Nigeria a few days ago, to the seemingly horrific but survivable, like infertility. Not, I believe, because God wills it.

I don’t believe that God’s will is always done on earth. That may sound like heresy to some, but I think if God’s will were done all the time, the Lord’s prayer wouldn’t include “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Why would we be told to pray for something that already is? That said, I do believe that God can use what happens to us–even the terrible things–for our benefit (Romans 8:28). And it is, of course, possible that our infertility is somehow in God’s plan for us. So I imagine some good will come from our infertility. And I hope I will be wise enough to see it.

I also want to thank GardenGirl at Journal of a Subfertile for having such a positive outlook on infertility in her blog. She’s dealing with the same pain and challenges but seems to choose to live in the moment and enjoy the present. I could learn a lot from that. And so I’ll try. (I’m not promising not to whine, but I will attempt to also notice the positive things while we’re waiting.)

 

P.S. Did anyone else see Modern Family tonight? That Phil and Claire were jealous of their friends who had been unable to have children made me laugh. I guess these things go both ways sometimes.


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“Pregnancy Is Such a Burden”

I’m feeling bratty, but I’m going to fuss again. Sorry about that.

Monday night I was at small group. I love my small group, and it has been a huge blessing in my life so far. I am getting to know some wonderful couples and making friends and starting to feel, for the first time in 10 months, like I have a life and a community around me. We haven’t shared what we’re going through with anyone in my small group at this point, and I don’t know if/when we will.

One of the couples in our group announced a couple of weeks ago that they are expecting. And while I do find myself often feeling sad and left out when I find out people are pregnant, I’ve been genuinely happy for them. But Monday night I had to take a step back and bite my tongue when the mom-to-be started talking about how, while they’re happy to be expecting, “pregnancy is such a burden.” She said it because she feels “slightly nauseated” if she doesn’t eat every two hours.

When she said that, my stomach clenched. I don’t know why it annoyed me so much. I guess because I feel she is taking her pregnancy for granted. And maybe because I would rather projectile vomit every single day for 40 weeks than not get pregnant. I can’t really be upset with her, because it’s not like she knows what we’re dealing with. And I don’t think most people have ever thought about infertility or how absolutely painful it is to find out you may never have children.

I guess comments like that–and so many others–make me wish infertility were a more recognized issue (not that I’m doing anything to make it more known at this point). I wish when people thought about saying, “So when are you going to have kids?” they knew enough about infertility to stop themselves and think, what if she can’t?