It's such an amazing thought that I get to spend the rest of my life with my three favorite people on the planet. Derek and I recently celebrated 18 years of marital bliss! Our sweet Caroline is 16 and Kate is 7. There is not one aspect of my family that has turned out the way I thought that it would. We all grow up with preconceived ideas about what our lives will look like. I have yet to meet a single person who's life looks exactly how they thought it would look.
We'll start with Derek. Derek and I met and married in 5 months! Crazy, I know. I had always thought that you needed to date for at least a year and then be engaged for around 6 months. Well, Derek and I were talking about marriage on our third date! Another aspect that was unplanned was the fact that Derek had been married before me. His first wife was killed three years before we met when they were hit head-on by a drunk driver. She was seven months pregnant. Wow, that's a lot to take in for a 23 year old girl who had spent years praying for her husband, thinking we would experience all kinds of firsts together. Scratch that. When I first heard about Derek's story, I initially wrote him off, thinking that the man God had set out for me to marry would not have been married before - that was NOT part of the plan. After meeting Derek, I realized that he wasn't holding onto his past and wasn't full of baggage.
Fast forward to our first year in marriage. We found out we were expecting our first baby on our one year anniversary. There were not major issues, just major morning, afternoon and evening sickness. Caroline was born on Oct. 31st and appeared perfectly healthy. It wasn't until her four month check-up that we realized she had a heart murmur. We were referred to a pediatric cardiologist where we learned that Caroline had a hole in her heart. We were devastated, our precious baby had a heart defect. We were told that it wouldn't have a major impact on her life; she just wouldn't be able to participate in sports and would be prone to sickness. The doctor said that in some instances the hole grows together but that wasn't likely. Well, that's all we needed to stir up hope. We prayed that when we went back for her one year check up, the hole would be gone. Guess what? We went in at one year, she got hooked up to the various machines and low and behold, the doctor comes back and tells us that the hole had grown together and there would be no issues!! Thank you, Jesus.
Then years go by, all my friends who had babies around the same time I did were beginning to have their second child. I kept waiting and waiting for our second baby, because the plan was to have 3 children two and a half years apart. Well, month after month of disappointment, I began to give up hope. I told myself that one amazing child was enough, we didn't need any more. I kind of got to the place where I was numb because it hurt too much to keep hoping, month after month.
It wasn't until my youngest brother had a baby that the desire began to grow again. One night in worship, after watching Derek carry our niece, I broke. I wept and got honest with God telling Him that I wanted another baby. Weeks later, I took a pregnancy test and sure enough, I was pregnant! November 22nd, sweet baby Kate was born, seven years after we started trying.
I told y'all this to encourage you that just because things don't work out the way you have planned or prayed doesn't mean that it's going to be second best. Many times we have faith in our plan, and our faith has to be in The Planner. Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT) "The vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."