Not long after Aaron & I got married in November of 2002, I began to look forward to having children. Believing that children are a blessing from the Lord, we wanted our family-planning to glorify God and not stem from any selfishness or foolishness on our part. The desire for children really began to crystallize about a year into our marriage. Aaron & I started talking and praying more about when we would like to have children, and we started seeking input from our parents and from wise friends. I was ready to start trying to conceive right away, blissfully imagining that everything would just fall into place. Aaron was more cautious, and as he sought counsel, we were advised to take time to pay off some debts (school and car loans) and to aim for enough financial independence that I could stop working and we could live on Aaron’s salary alone. I really do want to be able to stay at home with our children, but in my impatience to start a family I had thought I would prefer to work after a baby was born rather than pursue more financial security. So initially I was disappointed at the delay, but recognized the wisdom of the advice. With the help of friends who have much more financial wisdom than we do, we established a plan to pay off school and car loans. It took a lot of self-control to steward our money in that way, but the motivation of having a child and staying at home kept me going.
In the meantime, I was really struggling to have contentment as we waited. (I also kept hoping for an accidental conception!) I did not want my desire for a child to become an idol, and I did not want to my yearning for the day when we would have children to make me ignore the blessings of that time with my husband. Through fellowship and teaching, I was encouraged to hold fast to the twin truths that God is sovereign and God is good. He was in charge of our finances, He was in charge of my husband’s decisions, He was in charge of my dreams. And He is good; He was not arranging my life in a disappointing way, but He was (and is) lovingly ordaining my circumstances for the best. So I fought for contentment.
During that season, I found great encouragement and comfort in the song, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” especially the following verse:
“Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth.
Has thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?”
By the end of our second year of marriage, Aaron & I gratefully saw that the Lord had enabled us to pay off a significant amount of debt, and it seemed that we would have enough paid off by the following fall to be able to live on his salary alone. While we still weren’t trying to conceive yet, as we drove to visit family that Christmas, we anticipated how we would be celebrating our next anniversary and the next holiday season with a new baby.