Apparently Carrie Underwood is promoting a new album, and thus she is doing all the publicity stunts and interviews that are included in such an undertaking. In a recent interview she made a comment that, “Having a baby would mess things up right now.” This strikes at the heart of one of my biggest trials, something I struggle to overcome and something I see as one of the biggest mountains we are asked to climb.
Like Carrie, I think most people feel that their lives are headed in a direction, and that the choices they make will either send them further in the direction they want to go, or will take them off course, and perhaps eliminate the path they are taking all together. For Carrie, at this stage in her life, she sees a baby as an obstical that could really impact her plans. And she is right. Having a baby changes everything, and if your heart isn’t in the right place, that baby can be an obstical instead of a blessing.
As a Catholic woman from a fairly traditional family, in my mind a baby is always a gift. That said, my husband and I struggle with the Church guidelines on spacing children and preventing pregnancy, because at this point we hope our family is complete. And while having another child is something I (don’t say “worry” here… think of some more positive word for “always think about” and “sometimes lose sleep over”) pray about, it is not the root of my anxiety. For me, the hardest part is giving control of my life over to God, and not acting so arrogant In believing I know what is best for me and my family. Its hard in today’s society to know what is responsibile and what is arrogant. But in the last few weeks it seems God has been helping me figure that out.
While doing research for a recent project, I discovered some letters written just before and during the Civil War. The most used phrase in these letters was “God willing.” Its something I think most of us have forgotten to include in our plans. We all may have hopes and dreams and ideas that things are supposed to go a certain way. You go to school, you get a job, you have a family, you retire. But maybe that isn’t the plan God has for you. When I met my husband, I spent a lot of time on knees, sometimes with him beside, praying to God. I begged that God would help me find someone who loved me as much if not more than I loved them, and whom I could love with all my heart. And if God was bringing Josh to me as that man, that he open my eyes and let me see it. And if it wasn’t God’s will, that it become clear to me.
I’m sure I have placed my life in God’s hands since then, but in looking back I was trying to direct God to my path, instead of being open to his. And it hasn’t gotten me very far. Our family is chaotic and filled with struggles, and things don’t ever seem to come easy. But someone very wise for her years reminded me that I have to stop trying to control my life, and stop thinking that it is more important that I be responsible than have faith. When I talked to a new friend about her life, she said, “We are going to let God plan our family. He knows what is best for us.” And she is so right.
So, for the last few weeks, when I pray, I ask God for the things I need, and the things I want. Then I ask that we receive them if they be His will. I also ask that, should I not receive the things I ask for, that He open my eyes to what it is He has in store for me, that I may follow the path He wants me to follow.
That is a scary prayer. It means that I didn’t get the job I desperately wanted. I means that I could end up doing something that makes me uncomfortable, or that I could be placed in an even more challenging situation than I already find myself struggling to escape. And it means that I have to let go of my life and let God take care of it. I believe that coincidences are God’s way of telling us we are moving in the right direction. Since I have started saying my prayers this way, I see coincidences all over my life. It’s reassuring, and wonderful, and hopefully it means that the things I struggle with most will soon be lifted from me.
And so, I hope the Carrie Underwood’s of the world are able to let “Jesus take the wheel,” and direct their lives. There is no shame in making plans, and working toward something we want. But we need to remember God’s will. I hope that we can all learn to put our faith in God’s plan, and trust Him to send us where we are meant to be. It’s a “faith hill” I think many of us are climbing, and one that we can only overcome if we let go and let God.