This morning we learned that the woman who gave birth a week shy of her 67th birthday, sparking a debate about how old is too old to give birth, died over the weekend. Her twin boys are not quite 3-years-old. Her mother had lived to be 101, but even as Maria del Carmen Bousada was undergoing the fertility treatments that allowed her to give birth, God knew that Maria would not experience her mother's longevity, and she would not live to raise her two sons.
I can't begin to pretend that I know what Maria went through that drove her to lie about her age and go through fertility treatments at a time when most women her age would be planning retirement. It would be presumptuous of me to say that God could not have been behind that intense desire. I only know that for me, there came a time to let go of the dream of children and hand that desire over to God.
I used to think I would have 3 or 4 kids. By my early 30s, while I began to suspect God had a different plan, I still had an intense desire for children. I finally prayed, if it wasn't going to happen, that God would remove the desire for children from my heart. Not knowing that was my prayer, a few years later a friend told me she would never pray that prayer because it seemed selfish to her. She thought it just seemed too easy. I was able to assure her there was nothing easy about it.
God designed us to have hopes and dreams. He also designed us to grieve over loss. We grieve when we lose people we love. We grieve when we lose pets. We grieve when we lose jobs. And we grieve when we lose dreams.
So when I asked God to remove the desire for children if they were not to be a part of my life, He led me though the grief process for my lost dream. And because grief takes time, it was a long process, at least 2 or 3 years. It was every bit as painful as the death of a close family member. I knew I had come through it when one day a friend from high school asked if I would be OK with never having kids, I responded "yes" without hesitation, and without pain.
It was during this time that I began to understand the meaning of Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." I realized that verse was never meant to be a blueprint for manipulating God and that it doesn't mean that if we spend enough time with God then He will reward us with whatever we desire. It means that if we spend enough time with God, our desires will be replaced with His desires. And I learned to trust His desires for me and my life. And I learned to love Him that much more.