In my early adulthood, I had the perfect picture of what my life as a mother would be. I would have two children – one of each variety – and the boy would be two years older than the girl. He would protect his little sister and defend her honor against all enemies. They would be born five years after marriage. A reasonable time period that would allow my husband and me to spend time alone as a married couple, travel the world and be established in our careers. Robert Burns couldn’t have been more on point when he penned “the best laid [plans] of mice and men often go awry.”

At age 23 I found myself caring for my, then 12-year-old, niece. She moved into my two bedroom apartment, where I happened to be “shacking up” with my soon-to-be-fiance’. So here I was unmarried with a child, that wasn’t even mine. Talk about your best laid plans.

One month later, my soon-to-be-betrothed popped the question. A Valentine’s Day proposal – it was very sweet. The very next day, he received a Maury Povich phone call from his former steady proclaiming that the two-year-old child she had named after another guy was really his. I was crushed. My dream was crumbling right before my eyes. Blending a family was NOT in the plan. Later that year, on Father’s Day to be exact, he got the Maury Povich letter in the mail. Happy Father’s Day, for sure. Not only was I still not married, but the two kids I had weren’t mine and had come in the wrong order. The girl was much older than the boy, although, she was known to pack a good punch, so maybe not all was lost.

Also Related: Blended Family By Alicia Keys Explains It Perfectly

After we got married and decided to have children together, we had difficulty conceiving. While we never got to the point of needing fertilization treatments, we did require a little medical intervention to conceive Olivia. When we were ready to conceive again, I prayed that we would be able to do so without intervention. It was December 2006.  By March things weren’t going well. Test after test came back negative. I had been sick for weeks and had was checked out by my OB and my primary care physician. I underwent an enormous number of tests: a saline injection ultrasound to check for polyps in January, medication to encourage conception in February and endured the cervical check during my annual exam in March.  Still nothing. So in April when I was tired, losing my hair and on the verge of depression, I took another home pregnancy test.

I nearly punched my husband when he peeked over my shoulder and blurted, “That says we’re pregnant.” I was floored. I knew I had been off kilter, but every doctor, every test had said I wasn’t pregnant. I even had an ultrasound. How could I possibly be pregnant? Maybe I just conceived, that has to be the answer. I just had my annual a little over a month ago. It’s all finally working!

I called my OB and scheduled and appointment for the first week of May.  During the fetal size evaluation, my doctor was concerned that I was further along than we thought so she sent me to ultrasound. There, the tech confirmed that I was 17 weeks pregnant. 17 weeks!?! After doing the math I discovered that I had conceived in early January 2007. God delivered in response to my prayer and here I was so busy second guessing it I missed my blessing. And the signs were all there; weeks before I had literally cried while shopping in front of the 8-year-old boy and the 2-year-old girl because I had outgrown my normal size. Nearly half my pregnancy was over and I was busy trying to become pregnant. Go figure. (This is the rest of story from Wifely Wednesday – Move! Get Out the Way)

God does not think as we do. And it’s a good thing too. How would you have responded if you had given someone exactly what she’d asked and she continued pursuing it as if you didn’t exist? Several things come to mind, but none of them compare to the delivery of a healthy, happy baby girl, who we named Alexandra Grace – for but by the Grace of God did she arrive.

Several of the tests and a few of the medications I was given could’ve terminated my pregnancy. But God saw otherwise. He does not deliver upon His word in the way we imagine He will, so that when He does, we will know that it was none other than God himself. When I made my plans for my picture perfect family, I had not considered what God wanted for my life. I decided what I wanted for my life, and made a demand of God to give me what I wanted. Hence, my disappointment when I didn’t get it.

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But when I made my request known and allowed Him to carry out the plan, He honored it. My mistake was not being still enough to recognize He’d already delivered the very thing I was busy pursuing. Now, years after that day my plans went out the window, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My children give me so much joy and are my greatest accomplishment. And while those first two children are no longer under my direct care—still in my pocket, just not in my house—having them when I did helped me be the parent I am today. And to think, if my original plan had come to fruition, one of my precious girls wouldn’t be here today. Thank goodness I didn’t get my way.

And to think, if my original plan had come to fruition, one of my precious girls wouldn’t be here today. Thank goodness I didn’t get my way.

What were your best laid plans for the perfect family? How have those plans played out in reality?