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We Changed Our Minds

26 Mar

So, we’ve changed our minds about having a baby.

No. We’re not pregnant. Calm down, but get a beverage and settle down. This is going to be long.

If you’ve known us for any amount of time, you know that husband and I never intended to have children. With both of us being only children, neither of us grew up with other kids around. I’ve changed one diaper in my life, babysat exactly twice, and as of this writing, husband has never held a baby. I used to only think babies smelled funny, looked weird, and gross stuff came out of them all the time. Young children talked a lot and asked annoying questions. They threw tantrums and often had snot on their faces. I found very little redeeming about children. Clearly, I had developed a well-rounded view of children and parenting. Don’t even get me started on the ideas I had about being pregnant and giving birth.

So here’s how I went from the above idea to deciding I was ready to do this.

I think it all really started for me back in December of 2010. We were in Florida visiting some of Husband’s family. His aunt, whom I love dearly, mentioned the fact that part of parenting as believers was raising children in the Lord and the kind of people you helped to raise. Of all the people who gave us grief about choosing not to have children, this was the one argument that I could agree with, but I tucked that idea away for later. Kids were still definitely not for me. Then in April 2011, I wrote this blog post about being childfree. If you read the last few lines, it’s clear that God was at work then. After the decision was made to move to Boulder, we were hanging out with a couple who we know well and were talking about how kids were definitely not for us during grad school. She, who was finishing her PhD at the time, informed me that she’d actually heard of grad school as a great time to have kids because of the flexibility in schedule. Again, thanks, but no thanks, but the conversation was God planting seeds.

Fast forward to our move to Boulder. Still no plans whatsoever for kids. Enjoying our new life in Colorado and exploring all the new wonderment of it all. Life is good. We’re happy being just the two of us plus the dog. During the first six months or so, it comes up from several people, across several states, that people like Husband and I are the people who should have kids and that we would make great parents. I say this not to brag on us but because these conversations really meant something to me. These were comments from people I love and respect, and it was more than just an off-handed “oh you guys would make great parents.” These were more serious comments about who we are as people, the strength of our marriage, and how great it would be to have a little member of Team Alzen. Likely some of you who had these conversations with us are reading this now.

During this time, I continue to walk alongside two of my closest friends from CA, who happen to be single and struggling with who God has for them. I begin to feel this conviction that my child is someone’s “someone” and me not having that child will leave a single believer without the one whom God has for them. A few weeks later (sometime around January), Husband tells me after church that he felt God tell him we should have a kid. I freak out and retreat to talk quietly to God about it. A few weeks after that, I feel God say the same thing to me, gently and quietly. I journal about it, but don’t say a word to anyone, including Husband. I was unwilling to go there publicly, but God and I venture into conversations about it.

Enter March 18, 2012. Another Sunday comes where God speaks to me about being a mom. This time it’s different. It’s a booming voice. I have no idea what church was about because God was talking so clearly to me that there was nothing but to talk with Him. After church, I quietly tell Husband that God told me we should have a kid. I’m still not willing to commit 100%, but I’m at least willing to open up to my partner. I also confess that God told me this a few weeks prior, but that I was too scared to openly admit it. Husband laughs, hugs me, and proceeds to say “a baby, huh?” We laugh, and I tell him I can’t handle talking about it right now. We pray about it and bring it up in brief conversations throughout the next week.

The next day I get a text from a friend asking to pray for some big life situations. I e-mail her a list of questions I would consider if I were in her situation. The questions were specific to the decisions she was facing, but in the process, I make a similar list for myself and begin to pray through it.

In the end, here was where I ended up:

Arguments against having a kid:
I don’t know what our future looks like with kids
Kids are expensive
Kids are a lot of work
My field is more difficult for women with children
I’ve never really wanted kids
We’re happy without kids

Arguments in favor of having a kid:
God is calling us to do this, and to have a kid would be an act of obedience

Really, that’s all that needs to be on this list. There are obviously other arguments in favor of having kids, but that’s all it takes for me. I knew this that first Sunday when God talked to me. I just needed some time. God blessed me with some great conversation about the blessings that will follow, and the privilege of being entrusted with raising a child. At no other point in my life have I thought this way. Before, any “in favor” arguments I had were completely selfish. It’s the complete opposite now. It’s clear that God waited until we were in the right place for this. Funny how He does that.

If we had a kid in California, I don’t think we would have moved to Colorado for grad school, and grad school in Colorado is clearly God’s plan for us. The timing seems to be great. We can have a kid, and the flexibility of grad school (and hopefully a post doc afterward) will allow me to spend time at home with our child before s/he goes to school.

In a very brief time, God has clearly changed our hearts toward children. This is more evidence to me that having a child is God’s plan. Infants and toddlers no longer immediately gross me out or make me angry. I’m terrified and excited about being a parent. Despite the roller coaster of emotions I know every parent faces, I rest in knowing that this is obedience, and I know that there is no better place than obedience.

So I know now everyone is wondering when. Don’t get excited. Again, we’re not pregnant now. I have a nice timetable I’m very comfortable with that includes having a kid sometime after the end of my third year of grad school.  Husband and I have talked about it, and I’ve prayed about it quite a bit. God is either fine with my plan, or He’ll just make things happen in His time. Either way, I’ll be ready. The world spins and floats in His hands; I know He’s got this under control. (NOTE: I’m about to finish my first year of grad school, so this is 2 years from now. Please don’t start asking me if I’m pregnant when you talk to me. If you do, I’m going to unfriend/unfollow/be annoyed with you. I promise. When we know, you’ll know shortly thereafter.)

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9 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Grad School, Team Alzen!

 

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9 responses to “We Changed Our Minds

  1. mythgirl

    March 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    What a beautiful post. Best of luck to you guys!! xo
    PS – I’ve had baby fever for a couple years and can’t wait to finish grad school to start trying. 😉

     
    • jalzen

      March 27, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Thanks! I remember you talking about kids. When will after grad school be?

       
      • mythgirl

        March 27, 2012 at 7:22 am

        I finish course work July 2013. Will probably start trying early summer. Don’t mind being preggers for the dissertation phase, but don’t want to make my 300 mile monthly round trip for school with baby on board! 😉

         
  2. slbazo

    March 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you for posting this story of God at work in your life, my sweet girl! I love you more all the time…:)

     
    • jalzen

      March 27, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Love you too. My poor kid will have his/her entire life blogged for the world to see.

       
  3. lacigrl

    March 27, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Yay! I admit I always thought you guys would be cool parents. And I have admired that you always felt committed to building your family as it felt right at the time, not giving in to baby pressure just because. Making a plan because you feel led is so much wiser than the way most people become parents, haha! Im proud of you guys for listening to Him. (He can certainly surprise you sometimes, cant he?) It will be a lot of work, but I think you will gain some happy moments that you can’t imagine having not experienced. It’s funny, the way we came to the conclusion we were “ready” (and that the way we’d get there was through adoption) was quite similar. Spending time with families we admired and seeing how great their kids were (as opposed to believing all kids were like the wild spoiled terrors that run through Wal Mart) and realizing that WE will be making a difference in putting the kind of person we want to see into the world, and then being surprised when God quietly began to tell me it was time. Until then, we had wanted kids “at some point…just not now.” We were content. Then the prodding got stronger, especially at church, meeting some amazing kids and seeing them participate in the service each week. I couldn’t focus on the sermon a few times, sitting there hearing that “voice” and trying to go through all the pros and cons in my head. The biggest surprise was when I felt God tell me that adoption was the way to do it. I knew Josh had always said he liked the idea, but I was scared to bring it up…it would seem so out of the blue. So I began researching quietly on my own…was this something we could/should do? Wow. The more I read and studied, the more I felt that pulling and certainty that this was right. On a long car trip, I carefully brought it up. Josh was surprised (he hadn’t been thinking kids any time soon at all), but agreed to think and pray about it. Over the next few weeks, it was clear what God wanted…suddenly couples came out of the woodwork and connected to us who had adopted (and we hadn’t told anyone) and we kept even seeing the theme come up in our blogs, tv, and books we read. (so weird!) josh began interacting with friends and families kids in a different way, and suddenly I could see a spark of longing as he played. We went to a free adoption info session one day and both walked out saying. “ok, let’s do this.”

    It’s been an interesting journey so far. Some friends and family still don’t quite understand why we chose this way over just getting pregnant (although there are some health concerns for me with a pregnancy), but we feel that when God leads you somewhere, there’s a reason. His plan is perfect! I’m so happy for you guys and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fun it becomes to research baby stuff. I’m learning a LOT about using organic foods to make your own baby foods, etc, and how it can effect their development. That’d be right up your alley. 🙂 We can’t wait to hear all about this journey and some day the littlest Alzen’s adventures. I can just picture a little one hugging and crawling all over Magic, haha! We’ll keep you in our prayers. Yay!

     
    • jalzen

      March 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Laci, thanks so much for this reply. It’s cool to know more about your journey in this. So exciting to be on similar paths at similar times. Your story sounds rather similar to ours. I love it, and it’s super great.

       
  4. TierraSpeaks

    November 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t know you personally, but am glad that you shared this experience. I’ve had a similar view on life as well as a similar (recurring) conversation with God. Glad to know I’m not alone in this thing. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

     

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