A friend, a sister-in-Christ, is having her fourth baby. My friend is an intelligent, faith-filled woman. She’s also a medical doctor who has applied for a fellowship for next year; a fellowship that is now tentative because of her pregnancy. Understandably, she’s dealing with many emotions right now.
In her email, she wrote, ” I am really praying on this now, and begging God to help my unbelief. I know that eventually I’ll be OK with this. I’m just facing my issues head on, wrestling with God, so to speak…..I think my faith is strong in the sense that in my head and heart, I know God knows what He’s doing. But right now, I’m just trying to deal with the fact that my plans were, are different from His.”
The first thing I wanted to do when I read her email was give her a great big hug. I recognized her turmoil; that email could have been written by me. I was never one of those mothers who blissfully accepted each pregnancy, basking in the glow of an ever-expanding, large Catholic family. I envied their seemingly peaceful acceptance but I couldn’t be like them. As my family grew, especially with the fourth and subsequent pregnancies, I developed a sense of panic at the prospect of balancing children and career.
After my fifth child was born, I had my sights set on a Masters programme for RNs. God, however, had other plans for me. When I realized that I was pregnant with baby #6, I became very angry with God. One day, as I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, I began yelling at God, telling Him off for ruining my plans.
In the midst of my tearful tirade, I distinctly heard a deep, male voice say, “to whom much has been given, much will be expected.” (Luke 12:48) There was no one else home at the time and I jumped at the unexplained voice. I knew in my heart that the voice was Divine and I cried. In that instant,unknown to me, my conversion began.
When baby #6 was born, my husband and I agreed that I would stay home full-time with our young family; however, at his insistence, I kept my nursing license current with the possibility of one day returning to the career that I loved. The arrival of babies #7 and 8 caused some faith-testing, fearful moments because of my difficulty in accepting God’s will. God is good, however, and He led me out of my uncertainty.
When I look back on that difficult time in my life, I see how God cared for me in my turmoil and unbelief. He listened to my rage, accepted my tears and acknowledged my inner turmoil. He forgave me. Although I mistakenly felt that He had abandoned me and disrupted my plans, in reality, He was preparing me to receive His plans. In truth, it was only during my last pregnancy that I was able to say, “God, I give You my life, my will.”
Among other things, God used eight pregnancies, two miscarriages and a hiatus in my nursing career to break my wilfulness and self-centredness. The slow, painful conversion He began in me at my kitchen sink remains an on-going process to conform my flawed will to His perfect Will. My life now is not what I envisioned as I plotted my own course, only paying lip-service to God.
What I know is this: the dark, convoluted tunnel my friend is facing leads to a bright light if she lets Someone Else navigate the terrain. It’s a painful process, especially for a woman obviously gifted with great ability, intelligence and ambition.
Doc, from what you’ve told me, you have much more than natural talent. You have faith and it will carry you through, I promise; and at the other end of the tunnel, your faith will have been refined and made even stronger. That, in my experience, is how God works, if you let Him, and I have great faith that you will let Him. “He must increase but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) This can be a painful process, I know, but it’s the Truth.
On a practical note, Doc, don’t abandon your dreams of medicine. Never having worked with you, I can still tell that you’re a good doctor. Seasoned nurses have an intuition for these things. The world needs good, compassionate, pro-life doctors. Having seen how hard Fellows work in the hospital setting, I know that what’s ahead will be challenging. Your medical practice may end up looking different than what you pictured. Leave it in God’s hands and don’t forget to lean on your patron saints for physicians: St. Luke the Evangelist and Sts. Cosmos and Damian.
God bless you, Doc, and that precious little baby contentedly floating and growing inside you, safe, loved, welcomed. Your children are God’s way of molding you to His will, which ultimately, is better than anything you can imagine.