When Life Gets Crazy & Everything Changes…Again
You don’t name your blog “Life Unexpected” and assume everything will be smooth sailing. I’m not that bright, apparently. I told myself that the unexpected was something of the past. Something to reflect upon and learn from. Any change in THE PLAN was a seasonal glitch, not a trend.
Big. Fat. WRONG.
I should have known: Neither Ben nor I have experienced much predictability in our 30-something years—especially in the last 10+ years of married life. I’m beginning to think that we must really have control issues that we need so many reminders about Who is calling the shots. Two years ago, I thought that moving to Tennessee and deciding to adopt would be the last hurrah for a while.
And for a season, we found ourselves in a (somewhat) consistent pattern. I became a stay-at-home momma. Ben went to work and came home around dinnertime. The boys went to preschool two days a week, allowing me time for freelance writing and editing projects. On the adoption front, we played the waiting game. Life just seemed to be slowing moving forward as anticipated.
In late March, we decided it was time to buy our own little piece of Tennessee — a fixer upper we could make into a home. About a month into our search, discouragement settled in. We put four offers on four different houses, all of which didn’t go through. That’s four deaths of a vision, and the house-hunting process was beginning to take its toll.
Ben and I went out on a Friday night in April, using our babysitting fund to house hunt kid-free. (A hot date, I know.) After seeing an “okay” property, I told Ben that I wanted to stop at Publix because I needed to take a pregnancy test. He didn’t even flinch, but just headed toward the grocery store. You see, I am notorious for jumping to conclusions when it comes to my womanly cycle. Even though I had been pregnant only three times before, I’ve taken well over 30 pregnancy tests. At one point, Ben just wanted to buy them in bulk.
So we stopped at Publix, bought a test, and headed to the store restroom. Ben waited outside the bathroom door while I went inside and did my thing. What I thought for sure was going to be another “No, Sarah, stop letting your imagination get the best of you” was instead a bright, blue + that appeared on the stick. I just sat and stared.
With a look of what I assume was shock, I left the restroom and walked to Ben—stick still in hand. I went up to him and just held out the positive test about an inch short of his chest. All he said was “stop it,” as if I were joking. Slightly annoyed, I waved it in front of his face until he got the point.
We just stood and looked at each other outside the Publix bathroom. Me still holding a pregnancy test, and Ben looking like I’d punched him. Finally, we gathered enough of our wits to go to the parking lot and try to digest the information: We are pregnant.
In waiting for our next kiddo, we did not anticipate a surprise pregnancy. We were waiting to adopt. That was “the plan.” We had our “Adoption Rocks” shirts. We had an adoption fund. Now, I had a baby in my belly. Clearly, we planned on more kids, but for whatever reason, this surprise lil’ nugget and the reality of pregnancy really caught us off guard. That’s when the whirlwind of May began.
The same weekend we found out we were pregnant, we put an offer on yet another home. This time, the seller accepted. Everything began to move at lighting speed—right about the time I lost my energy from the pregnancy hormones and had to give up coffee. We simultaneously made plans to move, prepped the new house, went to Tball games, watched Cohen graduate from preschool, and adjusted to baby on the way. That’s also about the time Ben found out he had to go to California for a work trip—and I admittedly about lost my hormonal mind.
Thank goodness my sisters Emily and Laura were nearby! While they weren’t aware of the pregnancy at the time, they both jumped right in—helping watch the boys, paint the new house, make meals, put up with my newfound crazy brain, and so on.
Ben and I did our best to adjust to being pregnant a fourth time. Pregnancy still carries many fears for us, and getting excited too fast felt dangerous. I needed to see the life—that little beating heart confirming the Publix pregnancy test. We decided to wait until after the initial ultrasound and doctor’s appointment to tell the boys or anyone else. Those weeks before the ultrasound were brutally long.
Finally, the doctor appointment arrived. I had the ultrasound and saw our little nugget for the first time. Cue the sigh of relief. I’ve never been so grateful to see a beating heart. I recorded the ultrasound on my phone and immediately sent it to Ben, who was still on the West Coast. I could feel his relief even states away.
Things got real fast. When Ben got back from Cali, we took the boys to Wendy’s for a Frosty and French fries (a winning combo, if you’ve never tried it) to tell them about the baby. Excitement turned into confusion and questions pretty quickly. Trace was convinced that I had Jesus in my belly. It took some explaining until he accepted that I was not pregnant with the incarnate Christ but in fact a little baby brother or sister. Cohen moved quickly from excitement to the “how did the baby get there?” questions. Ben and I were so tired in that moment, I honestly have no idea what we told him. I figure I have a few more months of questions to get it right.
In a season of what I thought was waiting and relative quiet, God brought about the unexpected. I imagine with a smirk He watched as we stressed about finding our Tennessee fixer-upper or as we found out in Publix that Westfall Baby #4 was on the way.
Slowly our heads and hearts have remembered that God’s ways are not our ways.
Since announcing our surprise baby, we have understandably had the same question over and over: “What about adoption?” I’ll tell you the same thing we have told our family and friends: We don’t know 100% right now. God clearly put adoption on our hearts, and we know we had to pursue that. He also put a baby in my belly—against a few odds, mind you.
We are going to take things one step at a time. Our adoption agency requires an adoptive family’s youngest child to be at least one year old before being eligible to adopt. So…we are currently paused on the adoption—constantly praying for clear direction (and stamina) and for whatever God has planned.
Today, in the wake of May and all its changes, I am grateful for the unexpected. With a lot of laughter and joy and tears and fears, I once again throw my hands up and say, “You are the God of the unexpected. You are big enough, wise enough, strong enough to know better than I ever will. You are enough.”