FENTON, MI – As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. That was my dream job--my plan. However...... life doesn't always work out the way we plan it. Proverbs 16:9 says, "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
Mike and I married while in college. Our plan was to wait until he finished seminary before having children. Everything was going according to plan until...... Mike's 9 year-old brother came to stay the summer with us. After making some plans of his own, he approached us. "You know, I should go to school here. You'd be like my mom and dad. We could be a family." That's all it took for me. I tried so hard to be his mom, but I couldn't. He already had one and it wasn't me.
Sometime later, we decided we were "ready" to begin our family. Months went by and nothing happened. It never occurred to me that I might not be able to have children. "What if God doesn't give me any?" What if He wanted me to give all my motherly love to Mike's little brother? The reality of Sara, Hannah, and Elizabeth of ancient days became more real to me than ever. For the first time, I got a glimpse of what it's like to be barren.
Then, it finally happened! My folks came to visit and brought me all kinds of maternity clothes. But I miscarried. God showed the agony over loss of life before even holding your baby. Too quickly afterward, we conceived again. I was afraid I would not be able to carry this baby and would lose yet another. It wasn't until the 4th month we told people. Three weeks early, our 9 lb. son, Christian, was born. The doctor said, "It's a boy!", I shouted, "Praise God it's a boy!" Two years later, our son, Jonathan, was born, weighing in at 10 lbs, 9 oz.
Like so many American couples, we were done after two. It wasn't until years later it occurred to me: we never even asked our Heavenly Father about it. We just made our own plans. God gave us two beautiful daughter-in-laws: Brooke and Bonnie. Our family wouldn't be complete without them. Honestly, we couldn't have hand-picked them better. Being a mother-in-law is a whole different experience. For me, it's a joy.
A few years ago, Brooke's mom passed into eternity. She'd been ill most of Brooke's life, but no one expected she would die so young. I will never be her mother, but now my role has an even deeper meaning for both of us.
Grandchildren are one of God's best ideas. It's not just because you get to spoil them and send them home. (That is wonderful, though). The impossible task of being the "perfect parent" is no longer a burden. Through the years, we grow more patient. Priorities change. We're not in such a hurry all the time. When I'm with our grandchildren, I could let the rest of the world pass by. Grandma love is a very special, unexplainable love.
My mother is 84 years old. I don't know how much longer I will have her. She's a widow, she's slowing down, and needs help sometimes. "I hate to keep asking you to do stuff," she says. My repeated response is, "I'm sure we're not even yet, for all my diapers you changed." As my mom enjoyed living her dream of being a mom, I, too, have been blessed by how God made me and the privilege of loving on them, their spouses and now grandchildren.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shar Durbin has served alongside her husband, Mike, in ministry in Kentucky, Michigan, Brazil, then back home in Michigan.