{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 6~God is the Ultimate Family Planner ~ Part 2: Timing is Everything

This is a continuation of last week's post. Read here for Part 1. 

When Emma was about 7 months old, I started having the feeling that someone was missing. Brad and I knew we wanted a fairly large family, so "we" decided it was time for another baby. I was pregnant with Paige 2 months later.

Paige was born in the fall, just a few weeks before Caleb's 3rd birthday. She was such a happy, peaceful baby. I was SO exhausted ALL the time but I was also really enjoying being a mom and somehow rested in the chaos.

We nicknamed Paige "smiles" because she just smiled all the time. Emma was too little to pronounce "smiles" so she called her "miles". I look back on those times and remember how hard they were in so many ways, with 3 small children, but I also remember how sweet and innocent those years were.

We loved our little family, but we longed for more children. More specifically, we longed for another boy. When Paige was about 6 months old, I did some research and we began to "try" for a boy.

This time was different than the others. Not only did my system for getting a boy not work, but I wasn't getting pregnant at all. A few months in, I gave up my system in hopes that God would bless us with another baby, boy or girl.

And so went the next 10 months. Every month was the cycle of hope and disappointment. I began to wonder if our family was complete. I felt I should be thankful for the family we had, but I still longed for more children. I couldn't understand why God wouldn't give us more children. Didn't He think I was a good mother? Why had it been so easy before?

I had a good friend who walked this road with me. One time, as I was crying and pouring my heart out, she said something that was so comforting. She said, "You know, God knows your next child's birth day already. He knows exactly when that child should be born. It affects that child's school year, childhood friends, what year he/she will graduate from high school and what opportunities are available at that time. God's had it all planned for a long time. You just be patient and watch what He does."

It's funny how up to that point I really thought I had a say. I thought my pregnancies were planned. And they were. But not by me. Not by Brad. By the Creator of the universe. The One who knew them way before I did. He timed each birth exactly according to His plan and will for each of their lives! This concept still amazes me!

That Christmas I got the news I had been longing for. That darkening pink line on a pregnancy test. I was so happy and excited! God had finally answered my prayers!

A week later, I was devastated when I experienced another miscarriage. I didn't really feel a loss for the baby because it was so early, but more a loss for the family I had envisioned. I began to think we would never have more children.

I remember sitting in the doctor's office and Brad said, "Maybe this just cleared everything out and you'll get pregnant again right away." I looked at him thinking that was about the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard.

But he was right...or at least it appeared he was. I became pregnant again the next month.

When we came to the 20-week mark, we went in for our routine ultrasound. We were so excited to see the pictures of our baby. And yes, we were still hoping for a boy.

When the ultrasound tech told us it was a girl, we were completely silent. We weren't upset, but more in shock. As happy as we were to be welcoming another child into our family, our family was not looking at all like what we had pictured in our minds.

A few months later, we found ourselves in transition. We had prayed and processed and felt the Lord was prompting us to move our family from Colorado Springs, the home of our family and the church we loved so dearly, to Birmingham, the home of a new and rapidly growing church.

We listed our home without even considering the idea that it wouldn't sell. This was the very beginning of the economic downturn and the housing market was declining rapidly. After a few months on the market, we moved. We left all of our furniture behind, hoping it would help our home sell. It didn't and we began what would be 18 months of moving from house to house, unable to settle while we were still paying our mortgage in Colorado.

At 8 months pregnant, I sat in the living room of our 3rd home in a month. I was so thankful that I was not having to worry about a newborn. It was so much easier to care for her while she was still in my womb, unable to feel the uneasiness and stress that her parents were feeling. We had 3 small children already and I was relieved that we might be somewhat settled before she made her entrance into the world.

If I had had my choice, we would have had 4 children at that time and she would have been an infant. Moving across country and from house to house was much easier with her on the inside!

Brooke was born on a beautiful fall day in Birmingham, Alabama. I remember noticing all of the bold autumn colors of the trees as we drove to the hospital. Whatever hopes we had of another boy were so small and in the distance as she arrived that day. She was beautiful and perfect and born on the day God had chosen.

3 weeks later, while my husband was overseas on a mission trip, I received the devastating news that the pastor of our home church had a moral failure. As I fed and rocked Brooke in the dark hours of that night, I looked into her eyes and knew that I was holding a miracle. How could I doubt God's sovereignty? He was the God who created this perfect child. I knew I could trust Him to work for good all of the emotions swirling in my heart.

In the months that followed, every time I felt scared or lost as I was dealing with the grief of all that was happening at home, I would look at Brooke. My miracle baby. My baby who came at just the right time by the God who holds it all.

That next June was the first time I felt a little nudge from the Lord, that it was time to have another baby. I simply reminded God that I was done. Finished. 4 healthy, beautiful children. Wasn't that enough?
The nudging didn't go away and only grew stronger. I told God that I would mention it to Brad. Surely he knew we were done, too. We were still in a temporary housing situation with no hopes of selling our house any time soon. Life was too crazy. We were too busy. I was done having babies!

Brad's response was not what I expected. He didn't seem surprised at all! He said he would love to have another baby. He was not cooperating with my "see, God" plan!

So, we again "stopped preventing". The next month we traveled to Romania on a mission trip. On a drizzly, romantic overnight layover in London I watched the light pink turn dark once again. I was too awestruck to be upset. I knew this was God's baby. He had planned it and I was cooperating...and so happy to be.

We found out a few months later that this God-baby was a boy. I was so in shock that I asked the doctor to perform a second ultrasound a couple weeks later. He did and confirmed that yes, this was a boy!

Through a series of (many) events, we found ourselves back in Colorado that spring and Micah was born 2 months later. We were so happy and thankful to be welcoming him into our family. Caleb was so excited to have a brother and the girls were just so happy to have a little baby to snuggle.

As Brad drove me and Micah home from the hospital, I had a feeling that I had never felt before: completion. I reached over for Brad's hand and knew he felt the same way. Even more important, I knew God was pleased. It had been a fast but long, emotional 6 years of pregnancies and miscarriages, feedings and diapers, triumphs and heartache...and we have 5 perfect, God-creations to show for it.


This post is part of the series {31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way}. Did you miss a lesson? Catch up here.


  1. Absolutely beautiful! You have inspired me to look back on our journey, as you have done here, and remember the details of each season. Not only is the 'remembering' fun, but it reminds me that we all have a story....

  2. Andrea
    I have been reading some of this series and have truly loved it, but this one is my favorite! I know sometimes it is so hard to understand why we have to lose people, to grieve, to go through pain, but I do know that one day at church the Lord sent you to pray for me after my miscarriage. He knew that you would know how I felt, He knew that you would know exactly how to pray for me, He just knew that you would be able to relate and connect with me. And although I have really only met you that one time I have really admired you since, and I could see that the Lord was using you for great things! I love your insight on how God is the true designer of our family and our life and sometimes it is not always how we would have planned it. Having a miscarriage is so much more than the loss of a baby, but the loss of a dream, of what we hoped to be, but God always has a better plan. In my case after my miscarriage, who knew that just a few months later I would lose my sister and adopt her baby (on the due date of the baby I lost) and who knew that in the mix of all of the that I would become pregnant again! My husband and I spent so much time laughing and crying because everything seemed so ridiculous. Now, almost 2 years later, I have these 3 little girls, the Lord has allowed me to be at home with them and I can look back and see His plan, how He orchestrated things. And although I will never truly understand why so much has been taken from our family and can stop and see now how much we have been blessed.

    Your insights are inspiring and from the Lord! Thanks for being an encouragement even through your blog, and thank you for taking time to stop and pray for someone, for listening to the Lord and helping a heartbroken girl.
    Jenni Goodlin

  3. Beautifully written Andrea, thank you.

  4. Amazing, Thank you for sharing. Your writing always touches my heart.


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