It seems that life changes so quickly. I’ve almost given up making plans anymore. I guess that James was right when he warned against saying what we will or will not do (James 4:13-15). God has an agenda and although he considers our suggestions, He has the final say. That’s exciting for me. It’s kind of like being on a roller coaster for the first time. That first slow climb to the top is terrifying. The terror grips you when you finally reach the top and see the big drop ahead and all that you can think of is how to get off of this thing. Suddenly you drop. The hill, the loops, the corkscrew and in an instant it’s done and you find yourself back in line because you just can’t get enough. If you can just get past the fear of that first climb without getting off the ride you’ll have the experience of your life.
Mike, one of my bosses from my Wyeth days, had warned me. We were chatting about our families one day and of course I shared my old line about being content without kids and that we had decided not to have any. “How old is your wife?” he asked. I think that she was 27 at the time. “That will change.” he said “By the time she hits 30 she’ll want children.” I tried to explain that we had discussed this and that she wouldn’t change her mind, but he insisted that he was right.
Mike turned out to be quite the prophet. It was only about a year after that conversation that Jess came down with “the fever”. The fever is a very contagious condition and it was being passed around by many of our long time friends who had been as determined as we were to remain barren. This had an effect, but there was a certain event (which we won’t share here) that finally sent Jess over the edge. Suffice it to say that in February of 2007 Jess came down with a full blown case of Baby Fever. Her best friend (since the 7th grade) came down with the fever at about the same time. Not long afterward her husband started showing symptoms as well. I apparently have a high immunity to it because it was a year later before it had any effect on me.
The change for me was subtle. It took place while I was in Ethiopia in January. I didn’t suddenly start wanting kids. It just stopped being a big deal. I was fine either way. If God wanted us to have kids fine, if not that’s fine too. I decided not to worry about it anymore. I honestly didn’t even think that we’d be able to have children. Even though we were so determined not to have children before, our birth control methods were haphazard at best.
Our friends in Ethiopia declared early on that Jess would get pregnant in Ethiopia this summer. They knew many couples who became pregnant there. Something about the cool climate and the peanut tea they believed made Ethiopia the perfect place to become pregnant. Judging by the population growth rate they may be on to something.
About two weeks after we returned from Ethiopia we went to Memphis to visit with Joe and Karen and to report about our trip to the Board of Directors. The day that we arrived Jess said that she felt pregnant. I have heard this countless times over the years and there are countless pregnancy tests cluttering landfills from Jess having this feeling. So I had forbidden her from buying any more pregnancy tests. She bought one anyway. The following morning at about 6:30 she woke me from a very nice sleep and wanted me to come and look because the lines were faint. I stumbled to the bathroom and in the grumpiest tone I could muster agreed that it was faint, but a plus is a plus. I went back to bed as she sought further council. Karen agreed that it was positive and the girls were ready to go to buy more tests to confirm the results.
A couple of years ago there were a couple of things that Jess and I had determined about our lives. We were not called to be foreign missionaries and we weren’t going to be parents. I shouldv’e read that passage from James a little more closely and I shouldn’t have skipped over Proverbs 19:21. I know now that a life turned over to God is often a life of surprises.