I realized this morning it's been quite some time since I've mentioned my book here on the blog, and it occurred to me that some of you might think it's gone the way of some of the other writing projects I never quite finished. While that would be a fair assumption, I just want to say that the book is still very much in progress and very much a priority.
I've been interviewing lots of families these past nine months: families who've suffered infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth; families who've adopted, fostered, and pursued fertility treatments; families who had children after loss and families who didn't. I've written four chapters so far and just last week started the process of sending my book proposal out to agents. I have ten weeks left until baby girl is due to arrive, and I plan to spend as much time as I can during those ten weeks conducting a few more interviews and mostly writing, cranking out as many chapters as I can before, Lord willing, life here is consumed by change.
It's been healing to talk to all of these families and to try to put their stories into words. As I've listened to them, I've felt less alone in my suffering. I've seen my faith built by how God has met many different sorts of people in many different ways. And I've had the privilege of spending time with a colorful assortment of families God has built. In their homes and at restaurants, over dinners and Play Dough sessions and at soccer games and picnics, I've watched them together, and I've seen the beautiful way God makes families out of pain and heartbreak and disappointment. They are not perfect families, but they are families full of love and joy. God's fingerprints are all over them.
Last weekend, I flew to Maine to spend time with and interview a couple who's adopted five children from Ethiopia. This week, I've been working on writing a chapter about another family who's grown primarily through foster care and adoption. On the front end of each family's story is a lot of pain and disappointment, greater suffering related to childbearing than anything I've experienced myself. In order to welcome children into their homes, each family took great risks and still face many unknowns about the future. But it is clear that each of their children feel loved and safe, clear that God has led each parent to embrace risk with faith.
I won't share too much now about all I've been learning through the process of listening to and watching and asking questions of these families. After all, that's what the book is about, and I hope I can convince you to buy it some day!
But I will say I've been thinking this week about stories and about how God often writes the stories of our lives in ways we never would have chosen for ourselves. I've been thinking about my plans and dreams for family and home and life and about how much time and energy I pour into making them become reality, about how much I struggle when, in in big ways or small, my plans fall to pieces. I've been realizing that my goal in life ought not to be to make my agenda come to fruition, but rather to respond to what God brings into my life - be that motherhood, writing a book, or talking to a friend - with faithfulness and obedience, trusting that He is doing good things, things seen and things unseen.
It sounds simplistic when I write it, but there is something profoundly freeing there too. I don't need to focus on achieving or creating what I think should be. I need to set my eyes on serving and responding to the One who has good plans for what will be.