This is a hard one for me. I could easily take on the norms:
- If I knew those I loved would be gone so quickly, I’d do things differently, hugging more, talking more, loving more.
- If I knew the girls would grow up so quickly (yes, we’ve heard it forever but it is still a surprise for me almost daily), I would focus more on them, on loving moments, treasured times, and all that.
- If I knew that I would be teaching my girls at home, I would have saved different things and gotten rid of different things along the way. I would have looked at things differently 15 years ago.
The reality for me is, when I think of the challenge phrase, I think I am kind of glad I didn’t know then what I do now.
Because then, I wouldn’t be me.
I wouldn’t be the wife I am today. I might be worse; I might be better.
I wouldn’t be the mom the girls know today. I might be better but I might not.
As a couple, we would have chosen differently if we knew then all that we do now – about jobs, about education, about where we lived. But then, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are. Everything we have gone through has strengthened us.
We treasure our girls because they are here with us. We miss the two babies we aren’t able to cuddle and love on. But having gone through losing them in pregnancy, we treasure our girls more than I can put into words. We grew so much in our trust and faith in our God through those losses. We are stronger, we see life more clearly, we treasure each day more. While painful, those were good for us in the long run. Would I love to have it different? Absolutely, but we are better for it. God walked us through those times, giving us hope and help and strength and comfort. Without Him, it would have been so lonely. But we have been able to share that hope and help and comfort with others going through the same sort of loss a number of times because of our first-hand knowledge. And we know that we will make it through because of Him.
We went through a year of unemployment, using up the savings we had so carefully stored, not knowing what was in our future. But, that year has brought us to a wonderful place where we are close to family and working and serving with a wonderful congregation of the Lord’s people. The career change that happened that year was sudden and surprising in many ways but it has been one of the best things that has happened for us. Was that year tough? Yes. We struggled through a lot of uncertainty. Did we grow? Yes. More than we would have if we had had a steady income or not had a new baby in the house. Are we better and stronger in our faith because of it? Absolutely. God guided us through that year, putting people and resources in our path that helped us. We made it through because of Him.
These are a couple of our “hard times” that people often look back on and say “if I knew then…” But really, I am glad I have gone through these times. I am a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better person because of these things. So, while “if I knew then” might be something many people desire, it is not for me. God placed me in all these situations for a reason and I hope I am honoring him with the way I respond and learn from each.