Losing Control

12:25:00 PM

Once upon a time, I was a perfect wife and mother with a perfect husband and two perfect children, and we were leading a perfect life. My baby and toddler knew what was expected. They ate and slept and smiled beautifully at all the right times because I was a wonderful mother. In fact I was doing such a fantastic job I thought I could easily handle a third child. I was going to wow the world with my organisational skills. Three little children under three? No problem. I could handle it.

So we ordered up another baby and soon we were looking ahead to the birthday of our next child.

But then something unexpected happened. At first, I ignored the symptoms. Surely I was mistaken. Things like miscarriages don’t happen to people like me. But they do and for the first time in my mothering career, I faced the possibility I was no longer in control.

Four miscarriages later, facing the likelihood we would never have that large family we had imagined, I knew for sure I had lost control of my life.

So who was in control? It took me a long time to realise it was God. Eventually after a lot of pain and suffering, I gave up setting my heart on a third child. I still hoped but I was willing to accept whatever happened. I was so very tired of trying to pursue my own dreams and I gave in and let God take control.

God in His goodness eventually blessed us with three more children, and slowly I started taking the strings of my life back into my own hands. I started to forget the lessons that had taken so much heartache to learn. I knew it was risky but I had a plan.

Surely if I was a good enough Catholic I wouldn’t need to undergo any more suffering? Perhaps I’d had my fair share. All I had to do was keep praying and sacrificing and living a model life.

So I never failed to say my Rosary even if it meant praying it very late at night. I always added the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to the end for good measure. There was Mass and spiritual reading and anything else I could think of. It was all very impressive. But…

It didn’t save me.

No, God knew I took pride in all these prayers. He knew I didn’t want to surrender and trust in Him. He knew about my own plan for my life, a plan that included a 6th child.

That beautiful 6th child was conceived and we discovered he had an abnormality ‘incompatible with life’. He was going to die after birth.

My life went spinning out of control again. How I begged God to save me the sorrow of losing a child. But Thomas was born and Thomas died and I grieved.

And finally, I learnt how to trust, how to accept the plan God has for my life, how to give over the control I was so tightly attached to. I had to. For without God I would never have survived.

I have had more children and more miscarriages since then. And those losses were easier to bear than the earlier ones. Yes, I mourned the children I never got to meet. But at the same time, I felt at peace.

Many years ago, I couldn’t have imagined ending my mothering career with a miscarriage. I thought that ending on a sad note would be unbearable. But things did end sadly. Little Anthony Plunkett died at 12 weeks of gestation in a spectacular manner. When the emergency was over and I was back in one piece in my hospital bed, a social worker came to visit me. She gave me the usual consoling talk and ended up with, “I hope next time you are in here, it will be for a happy reason.”

I replied, “There won’t be a next time.” And as I was saying those words, I realised I accepted that. I was at peace. God had decided. I went home, feeling sad about never meeting Anthony Plunkett but at the same time, I was filled with gratitude that I was alive and returning to the children God had already blessed us with.

So have I got things all worked out now? In my head? Yes. But I am human and sometimes I still think I know better than God. I still get afraid of the thought of suffering more… I am still not perfect.

But in my heart, I know that the only way I can survive is by giving control totally over to God. In losing control of my life, I gain joy, peace… God... God who loves me so very much. 

How can I seriously question His plan for my life?

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