First of all, I am not pregnant.
The title of this blog might make you think so; however, I am not.
Having a second child is one of the two biggest desires of my heart…but, I repeat,
I am not pregnant.
I’m not even trying.
What I am is conflicted.
When TJ and I first started dating, I was attending the church his family still attends to this day. It is a small church plant held in a school in Charleston. My first church plant experience. While it wasn’t a church to which I felt particularly attached, one piece from a sermon has been stuck in my head even after seven years:
“Single people have a greater ability to radically live out their faith. They aren’t splitting their love for Jesus with the love for their spouse and kids.”
To some degree I think that statement is absolutely correct. I love Jesus so much and I am constantly growing in my love and faith. One of my greatest desires is to live out a radical faith-based life as a result, but I also love TJ and Vivienne more than I can put into words. Like every parent, I wish I could give Vivienne “the world”. What does that even mean, to give a child the world? Does it mean I want to give her access to all the sports, music, dance, fancy schooling, trips to Disney World, clothes, toys, etc. that she could ever want? Sure, sometimes….when materialism, jealousy, and pretentiousness get the best of me. Or does it mean I want to help her gain the Kingdom by teaching her to love Jesus with her whole heart by giving up the material possessions this society says you need to have in order to “have the world”. Personally, I am trying to make it my goal to give her the latter.
“Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total, superior, and exclusive devotion.”
-David Platt, Radical
I’ll state the obvious: we live on a boat. We gave up our 1,800 sq. ft. house in the country with a pond, backyard creek, and abundant creature comforts (i.e. a giant fridge and in-house washer and dryer) to live on a 35 ft. catamaran with a dinky ice box and a long (currently, cold) walk to the laundromat on site. That’s the obvious. What we also gave up was the ability to easily add another child to our lives.
While many people with whom we have had loads of contact have had infants on sailboats, most don’t do it with a husband who is away half the year, two dogs, and a full-time working mom. If I so much as see a pregnant woman I know I immediately feel nothing but jealousy. Not an ideal feeling. I’d like to feel joy, but in this moment, I don’t.
“While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in the dark.”
I’m struggling because I (well, we) want more than just about anything to sail away from the comforts of U.S. soil to a place so poor in spirit, so in the dark about God that I know I will be sharing my faith and the gospel with people who may never have heard it before and helping them find HOPE. I (again, we) want Vivienne to see us radically living out our faith, proclaiming the gospel to unreached & unchurched people. In my entire adult life I’ve never found a career that feels like it fits me…and I’ve tried a few. Honestly, working for our church is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like I found a career that suits the woman I am, and the woman I want to become. Clearly, my passion and my “career” is actually a calling to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. While I cannot say for sure what that will look like long-term, it is a feeling deep within my soul that we are to be a missionary family.
Right now we are a family of three. Some days I am completely fine with things the way that they are, and some days I want to add another child to this mix. My fears about trying to have another child sometimes want to swallow me whole. What if having another child greatly delays or ends our dream of becoming missionaries? What if we have a child born with a severe medical complication that prevents us from sailing and moving to a third-world country? What if my attention becomes so divided I am no longer as focused on Christ?
I understand we are called to grow the Kingdom. Right now I am focused on training up Vivienne to serve Christ but I am also focused on our family teaching others the same thing. I never dreamed the biggest thing holding me back from saying with 100 percent certainty that we should go ahead and try for a second child would be my desire to radically serve The Lord. But it is.
Vivienne is at an age where, soon enough, we could GO and be missionaries and she can help teach others with us. However, I fully comprehend how amazing it is to have siblings to share life’s awesome adventures with, and support one another through the tough stuff. I can’t imagine going through suddenly losing my dad without having both of my sisters by my side.
While I am constantly in prayer over these deep desires of my heart,
I remain conflicted for now.
Totally in love with my little family. Totally in love with Jesus. Desperately wanting another baby, but also desperately wanting to sail away and become missionaries.
“All things are possible for those who believe.”