Timing is a key part of family planning. I naively entered married life assuming that people just had kids when they decided to and lived happily ever after. My eyes were quickly opened to the amount of thought and prayer and stress and sometimes heartache that accompanies the decisions surrounding when to have children, especially as we realize that the decision isn't completely up to us.
One of the greatest blessings that has helped me get through the hard days of parenting is the knowledge that each of our children has come to us exactly when they were supposed to. I remember distinctly the impressions I received each time that helped me know I was ready to have another child. When we started our family, I had finished my education and found a job. But I saw things developing in my world view as we transitioned to a two-income household. I was worried about where that path may lead, and I knew that it was time to have a child before we became too dependent on my income or too wrapped up in the pursuit of all of the things money could suddenly buy now that we were done with school.
After we had Miss A, I was a very stressed out mom, but I still somehow jumped back into the fire shortly after she turned 1. I just knew it was time. There are almost 25 months between my first two kids, and although they were close in age, it was completely perfect. Well, I can say that now. For the first year, their demands were so constant I knew I needed a break for a while. And then I settled into the honeymoon of motherhood with my two kids. It became so do-able. Sure, there were still days when they drove me up the walls, but I became very comfortable in this stage. I knew we would have another child someday, but I didn't mind letting the gap between numbers 2 and 3 get a little bigger.
One day I was sitting at the table with de-Man playing a game. Miss A was at preschool, so it was just the two of us. I remember him bending over to look at something on the table and then looking up at me with his big blue eyes and signature grin. While I was busy melting at his smile, I suddenly looked at him through different eyes and had the thought, "you're ready to do this again." I soon got pregnant with the muffin, and things were great. Shortly after his birth when my dad has his stroke and then came to live with us, I could really see God's hand in the timing of his arrival to our family.
Had I gotten pregnant any sooner, and the demands of three kids and the space we were used to them occupying in our home would've made my dad living with us seem too difficult. Had I gotten pregnant any later, and I would have still been pregnant when my dad has his stroke, and hesitant to take on his care because of the uncertainties of what the delivery and the new baby would bring. But this baby came just in time so I was able to recover before my dad moved in. He was still small enough to be sleeping in the bassinet in our room, so it didn't feel as cramped to have my dad stay with us. While I was pregnant with the muffin, I searched the scriptures a lot for a name and was drawn to Elias. When he was born, it just didn't fit, but we ended up using it as his middle name. I kept feeling the impression that this little boy would be preparing our family for something special as I studied the entry in the bible dictionary over and over while pregnant with him which refers to Elias as "a preparer". Looking back, I can see how his name was so significant to the timing in which he came to our family. He was preparing our family for something hard but also something wonderful as we cared for my dad. As I've studied that entry more since then about the meaning of Elias, I can also see how he's played the role of a "restorer" in restoring happiness and joy to our home during an extremely difficult time.
Timing is really special to me as a mother. It's one aspect that always allows me to see that God is involved in the details of my family. And I know that if He cares that much about when my children come, He also cares about how I raise them, and He'll help me do it. His timing is perfect.