When does “not yet” become “no?”

As I’ve written before, we’re in a holding pattern as far as another child is concerned and God has been telling us “not yet” for a little while now. Several friends have announced pregnancies recently and so we’ve been thinking a lot about it and wondering if maybe God is telling us our family is complete. We don’t know for sure, so we’re still in the “not yet” thought process.


A couple of weeks ago I got a call out of the blue from a sorority sister I hadn’t seen in years. It was fun to catch up. She is married now, living in our nation’s capital and working from home. She was always a beautiful girl who never had a boyfriend in college or grad school. She was Catholic too, so we had that in common and it sort of bonded us. She said she had moved to DC shortly after I had known her (as an alumna) and been living there a couple of years when she met her husband, at age 37, at a work-related gathering. He was everything she had always hoped for. He worked for the State Department and traveled often overseas and as a result, their engagement was close to eighteen months long. When they were finally married, they opted to use NFP to try for a pregnancy. She took a “work at home” position with her company and so she could travel with her husband and maximize their opportunity to conceive. They agreed that if/when she got pregnant, she would fly home immediately and take up residence. It wasn’t going to be easy, but they were going to give it their best shot.


After about a year of not getting pregnant, they decided to seriously look into adoption. Unfortunately, the “unstable” life of travel they lived for her husband’s work made them less than ideal candidates. They were rejected outright by social services even with her telling the social worker that she would stop traveling if they were placed with an infant or child. They also attempted to place portfolios with several private agencies seeking an open adoption but had not been selected by a birth mother. Then, this year, she went for her annual exam, her blood work came back peri-menopausal. She has stopped traveling with her husband and he is trying to get other work either inside or outside of the State Department that does not include travel. It’s tough and he hasn’t gotten any interviews yet, but he’s still trying. But what she said toward the end of our conversation surprised me, “Kristen, I guess I just foolishly believed that because God had said ‘not yet’ for so long about marriage, He was saying the same thing about having children. I never considered Him saying ‘no.'”


I have known women who have suffered years of infertility believing God was saying “no” only to end up with a child either through adoption or some kind of biological means. I have rarely met a woman who believed “not yet” had turned to “no.” Over the last few weeks, I have been contemplating, “What if God is telling us ‘no,’ right now? I don’t have any compelling evidence, but it certainly could be.” Truthfully, I can say that if God stood before me now (and God, feel free NOT to take me up on this) and said, “Kristen, your family is complete as it is now.” I would be okay. I would be happy. Yes, there would be some sadness. There would be a feeling of loss, but I wouldn’t be devastated. Certainly not the way I felt when we couldn’t get pregnant and were dealing with miscarriages.


Being open to God’s will is so much about accepting things that are not only not in our control but that we don’t like or agree with. We say that anything can happen with God. Which is true. Anything can. And sometimes that “anything” means things we don’t want or like or even downright despise. But grace lies in knowing that God is a just and loving Father and will only do what is best for us and accepting that will, even embracing it. Especially when it is difficult.


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