The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Sunday, July 7, 2013

When Life Didn't Go According to Plan...

We are finally in DC, which means that life is about to go back to a normal schedule. Our family has been in constant change mode ever since Andrew was born, and we've had a lot of things thrown our way. I've been reflecting this past week on the past 4 months and all the changes we've been through (many of them were not planned), but I'm beginning to understand that what the Lord has planned for me is far greater than what I had planned for myself. 

Those of you who know me well know that I like to have things planned and organized. I like to plan out my life in great detail and most times I have an attitude of "This is how everything is going to turn out because I said so." I've been going through quite a learning process though, and have come to realize that while it is good to have a plan, if things don't go according to plan that I can still be happy and trust that the Lord is watching out for me. So, rewind a little before Andrew was born, and this was my plan.

~Andrew would be born no earlier than 38 weeks, and no later than 41 weeks, and would come home with us from the hospital.
~Once Andrew was born, I would take my 6 weeks off for maternity leave and not go back for the rest of the school-year. 
~I was going to nurse Andrew until he was a year old, and it would be an enjoyable experience.
~We weren't planning on getting pregnant until Andrew was about a year old (I'm not pregnant right now, FYI).

Now, contrast this to what actually happened.

~Andrew was born at 34 weeks, and stayed in the hospital for 20 long days.
~I came back from my maternity leave 2 days after my due date and had to work for an extra 7 weeks.
~I nursed Andrew while he was in the NICU, but he wasn't gaining weight fast enough, so he had to have fortified feedings twice a day, which obviously had to come from the bottle. Well, Andrew learned pretty quickly that bottle feeding is much easier than nursing (we didn't know at the time that he was tongue-tied, so I can't blame him) and so he wouldn't nurse anymore. I still wanted him to get breast-milk, so I pumped out milk, and then he would drink it from a bottle. I pumped for 4 months, but then...
~Like I said, we weren't planning on getting pregnant for about a year after Andrew was born. Just as a warning for all those nursing moms who are also on birth control, it is still possible for you to get pregnant...twice. Since Andrew has been born, I've had 2 miscarriages back-to-back. While we weren't planning on getting pregnant, both times we were very excited at the idea of our children being so close in age, and were excited to meet our 2nd child. It has made me so grateful for the child I do have, and I have so much respect for women who are going through miscarriages that don't have any children yet. Going back to pumping for 4 months, 2 miscarriages will completely destroy your milk supply. I was able to come back up from my first miscarriage, but after my 2nd miscarriage, I haven't been able to bring it back up despite putting in the effort. I know if I keep at it that it could come back up, but with Andrew being able to eat formula and digest it well, I've decided I want to spend my time doing other things and have stopped pumping completely. 

Now for the point of this post. I have never ever been good with change. I do not adjust well when things don't go according to plan, so when Andrew was born 6 weeks early, I made a conscious decision to turn to the Lord and ask Him to help me overcome my weakness of not being able to trust and be comfortable with change. When trials come upon us, we can either turn to the Lord or turn away from the Lord. I don't think our trials turn out any differently if we do or don't turn to the Lord, but rather our ability to handle trials and changes, as well as our attitude in handling those trials, is strengthened when we turn to the Lord. If we can get through a trial with a happy attitude and trust that the Lord will lift us, it's not from anything that we've done, but it's everything that the Lord does for us. He truly is our best friend. Because I tried to rely on the Lord, He has helped me adjust to constant change. Now, don't misunderstand me. I am still mourning over 2 miscarriages and frustrated with not being able to nurse, but I can still be at peace that everything is ok, and that just because things didn't go the way I thought that somehow life is terrible. Life is great! I have a healthy, happy son, I'm married to my best-friend forever, and we are off on our own little adventure. Elder Holland this past general conference counseled members with this "I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle." Let me bear my testimony to this point. I do not have perfect faith, but by exercising the faith I DO have, I am happier, more calm, and more at peace when life goes off my planned path. At the end of his talk, Elder Holland invites those who are struggling with their testimony to lean on his testimony. I'd like to make that same invitation. If you're going through a difficult trial, or life is taking you on a path that you didn't plan, know that you can rely on your Savior. Your trial won't be taken away, and it won't change, but your ability to handle that trial will increase, and you will be happier. You will be at peace as you lean on the Savior. I know this is true because I've done it. This principle in my life has been tried and proven to work. Lean on the Lord, fan the flame of your faith, and miracles will happen.