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It wasn’t long into our marriage when my wife first brought up the idea of wanting to start a family. I was 22 years old and a junior in college at the time. My main goal at that point in my life was trying not to fail my engineering classes, not having babies.

Fast forward a few years and we’re both out of school, working full time, and enjoying a comfortable life as a young married couple. The conversation resurfaced after we had been through some pretty big transitions regarding our jobs and I finally felt some balance with no other major life hurdles to jump through. We decided after our 2nd anniversary that we would take away the ‘necessary precautions’ for not having children, download a few pregnancy apps (yes, there really are apps for everything) and give it a whirl.

And then it began. The cycle of disappointment, month after month.

Excitement, anticipation, disappointment, repeat.

Six months went by, and each month my wife was devastated when ‘Miss Flow’ would make her return. Sure, I may joke about it now, but at the time it was incredibly challenging to have your hopes up every few weeks only to be let down again. This was especially difficult for my wife. She grew up always playing with baby dolls and pretending to be the mom. It was a her life’s dream to be a mom. Yea, I was bummed, but more so from seeing her so sad.

One day we were getting some inner-healing (think Holy Spirit led Christian counseling) and the couple that was ministering to us asked us about kids. We mentioned that we had been trying for 6 months and were getting a little frustrated and disappointed that we hadn’t gotten pregnant. The gentlemen was a wiry old man, with a soft white beard and curious glasses. He leaned over and with a gentle smile that could only come from someone who was a grandpa said, “How about you stop trying, and just enjoy making love.”

“Wait, what? Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?” I thought.

He went on to encourage us to stop trying to make something happen and rather just enjoy being married and in love.

Drop the stress and pick up the romance. 

We both looked at each other with an incredible sense of relief. Like someone lifted a weight off of our shoulders. We decided that day that we would stop worrying about getting pregnant and take the advice from the wise old man, and just enjoy the glorious intimacy found in marriage.

[And for any of you married couples out there with kids, you know full well the difference between ‘trying to get pregnant’ and ‘making love’.]

Fast forward about a month later, it’s a Tuesday morning about 3am and I’m walking back to bed after using the restroom. My eyes are half open and I’m dragging my feet towards the bed when see my wife laying on her side, wide awake with a huge smile on her face looking right at me. At this point, I’m still pretty much 50% asleep so I’m not sure if what I’m seeing is correct. As I’m sleepily stumbling back towards the bed (think Shrek on Nyquil), she perks up and says “Look on the counter!” Again, it’s the middle of the night so I have no idea what she’s talking about. For all I know, she was surprising me with a 4 month early birthday present.

I turn around and scan the counter: sink, toothbrush, toothpaste, beard trimmings, mountains of hair product, pregnancy test, brush. That’s when my 50% awake-ness quickly moved to 200% awake.

A pregnancy test was sitting on the counter and I quickly walk over and picked it up with my heart beating through my chest.

Slowly raising it to my eye level (and trying to ignore the fact that this thing has pee on it) I look at the indicator, see the symbol, and look at the legend to decipher what this magical stick is telling me.

On the front right side of the test there is a legend that explains what the indicator is showing you. On top there is a plus symbol ‘+’ with the words ‘Pregnant’ next to it. Below it there is a negative symbol ‘-‘ with the words ‘Not Pregnant’. At this point, I’m tremendously confused because Anna is like a 6 year old girl on Christmas morning who can’t wait to get out of bed to open presents, but as I’m looking at this life-changing pee stick the symbol reads one word.

‘Negative’.

So, like any well-thinking, encouraging, sensitive husband at 3am, I turn around and say wildly “It’s negative?!”

Confused and concerned, she pops up in bed and replies “No it’s not!”

“Yes it is.” I reply.

“No it’s not! I just took it 15 minutes ago and it was positive!”

“Well then evidently you were pregnant for 15 minutes but aren’t anymore, ‘cause this thing says negative.”

It was a strange conversation that ended with some disappointment, confusion, and lots of googling about pregnancy tests. We finally managed to get back to sleep after I encouraged her to just take another one the next day. Fortunately the last time we bought pregnancy tests, we bought a 3 pack. Lord knows those things ain’t cheap.

The next night I wake up for my usual 3am potty break and again, stumbling back to bed half-asleep, see Anna with her eyes as big as saucers looking at me with a giant smile on her face. She doesn’t need to say anything this time as I quickly put 2 and 2 together, remembering what happened the morning prior.

Turning around I see the pregnancy test sitting on the counter. I grab it, once again forcing myself to ignore the smell of urine as I look at the symbol. Sure enough there it was.

Plus sign. Pregnant. Bam. Done deal. Baby in the oven.

Wait, I mean bun in the oven.

I turn around with a giant smile to match my wife and shout “YOU’RE PREGNANT!” It was such an epic moment. So much joy and excitement.

It was hard to go back to sleep as we lied in bed dreaming of what this little human would be like. Would it be a boy? A girl? Would they have my eyes, your nose, my chin? We could not contain ourselves.

We’re now just over a year past this event and have a gorgeous, healthy daughter.

It’s amazing how hearing the words “stop trying” from a sweet old man changed everything for us.

While what he said was incredibly simple, the words spoke volumes to our hearts. Stop worrying. Stop trying to force something that you really can’t ultimately control. Stop trying to do things in your own strength. Relax, trust, and smile.

This is what we did. No more “schedules”, no more forced intimacy, just love. It’s interesting how even with the best of intentions, our best efforts seemed to lead only to stress. However, when we gave up the stress, decided to trust God, and just enjoyed being married, it was amazing how things just happened.

Proverbs 16:9 says that ‘A man heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps’. 

I think it’s great to create plans to see our dreams become a reality. In our case, we made a plan to have a baby. The key is to allow Him into that plan. To make sure that plan reflects His nature. Is the plan resulting in worry, fear, and doubt? You might need to make some adjustments. If the plan is resulting in ‘life, and life abundant’ (John 10:10), than you’re probably on the right track.

And no matter what season you’re in or what you’re trying to ‘birth’, don’t let stress and anxiety pollute your intimacy. Don’t anchor yourself in disappointment and the ways of man. Enjoy the romance of your life in every area. Trust in your Heavenly Father. You just never know what might be birthed when you stop ‘trying’ and just enjoy being in love.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”]