Over the holiday break, my wife and I had a long conversation or two with our youngest child about his brother and sister and the kids that we had come and go in our family.
We lost a child late in a pregnancy in ’94.
We had a child in ’96 (about 3 months early, but doing great!)
We adopted a child around ’98 and had to give her back because of legal issues and a change of heart by the birth family.
We had another child in ’99.
We adopted a child around 2005 and had to give him back because of problems he had as a special needs child/foster care kid – his psychiatrist recommended he “go back” for his safety and ours.
We lost another child about halfway into a pregnancy a few years later.
We had another child (big surprise!) in 2008.
(See my wife for a more accurate accounting of all that.)
We had a few other miscarriages over the years as well, some we knew about ahead of time, some that were a surprise.
We added up how many kids we’d have now if most all of them were still with us and we figured up at least eight kids.
The question our youngest asked was, “How would our life as a family be different if we still had all those kids?”
The more we talked, the more we realized that we likely wouldn’t have had our family today, as it is, if we’d not gone through some of those losses.
We wouldn’t have chosen to go through those losses, but we realize that God used many mysterious and painful circumstances to bring us to where we are today.
We are grateful for who God has made us, even if the way he did it wasn’t what we would have chosen.
John’s message yesterday was a great reminder for me to be thankful, to be grateful in all situations.
Even when things aren’t going our way, it doesn’t mean God isn’t at work behind the scenes.
We can be grateful that he is with us and in the knowledge that, in all things, he is working for the good of those who love him.
And very often, the path that he has us walk down brings us even better things that we would have chosen for ourselves.