Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What a New Year Brings

At least once a year most of us take the time to reflect on the past and look to the future.  We long to make something better than it was before, improve some area of personal discipline, or in the very least, make a small change in a particular area of life.

A new year brings change.

With change comes a barrage of mixed emotions.  Some crave change; some run from it.

Changes can be planned: choosing to eat more healthily, workout more often, organize your home, read more books, travel to a foreign land.

Changes can be unplanned:  the loss of a loved one, an illness, unemployment.

In both the planned and unplanned changes of life we have a God who never changes.

Over the Christmas season I reflected a lot on a character in the Bible who had an unplanned change in her life.

A young girl, probably 14 years old, visited by an angel, was told that she would be the mother of the long awaited Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God.

This was unexpected.  Yet, how did she respond?

"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." {Luke 1:38}.  And, then, she went on to glorify God for what He was going to do {Luke 1:46-55}.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, humbly accepted the change in her life.  Yes, what a privilege to be the mother of Jesus.  But, surely she also knew the prophecy concerning the Messiah that He would one day be despised, rejected, oppressed, crushed, and put to death {Isaiah 53}.

The road would be difficult at times for this mother.

She would face changes of all kinds, wonderful and hard.

And so, as this new year unfolds, I look to the past.

2012 brought a significant change in my life:  the birth of a son with Down Syndrome.  This was an unplanned change.

Yet, I have seen over and over the gracious love of God in the midst of this change.  I never thought I would survive the first months of his life.  And now, here we are, just about nine months later, and we're thriving!  God gives His grace each and every day to face the unknown.

2013 will bring another unplanned change in our lives:  the birth of another baby.

At the end of October we found out that we are expecting a surprise little blessing, due July 7.

I struggled with a lot of fear when we first found out this news.  Fear that I would not be able to handle a newborn, and a child with special needs.  Fear of telling the news to friends who struggle with infertility when I got pregnant preventing it.  Fear that somehow Mason would not get the attention and help he needed.  Fear that I'm not capable of handling four children under the age of 4.

As I looked at Mary's response to the unplanned change in her life, I learned to replace my fears with joy and thankfulness for what God had planned.

This new year will bring changes for each of us.  Some will be planned, some will be unplanned.  It is in our response that we have the opportunity to glorify God, as Mary did.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" {Proverbs 16:9}.  This is the verse that has been on my heart for the past two months as I've reflected on change.

We can make every plan we want for this new year; ultimately it is the Lord's will that is going to be accomplished.

May this new year bring for you great rejoicing in the unchanging character of our God who gives grace and strength to face any type of change that He chooses to give.


  1. Oh my goodness Lauren - have to say I was not expecting this news! ;) But CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can relate in the fact that we were actively trying not to conceive (just gotten the go-ahead to adopt) when I became pregnant with Olivia. We also have two close sets of friends who can't have children and I felt at first like I had done something "wrong" (hard to explain but I think you might know what I mean?) I was scared to death to get pregnant again after my rough time with my son but there has been an incredible peace with this pregnancy knowing that without a doubt GOD wanted this baby girl in our lives!

    I just prayed for same peace in your heart! I hope your pregnancy is going well and that you're over any morning sickness if you've had some!

  2. Congratulations! Wow, what a surprise. I hope the Lord blesses you with lots of strength, grace, peace and wisdom in the days ahead!

  3. What a beautiful surprise! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings--you and your sweet family will be in my prayers! So excited for you!

  4. Lauren you are such a strong woman and mother! God must really have big plans for your family. Congrats on your news!

  5. Congratulations, Lauren! What a busy and exciting time for you ... as if it hasn't been busy and exciting already! Guess God decided another baby is just what your family needs!
    Thanks for your post. We are facing an "unexpected change" ourselves - our baby who is due next week decided to flip and be breach about 2 weeks ago! So we are facing an unplanned c-section. We realize this isn't the end of the world, but certainly wasn't in our plans! God knows, so we are trying to trust Him!

  6. Lauren you continually amaze me with how you allow the Lord to work on and change your heart to be more like His! You are so wise and godly and I have so much to learn from you! I can't wait for the newest member of your family to arrive!! Praying for you all, knowing God will give you the strength and energy to continue to care for all of your children - however many He gives you!

  7. Lauren, I hope some day the Lord leads you to put together some of these reflections into a devotional book. He has gifted you with a wonderful ability to communicate spiritual truth. I am sometimes convicted and always blessed! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Mary's yielding response to the angel's announcement has always been sweetly convicting to me as my heart seeks to have that same posture - a very special passage to me. As one who was never able to bear children, I hope to set you at rest by suggesting that you simply continue to pray for those who are struggling with infertility, but don't hide your wonderful news. It was hard for me to hear all of my friend's "announcements" back then, but the Lord was working in me to bring me to the place where I could hear His loving answer to my cry: "No", but still be happy for my friends. Trust that He is at work in your friend's hearts and share your children with them freely. My quiver has never felt empty because of the generosity of friends who were willing to allow me into their children's lives.

    Honestly, the hardest part was the fact that no one ever prepared me to hear the "No" from God but - with loving motives - would assure me that "it will happen, just keep the faith". That placed a tremendous burden on my shoulders that didn't belong there. Our Father opens and closes wombs according to His perfect sovereign will. What I needed was to learn to trust Him, not seek to conjure up more faith. I needed to learn to be satisfied in Him alone whether that meant we had 10 children or none. I needed to remind myself of the gospel that speaks of His immeasurable love for me and rest my soul there.

    The sensitivity you have for your infertile friends is simply beautiful! I am certain that they would not have you temper your joy for their sake. In fact, they are probably just as uncomfortable as you are, fearing that you are uncomfortable!

    Though this pregnancy was unexpected and reveals fear in your heart, I pray God's perfect love for you will trump your fear as you lean into Him with trusting confidence in His perfection. I am thrilled for you and Bradley!

    Much love to you, sweet friend,


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