News And Views
School of Agape
On Changing Plans
By Sara Rennekamp
It’s been a year since we began writing School of Agape. In that year, Anthony and I reflected on our own vocation stories, mused on what it might mean to become a family, realized soon after our wedding that we had no idea who we married and settled into a contemplative acceptance of our new path to heaven. It’s been quite a year and we are blessed to have had the opportunity to reflect on it all with For Your Marriage.
Before we say goodbye to this corner of the internet we have another small piece of news to share: we’re expecting to welcome our first child into the world in May 2015.
Anthony and I talked quite a bit about when we wanted to begin adding children to our family as we prepared for marriage. These conversations are personal to each family and depend completely upon prayer and trust in each other and in God. We also knew that no matter when we decided to start trying for children, it would be God that really decided if and when children would arrive.
In our own discussions about children, Anthony and I initially planned to wait one year after our wedding before we tried to add to our family. This seemed like enough time to settle comfortably into marriage, meet some professional and financial goals and get to know one another a little better in the context of a marriage. Of course we were open to whatever God wanted for our family and would welcome even an unexpected baby. But a year seemed a good amount of time to get our new life in order.
Then a funny thing happened as we began to live in our marriage and open ourselves to the graces of the Sacrament we received together. We realized that our reasons for avoiding a pregnancy were more about our comfort than about any desire to set up the best situation possible for our children. Our marriage is not for our personal edification nor does it exist to bring about the most comfortable living arrangement possible. Instead, it exists to build up the Church. And so, our plans changed and one September morning we found ourselves rejoicing (with a healthy dose of fear and trembling) over a positive home pregnancy test.
The following months up until this very moment have been a blur of prayer, happy phone calls, nausea, doctor appointments, more prayer and more nausea. For me, pregnancy has been the most physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually taxing experience I’ve ever had, and I’m only halfway through with no other children to look after. It’s also nothing like I expected it to be. I expected to forge an immediate bond with my child and bask every moment in the awesome mystery of shepherding life into the world in such an intimate way.
Instead, I spent most of those first months trying to eat (mostly unsuccessfully) and relying entirely on my husband to take care of me and our home. I knew the profound miracle that my body housed but I struggled terribly with being happy for that miracle in the midst of sickness and exhaustion.
But, as with any difficult journey, God planted little graces along the way to keep Anthony and me moving forward.
There’s a very cool milestone that happens when a woman hits the 16 week mark of her pregnancy: the baby’s ears have developed enough that they can begin to hear. The day I reached 16 weeks I asked Anthony if he wanted to say “hi” to our baby. He knelt down, put his lips close to my belly and said, “Hi baby. I love your mama.”
And with that I realized all over again that the best and most important gift Anthony and I can give our child and any other children God gives us is a strong, healthy and holy marriage.
Thank you for joining us on this stretch of our journey Heaven-ward. Please keep praying for us as our family grows. You are in our prayers.