PEACE AND PURPOSE BLOG SERIES
A Never Changed By Elizabeth Harlan
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
Never say never. I learned that the hard way. God can take that “never”, turn it around, and drop it right into your lap. He can also bring you closer to Him and to His peace if you are willing to change a “never” to “Yes, Lord, I will”.
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV)
In high school and college, I said I was never getting married and never having kids. I had suffered through an incredibly difficult childhood. My parents divorced when I was young. I was abused at home and bullied at school. After seeing all that, I was determined not to go through it as an adult.
Then I met Rick and my whole perspective changed.Rick was, and still is solid. With him I felt safe. Safe enough to push past my childhood and get married. Rick has been my best friend and partner now for 27 ½ years. Strike that “never” from the list.
Rick and I have been through so much together – things that can tear a marriage apart very easily. The list includes mental health issues, infertility, diagnosis of autism in our younger daughter, bankruptcy, and physical health issues. However, our vows before God kept us together. Rick has stood by my side through all of our troubles. God has been our peace and strength throughout our marriage.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
Rick wanted kids, but he respected my wish not to have children. I so admire him that he chose to marry me despite this.
God was working in my heart though, and when Rick and I had been married a couple of years, God changed my mind. I wanted kids.
But then God said, “Wait.”
It took us almost three years to become pregnant. It was heartbreaking. God gave me a desire and then He seemed to be denying it.
As I have learned, so many times, God’s timing is always perfect. We started seeing a fertility specialist. She sent us both for testing. Rick’s testing found a tumor.
God’s timing was perfect!
Without that testing, the tumor would not have been found. After the tumor was out, I was told that there was a 5% chance it would be benign. I was pregnant with our first child at that time and that was terrifying. God was there though, and Rick beat the odds. The tumor was benign.
My first daughter was born on November 5, 2001. Holding her for the first time – the emotion still brings tears to my eyes. After years of wondering what I was meant to do with my life, I found what I was looking for in my life. Looking into that beautiful little face, I discovered my purpose in life. I was to be a mother. God is amazing. He took something I thought I didn’t want and turned it into the very best thing I could be – a mother.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
Jesus never promised us an easy life. In fact, more than once He spoke of our life on earth being hard. What He did promise us was that He would always be with us. His peace would always be with us. Through every trial and tribulation, Jesus is by our side, holding us as we cry and taking the punches when we are angry. He can do this because He died for all of our sins.
Through each of the difficult places in my life, my faith has grown stronger. I have felt God’s peace deeper and deeper with each trial. God turned my “nevers” into blessings I could not have imagined. He has given me purpose and peace in my life.
Elizabeth Harlan is an author of children’s books. She is happily married to her husband of 27 ½ years. Together they have two daughters. The older daughter (21) has moved out of the home. The younger daughter (19), who has autism, still lives at home. They also have a chocolate lab named Lucy. In her spare time, Elizabeth likes to collect hobbies. Some of the ones she currently has in her collection are reading, crochet, nonogram puzzles, drawing, diamond dot art, and cross stitch. Connect with here using any of the links below: