Changing the Plan
June 2019

“Changing the Plan,” Ensign, June 2019

Changing the Plan

The author lives in New York, USA.

My husband and I had a plan for our future family—but so did the Lord.

couple praying

Our plan was set: wait to have children until my husband, Chris, started medical school. After all, Chris and I had only been married for a year. He also had another year and a half until he finished his undergraduate degree. And although I would graduate soon, I wanted some work experience before becoming a mother.

We prayed about it—both a little worried whether our perfectly logical plan would meet divine opposition. But after the prayer, we still felt good about our decision.

After graduating a few months later, I took an internship to help me gain experience for a later job. But as I looked into possible jobs and even contemplated going to graduate school, I had a strange feeling of unease.

I quickly shrugged it off. Chris and I had a plan. He was just beginning to apply to medical schools, and the process was both lengthy and expensive. Our future wasn’t secure. We had no room in our lives for children yet.

But the uneasiness continued.

A few weeks after my graduation, another reason to stick to our plan cropped up. My mother offered us plane tickets to Australia, where I served my mission. The only time we could go was the summer between Chris’s graduation and his entrance into medical school.

“We have to wait now,” I told myself. We would take our trip, move near Chris’s school, and then think about children. That made the most sense.

But still, the unease remained. In fact, it intensified.

I finally talked to Chris about the feeling. He was surprised but agreed that we should pray again about when to have children. For a week we prayed every day and went to the temple together. We received the answer to start having children as soon as possible. Despite our plans and fears about the future, we followed the prompting. And not long after, we were expecting our first child.

Our decision to have children earlier than expected didn’t seem practical—and we still had to take into account our finances and make sure we could afford the baby. But coming to this decision helped us learn some important lessons:

  1. The Lord has a different definition of perfect timing than we do (see Isaiah 55:8–9). From our perspective, there was never going to be a truly “perfect” time to have a child. There was always going to be another job opportunity, another year of school, or another loan to pay off. We would never have as much security or experience as we would have liked. But, to Heavenly Father, there is a perfect time. That time may be sooner or later, depending on each couple’s circumstance. But when we had faith in the Lord and were willing to let go of our preconceived notions and expectations, we knew with certainty that the timing was perfect.

  2. The Lord’s first answer to a prayer is not always the last. When Chris and I received the answer to wait until medical school to have children, it was the right answer for us—at the moment. It was the answer that helped us move in the right direction. Then, when we received the prompting to have children earlier than we planned, we were more spiritually and emotionally prepared to step forward with faith.

  3. No one’s input is more valuable than your spouse’s and the Lord’s. There were many people—friends, family, ward members—who shared their opinion on what we should do. But, in the end, no one except my husband, me, and the Lord knew what direction our family should take. Anyone else’s opinions on the timing, number, and raising of children were just that: opinions. The decision came as Chris and I listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and sought personal revelation from God.

Deciding to have a child earlier than expected has blessed us. We now have a sweet baby girl. Since she’s arrived, Chris has had new prospects open up, and I’ve found opportunities that allow me to work from home. We have both increased in patience, faith, and hope. Most importantly, we have received confirmation that, even though the future can be uncertain, we are secure in the arms of our Heavenly Father. He will support us. He will guide us to the path we need to be on. He has a plan for us. And it is much better than our own.