The things you take for granted


I’ve been thinking about the essence of the little saying above. The things you take for granted someone else is praying for. When I see that, my first, black-hearted reaction is to think, “Hear that, all you baby-havers? So stop complaining about your kids’ sleep patterns and hug them!” Then I realize the quote is talking about me, too. I stop and think about which things I take for granted that someone else is praying for, the same way I’m praying for a baby and other mothers don’t seem that grateful for theirs.

And a lot comes to mind.

When I started college, I didn’t realize it was my dream to get married when I graduated. I don’t think I realized how close graduation was. It was only months after I got married that I realized I really got off easy. It was definitely my vision as a little girl: go to college, get married, find a job, have babies [ahem], be a great mom, live happily ever after. But I wasn’t the girl working hard on her M.R.S. degree in college … God just allowed me to meet my husband early on, have lots of romantic memories getting to know him, get engaged my junior year in Christmas snow, and get married within days of graduation. I was even hired for my perfect job in the weeks between college and marriage. It kept getting better, too… our life plan had been going exactly as written. Jobs, paying off debt, going into ministry. It was best-case scenario from day one.

Bam. Everything I ever wanted. And it wasn’t until later that I realized how much I took it all for granted. I don’t know what I would’ve done if it hadn’t happened like that… I think I had been assuming all along, “Of course it’s going to happen this way.” (Which, cue the “a-ha!” moment, probably explains why I reacted to infertility like being run over by a truck.) I was spoiled by God. I had gotten everything I’d ever wanted, and hadn’t really even prayed for it.

So then there’s this thought. The things you take for granted someone else is praying for. And I recall the initial months after college, when my gratitude finally caught up with me. I had several close friends who were single, and it was painful for them. They were trying to figure out how their life was going to go when their plan wasn’t happening. I don’t want this post to read like: Well, at least you’re not single. What I mean is, for the first time I can really relate to the feelings they would confess to me, and it pushes me to stop taking my marriage for granted. They were terrified as each passing month and year felt like their life slipping away without them. They were praying, How long, O Lord? as He seemed to stand by silent. They felt like lesser people. They felt passed-by. They wavered between moving forward whole-heartedly with the hand they were being dealt, and waiting patiently for God to still come through. Some of them still are.

And now that I know what that really feels like, I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to be truly grateful. And I’m grateful for the reminder to look around in my life for other trials God has spared me from — which I overlooked, because I was too spoiled to consider it. This chance for ministry, these material things, a healthy, loving family back in America. I could count them all here, but it would be too personal.

I hope God can use my reflections to challenge you as well — which things are you taking for granted that are currently someone else’s trial?

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