Joy in His Plan
JOY IN HIS PLAN
By Jenna Greiner
Well, there was Balancing Act Jenna: two homes equals twice the love. Spazzy Jenna: Let’s be funny because trying to be cool is too exhausting. Try-New-Things Jenna: Yeah I’m taking cello, gymnastics, and ice skating lessons and I’m 20 years old. Socially Invested Jenna: What are you guys doing tonight? Later? Tomorrow? Jump-At-Every-Good-Opportunity Jenna: Mom, I’m going to Israel for a study abroad. And finally, the Do-It-Because-It-Feels-Right Jenna: Mom, I’m going to serve the Lord somewhere I don’t know, for a year and a half, and also, Dad, I know it’s only been a couple months, but I know Rusty’s the one and I want to marry him.
I’ve always felt proud of the experiences that I’ve either been dealt or sought out myself. Just like anyone else, my life has not been easy. But I have always felt richly blessed—blessed with health, blessed in my relationships, and ever since I can remember, blessed with faith. I truly felt “able” in life, even through times of trial.
Rusty and I had been married barely four months [before we decided to have a baby], only two of which we were physically together. He was working in San Francisco and would fly back and forth to Utah where I was finishing my degree. Regardless of the timing, we felt it was right to start growing our family.
Two months later we found ourselves in the ultrasound room. “Well, I have some news,” the tech said as she typed ‘Baby A’ and ‘Baby B’ on the screen. “There are two sacs! You have two children coming.” I began crying and laughing at the same time. We were having twins! Jenna Mazey (now Greiner), who was always ready for an adventure, was having twins! Exciting, right?
Then why wasn’t I handling it the way I thought I should be? On the outside I did things by the book: changed my diet, took my prenatal vitamins, read the babies’ development for each week and started researching which products we’d need. However, on the inside there was a loud voice calling out in deep desperation, “I AM NOT READY.” I’d seen moms with twins before, and I was not cut out for, nor ever considered, being that kind of mom. Mom-of-twins Jenna just couldn’t even exist. I tried doing visualization exercises imagining life with two babies, hoping it would sink in—it left me more overwhelmed. I thought maybe shopping for maternity clothes would help, but I quickly discovered that anytime I’d even see a pregnant woman, whether she was online modeling maternity wear or just in real life, I became overcome with nausea. Sharing the news with others was far from what I expected as well; it took a long time for me to believe the words that were coming out of my own mouth.
By far the worst part was the guilt. Rusty and I had several close friends who had been trying for years to have even just one child—yet here I was, carrying two. I had two of God’s greatest creations growing inside of me. I felt like what could have been their miraculous blessing was instead, one of my greatest trials. My insecurities of not being ready occasionally slipped into feelings of not being worthy.
I’ve had several faith-driven experiences throughout my life where, after the dark moments of wondering how my challenging circumstances were going to be resolved, the dawn came and cast its divine light on the entire circumstance filling me with perspective, understanding and greater trust in Jesus Christ. I’ve only known myself for twenty-something earth years, yet He’s known me since before time and into the eternities.
Who was I going to trust? My naive little self or my Eternal Creator?
December 1, 2013 – 3:00 AM
California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco
36 weeks pregnant
“So you came in concerned about your blood pressure?” our doctor asked. “Well, your blood pressure is fine. However, you’re having contractions every two minutes, you’re three centimeters dilated, your sac is bulging and Baby B is transverse—you’re having your babies tonight! Daddy, here are your clothes to wear in the OR. Change into these while we get Mom prepped for her C-section.”
Rusty and I looked at each other as the weight of everything we’d just heard was absorbed. It didn’t matter anymore if I felt ready or not. This was the moment. It was time for me to make a decision. Which would win: my fear or my faith? If He trusted me and I trusted Him, then that was enough for me.
Let’s do this and love it.
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. (Colossians 2:5, KJV)
Nash and Jewel Greiner were born (in no particular order) at 4:04 and 4:06AM. The moment, no, the millisecond, I heard their cry from the other side of the blue surgical sheet, something came alive in me. All I know is that in that moment, I felt joy in its purest, most divine form. The fear was so far gone, as though it wasn’t even there in the first place. I was now Mother Jenna. I have two children: they are mine, and I am theirs forever. I felt heavenly love radiate from my Creator, through me and onto these precious new spirits, which in turn helped me understand the love my Savior must have for me. And to think I was scared to have this experience, how tragic it would have been had I not yielded faithfully, even optimistically, to the Lord’s plans for me.
Once we had both babies home, Rusty and I endured the expected sleepless nights, the blowouts, the inconsolable cries and everything else that comes along with the joy of parenthood. But we did it! The very life I was hopelessly unable to visualize when pregnant, I was living, and I absolutely loved it.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, KJV)
Flash forward almost three years later when little Nelly was born and we became a family of five. And then forward again, two years to right now, as Rusty and I are expecting Greiner baby number four to debut at any moment. Every time I find myself thinking “I AM NOT READY,” a reminder from the heavens, always in the form of Rusty’s encouraging voice, reassures me of the incredible joys that have always come when I’ve done the right, hard, faithful things. So now, I try to change my thoughts to I didn’t know this was in store for me either, but I know Who is in charge, so I’d have it no other way.
At times it is hard merging Before-Kids Jenna with Mom-of-Four Kids Jenna, as not many things I had previously used to identify myself by survived the threshold of motherhood. However, the most important part of my identity not only survived, but has thrived. I am Jenna, a daughter of God. He loves me and knows me better than I know myself. He knew, long before I could begin to even imagine, just how much I would love being the mom to my kids—how I’d be more passionate about this than I ever thought I could be about anything. He knows what I’m capable of, and I know the joy that can come as long as I choose to have faith in Him and His Son.