I remember two specific times that I used the word “never” with supreme confidence. The first one I only “remember” because there were witnesses who tell me this is what I declared: “I will never drive a min-van.” Of course, this was only brought up because guess what I now drive? Not only do I drive a mini-van, but I sincerely LOVE my mini-van. When I got pregnant with my 3rd child (which will lead us momentarily into the 2nd time I remember saying “never”) we were leasing a Honda Accord. Since my 3rd child was a delightful surprise, we still had 2 years left on our lease. I was about to have 3 kids in car-seats. Not gonna work. So, some dear friends traded us our car for their mini-van for the final duration of our lease. Let me tell you, I was a grateful mama. I distinctly remember driving around thanking God for that mini-van. Now that I have my own, I still do. The other time I clearly remember saying “Never” was regarding having 3 children. I grew up in a home with 3 kids and it just seemed chaotic. Someone was always fighting with someone. I wanted a neat little packaged family with one-on-one parental supervision. One night my husband and I were having a conversation and I told him that we were never going to have 3 children. He told me that was fine but that maybe I shouldn’t tell God what I will or won’t do. I informed him that God and I were definitely on the same page and that he knew full well I couldn’t handle 3 children. When my now-middle son was 8 months old, I got pregnant.
Those are only 2 examples of times when I said “Never” and it turned out that when those circumstances actually happened, I was blessed. I guess God knew what was best for me after all. These memories came to me the other day when I heard a girl tell her story about finding her “family” when she was brought into a foster home. I thought to myself, “now that’s something I could never do. Be a foster parent”. Then I sort of panicked as I remembered other vows I have made about never doing something and how it eventually came to pass. I immediately took back my thoughts, just in case God heard me (and then started saying things like, “I will never live in Southern California, I will never be a missionary to Grand Cayman, and I sure as heck will never lose 20 pounds!”).
Sometimes I say “never” about things I actually want to happen. Have you ever heard yourself say, “I will never be able to quit (fill in the blank with your worst habit/s)”? Or “I will never be the husband/wife/parent/friend I want to be.” Or “I will never be able to have faith/trust like so-and-so does.”
“Never”, or “impossible”, are not words in God’s vocabulary. All things are POSSIBLE with God. Even when they are not part of our near-sighted plans, they are still possible. And it’s a good thing, or I would not have my sweet little girl. I have this thing in me called self-will that convinces me that I know what I need and what I don’t need, better than God does. I have found that it’s a good idea to not vow that you will never do something or be something or go somewhere, stay somewhere or work somewhere. We don’t know how we will feel about something in the future. Through our daily experiences and our sorrows, we often become different people who think differently about the world. Our perspective changes. Deciding today how you will feel about something tomorrow or next week or next year is a waste of energy. Be open to what God has for you and trust that He will give you exactly what you need exactly when you are able to handle it. Take whatever comes your way with a grateful hand.