Tuesday, July 22, 2008


When absolute truth - Jesus Christ - comes to you, one of the greatest on-going challenges is giving him Lordship over every aspect of your life. Deciding to pick and choose the areas you want to give Him is .......well, just plain dumb, in the long run (I know from experience). Your choice of friends, your taste in entertainment, how you spend your money, where you live, whom you court or marry - all of it must be his. He's got all the answers, and if you're listening, the Holy Spirit guides you to His will - usually through Scripture, but it could be through another Christian, through your church family, through a Christian song - through a number of things, really. It isn't about following rules - it's not about religion. It's about a relationship. You and God (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Don't let it be about anything else.

Indeed, the things you TRY to keep control of, you usually make a mess of, since you cannot know the future, and you usually don't recognize the selfishness of your own heart. When we do mess up, he is faithful to pick us up, and he even works through the mess we've created, for His glory.

Having said all that, let me now say that I'm (we're) currently struggling mightily with the size of our family. There are no rules about birth control. I'm not about to say there is only one way to handle family size. I don't feel that way. But I have found Scripture about God wanting control over the womb. It makes sense to me that he wants control. Why wouldn't he?

I'm crying out to him on this, let me tell you. I'm old and Don is older. My last two first trimesters included nasty morning sickness; my last two second trimesters included nasty migraines, and all my final trimesters are taken up with pregnancy-induced blood pressure concerns, leading to about four weeks of bedrest. This would all be fine if I had the luxury of retiring to bed whenever it was necessary. But there are three children here to raise, and none of them are content to cuddle in bed with Mommy more than five minutes. It can get maddeningly difficult, and my husband will say, "That's it. I'm getting the vasectomy!" But I know he doesn't want to and I don't want him to. And yet I'm a shadow of the mom and wife I want to be, during these physically uncomfortable times. I hate that part.

Birth control containing hormones would lead to more migraines, so there is no easy answer. Some forms of birth control work in ways that actually kill life, by making the womb unable to support life. I am comfortable with watching fertile signs and abstaining during those times. I am not comfortable with killing egg or sperm, but this is just my personal feeling, not some rule I read. It isn't something left over from my Catholic years. It's just the state of my heart on this.

When I have a newborn in my arms, none of it matters. It's always exhausting, but its heaven on earth too. When I think of the parents being told during the 20-week ultrasound that their baby has a severe neural tube defect (just read a story about that), I know my discomfort is small potatoes.

Our first ultrasound (21 weeks) is coming up soon. We're scared, even though the baby is moving regularly and my uterus is growing on schedule. So much could go wrong, and not only will our own hearts break again if a baby dies, but now the boys' hearts will too. I know we can, and would, get through it. I know that without a doubt. But I don't want that kind of pain again, or these discomforts of pregnancy again.

We have to seek God through prayer, and meditate on more of his Word on this, now rather than later. I usually have only ten to eighteen non-fertile post-partum months, depending on how avid a nurser I'm dealing with, and specifically, how much night nursing occurs and for how long. Really, I can't even count on how things went in the past.

This is the hardest area, for us, to give over to God. And yet we know how irrational it is to trust God in all other areas, but let fear, or our own discomfort, rule on this issue.

What if I am to lose my entire family tomorrow, and this baby growing inside me is my reason for getting up everyday, is my reason for smiling, for loving life again? God knows, and he alone. Sorry to sound so morbid, but we have worked with widows and widowers through Christian service, and we have dealt with death ourselves. Don lost his mother in a car accident when he was sixteen, and his grandmother and aunt died, also in a car accident, when he was eighteen. Tragedy is never expected, but it can hit the same family more than once, more than twice.

When Don called our pastor in California, after the ultrasound in which we were told our first baby had died, the pastor offered his condolences, gave us funeral/burial advice, and told us of a woman from our church who went through two separate back-to-back, full-term pregnancies, and lost both babies due to cord accidents. Can you imagine? Probably not something he should have said to us at that time, but nevertheless, he did. We have never forgotten it. That, and all the other death knowledge we have under our belts, makes it so hard to say we want to do something that will limit life.

Death and suffering were not God's original design; they are the result of the fall in the Garden. We live in a fallen world, and while there is always God's grace, there is also always going to be suffering. I think giving everything over to the Lord - all decisions in all areas - is the only real insurance we have. It's not insurance against suffering, just insurance that the suffering will be of God, not of ourselves. In a world wrought with suffering, I'd rather take the God-softened kind.

I can't decide this issue for my husband, but I think I have just - through writing this out - decided it for myself. Insurance. That's what giving control to God really is.

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