A discussion got going at our MOPs table this week on how many children we have and how each of our lives are different. Our "Mentor Mom" says to me a lot. "You're a wonderful mother, you have 8 children!" I'm not sure where she got this misconception but I'd like to clear it up right here. Having many children does not make me a wonderful mother. It gives me lots more opportunities for mistakes. Remember, God chooses the weak to show Himself strong. There was a variety of us at the table this year from 1st time moms, moms with a few children feeling tired and overwhelmed and contemplating permanent alternatives, and moms who have already shut the operation down. And then there was me. I don't fit into any of those categories. We've been called "A quiver full family" many times by families with lots of children and we've just smiled and thought "If you really knew". I wish I could say we've always trusted the Lord to bless us with the children He wanted us to have.
Here's a run down of our lack of trust in this area...
Child 1 & 2: Born out of wedlock (Still a blessing and I would not be surviving without them right now) I swore I would stay alone for the rest of my life and focus on these children. God's mercy enters and I meet my husband. He takes all 3 of us on.
Child 3: My husband wanted another baby but I used birth control to prevent this one because I was scared that my husband would love this one more being his biological child. I was feeling a little wacky and bleeding a lot so I decided to ask my doctor what the stuff was doing exactly. This will be the only time in history I've gotten the whole truth from a doctor. He said it's main job is to keep me from ovulating and thicken the uterus walls. If I ovulate anyway a "Fertilized" egg should not be able to attach to the thick wall. If it does, the chemicals in the birth control will abort the egg like a regular menstrual cycle and I will not be "Inconvenienced" by an unwanted life to care for. So, that was the end of birth control. We prayed that God would give us a baby despite our sin. Our family would not be complete without this sweet girl. Her name means "Answered Prayer".
(Note: This goes for all hormonal contraceptive. Even the copper IUD without hormones will make the uterus "Inhospitable" to a fertilized egg and your body will abort it. If you do not believe in abortion, you do not believe in these forms of birth control either)
Child 4: Breastfeeding held off ovulation for awhile. Things were pretty easy. Life was good. My husband kinda talked about another baby again and again I was scared. This time we would be joining the "My, you have your hands full" families. My husband worked a lot. I'm not sure what all my hindrances were. I ended up meeting a lady with 5 children. At the time I hadn't know anyone with that many! She was such a gentle and quiet spirit and convinced me that another baby would be a blessing from the Lord. Two days later I took a test and I was pregnant. God chose to prepare my heart first this time. This pregnancy was very difficult. Nursing was difficult. I became depressed for a few months and was pretty sure I shouldn't have anymore. But, I was nursing and not cycling so I didn't give it much thought. By the time I started cycling again, life was good. We were serving at church as a family. This little guy would go in Daddy's backpack. He was such a joy to our family and brings us joy every day.
Child 5: We were using condoms off and on depending on our moods, how life was treating us, how we were getting along, and how well behaved our children were. I cant remember the statistics on condoms but I know they are not 100%. Pregnant again. After all these babies things were prolapsing. Especially my bladder. The doctor convinced me to sign the papers to have a tubal after the baby was born. I was devastated. I felt so guilty for not being content with the 5 children God had blessed me with. I couldn't figure out why it wasn't enough. I just had no peace. At my 6 week check up, there was nothing prolapsing and my body was restored. So, why get fixed, I wasn't broken. This daughter has added life and laughter to our lives.
Child 6: The whole nursing thing didn't work for this one. I got pregnant before I started cycling again or even thinking about having another baby. This pregnancy and after were also very difficult and we were both overwhelmed and feeling done. My husband was worried about providing. I didn't think I could care for them all or spend enough time with them or home school them. He became very sick when he was born and I had just lost my best friend. I couldn't breastfeed him because my milk dried up (probably because I was so stressed). He turned out to be the easiest and calmest baby ever. He is still very mellow and has the biggest sweetest smile I've ever seen.
Child 7: I was pregnant at my 8 week check up. No time to think about it this time either. I cried and cried and cried. It was like having a baby but remaining pregnant. I went in on a Friday afternoon to get checked out and she couldn't find a heartbeat. I was sure I was going to mis-carry and my heart all of a sudden ached for this baby. I had all weekend to think about it and I prayed for a heartbeat. Monday afternoon we went to the ultrasound and there it was. I was in love again and praising the Lord for this life. My husband was relieved but absolutely sure we were done. He was feeling stretched in every direction and wanted to spend enough time with the ones we had. These last 3 were born in 2 years and 2 months. I didn't even know this was physically possible. This little guy is our "Mighty Warrior". He still adds excitement to our lives daily.
Child 8: We were not on the same page. I knew God knew better then us and was angry with my husband. I prayed that God would change someones heart. In the meantime I respected his wishes. He agreed to allow me to do some research on different forms of birth control and permanent alternatives. As I dove into this research I was even more convinced that God should be in control of this decision. Things that abort life or alter our bodies causing long term damage and health risks such as tubals and vasectomies are NOT in the Lord's plan for us. The only thing I could find that was not morally wrong was "Natural Family Planning". I believed I was in God's will by submitting to my husband and this is 100% accurate if done correctly. He agreed and I did this perfectly. We were at peace in our marriage but overwhelmed with all our little ones. Pregnant again. What! How could God do this! I felt so alone. I was this mother of many children and it's not what my husband wanted. I did not want to do this alone. He was still a big help and loved our babies but his heart was to be done maybe a couple of babies before this. I wrestled with the Lord on this one and even questioned my faith. It didn't seem right. God let me fight until I wore out and hit my knees. I surrendered the situation to Him because there was nothing else I could do. I loved this baby and was secretly happy to be pregnant. The very next day, my husband came home. I was sitting on the couch feeling very defeated. My husband knelt in front of me and said "I was wrong. It's God's job." "We are to trust Him with everything. Where we live, work, what we eat, provision, and this too." He has not wavered on this. Not once. He absolutely adores this little girl and I know she reminds Him of God's faithfulness and mercy. Her name reminds us that not even the lilies of the field have to worry. How much more us. Her smile brings the sunshine in the darkest hardest of days. God knew we needed that. He knows what we need so much more then we could ever imagine and I am so grateful to him for showing us mercy and not giving us what we thought we wanted.
My heart now:
God never cursed anyone with a child in the bible. Children are always a blessing from the Lord.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. Psalm 127:3
I have only met 2 people so far that did not regret closing their wombs. One has since changed her mind and her arms and womb are empty. Her heart aches over that decision (One she made while pregnant, tired, hormonal, and overwhelmed) every day and I'm begging you not to do this to yourself. The other person still has a baby so we'll see in a few years.
There are three things that will not be satisfied, Four that will not say ENOUGH. Sheol, and the BARREN WOMB. Earth that is never satisfied with water, And fire that never says enough. Proverbs 30:15-16
Breastfeeding will most likely give you a natural space between babies if you do it the way God intended. It is not a scheduled thing or burden. Our babies know when they need to nurse. God gave them that instinct. He relates himself to a nursing mother in Isaiah. It is not just food but comfort also. God says so.
That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom. For thus says the Lord, "Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem".
Nursing babies gives us such a beautiful picture of the way God cares for us. It's not just food.
If God wants us to trust Him for everything and not lean on our own understanding then why would this be an exception. Birth control is the world's idea. We are to be set apart from the world.
Indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. For our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 2 Cor 1:9&12
We should never make decisions based on fleshly wisdom.
Jesus came to serve. If we think we need a break or we long for our children to grow up so we can do more things for ourselves we are not living as Christ did. Should raising little ones be something that we suffer through? Or do you hear older women saying "Enjoy it now. It goes by too fast."
I will not judge you because I still do not always trust the Lord. My heart is to stop you from doing something you will wish everyday you didn't. Seek the Lord. Ask Him for the wisdom He promises and search His word. We can not make decisions based on how we feel. My italicized words were the things we were going by. Scared, feelings, guilty, worried, etc. When you've got morning sickness, or your tired from being up all night with the baby, or you're overwhelmed because your little ones are everywhere and out of control is not the time to make decisions like this. We're not to live by how we feel but on God's truth. The blessings will be so much more and our lives will be fuller. Satan wants to cut off Godly seed. He doesn't want us Christians multiplying as God told us to do and he's succeeded. When we spend our lives doing what He designed us to do despite what the world thinks, then we are truly blessed and content.