Sunday, June 29, 2008

Morning Changes

Sunday morning madness.

French toast set off the sensitive smoke detector, announcing that breakfast is ready. Mommy and Daddy thoroughly enjoy the treat, but none of the kids are terribly excited about it.

"What are these, Mom?" Isaiah asks.

"They're like pancakes," I say. "Try them."

He and Rose have two bites apiece before declaring they are "full". Mmm...

Upstairs we rush to throw on church clothes. I dress little Lela Mae in an 18 month dress that Rose sported last year. It's pink, polk-a-dotted, and floofy. So adorable. Rose is wearing a little women's dress.

"I look like you, Mommy," she says with a smile. Precious daughter of mine.

Isaiah's dress shorts are somehow dirty, so we settle for clean windbreaker shorts with a white shirt. Nothing fancy, but my little boy is looking handsome for sure.

RING! RING! Silly phone. Actually, it's Jason's phone ringing, and his phone sings Johny Cash's song "Because you're mine... I'll walk the line..." Jason runs to catch his cell phone and I go to my room to don my Sunday clothes. We are at 10 minutes to leaving for church-and counting.

"Who was that on the phone?" I ask, my head bent over my drawers, searching for the perfect maternity shirt.

"Uh... Jonathon."

"Yeah? What time does he need you this afternoon?" A pre-set moving help time. So I thought.

"Well, he needs me this morning."


"What?" I stop looking for my shirt and turn to face my husband. "This morning? But, we're going to church."

"I know," Jason says. He looks down and then back at me. "He has to return the U-haul truck this morning. He needs me to come help move the heavy stuff before the truck is due back."

We sit on the bed. The morning is changed. Eight minutes and counting until we have to leave or be late. What do we do?? Help our friend or go to church. I feel like we're screwed either way.

"Can't you just tell him we're going to church?" I plead, rubbing my pregnant belly.

"I did. He said he has to return the truck today. By 9am. He's already going to be late."

"Jason, you can't help him. We're going to church," I sound like a bird repeating myself. "Going to church. Going to church."

"I feel like a hypocrite. I can't tell him, 'Sorry man, I can't help you. We're going to church'. How is that being a good Christian? I don't know what to do.

Our darling children are running around in their church clothes. What do we do? Take my poll and tell me what YOU think!

TO BE CONTINUED.....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Minivan Wisdoms

"Oh well," I said, taking his hand. "At least we're together. We can talk." I smiled. He smiled. No kids in the minivan. The tunnel traffic that promised us another 45 minutes in the empty minivan became a blessing.

So, we talked. The midwives had told us that my cramping and fatigue that is accompanying this pregnancy is mostly due to four pregnancies in four years. They say that the body wears down. It is depleted of its resources and skims everything left off the top. I can witness to this. I am weary and exhausted. I cannot care for my family's needs without my uterus cramping, angry at me for being up and about.

I asked Jason, my amazing man, "What do you think? Does God give us the right to step in and effect the 'law of conception'?"

One thing I love about Jason, he actually thinks about his response instead of blurting out the first thing that rushes to his mind. I envy that, actually. I'm more of a word blurter...

After a few minutes, he slowly offered his thoughts. "Well, " he said softly. "I think God created our bodies to work different. He made it so that we don't get pregnant every time we have sex. Like, you could release an egg like I release sperm. You don't. Obviously, God did not intend us to get pregnant at every opportunity."

What wisdom. I grin at the way his brain works. I love this man!

The wisdom spillage continues. "And, I've been thinking about something else. God gave a woman lots of signs of when she is fertile. He could have made it a mystery where she never knew when she ovulates. He could have made ovulation random, where women never knew when they would ovulate."

He knows so much. How many men would be comfortable using words like ovulate and cycles? He's so awesome.

I was grinning; Jason kept talking. "I think that if God gave women all these signs of ovulation and gave them obvious cycles, I think He meant for us to know when you are fertile and to have the choice whether or not to give into the 'law of conception'."

"So?" I said. "In conclusion?"

Jason looked at me quite seriously. "Well, I think it's ok for us to use a natural method to keep from having babies for awhile. I think God will bless that."

Ah. Can I say it again? I love this man!

Jason has seen, more than anyone, the effects of baby-having on my body. He has watched a newlywed body turn into the body of a mother. He sees the fatigue, the exhaustion, the weariness, the cramping, the low patience level, etc. He is the head of this household and I submit to him. It blesses me greatly that my leader believes God is giving his stamp of approval on a natural method of birth control. (Which, by the way, is more effective than the pill!! Did you know that?? The best book on natural methods is "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". I highly recommend it.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Need Help

Did you know that the ligaments that support the uterus can cause "period-like cramping" when you are pregnant? Well, apparently, they can. According to the ER OB doctor we just saw this morning for a preterm labor scare.

I have been having problems with cramps that creep up whenever I do much of anything. My midwife suggested the ER today after the "slightly past comfortable cramps" became sharp and intense. Off we went to the nearest hospital.

After a urine sample (that I spilt half of on the bathroom floor... oops), an hour of monitoring the "contractions", checking for fetal heartbeat (beating away quite nicely), and a thorough internal exam, we were cleared to go home. Nothing but ligaments. Wow.

I was told by the OB doc and two midwives today (all separate conversations) that my cramping and pain is due to having four pregnancies in four years. Apparently, that weakens the muscles and ligaments. Knowing the strain that the consecutive pregnancies have put on my body, gives me another reason for using BC. Seems like being a "good steward" of my body might mean using BC to prevent another pregnancy that wearies the body. It definitely runs through my mind.

Also, I've been ordered by the doc and the midwives to "take it easy". Sigh. Definitely easier said than done. Jason has been working 12-15 hour shifts every day. I have three small children. How in the world do I "take it easy"? My midwife says to "put out a plea for help" to my friends. That's a problem for me; I have issues asking for help. But, I'm being forced to learn. I guess, it's good for me to ask for help. So, HELP!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Motherhood Follies I : Fresh Sheets

I stood back and surveyed the fresh, blue sheets on our king size bed. Sighing in satisfaction, I looked forward to bedtime. They looked so clean and inviting.

RING! RING! Phones can be so demanding. As my two girls climbed the huge bed, I headed downstairs to answer the phone.

"Don't jump on my bed, Girls. I'll be back in a minute," I said on my way out the door. Rose grinned and I knew jumping would ensue the minute my head rounded the corner.

I reached the ringing phone just in time to hear a dial tone. I'd missed the interrupting phone call. Oh well. Something in the kitchen caught my attention, and I started another short chore.

"Mom," Isaiah called for me.

"What?" I answered absentmindedly.

"Mom, Rosie pooped on your bed."

My head jerked up. "WHAT?" I said again. No more absent mind. The mind was very present.

"Rose pooped on your bed," he said again. He was quite matter-of-fact about it; his head cocked to one side. "Come see," he beckoned me.

"Oh no!" I wailed on my way back up the stairs.

RING! RING!

"AAh, the phone again! Isaiah, go answer the phone," I ordered as I entered my smelly room. Isaiah gleefully ran to answer the phone.

Rose and Lela laid across the bed. Sure enough, there was plops of fresh poop on my no-longer-clean sheets. Rose had poop streaking out her packed-full diaper (I knew we should have gotten the next size up!). Rose looked distraught and Lela looked interested in the poop plops.

"Lela, no!" I grabbed her and sat her on the floor. She started to wail.

"I sorry, Momma. I sorry," Rose cried.

From downstairs, I hear Isaiah answer the phone. "Mommy is upstairs right now. Rosie pooped on the bed." He told the mystery person on the phone.

"Isaiah bring me the phone!"

As I started to clean up the smelly mess, Isaiah continued narrating the mayhem.

"Rose and Lela were on Mommy's bed. Yes. And then Rose pooped on it. Uh-huh." Isaiah talked into the phone.

While it would have been an entertaining story to any innocent caller, it happened to be Daddy who heard the lowdown.

Cradling the phone against my shoulder, I started wiping up poop. Jason's voice did not bring me the usual comfort. "Hey Babe," he said. "What's going on?"

I recounted Isaiah's translation of the story, only my version including the horrible smell and the lamentations of the loss of fresh sheets. Jason was rightfully sweet and encouraging.

Gross story made short: A bath is the best way to clean up a poop covered girl. And, I praise God for a washing machine that re-cleaned my pretty blue sheets. Much later that night, I covered the bed with the fresh sheets for a second time that day. They smelled much better.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Creates the Souls?

The "law of conception" is an interesting idea. I have coined this term, comparing the possibility of a "law of conception" with the proven "law of gravity". We know that if I drop a spoon, it will fall to the floor. God has set the law of gravity in motion; we cannot stop it or change it. The "law of conception" suggests that God has set another law in motion that we can choose to stop, if we so desire. But, if we choose to not stop conception, than conception just occurs because God has set the "law of conception" in motion. In theory.

Let's run with this for a few paragraphs. We see the "law of conception" at work in God's creation beyond humanity. God created animals to mate when the female ovulates or is "in heat". He set things in motion for the animals to "be fruitful and multiply"; typically, life is created when a male and female mate. I.E. when an egg and sperm come together.

Connect the animals to humans' procreation and it becomes interesting. The law of conception seems quite evident in animals. We could easily apply it to us as well. However, here's the tricky part: what about the soul God gives to only humans? If there is a "law of conception" and we have the power to create life whenever the setting is right; when does God assign that life a soul? Does He create the soul as the physical life is being created? As the egg and sperm fuse and the cells begin to divide?

I cannot see God giving us the ability to create a soul. We might be able to create physical life, but spiritual life? Mmmm... It's an interesting thought, isn't?

I just cannot get past the HUGENESS of life being created. I cannot fully accept that God has given that "right" to me! What a huge responsibility to even allow us to create life, much less creation being just "law" of circumstance. The God of creation, who is all about creating, must surely be more interested in life than to just let it happen at our will. I think God is bigger than the "law of conception" theory.

But, I haven't decided for sure; please don't quote me on that.

Trusting God

"You're not trusting God."

Often when I discuss using birth control, I get the comment on trusting God. It's often said with a small smile and in a casual voice. Maybe, even a little sing-songy. "You're not TRUSTING God...." -small smile- "You just ought to trust God, Jessica." It's like they think they have solved all my problems with that little chant. Ha-ha.

Even my dear Jason chanted "you're not trusting God" to me this weekend. I pulled Him into my blog debate and opened the door for his thoughts on the subject. I figure what he thinks is pretty important since he is the other half of my fertility blessings. :)

I do not totally accept the chant. It is definitely one of those statements that causes extreme emotion to rise up in me. "What do you mean I'm not trusting God???" And it can fill me with guilt. In the past (pre-blog days) the chant would stop me in my tracks and my friend would continue to smile (remember, they think they just solved my problem). I would have no recourse but to admit she was right.

NOW, however, I am able to stop my jumble of thoughts that begin to run whenever someone says "you're not trusting God..." No, that's not necessarily true. It may be that I'm just trying to be a good steward of my body and my fertility.

It comes back to the BIG QUESTION: Is there a "law of conception" that God has set in motion where if an egg and sperm meet, life will just happen; humans are given the "inherent ability" to create life? OR Does God have an infinite plan and a predetermined amount of children for your family and we should all just leave BC out of our marriages and "trust God" to determine the size of our family?

So, it may not be that Jessica is not "trusting God" with her fertility; it could be that she is seeking His perfect will for her life which just might include a form of birth control.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Motherhood Ministry

"Can motherhood be a ministry?" I asked her with tears in my eyes. It was the middle of our Ladies' Retreat and I sat across from our key speaker, Sharon Thomas ( http://establishedfootsteps.com/). It was "quiet time before the Lord" and I was raw before the Master of my life.

"Is that what's wrong?" Sharon scooted across the deck and sat beside me.

I began to share with her my life. I told her about my three blessings running around the house and my fourth blessing swimming inside by belly.

"I believe Motherhood can definitely be a ministry," Sharon said softly.

And so, my Motherhood Ministry was born.

Our society subtly and not so subtly teaches women that motherhood is not enough. "You're JUST a stay-at-home mom? Don't you work?" I hear all the time from new acquaintances. It is so prevalent, I find myself sucked into the mindset that women should do more than "just be a mother". This societal lie has wrapped itself around my heart and around my mind. I am just now coming up for air and looking around, realizing that being a mother is the most noble and truest calling a woman is given from the Lord. After all, Jesus told us in Mark 10, "children are at the very center of life in the kingdom".

If children are the center of life in the kingdom of God, then I am called into the most important ministry in the church. I am called to minister to and train up the center of life in God's kingdom! That shakes me to my core. It shakes off the lie of society that motherhood is a "secondly important" job. The lie that yells at my heart that I am not enough unless I have an outside job. The lie that children only bring difficulties and keep women from all the other wonderul things they could be doing with their life.

As a woman, I am encouraged to see women leaders in the church. I think it's awesome to hear gifted women speaking God's word. I love receiving prayer from women who are covered in the Spirit of the Lord. It is amazing. However, I have been surprised by the push for women to be involved in the church beyond mothering as the church ignorantly marches along with society.

I shared my Motherhood Ministry vision with a dear friend, and she was so insistent that God had other things for me to do as well. She believes I should do something else along WITH my Motherhood. She thinks I should do something more specific within the church body, on top of raising up Godly men and women who will move and shake the Kingdom of God.

Isn't it obvious that my hands are full? That God has filled my life to overflowing already? It seems to me, my calling is clear; atleast in this season of my life.

My point is this: isn't a Motherhood Ministry more than enough? It seems so dazzling to me. A shiny, amazing, humbling calling from the Lord. He has called me to be intimately involved in the very core of the church; raising up His children.

He has answered the cry of my heart. "Here am I; Lord, send me!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Comments Rebuttal

I'm not sure how I can "combine" these two beliefs. Either God has set the law of conception in motion and we are all submissive to it; OR He only allows life to be created in His perfect timing when He allows it to be created.

I believe God has a plan for every life He creates. From start to finish. Even if that life is "incompatible for life". If life just begins because God set a law in motion so that if one of the millions of sperm that is released happens to meet up with an egg inside the woman, then how does that line up with God having specific plans for our life? We know that God is never surprised by anything; especially LIFE.

On the other hand, what about all these babies coming from prostitutes, drug addicts and young teenagers? Why do they get pregnant? The theory of "inherent ability to create life" would explain this issue. However, don't their babies have a plan from God, too? Doesn't God call their children to Him as well? I hear incredible testimonies from "crack babies" who survive and go on to be dynamically saved by God and called to do mighty things.

So, I am torn here. I go back and forth. I like the idea of my fertility being given to me as a gift and that God expects me to be "responsible" with it. To be a "good steward" of my body and my ability to create life. This belief would give me and Jason the freedom to use a method of birth control (NOT hormonal) to keep babies from coming and feel great peace about it. We are praying about it. It is an awesome responsibility.

**NOTE** I have noticed a common denominator in my friends various responses. My friends who have struggled with infertility, they believe very strongly that God has allowed them to, miraculously, conceive. They do not believe it "just happened". Controversially, my friends who have had no problems conceiving, they have been more likely to jump on board the "inherent ability to create life" theory. Interesting, isn't?

A Loophole?

"I'm looking for a loophole, Jess. That's what I'm doing," she told me. One of my dearest friends sat close to me, mirroring my intensity as we talked about my blog and fertility management. She has two babies, suffers from juvenile diabetes and desires God's will for her life. And, she truly does not want more kids at this point.

We debated together our thoughts and emotions. It has come down to this for both of us: God has either set things in motion where, if the situation presents itself, then life just begins OR conception can only occur when God himself puts his finger on the egg and sperm and allows life to begin.

In Jack Hayford's book "I'll Hold You in Heaven", he addresses the issue of birth control. (This book is written to couples who have lost their babies to either miscarriages or soon after birth. And, interestingly enough, he chooses to include a section concerning God's view on conception.) In Genesis 2:7, we read about the first miracle of conception. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

Mr. Hayford pulls out the word "life" which is "chayeem" in Hebrew. "Chayeem" means "lives", when literally translated. God breathed the plural form of life into man, thus giving man the "gift of lives". Mr. Hayford believes that because God gave man the "gift of begetting life", that God does NOT have to "take separate action to infuse the fertilized ovum with life. Life is simply inherently present - instantly, spontaneously, always there- because God delegated "lives" to man for propagation."

OK, so that's pretty interesting, isn't? Mr. Hayford stance is that since "life is inherently present", God gives us the right to decide how many children we bring into our family. He does emphasize that the Bible continually supports children as blessings and something to be desired. But, he does not believe that God requires "interminable abandonment to chance or required a given number of offspring or assigned us to innumerable ones."

One website author sums it up with "Therefore, we have the right -- even the obligation -- to exercise stewardship over the gift of creating another human being. This stewardship must be exercised under God, however. He is the owner, we are the manager. While I believe that God does not oppose limiting the size of one's family, Christian couples MUST check with the owner to see how he wants us to limit or not limit the act of creation. (http://www.new-life.net/faq006.htm)

I think, if we are looking for one, we have found our "loophole". I find these views refreshing in their lack of judgement and rules. However, when I summarized these articles to my husband, he shook his head in disagreement.

"But, what about scriptures like 'before I formed you in the womb, I knew you?' (Jeremiah 1:5) Or in Psalm 'For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb?' " Jason's gorgeous eyes looked at me and I felt his sweet conviction. He wasn't buying my "loophole".

Sigh. So, I'm not sure we made much progress here, but it was an interesting study. Jason and I are still discussing whether we have the "inherent" ability to create life or does God put His finger on every egg that is fertilized. It's a good question.

Monday, June 09, 2008

ANNOUNCING!!

Drum roll, please!!

We had a sneak peak at our baby today; I love ultrasounds!

The sonographer, Sandra, squeezed the cold goop on my belly and scanned away. She found the baby's wiggly legs right away. I saw something...

"Is that a wee-wee?" I said, starring at the screen.

Sandra laughed. "Yes, it is!"

Jason and I laughed. Another boy. We're so excited. We're boy, girl, girl, boy. How perfect for us.

Isaiah has been asking for a brother. He just recently realized he is brotherless and sisterful. Ha. He asked me, "Whose my brother? Is Daddy my brother?" Um, no. And, now, he'll get himself a little brother. What a blessing.

The baby looks good in the sonogram. All four heart chambers pumping away; head is the right shape and brain has the right lines showing. Measuring right at 19 weeks, 2 days; putting my due date November 1st. (My last period tells us the due date is October 29th, so we'll see.)

The lady who does the sonogram is adorable and I've added her link to My Favs to the right of the page. Check out her site, if you want to see where we went.

Well, the mound of laundry is calling my name and I must answer. Off I go to do my blessed job.

Realizations

I've been processing my last post; i.e. my word from the Lord.

Here's some other revelations that are seeping through my heart.

I am a blessed woman. I have three beautiful children who are all healthy. I have a blessed womb. God is faithful to me.

My fertility is not a curse; it's a blessing. A gift from God to me. My children are a reward from Him.

I am praying that God will give me the ability to trust Him. Whatever that may look like.

I also realize that I do want more children. Yes. Four is not "it" for us. It may shock you; you may raise your eyebrows at me; but, no, we are not "done". I think six would be a good number for us. But, we'll see. We're seeking God's will for us. As you know.

Just a short update.

Friday, June 06, 2008

God Speaks

It's bedtime. I should be in bed.

Emptying my pregnant bladder in hopes of making it for a good chunk of sleep, I go to the bathroom one last time before bed. I keep a Bible in there; it's a great place to pray. You should try it.

Holding the Bible in my hands, I cry out, "LORD! Speak to me!!" My mind whispers, "I want to hear the words of Jesus."

"Matthew 10," whispers back to my heart.

My bookmark is in Acts. I turn pages back to Matthew 10. The first heading is "Divorce". Great. Not sure where God is going with this... I start reading. Half way through the chapter, my throat tightens with emotion. Here is part of Matthew 10 from "The Message".

"The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them."

I cried as I read this passage. "Am I pushing the children away, Lord? Pushing away the children you want to give me? Am I getting in the way of Your kingdom?"

"Jessica, do you trust me?" I felt Him whisper to my heart.

Embarrassed before Him, I hung my head. "Lord... I don't trust you. I don't think I can trust you with this."

"Have I done a good job so far?"

My day rushes through my mind like a movie screen; the children's cherubic faces run before my thoughts. They're so beautiful. They bring me such joy and happiness.

"Oh, Lord. Yes. Yes, you have done a beautiful job so far."

"Trust me?"

"Oh God... I can't..."

My heart longs to trust Him. Writing this, my littlest baby wiggles inside my blessed womb. Looking back at my life, at my babies, I wouldn't change it for anything. God has done a good job. Doesn't it stand to reason that five more years from now, I'll still look back and not change a thing? Whether He gives me five more or no more; won't it be a good job? Can I trust God?

I Complain Too Much

I get a great response whenever I tell people the ages of my stair-step children. Strangers see their bobbing heads in the grocery cart or running around the park. I get, "Are those all yours? How old are your children?" I smile and offer their ages. "Three, two and one..."

My new favorite thing to say is, "And now, I'm going to really blow you over. I'm pregnant again." Then I smile really big.

The other day, amongst a room full of close friends, I found myself going on and on about how easily I get pregnant. I sighed about how close in age my kids came to me. Everyone jokes about my husband being a "raging bull". Jason thinks that hilarious. All I can think of is, "does that make me a cow? Moooo."

When we got home that night, I ran the conversation through my mind. It kind of sounds like I'm complaining about my kids. Wow. I am moaning and groaning about these treasures that God has given to me. I should be celebrating God's gifts and not crying about them.

Here's the reality for me. I'm exhausted. All the time. I have two in diapers and one who still has the occasional accident. Lela Mae gets up once a night for a bottle; and Rose and Isaiah both wake up at least once a week during the night. On a bad night, all three might need an adult two times through the night. That's a total of six times waking up from about 10:30pm until 6:30am. Isaiah usually dresses himself, but the girls need help dressing. I have forty fingers and forty toes (including my own) to clip and trim. I have four heads of hair (including my own) to wash and comb. Four mouths to brush and clean. You get the picture. Three very small people depend on me for the majority of their intimate needs and care.

This is not a list of complaints, it's a list of my day. I don't mind doing all of this; but it does exhaust me. On top of these duties, my body is forming another little one that pulls the bulk of my energy right from the top. I want each of my babies. I am grateful for them. And, believe it or not, I believe their spacing is often a blessing. They are playmates because they are in the same peer group! I love that. And, they share clothes; the girls are neck in neck for sizes.

I am posting all of this because I want people to understand why fertility is an issue for me. I have received a few light reprimands from people who love me. They have reminded me that the issue I am blogging about is, truly, a blessing. Many couples pay thousands of dollars to even have a chance at one moment of fertility.

One friend wrote, "As I was reading [your blog] I thought about the couples I know who are unable to have children and the terrible empty feeling they have. How they would love to exchange places with you." Ah, yes. A good reminder to me.

I have several friends who are so broken from their infertility. Women from church confide in me their heartache to have a baby. They have leaned over my swollen belly full of baby, and cried on my shoulder. How I wish I could share this fertility of mine. I don't understand why I am popping out babies every year while another woman grieves no pink lines every month. I would so eagerly share the wealth of a healthy uterus and healthy eggs, if I could.

I do not want to wound anyone who hears me mouth off and complain about the load the Lord has called me to carry. A beautiful family that brings a heavy load. I want to do God's will with this gift of fertility. I want to be responsible with my gift. Do I need to let it run wild and have babies every year because I can? It's a blessing, right? Well, it's my gift; and I'm not sure what God would have me do with it yet. Please, give me grace while I figure it out.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hidden Sins

Growing up, I remember my dad always saying "God made sin obvious in the Bible". He often added, "I could use scripture out of context to make anything look like a sin. For example," he would start to grin a little at this point. "For example, I could say, 'It's a sin to wear green shoes.' I could sight that God never told us to wear brown shoes, so if we wear green ones, we're sinning. See the absurdity?"

I appreciate my father's candidness. I've never been able to look at green shoes without smiling memories of my father. He makes a good point, though. Sins are obvious. We don't have to worry that we'll accidentally commit some unknown sin. God started with the Ten Commandments as our original guidelines. Then, in the New Testament, there are several lists of sins. In Ephesians 5, the author Paul says, "No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

Ok, so how does this apply to birth control? My point is that, surely, if it was a sin to use birth control, the "birth control sin" would be stated clearly in the Bible. Sin is not a puzzle; it's clear cut.

One of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not commit murder." I think, in some aspects this does apply to BC. One of the three ways the BC pill prevents pregnancies, is by causing the lining of the uterus to be "uninhabitable". In case ovulation does occur and the sperm does fertilize the egg, the pill causes the endometrium (i.e. the uterus lining) to not hold a fertilized egg. In the article, "Birth Control Pill: Abortifacient and Contraceptive" (
http://www.aaplog.org/collition.htm), the author concludes that the BC pill and all other hormonal contraceptives may cause abortions.

In "May Christians Use Birth Control" (
http://www.tenth.org/qbox/qb_000730.htm), Rev Richard Phillips helps separate birth control forms from one another. Reading his article helped me decide officially that Jason and I WILL NOT use any hormonal contraception's again. Putting together my belief that life begins at conception (when the sperm meets the egg and the cells begin to divide) and the sixth commandment to not commit murder, I am convicted that the birth control pill is a sin; it breaks God's law.

Believe it or not, I feel a great deal of peace at reaching a small conclusion in my studies. Ah. Finally, some peace. Jason and I still have other options like the barrier methods (ick...), natural methods of birth control, and permanent sterilization. Or, of course, continuing to add to our quiver. And, so, the research continues....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Three Year Break?? HUH?

After every birth, so far, I am re-convicted about "a break". After Baby Number Two and Three, we used the birth control pill for several months. Both times, we didn't like the effects of the hormones on me. Heck, I might as well have been pregnant with the way I was acting!! We also learned "Natural Family Planning" (NFP) and "Fertility Awareness Methods" (FAM) to help create a "break" in our babies. Obviously, we were not committed to any of these BC methods.

After Lela was born, we begin FAM because Jason and I were adamant about wanting "a break". To be specific, a three year break before the next baby. After charting several long cycles that were quite aggravating due to me still nursing Lela Mae, we decided to get on "the pill". I saw a Gyno who felt sorry for me and my three babies in three years and eagerly gave me a prescription for the POP (progesterone-only pill), the "safe-for-breastfeeding" version of the pill. I thoroughly enjoyed popping the POP into my mouth every day, gleeful that no babies would be surprising us anytime soon.

After a few months however, as has been my pattern, I begun to doubt our decision to be on the pill. I worried about the things I had read that said the pill can cause spontaneous abortions. I prayed for peace. One night, at a prayer meeting, I cried to my sisters in Christ concerning this issue. I pleaded with them to understand how tired I was and to help me find some peace in using BC pills.

We prayed together that night, and we all felt the Lord was telling us that Jason and I would be given a "three year break" from having kids. There were visions and scriptures and "words from the Lord" all leading us to interpret the coming of a "three year break". Ok. Wonderful. When I got home, Jason and I prayed together and felt peace about throwing away the rest of the POP pills. That was in October.

Four months later, we were staring a two pink lines. My period was still three days from being late, but I knew. I was nauseous, weepy, and low energy. I knew. Jason and I were staggered as we stared at the pee stick. I peed on another one in the morning. Still two lines. Two faint lines proclaiming that no "three year break" was in the future for us.

I read Psalm 127 and was reminded that children are a reward from the Lord. I read Isaiah 55:9 out loud to Jason. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. " We cried together. We surrendered our will to the Lord. We began to allow our hearts and minds to make room for another beautiful child coming to our family.

And, we accepted that God had not promised us a "three year break". We had heard wrong.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Blessings VS Burdens

I just finished reading this article by Barbara Curtis at crosswalk.com. Here's an interesting quote:

"The bottom line is this: If as Christians we are called not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2), shouldn’t we question the worldly assumption that children are burdens rather than blessings? And if we did, wouldn’t it follow that our words would reflect that truth and that families would look different? "
http://www.crosswalk.com/root/parenting/11555796/page0/

Children are a blessing rather than a burden... Wow. What a reminder. It takes me back to three hours ago when I was attempting to put my three to bed. Ack! It's the end of a long day that followed a short and interrupted night; my patience level is at it's all day low. All I want is for the darling blessings to go to bed so that I can "clock out" and begin unwinding. After rocking Lela for half and hour, she was still talking to me in her one year old gibberish. Changing approaches, I laid her down in her crib. I left her side only to attend to Rose who was still tossing and turning and having a little party. I sat there in the floor listening to Lela gab and watching Rose squint her "closed" eyes at me and my thoughts ran away.

I thought, "Why do I want more kids???" Now, that thought coincides with "assuming my children are burdens", doesn't? In fact, it's those "I can't take it anymore" thoughts that make me think I can be a better mother to four children as opposed to a dozen. But, children are a blessing; I do believe that. When I look at my darlings, even in the middle of crazy days, I love them. I love how close in age they came to us. Their stair step sizes are adorable and it has given them friends for life. God has already given us a full quiver of blessings. ...Or has He??

PS What is a "quiver full"? When a man goes to battle, and takes a "quiver full" of arrows, what does that look like?? I am researching this answer.

A Quiver Full

A couple I babysat for birthed their 7th child while I was their 14 year-old babysitter. My sister and I cared for their kids together and we loved them all!! They were the best behaved children with whom I have ever been blessed to spend time. The momma wrapped up their family size with baby number nine several years later. This was the first family I met who lived their life by the "A Quiver Full" teaching. This is a book by Rick & Jan Hess, a couple who took Psalm 127:3-5 took heart. http://www.quiverfull.org/

"Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them"

Many families have joined the QuiverFull movement, including my mother-in-law. So, when I married my husband, Jason, who is the oldest of six children, birth control was an open topic between us. In fact, we discussed it before Jason ever proposed. The conclusion of that phone conversation was that I wanted to be on the birth control for the first five years of my married life. Being the cordial person that Jason is, he gave me the lead in this area. For the most part, he still does.

However, the first day that I was slated to begin the pill... I put it in my mouth, and spit it right back out. I could not swallow it. It was the day after the wedding night, and the though occurred to me that this tiny pill on my tongue, just might kill something beautiful. So, that was the beginning of my search for peace concerning birth control.

Five years later, and almost four babies blessing our lives, and I am not much closer to living at peace with the "QuiverFull" mentality or with the casual use of birth control. The image of me with 18 kids running through my house just makes me want to cry. I struggle with questions like, "Can God really put an end to all these babies coming every year or will I just continue to get pregnant every year??" "Is it trusting God to use birth control?" "What does God tell us in His word about this topic?" "Why is this important, life-altering subject not discussed and taught in church?" "Is it taking care of the Lord's temple to have a baby every year?" "Am I selfish for wanting to use birth control?"

I plan to address all of these questions in my search for peace. This pregnancy offers me an opportunity to reach a peace-filled conclusion before pregnancy-prevention becomes an issue for us again.

**NOTE**
To anyone reading this, please note that I am not judging any family for the choices they make concerning birth control and their family size. This is not about what others have chosen to be the best for their family. This is about me and my family and the search I am on for peace and answers. I do want to bring information to couples who have never sought the Lord concerning this matter; after all "the Lord delights in every detail" of our lives. (Psalm 37:23)

Journey with Me

Motherhood is a journey. It starts with that first faint line peeking at you on the pee stick. What a beginning. Like a whisper of things to come.

In this blog, I want to tackle motherhood and parenting issues. I am pregnant with Baby Number Four. And, yes, it was a "surprise". Although why people call babies "surprises" when we all know where they come from, is rather humorous. Along with Baby Number Four, comes my searching for answers concerning Birth Control. To be specific: What does God think about birth control? This is the HUGE issue I am tackling currently. I will be using this blog (atleast for now) to track my thoughts and research on this issue. It is my hope that I come to complete peace about whether or not to use birth control. It is also my hope that those reading this blog would stretch their minds and see what God would have them do within their family.

So, we begin.

revolutionary love

I have experienced revolutionary love. Love with no strings attached. Jesus Christ loves me and made a way for me to have a relationship with the One True God. God desires a relationship with you, too. If you have yet to experience this revolutionary love, please email me at jandjkeys@hotmail.com so I can share this amazing experience with you. Blessings, -Jess