Anyways, I'm not to great about keeping my mouth shut when I have a strong opinion. And I consider this to be an incredibly important topic. So I'm going to attempt to share...
I never really thought much about family planning until I was engaged. For the first time in my life, I had to consider... are we ready to start a family? And if not, what are we going to do about it? (In hindsight, I would recommend discussing this pre-engagement, as this decision could have a huge impact on your marriage!) In an act of God, I happened to be a part of a Relationships class in college during this stage in life, and we happened to be studying the big B.C. (Birth Control).
It was the first time in my life that I heard that The Pill could be considered an abortifacient. (Big word meaning that it causes abortions). Oh yes, The wonderful little Pill that gives you lighter, shorter, more manageable periods and assurance that there really doesn't have to be a connection between sex and babies... has a dark side. I was totally shocked, and a little incredulous. If this was really true, why had I never heard it before?
And like any good student, I decided to do some research. Here is a short overview of the way The Pill works, taken from Randy Alcorn's "A Short Condensation of Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?"
"...according to multiple references throughout The Physician's Desk Reference, which articulate the research findings of all the birth control pill manufacturers, there are not one but three mechanisms of birth control pills:
1. inhibiting ovulation (the primary mechanism),
2. thickening the cervical mucus, thereby making it more difficult for sperm to travel to the egg, and
3. thinning and shriveling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly fertilized egg.
The first two mechanisms are contraceptive. The third is abortive."
I would highly recommend reading his entire e-book, available to downoad free as a PDF here.
After finding this information about The Pill, we decided against using any hormonal form of birth control. We didn't ever want to risk aborting a baby, not to mention the other side-effects that The Pill can cause.
So, after eliminating the option of hormonal birth control, we saw three available options: forego B.C. altogether, use Natural Family Planning, or use barrier methods. I will talk about these three options, as well as a theology of Family Planning, in my next post. :)
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake."
God has blessed me so greatly in these past few weeks with a season of restoration, rest, and renewal. While life has continued on at full swing, my soul has found rest in Him. It's been one of those dry seasons for a long time... the kind where I seek my own way, rely on my own strength, and feel bitterness toward those who are full of living water and light. But God has been pursuing me all the way, showing me His mercy and tenderness. I have seen His goodness in so many ways - through encouraging friends, miraculous events, His word, and the church. I know that apart from Him I am tired, run down, confused, and hurt. But as I have opened my heart to Him again, I have found joy, peace, understanding, energy, and meaning.
Some things I have learned in the valley...
1. Shame leads to isolation. In my prideful sin, I hide so I am not exposed by the light. As I have sought fellowship and intimacy with others, God has convicted me and encouraged me so greatly!
2. Doing nothing leads to backsliding. I have failed to develop habits that deepen my relationship with God. Satan has used distraction to keep me from growing, and I need to recognize when that is happening. If you're reading this - please ask me if I've established a steady "quiet time". I need some accountability here. My goal is to start small, with one hour on Sunday mornings.
3. I need to start living my faith. When faith becomes just ritual and habit, it is meaningless. True religion is to serve the widows and orphans in their distress. Lord, help me to give and serve and bear fruit for you!
I love the end of Ps. 23:3... "for His name's sake." When God gives me rest, restoration, and growth in righteousness, it is not just so that I can be a better person. It is ultimately so that His name will be honored and lifted high!
And in the midst of this personal "change of seasons," I have been so heartbroken and touched by the devestation in Haiti. I believe that God is sovereign over this disaster, and pray that He will work mighty miracles for His name's sake! Please pray for the Baptist Haiti Mission, which has one of just a few functioning hospitals. Their doctors have been working non-stop since the earthquake, and they are so dependent on incoming planes for supplies. Please pray continually for them to have the energy and supplies they need - and for many lives to be saved (physically and spiritually!). Here is one post from their Twitter: "the FAITH of Haiti Christians singing praises as they search for survivors is an inspiration and lesson to Christians everywhere." Praise Jehovah Jireh for upholding and giving joy to his children in Haiti. May many be saved by their testimony!
This woman is two years younger than me, and is the foster mother to 14 children in Uganda. She runs a sponsorship program that provides for the needs of over 400 poor children. She has an incredibly challenging life, and has witnessed horrible tragedies, and yet she writes as one who is completely alive. She is full of joy in the Lord, because she has listened to His call, trusted in Him, and seen Him work miracles.
Here is an excerpt from her blog about her daughter who has Cerebral Palsy, and was supposed to never walk or talk:
"In two weeks I have been able to watch God give back to Grace everything that was taken from her the first three years of her life. I have watched Him not only begin to restore her physically, but restore her spirit, her little heart that He so deeply loves and desires intimacy with. He has reminded me how deeply He longs for each one of His children to know His intimate love. He has reminded me how He longs to restore our brokeness. He has reminded my girls what His LOVE can do through their little hands. Most incredible is that I know He is not done yet, but only getting started. Lord, we give you our brokeness, that you may fully restore us. Remind us of the intimacy that you long for with each of us, your deep, passionate love for your children. Father, you have given so freely, you have loved so extravagantly. Let us give. Let us LOVE."
A song that came on while reading her blog...
"It is not too far a cry
Too much to try to help the least of these
Politics will not decide if we should rise
And be your hands and feet
Fill our hearts with your compassion
As we hold to our confession
God, be the solution
We will be your hands and be your feet"
~"Solution", Hillsong United
Children Katie feeds from one of the poorest tribes in Uganda
I am overwhelmed at the thought that the money I waste on so many things could save a child's life. "My" money is a gift from God in the first place, and should be used for His glory! Less than $5 could provide life-saving medical care. Less than $1 per day could provide food, education, and basic medical care to a child. Lord, let us wake up from our complacency and be Your hands and feet!