Image 01

A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

How I “March For Life”

January 22nd, 2014 by Aubri

img_3213

I’ve avoided writing a post on this subject because it seems such a personal and very emotional issue for people. (Though not so personal that complete strangers won’t offer their opinions to me.) I’ve never felt that I needed to explain myself or spell out my view on procreation, but perhaps I should. You can’t take things for granted, it’s very easy to be misunderstood.

This topic is complicated. I struggle with it.

I really thought about NOT going “public” with my opinion on this because of how hard it is for me. Just because I’m convinced that what I do with my fertility is right, doesn’t mean I always ‘believe’ it. I still want control. I play the hypocrite big time.

It’s also an issue that quickly can go from “preaching to meddling” for many. And I don’t want to give offense to someone who would think I’m “judging” them for their decision to do differently than me.

I wrote this post in June and have been reluctant to publish it.

But recently I’ve come across other women who are discussing their family “planning” openly or women who are hurting because they are not fertile or have lost a child (or children) they were given.

So since January 22nd is National Sanctity of Human Life Day and even though it makes me uncomfortable, I’ll go ahead and explain why we have decided not to “plan” our family size.

IMG_5135

In June when finding out that I was having another baby, a 7 year old girl said to me;

“You should get your tubes tied.”

I had no idea how to respond to that. All I could think was “Did that baby just say that?!”

When I didn’t respond she proceeded to explain to me what it meant to “get your tubes tied”. I was shocked.

I was very glad Phil was there to take over this “conversation” or really to graciously and politely squash it dead.

IMAG0112

My second response was anger. Not at this poor little girl but at whoever she’s heard say that, because I know she had to have heard some adult say that and possibly about me specifically.

And I suppose it’s not completely this adult’s fault either. Our culture doesn’t really welcome children.

Maybe a “reasonable number” like 2 or 3, but six or seven in one family, from one woman, so close together? Obviously crazy. Very irresponsible.

Those of us who have not attempted to control our fertility are seen as Weirdos at best or Legalistic at worst.

——-

IMG_4914

Before Phil and I married we discussed at length having children.

We never considered “natural” contraceptive methods recommended by Roman Catholics to prevent children, because they don’t address the First Commandment, that we should fear, love and trust God above all things.  We believed this is the core issue, not the children themselves.
I’m not sure who went there first but once it came up, it didn’t take long for me to reveal that I had decided long before that I didn’t want to use contraception.
I was relieved to find that he felt the same way I did—that we just wanted enjoy each other, let God decide the rest, and trust He would see us through whatever He gave us.

We had our first baby 9 months after we were married. Our second arrived just 10 months later.

IMG_5831

We have had 6 children in 5 years.

A lot of people would look at our family and shake their heads and think we should have stopped having children or that we should not have any more.

But I have to ask myself, should I have said no to Esther? Ephraim? To Mercy? I answer with a confident NO.

Then another question is there. Should I quit now so the potential babies #7 and 8 will never be a part of this family?

IMG_4979

To be honest, if I were in this baby having driver’s seat, my family might not look like it does.

I’m terrible at handling stress and noise and mess. It’s scary, painful and draining being pregnant over and over again.

And do I need to say it? I HATE GIVING BIRTH!

I’d really like to have a year with my body to myself.

If it were up to me I might “take some time off” and give myself a break.

IMAG0131

We would all agree that it is evil to say that a child in front of you should not have been born. But as Phil says, before babies come, we talk of them as if we are choosing the number of chicken wings to put on our plate at the buffet.

To speculate on the lives of unborn, unknown, possibly non-existent children, is easy.

Before children exist they can be “just a number”.  It’s easy then to throw out a number, 3 vs. 6 is a comfortable mind-game to most.  Deciding how many children you will have, or would like to have  has become normal to us.

IMG_4282

But  when you have a human being made in God’s image to stare at all day long “numbers” start to seem so silly. Children are an asset that Phil and I have decided not to put a “number” on.

I will say, having children is certainly not a guilt-trip, they are a gift. Not a burden to put on ourselves, or a work to please God. I would never say that having more children makes me more righteous. I’m a child of God, redeemed through Christ, not through my womb.

IMG_5708

I don’t keep saying “Yes” to babies because “I just love children” or because I want a big family. When I was young I would have told you “I want a lot of children someday”, but a large family is not my goal in life. I’m not on a mission.

It is Hard with a capital H to bear and raise children. Any amount of children. It’s a lot of work!

And the more children you have the more work, the more mess, the more noise, more annoyances, the more heartaches you will have.

And worse, the more you will see SIN everywhere you look.

IMG_4692

But how can you measure the other “mores” you’ll also have?

More life, more love, more laughter, more souls, more forgiveness in Christ.

I would not have realized what we would have missed if had we stopped opening our hearts, our arms and our home to more babies.

IMG_5146

I keep saying “Yes” to babies because God says babies are good. Human life is good.

I do this because I believe it is right, not because I always want to. I see the foolishness in thinking that I control life. God says that children are His gifts. I must live as one who doesn’t just say that, but actually believes that.

I say “Yes” to babies because I’m too flighty, too weak, and too sinful to decide for Him. I wouldn’t trust myself to decide when was the “right time” or even the “wrong time” to have another baby.

I say “Yes” to babies because at the end of my childbearing years I want to be able to look back without regret and be able to say that we had as many children as God wanted us to have.

He gives and He withholds as He wills. I can only live by faith and rest in what God has ordained. That is not easy—but what we are all called to do.

Please understand I know the “hard cases” do exist. We live in  a fallen world. There can be times when a pregnancy or having a child could be life threatening or bring harm in another way. But for me the hard case scenario has not come….as much as I’d like to think it has sometimes.

IMG_4744

But I am weak. And though I feel so strongly about this issue and about remaining faithful to what God has lead me to believe about life, about being open to HIS WILL instead of mine, I fall over and over again into doubt, worry, weariness, a lack of faith and trust and many fears.

IMG_5704

I often get comments or looks of concern from many dear people who out of love worry about me. But instead of concern I NEED PRAYER. I NEED ENCOURAGEMENT.

A lot of days I ask God for a break next time, I shake my head and think “I can’t do this anymore.”

I miss the quiet, the solitude an introvert craves, the tidiness and not feeling like it’s all about to spin out of control.

And there could come a day when all my weakness and frailty consume me and I give in to the “Choices” that exists in our day.

But this day I step forward in Faith, praying God will help me to keep the 1st commandment, to “Fear, love and trust in Him above all things.” I take my days one hour at a time. When I’m flooded with fear or anger, I pray and I wait.

Over and over again I’ve seen a gracious God step in with unexpected help from a neighbor or with something Phil does without knowing it was just what I needed.

God has mercy and my dark fears eventually pass and I can think clearly again and trust Him.

IMG_6049

Children are a heritage from the Lord. A help in this life, a gift in old age.They force this selfish sinful mother to do selfless things.

And how can I possibly know the effects that the amazing miracle of  life will have multiple generations ahead, long after my body is in the ground?

How many people will come from God’s blessing of our union?

IMG_0010_2

Phil and I may continue to be misunderstood, criticized, and maybe even harassed for not doing the math ourselves.

But I seek to live by faith, keeping my eyes on the eternal rewards He promises.

I can only try to be faithful with what HE continues to give me.

 

12 Responses to “How I “March For Life””

  1. Kristi says:

    You are indeed marching for life. Your babies are precious gifts. I love you and your wonderful family. March on, dear sister in Christ! I march beside you.

  2. G'paw says:

    A beautiful statement and a beautiful family. May God multiply your descendants so they cannot be counted.
    Love you and your’s.
    G’paw.

  3. Tati says:

    Amen! Phil and you are doing an excellent job honoring God with your lives. I think the biggest problem I have seen on this issue is that people forget that Almighty God is Creator and Sustainer of all life! Praise God from Whim all blessings flow! He has blessed you both and the rest of your families with these precious children.

  4. jenny says:

    Bless you for speaking out even in your hesitancy and fear in doing so. I commend you for that. Doing what is right is never easy. Neither is speaking up for what is right. You are an example of a faithful woman and I thank God for you.

    Congratulations on another bit of heaven coming your way!

  5. Aubri says:

    I appreciate all your kind comments.

    Jenny do you know something I don’t??! ;)

    I think I’ve confused everyone with my posts recently, sorry! I know you’re all just WAITING for another announcement since it’s about that time…typically! But as far as I know I am not with child at this time.

    Thank you all for so much love and support!

  6. Bridget says:

    Hi Aubri!

    I am “Set Apart Heart,” I commented on a blog post at Nursery of the Nation today, and your reply touched my heart. I just now found your blog and I have to say that I am so excited to have found someone like-minded! I don’t know many people that share this view of family. Would you be willing to email with me sometime? Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post. I know it took courage but it is so encouraging!!

    Blessings,

    Bridget

  7. Aubri says:

    Hello Bridget! I’d be very happy to email you! I’m glad this post was encouraging for you. I know it can be a very lonely road carrying and raising many littles. Finding like minded people is a blessing indeed, a great help! I’ll be in touch!

  8. grandmere says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, and thank you for all of your “yesses.” They are precious to me and are wonderful gifts from God! And they will be a joy and comfort to you and Philip in your old age! Hugs! :-)

  9. jenny says:

    Sorry, Aubri. Must have misunderstood something.

  10. Aubri says:

    Hey Jenny, I wrote the post in June and just published it, so the fault for any misunderstanding is all mine! Should have edited better. I’ve changed a bit so hopefully it’s not so confusing now! :)

  11. Sarah says:

    I love you for this!!! Perfect!