17 March, 2009

Our Birth Control Journey

The Bible has a number of things that God makes clear are black and white. Adultery, stealing, lying and murder, to name a few. And then there are the things that He doesn't exactly spell out, but gives general guidance, such as modesty, debt and................birth control. Dangerous words, i know. ;) I am simply, with my Marlin's permission, going to share our journey, from the beginning of our marriage to where we feel God has us now. We do NOT have it all figured out and our hearts are to always be open to Him for guidance. And when it comes down to it, it's all about our hearts and our surrender to Jesus Christ and His Lordship in our lives.

When we got married, it wasn't even a question whether to use birth control or not. I mean, everyone knows that you need a couple years to "hang" out and get to know each other, right? And in our minds, marriage was all about making us happy and doing what we wanted. I went on the pill with my parents blessing and.... LET'S PARTY!! And party we did, with me making sure to pop my little pill every day at the same time.

We were married a couple years when i decided that it'd be fun to have a cute little baby to dress up fashionably and parade around for everyone to adore. Marlin said whatever, as he just wanted to keep me happy, although he made sure that i knew that he wanted no more than 2 kids. So i got pregnant immediately and was ecstatic, jumping up and down and crying, unable to believe that i was actually going to have a baby. Yeah, i was definitely an emotional woman, not known for my stability. I was around 10 weeks pregnant when i developed what i thought was a bad case of indigestion, at least it felt like what i heard my dad complain of in my growing up years. We walked up to the corner store, bought some Tums and i ate them at a steady pace. Unfortunately it wasn't indigestion, and that night i lost the baby. I was devastated and poor Marlin had no idea how to comfort me except to hold me and let me cry it out. I was determined to get pregnant immediately, but my body refused to cooperate. 7 months later i finally conceived and was i ever happy when i puked that first time. A sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Eric and Emily were born 1 1/2 years apart, carefully planned by me of course. Marlin took a rather back seat when it came to family planning and it never crossed my mind that it should be different. I hadn't gone back on the birth control pill for some reason but decided after Emily that i would like too. At that point, our marriage and lives were spinning out of control and God had no part in our planning whatsoever. Before i ever got to the doctor to get a prescription for the pill, our lives were radically changed forever. We got born again and our lives were totally rocked. In an awesome way.

A couple months after salvation, Marlin said he would like a 3rd child. Someday. He said to go ahead and go on the pill but again, it simply never happened. We moved to Ohio and i never got around to it. A year to the weekend of our salvation, God did a radical work in our hearts toward children, dealing with that abortive, controlling spirit in our lives. Once again our world was rocked but in a beautiful way. My personality tends to be passionate and all or nothing, so i jumped in with both feet and Marlin, while completely with me in this, maybe didn't draw quite the hard line that i did. I got pregnant with Zachary shortly after and he proved to be the blessing that we thought he would be. Happy, content and a complete joy.

10 months later i became pregnant with Josh and again, we were very happy. Unfortunately, i had become quite condemning and harsh towards people that didn't share our vision, not hesitating to let the chips fall where they may. I couldn't understand why people could claim to be completely surrendered to God and yet take complete control of this area and i had little grace or patience with them. Joshua's pregnancy was harder for me, with quite a bit of nausea and by the end i was exhausted. He was born after 4 hours of labor and afterwards i asked God for at least 2 years. I was tired and burned out and yet horrified that i was so nonspiritual to even ask God for 2 years. In my mind, true trust doesn't even ask, it simply trusts.

A battle started raging in my heart, for i had lost my joy and couldn't seem to find my way back. Marlin, wanting to be free from the bondage of debt, mentioned waiting a while to have more children. We had 4 children, 5 and under, and didn't know then what we know now about healthy food so my body was under alot of stress. I asked Marlin if it's wrong to ask God to give us a break and he said absolutely not but i still struggled. Again, it was all or nothing in my mind. I actually struggled with the thought that i could lose my salvation if we "regressed" and the fear and doubt were very real in my life. One night i thought i couldn't take the battle anymore, there was such a heavy cloud over me and i cried out to God to please show me what He wants. Finally i stopped worrying about myself and what might happen to me, and truly surrendered myself to Him and finding out what His heart was.

The next morning i woke with a start at 5 in the morning and the Holy Spirit prompted me to go read Revelations 2. I got as far as the first 7 verses when my eyes were opened to what i had done and i started weeping as i realized that i had walked away from my first love, Jesus Christ, for my own works of righteousness. God had truly done a beautiful work in our hearts toward children but in my zeal, i had made that my focus and was truly in danger of losing my first love. He showed me clearly that i had lost my joy because i had lost my focus. It wasn't about how good i lived or how perfectly i held up what i perceived as "commandments," it was about a personal relationship with my Saviour. Oh, how i repented and how He forgave. The next morning the same thing happened and again, i repented and asked Him to again take His place as my first love. My heart was once again united with my husband's and joy flooded my heart. But it wasn't finished yet. We decided to find out how my body worked but i knew if Marlin walked in with any kind of "birth control" i would pitch it out the window. Well, at least the trash can.

That Sunday i forget what the sermon was about but i remember the Holy Spirit convicting me that there was still a part of my heart that hadn't surrendered and there were still some shreds of self holiness hanging on. During sharing time i asked for a mike and in front of the church, with much brokenness, (i was a mess) i shared that i had replaced Jesus with my own works and that i publicly wanted to confess that. Marlin completely supported me in what i did and i finally felt that complete surrender and knew, without a shadow of a doubt that once again, i was living in grace, not law. A sweet time of agony and pain, but as always, when the Holy Spirit is the instigator, it's beautiful. And finally, i knew i could trust the man that God had blessed me with and it was no longer my burden to carry.

I discovered the beauty of how a woman's body works and was completely in awe at how God had created us. I had no idea and shared excitedly with Marlin my new found knowledge. I did learn how to naturally space children and God honored our prayers for 2 years. I was sitting in front of the computer when Josh was about one and a half years old, when a desire for a baby washed through me, taking me completely by surprise. The desire didn't go away and i simply told Jesus that if this is from Him that i trust Him to do the same for Marlin. Within 2 weeks Marlin told me that he would be ready for another baby. We had no idea what was in store for us but we were once again amazed at how God led our hearts together. We felt like God doubly blessed us when we discovered i was carrying twins. What a miracle!!!

After the twins, i struggled again whether natural child spacing was "trusting" and although i did not feel ready to get pregnant again, i wanted to be sure we were doing what God wanted us too. I once again lost my joy as i tried to figure out how to perfectly follow God's will and again, i had to realize that it's not so much about birth control as whether or not God has my heart and whether HE is my first love or if it's my works. We also discovered something quite powerful. In getting rid of the world's kind of birth control, God had powerfully blessed our marriage in that special way, which was a miracle to me, with my pre-salvation history of sad mistakes. There was no question in our minds that whenever we brought "grocery store" birth control into our bedroom, that beautiful connection left. Coincidence? We think not. Marlin and i talked and prayed and decided to stick with simply following my body's signs and to trust God with the rest. We absolutely adored our children and definitely wanted more and wanted to leave room for God to over rule, although I was certainly hoping for a break of a couple years. I did not, however, count on a little 7 year old girl's faithful prayers.

I took that pregnancy test with fear and shaking and it couldn't have been more positive. I felt like whining and complaining to God but knew better. I am 33 years old after all, but that first night i battled in my heart to surrender to another pregnancy. Many people would say i deserved a break but i knew that God had made His will perfectly clear. That morning (we were visiting dear friends who were SO excited, we love you Rex and Billie ) i was sitting in church and we were singing and i happened to look up as a largely pregnant woman walked in. Wearing pink. The only thing i noticed was her large belly and i felt my heart melt as i realized that once again, God was giving us another miracle. Of course, being pregnant myself, my eyes filled with tears and i whispered a thank you to Jesus for another child. My battle wasn't completely over, for it's hard to die to your flesh, but i had to once again choose to trust our Heavenly Father.

Our children were ecstatic and Marlin was quite pleased and i wavered between excitement and "what would people think." Pathetic, i know, but I’m not all that spiritual to not care at all. The following Sunday God again spoke to my heart through a sermon and i truly surrendered myself to His plan instead of mine and became truly excited about the baby. I dearly love it already.

No, we don't have all the answers when it comes to birth control. We are saddened at how the church has followed the world's view on children and the control that many Christians take over this area. When we see a large happy family, we grin and think it's beautiful. We've also noticed that it's in the world where we get the most compliments and big grins as we walk in somewhere. The church is notoriously quiet, or their grins, and remarks, aren't exactly complimentary. Our hearts, while not against naturally spacing children, are to always be open for God to work and move how He sees fit and to receive every child He blesses us with as a gift. To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and above all, to keep Him as our first love.


  1. It is with tears in my eyes that I read this post....Whew....the tears just won't stop....God is so wonderful and glorious....keep letting HIM flow through your lives. It isn't often that we are given gifts of friendship like the one that we share. Let us hold onto Jesus as we hold onto one another. He alone is worthy!I am honored and blessed to be friends with you. I am proud of you, and I am sure that your heavenly Daddy is proud too.


  2. That was one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read!!!! you made my heart just totally melt. This topic is often talking about in sternness (from one "side" of it, or the other "side") but rarely talked about with love, conviction and even brokenness. It is just not an easy topic to discuss or mention without feeling stressed about what others might think...

    But, I'm so glad you all shared this :) really really glad!

  3. Thanx Darla, for being brave and sharing this story. The Lord will bless you for surrendering all for Him! I will pray that he will give you the needed strength to go through each day. Keep Looking up, Jewel


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