I thought it was high time I finally got this posted for all of you (half a year or so after I first brought it up). :) I've been working on it for literally months, but can never finish it up, wrapping all my thoughts up in one neat little post. But, here's a shot at it.
First of all, let me take you back to this post and this post. And this post and this post. :)
So, we really fasted and prayed to reach an answer to all those questions in those posts. We've needed answers from God before, obviously. But, never with this urgency...and never concerning life. Kind of puts a different heftiness on it, you know?
We had definitely decided that we would not be using any kind of abortifacient birth control...that's a definite no-brainer. As research had shown, hmmm, that leaves barrier methods (male condom, female condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, spermacides...but, spermacides have been considered risky as far as miscarriages and birth defects although some studies suggest otherwise), withdrawal (I hate that word unless we are talking about money from a bank), and of course Natural Family Planning or Fertility Awareness Method or the Billings Method, etc. (natural ways to detect ovulation time in order to prevent pregnancy). Then of course there are the sterilization methods...also works as prevention obviously. Go here for a very readable overview with way more details (scroll down to the very bottom of the page).
In the list of abortifacient pregnancy prevention is the birth control pill (ALL birth control pills), Depo-Provera, birth control patch (OrthoEvra), the vaginal ring (Nuva-Ring), IUDs...so obviously those are out. Do any of you want to be killing off fertilized eggs (babies) in your thinned out uterus? I didn't think so.
So, what was our conclusion to all those questions that were whirling around in our heads?
We prayed and prayed and prayed and fasted and read books and fasted some more and then prayed...and prayed...and read some more and...you get the idea.
God so sweetly spoke to us and gave us peace...the peace that you have when you know that you have an answer from God and this is it...that peace.
He so gently whispered in these last few months answers as it related to us...so that we could understand HIS answers FOR US clearly. Here's a few of the ways He spoke to us...
James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
We are all called to care for the widows and orphans, but are we all called to adopt? No. We aren't. I personally cannot fathom why one would not want to adopt, not be excited about that possibility, not feel called to it. But, there are many in this world who are not, do not. We are called to care for them...not adopt them.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We are all called to spread the gospel, but are we all called to literally and physically 'go' into all the nations? No. We are all called to help in this endeavor, but there are many facets in which this can be accomplished. Some are the senders, some the intercessors, etc. Some live their lives without ever GOing on even a short-term mission trip...does it mean they disobeyed? What if they gave thousands and thousands of dollars for others to go? What if they were physically unable to go? There are several roles needed in order for missions to exist and this verse to be carried out. Only a portion are called to actually do the physical going.
What about all the 'children are a blessing' verses or 'be fruitful and multiply?' Children ARE a blessing...there is no denying that...ever. When something is a blessing, are we to get as many of that particular blessing as possible? And here is a very interesting read on the 2nd verse mentioned. It wasn't read by us while seeking God on this...only now did I read it. But, it really echoes in my spirit.
Psalm 127:4-5 Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
So true that a quiver full is a blessed thing. But, literally speaking, actual quivers that hold arrows come in all different sizes. Some hold over a dozen. Some hold only a few.
And that brings us to the question of the hour...are WE to use man-made methods (or even NFP or FAM, etc.) to regulate the size of that quiver?
I cannot tell you why or how, I cannot offer up this answer for you in your family in your calling, but I do know that we got our answer. I know that, at least for this time right now (today, March 22, 2009), we know what we are to do.
Our big question going into this was is it one way for everyone? Does God want EVERYone to follow what we call the 'quiver-full' mentality...do we wait for Him alone to open and close our wombs? If that is so, that would also mean that those struggling to have children should solely rely on God...not use any forms of fertility treatments (no medicines like Clomid, no IVFs, etc.). Maybe some believe that, but I personally know some really great people who happened to be born as a result of those very methods.
What God spoke to us is that everyone has to seek God about this concerning their individual families. We all have a calling concerning the size of our families and how we reach that size. If you are called to the 'quiver-full' way, God will provide all things needed (material, emotional, physical, logistical) and will bless you abundantly. If you are not called to that, obey that...He will provide all things needed and will bless you abundantly. He will be very specific and provide you with all the instruction needed to live out your life and your calling before Him, involving children and everything else.
It is not a matter of faith vs. lack of faith. It is not a matter of fear vs. no fear. It is not a matter of comfort vs. no comfort, or diligence vs. laziness. It is a matter of hearing God and obeying Him, period.
As you may already have wondered by now, esp. since my baby is about to be a year old and I'm not already pregnant (that has never happened before), we do feel that God's word to us on this is to use non-abortifacient birth 'control.' It feels good to know that you know that you know that you heard God about something and follow through in obedience to that. You have peace. What if your desires don't line up with what you feel God said? He brings peace in obedience. What if your husband, your authority, isn't on board with your desires...and what you as the 'more spiritual one' feel you are to do? Obey your husband. God will bring peace.
Seek Him. He will answer you, He will speak to you in ways that you can understand and know the answer without a shadow of a doubt, and He will bring peace.