I understand it causes controversy.
I understand that women all over the world, both Christians and non-Christians struggle with the concept of birth control. I have loved reading your comments and thoughts on this topic! Today, with all statistics and opinions aside, I am going to tell you my personal history, reasoning and current thinking about this subject. Some will agree and some will disagree but we are all diverse, educated women who are entitled to our own thoughts on deep issues. Especially when we're talking about something that we believe directly affects our life, our bodies, our hormones and our families.
Let me start out by saying that I do not agree, nor disagree with taking birth control. I have no judgements either way...
I have prayed about it so many times and talked to several Godly women about their beliefs on this issue. I am not writing this post as a means of absolute truth. It is simply some of my thoughts on a difficult and confusing topic combined with your thoughts as well. You all challenged me greatly over the last couple of days with your different ideas and theories. I so enjoyed it! I will continue to think about it and pray about it, but for now I'm going to simply give you an idea of where I have been and what my current thoughts are on this topic today.
I started on birth control at a very young age, probably around 15. I was having breakthrough bleeding and all sorts of female pain and problems. At the time I wasn't old enough to make a solid, educated stand against what I was doing. Even if I had been, I probably would have continued taking the pill. It decreased the bleeding and pain, lowered my PMS symptoms, effectively balanced out my periods and reduced breakouts on my skin. Because I wasn't on birth control as a means of controlling the consequences of sex, and more for health related issues, it seemed like an appropriate solution to some of the problems I was experiencing.
However, between the ages of 15 and 18, I had not one, not two, but THREE laparoscopic surgery's to remove softball-sized cysts from my left ovary. I had incredible amounts of endometriosis. The pill was no longer working up to the standard that it once did. With my hormones and body changing rapidly, we had no choice but to change the type of pill I was on many times in those 3 years. None were effective in treating my health issues anymore. Not in the way I had hoped they would help, at least.
After Daniel & I got married and he was set to leave on his first deployment, I thought about going off of the pill. I didn't need to be on it if he wasn't home, I thought. However, my fears of the painful cramps and breakthrough bleeding overshadowed the desire to be free from any kind of birth control. When Daniel returned, I continued taking the pill but suffered with 2 Urinary Tract Infections back to back and while taking antibiotics during the second infection, we became pregnant with Nora.
I loved seeing so many of you write about how you believed that God would give you a child no matter what the circumstances if He ultimately wanted to give you a child. I read so many of those statements and thought to myself, "What surrender! What faith." It's awesome how when it comes to a baby, we are ok with God ruling that particular situation. Why, then, is it so difficult with everything else in our lives? I mean really..you'll say
"Well, if God wants me to have a child then I suppose I'll have one," and you're ok with that kind of thinking. But when it comes to God leading your family into a job that seems less suitable, or when He leads you to a person that He wants you to witness to, we suddenly have little faith in His will for us (me included.)
It is true, I believe, that God is the giver of life. He is the breather of air into our lungs. He chooses to place us in our mother's womb and He creates us long before time even began. He is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to having children. We give ourselves so much credit in thinking that by taking a pill we are preventing the God of the universe from giving us a child. We do many things out of a deep, internal fear. We believe we are doing it to be responsible or with good intentions. God sees our heart and He understands that. But for me, it is the same as the entire world giving their newborn babies a shot of 'something'; simply trusting that it is what the Dr's have said it is. And then believing that it will prevent that child from ever getting that particular sickness, or disease.
How many times have we seen a child who was vaccinated for the chicken pox later break out with that very thing?
That is opening a whole different can of worms that I'm not discussing today. And I'm absolutely not stating that I believe God gives diseases because I know that is untrue. But I'm saying He's God. If He wanted to do so, He could. Just as I'm saying that by taking some pill, we are not ensuring that He will not override that chemical and give us a child if it is part of His will for our lives.
If we, as believers, can get into the mindset that God has the ultimate say, we would as a whole, be much more at peace about life altogether. For instance, let's look at my friends Rachel and Amos. They are in a marriage and have the deepest love and commitment to one another. They have followed God's calling wherever it has taken them and they have been faithful in their giving, in more ways that just monetarily. Yet, it took them several months of trying to conceive a child before they actually did. They have no health issues and are both young and active. God ultimately gave them a child, but in His time. Not ours.
Ok, so I'm going to change directions and head back to our current situation. After I had Braden, I went on the pill for almost a year. I loved the way I felt and had no negative side effects. However, I felt spiritually convicted and don't have a definite reason as to why. I felt as if I were hindering the Lord from doing whatever it is that He may want to do with my family. And I am not one to put God in a box. If He called me to birth and raise 26 children, I would obey Him. It would be hard and I might be exhausted, but I would obey. It's never worth it to me NOT to. Anyway, my insurance ran out and the pill got to be too expensive. It made the decision that I was struggling with much easier. I wish I could shout to the world that I had this great revelation from God about birth control and decided to stop taking it for spiritual reasons, but that's just not the case. In fact, just like in many other areas of life, He had to step in and make the decision much easier for me to make. He makes our jobs as humans so easy.
We are on month 8 of our "natural family planning" method.
I'm not talking about the Catholic doctrine.
I'm not even talking about the official "NFP" website method.
Quite simply, I know my body ridiculously well. I know the days that I'm ovulating because of the way my back feels and because of my moods. I know I'm going to start my period the day after I go into full-blown cleaning mode with no warning. That is all hormonal. If we would slow down and take a good look at ourselves, we would probably realize alot more than we think we know. I have not taken my body temperature once to calculate my ovulation days. I occasionally DO look at the calendar and mark when I'm expected to ovulate so I'll have a general idea, but I am not always correct. Because I am not currently on the pill, and because I have a history of female problems in the past I suppose I am at a higher risk to develop them again. However, I have bound up those ideas in the name of Jesus and am very healthy and happy. I must admit, my cramps are much worse and last for much longer. But generally speaking, my period is light and manageable.
We are trusting God.
We are not trying to have a baby. In fact, in our hearts at this very moment we do not feel like we want another child. But sometimes it is not about feelings. In fact, living for God is almost never about "feelings." It's about a choice to be obedient no matter what we may feel. No matter how we may think. At this point, for me, taking the pill would just be a way to fool myself into feeling "safer."
In the last 8 months there may have been moments when another child could have physically been created, but in the Heavens God has other plans. We are being as humanly responsible as I believe we can be just simply by entrusting our lives, futures, and children to God.
A few years back I had a completely different take on things. And if I'm being honest I still feel this way alot. I remember saying, "You have to be wise. You cannot just run around here having 12 children, living on welfare and making irresponsible decisions."
And I believe you can't.
But I believe God is God.
I believe God wouldn't give me 18 or 19 children like He has blessed the Duggar's with. He knows that I have a different calling and that my children do as well. But for that mother and that family, their calling is just that.
I believe He most certainly allows children to be born in all situations. Abby is not married, yet I know that baby Scarlet has a divine plan and purpose for her life. God created her. That is truth and again, once we wrap our mind around it, it's much easier to grasp.
Do I believe the pill is spiritually or morally wrong?
I don't know. I believe God would want us to trust in Him. I believe that me choosing not to vaccinate the children because I do not want to inject something foreign into their bodes and then coming home and taking the pill myself may be contradictory. But again, I am not sure.
I do know this, Some methods of birth control "primarily prevent fertilization, while others primarily prevent implantation. The debate about these methods is based on uncertainty about which methods can destroy a fertilized egg, and which do not."
It does not put me at ease.
When we take a pill of any kind, we are taking it with the trust that the physician and the pharmacist gave us what they believe will be safe and helpful for our particular situation. After it is in our possession, we are basically trusting that HUMANS gave us the particular substance that they said they were going to. We place all of our trust into humans and medicine at that very moment.
Why not place all of our trust in God when it comes to birth control? Why not educate ourselves, take a little extra time every day or every month out of our lives to do the necessary things that will help us "prevent" or "plan" to have children in the most natural and, I believe, the most effective way possible? We are a lazy generation and I get that. Birth control pills and other forms of birth control are the simplest, quickest option for our busy lives. But I believe God is calling for a revolution for this culture to simply slow down.
I really feel like I didn't get everything out very clearly in this post that I maybe wanted to say. But for right now, here's a final thought:
It takes very little effort to keep track of my own body and my own cycle. I have it down to a science in my own mind. However, I still know that God is in control. If we get pregnant, it is never "by accident." It is by the divine plan of God. It is not because we messed up, or I didn't track right. It's because God is bigger than any of that. And bigger than any pill or other form of birth control. He is the Lord and I'm giving Him full reign.
Keep the conversation going! Comments and emails welcome. I'll have more to say at different times throughout the month, I'm sure. Also, my Internet is still acting up. I'll write and update with pictures as soon as I can. Love you all!