Dec 19, 2010
As the spouse of someone in medical school, I have gotten a bit of a glimpse behind the curtain to how doctors can be trained. Maybe my husband’s experience is unique, but I doubt it. I remember when he was having his lectures during the “Sexuality and Reproduction” module that he came home pretty upset after the lecture on contraceptive methods was 89.5 minutes long about pills, IUDs, condoms, foams, etc, with the last 0.5 dedicated to the comment “oh—and some people use NFP but that doesn’t really work.”
Later, he heard the perennial joke about “What do you call people who practice NFP?”the answer, of course being: “Parents.”
This theme has continued and even worsened after he decided he wanted to practice ob/gyn and spent more time around some of the people who have ostensibly dedicated their lives to “women’s health.” On a daily basis, comments have been made about how they couldn’t conceive (pun intended) how doctors would choose to not do tubal ligations or prescribe birth control. One person talked about how with birth control every child is a wanted child, while another discussed the public health benefits and cost control achieved by contraception and sterilizations.
He reports that at the hospital he is currently working at that at least one out of every three c-sections ends with a tubal ligation. He regularly hears, “Oh, this is her fourth pregnancy? Are we tying her tubes?” as if they cannot begin to fathom the possibility of a fifth, sixth, seventh, etc. child.
In looking for residency programs, my husband has fortunately found a few hospitals that still practice medicine in line with the Church’s teachings. But the vast majority of programs are very unfriendly to NFP-only physicians. Residency programs run clinics where many women request birth control and an NFP-only doctor that is unwilling and unable to prescribe birth control would only slow business down and not be viewed as a team player.
However, there is hope. In the few programs that are friendly towards doctors that want to practice medicine in line with the Church’s teachings my husband has found that there are many residents that feel the same way he does. They have stood up for their beliefs, explained their position to their colleagues and are looking very much forward to providing care to women wanting to be taken seriously when talking about NFP.
Having had a baby a few months ago myself I have heard countless remarks from doctors about how I couldn’t possibly want another one anytime soon. Even as we were leaving the hospital to bring our new baby home, the nurse reminded us about taking precautions with spermicides and condoms immediately, implying and assuming that it would be devastating to have another one of those cute little babies anytime in the near future. I am saddened by this attitude but am hopeful and thankful for all of the practicing NFP-only doctors out there now and those to come in the future.
by Grace at Camp Patton
Dec 15, 2010
Dec 1, 2010
The Magazine, Faith and Family, runs a blog and every Wednesday is devoted to NFP discussion.
Today's discussion involved nursing, wanting to wait a little to conceive, constant show of mucus and solving the problem of knowing when you ovulate...."peek" your interest? ; )
Nov 4, 2010
"This is a saying my mother in law told me several years ago and I treasure the words to this day especially when we find out we are having another baby! Yes we are expecting number five and we are all so excited. The ETA of this baby is June 9, 2011.
I love these words because it speaks to so many concerns when allowing God the opportunity to bless you with another little blessing. There are so many excuses that can keep us from taking the leap of faith and conceiving another baby. Some of those things are money, time, energy, lack of resources, lack of patience, to busy, to crazy, to messy, can't keep up. You name it I have said it to myself and have heard many other people say it as well. Thankfully as in exercising or training for a marathon you grow a little at a time. You are pushed a little further each day you train. The process with children begins with the pregnancy. The exhaustion, sickness, uncomfortableness, the pain, the varicose veins, the indigestion and whatever else you may face in your pregnancy. These are little acts of love through suffering that are preparing your heart for a new little person that will rock your world. For the funny, the bad, the ugly, the messy and mostly the wonderful each new little baby totally rocks my world. If I thought any differently I would be deceiving myself. The baby comes and the grace comes and your heart grows and stretches a little more each day. Everything stretches to the point that you look back after having your fifth baby and four seems super easy now. Yes five seems insanely crazy right now and you can't keep up with anything, but heck four is a breeze now. Take one away for a day and leave me with four and I have a break!
Lets step back for a minute when I had 1 I was 100% full and gave all that I had and thought there was nothing more within me left to give. No more patience, love, time, energy and no more money, but then sweet little two was conceived and the process began the grace began to flow, the grace did not come before we conceived but after and continues to flow from that point as it is needed. So two comes and wow does one child seem so easy because you are expanding and growing because of the grace of God. I think the grace of God is so evident in openness to life and having more children because I look at women with eight and ten children and I really believe it is not humanly possible and that is why there are so few people who take that leap so many times. They are having to rely heavily on God because their capacity is so limited. It all seems so unexplainable humanly speaking because the woman with one is 100% full and the woman with ten is the exact same. It is only explainable by the grace of God. He will always give the grace so take the leap when he is asking. I am not saying every family has to have a brood of 10, but I am saying God does have a number for each family and this is such an important area to listen and to put aside our worries and trust that if he asks us to bring another life into this world the grace will only come after we say yes after we take the leap."
Oct 5, 2010
Sep 28, 2010
Now, two little munchkins later and my brain back to slightly functioning mode, I realize that our bank account slowing drains each month buying diapers and wipes.
I did the math. If you buy an 8 pack of wipes verses a four pack of paper towels(which you need for these), you save $10! After a couple months that's a new pair of shoes ; ) or you could just put that money into savings.
So...this seemed easy and simple enough. Hope you enjoy!
I learned about these homemade wipes here on the Frugal Wife = Wealthy Life blog.
Buy a Rubbermaid, Servin' Saver, 6 cup container. I know you can find them in a 3 pack (with 1 bigger and 1 smaller) but I haven't had much luck finding them by themselves. They are pretty much exactly the shape of 1/2 a roll of paper towels, with a rounded-edge square lid.
The paper towels that fit perfectly (once cut in half with a sharp knife) in them are the regular Bounty ones (not jumbo roll, I buy the 8 pack, makes 16 batches of wipes). I use 1/2 a wipe at a time. Though we recently discovered that the bigger roll Bounty towels that are separated into 1/2 size paper towels work great too if you just tear off a few of the paper towels before you cut them. Then they are already 1/2 sized and you don't have to tear them. (This is my husband's preference). My aunts swear by homemade wipes, but they also say that Bounty is the only brand that really works, so I haven't experimented much there.
To make them: stuff 1/2 a roll of paper towels into your tub. In a bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups water + 1 heaping Tb baby soap (I use the Wal-Mart brand Johnson & Johnsons copy). Pour over the top of the wipes. They probably need an hour to soak all the way through and then you can just pull out the cardboard in the middle and you're good to go.
Sep 20, 2010
Did you know rechem is the Hebrew word for womb, stemming from the root word racham, which means mercy, compassion, and to cherish?
It's kind of a funny word, like you can't say your "r"s and are trying to say room.
Getting to the point....
A few weekends ago, a group of couples from our parish traveled to listen to Christopher West, a humorously intelligent speaker who gives talks on Theology of the Body. I laughed my pants off, as did my husband who probably did a little too much and too loudly for sitting in the second row, but oh well.
As the Theology of the Body hints, he spoke all about our sexuality as men and women, the marriage relationship, sex, and how and why it relates to our whole existence. It was brilliantly done.
But one of points stuck with me, more than the others. It was a minor reference on our bodies as women and our wombs. He said, "Women, I'm sorry that the world has degraded you, has lied to you, has told you that your bodies are ugly and your fertility a curse. Your womb is blessed and your bodies are beautiful."
My womb is blessed? Huh, I honestly never thought about it like that. I know the Virgin Mary's was because she carried our Lord. But mine? Mine? Yes, because God asked me to be a mother and created me with this most awe invoking ability to carry life inside me.
I grew up in a home with 11 kids, respected life, my body, and knew I was a child of God. I also sometimes watched Dawson's Creek and Sex in the City, listened to Mariah Carey and Dave Mathews , occasionally glanced at In Style and People magazine, saw movies like Clueless, Sixteen Candles, and Grease.
The outcome? Amidst the strong convictions to love my vocation and my body.....faint whispering thoughts to have a perfect body like Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez or the carefree adventurous lifestyle of Carrie Bradshaw sometimes subtly make their appearances.
Somewhere in between knowing God created me and loving my vocation and then sometimes insecure and sometimes highly conscious and aware of the annoyance and pity that fertility and wombs seem to cause the world was my thinking.
What West and the Holy Spirit did for me:
Before TOB (Theology of the Body) Conference:
My body: My husband thinks my body is beautiful, however; I myself would like not to have chest that is as flat as a wheat field.
My fertility: It is a gift from God, but it sometimes makes me nervous.
My womb: After two children, it is fascinating that my stomach can expand three feet straight out and then shrink back into a smaller blubberish mass.
My body: Tears....I struggle to accept my body, but with it's "flaws" I AM beautiful because I am a woman and God made me beautiful.
My fertility: I'm so ashamed that I have not been more grateful for the gift of my fertility. I never want to take it for granted. Again, remind myself, to give it to God. It is not a curse or an embarrassment, it is and will always be a great blessing. My heart knows this.
My womb: For all its mystery and for all its matter, it is sacred.
But what for all of those women, some of them my friends, who were never even told otherwise? So many of us women are starving from a spiritual anorexia by not feeding our souls with the truth. Some have been lied to, or think happiness will come with total freedom and a perfect body. I hope TOB gets to more parishes and more people and help us understand on a whole new level the beautiful gift of our fertility and the freedom of holy marriage. How God depends on us to share the TRUTH, share our JOY, share our GRATITUDE about all aspects of what it means to be a woman and reclaim all its dignity and worth!
I heard Christopher West speak in college several years ago, I've listened to his, "Theology of the Body" on cds three times. It took me this fourth time to understand that even though I may not agree with the modern view to get rid of my fertility or think I need surgery for the perfect body, part of my thoughts still carried this worldly residue that was hindering my full acceptance and joy about them.
It must have been a grace from God, to receive a change of heart this time around. I encourage anyone who is even in remote driving distance to get to one of his talks with your husband. It's awesome for marriage!!
Three cheers to my womb ; )
Sep 9, 2010
Make today beautiful for God!
Abortionists Kept Aborted Babies in Jars
- article by Matthew Archbold in National Catholic Register
Two abortionists in Maryland (Dr. Steven Brigham and Dr. Nicola Riley) were ordered to stop practicing abortions in Maryland after a woman was severely injured.
Subsequently, police raided the clinic searching for medical records and to their horror they discovered dozens of unborn babies stored in a freezer.
After being shocked and disgusted my mind raced back to an incident a few months ago.
This would be a strange and horrible story if it had never happened before but just a few months ago another abortionist, this one in Philadelphia, was discovered to be keeping aborted babies in jars.
The offices of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell were raided earlier this year after a woman was injured and they found the conditions of the clinic to be “deplorable and unsanitary.”
Authorities reported: “There was blood on the floor, and parts of aborted fetuses were displayed in jars.”
I used to think that the abortion industry were simply capitalists who allowed their greed to override their humanity. I used to think that maybe it was just feminism run amok and that cooler heads would eventually prevail. I used to think that pro-lifers were simply up against the extreme of secularized logic. Over the past few years though I’ve come to believe that it’s more than that. It’s worse than that. We’re immersed in a culture with a death fetish. Our fascination with death is boundless.
Our culture increasingly sees humanity as the problem. We elevate animals in order to grant them human rights and increasingly view humans as animals.
I have increasingly come to agree with C.S. Lewis who said we are in “enemy occupied territory.” Hate has become so commonplace that it has lost its power to surprise me. Kindness now moves me more than hate. I have come to see love as the exception; kindness as counter cultural. Maybe it was always this way and I am simply more aware of it now. But maybe on the other hand we’ve stepped off a cliff here. Maybe things actually are getting worse. Maybe all the standards and rules we as a society saw as bars of a cage were actually protecting us. From each other.
No matter what, I think it’s time love made a comeback.
Sep 1, 2010
It casually came up in conversation that I've been eating two whole avocados per day, at which point the midwife stopped and said "Wait--No wonder she's gained five pounds!" It's true, mamas. Avocados make good milk and are among the breastfeeding super foods, in my opinion. Having good fat, like that from avocados, is crucial to producing quality, satisfying milk for your babes.
Aside from mashing them with a little garlic and lemon juice or eating them right out of the skin, I throw them in smoothies, where they impart the most incredible, creamy texture. Since my first avocado smoothie back in May, I've been unable to drink one without the other. I'm addicted. This recipe isn't very different from my first one, but I started throwing some spinach in for even more vibrant color and nutritional value. If you haven't already, definitely experiment with greens in smoothies. The sweetness of the fruit totally masks any possible bitter taste from the greens--the perfect way to quietly incorporate them into your little one's diet.
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 ripe avocado
1 cup spinach leaves, packed
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 cup filtered water
Place all the ingredients in a blender, blend and enjoy!
For babies 9 months and older : puree a little ripe avocado, kiwi, whole milk yogurt and serve.
12 months and older : serve as is.
Jul 27, 2010
I didn't even know there was such a thing, until this year, but awesome that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have put it together! Eeach year they design a new poster to put up in parishes across the U.S. This is the 2010 poster.
So we remember the purpose of NFP during this week and spread the word!
Helping couples to deepen conjugal love and achieve responsible parenthood is part of the Church's total pastoral ministry to Catholic spouses. Fulfillment of this ministry includes both education and pastoral care. This means "instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way" (Familiaris consortio, #35).
Jul 20, 2010
My sister showed me this amazing blog called Resolved to Worship.
This is a Christian woman with six kids – and her powerful and Godly answer to the question above.
Striving to live out the Catholic churches teaching on NFP is challenging and noble and requires so much prayer and discernment before God. She has touched on these realities....
"Like most mornings these days, I woke up with swollen feet, hands and face and a little sick to my stomach. Mother's day indeed. And for the grandest of reasons to be feeling ill! God has been so merciful to give me this darling little girl.
I think I'm finishing up the 36th week of the pregnancy and moving into the 37th. I'm uncomfortable which is to be expected at this point, the nights more restless, and my energy feeling closer and closer to ~ just about nothing.
Friday, Robert had a long days work - arriving in near 8:30ish. The day seemed so very long. I wondered if it possible that I would survive until he came through that door. The children have endless energy! I do not.
Course I did survive, praise be to God, but I can't tell you the feeling of pregnancy tiredness that hit hours, yes hours, before he arrived. The sun was beginning to go down and I knew I must fill the children's schedule still and so we walked the driveway, pulling the wagon with baby and the younger ones, picking flowers and looking for insects just to pass the time.
I pictured myself in the wagon being pulled by the children instead of what was reality: large pregnant mommy pulling three little ones! Minutes always seem like half-hours when waiting.
Just seeing his car come down the road...
And then his also exhausted face, from his full days work...
Looking for me out his car window - it rejuvenates me every time. We fall into each others arms.
Pause, reality check here ~ I don't exactly "fall" right now - I somehow lean and keep trying to lean, only finding that baby girl in my tummy is holding me back from actually falling into him like I dream of... in a few weeks, Lord willing, the "falling" shall be easier? And a little more of a reality.
I am thankful to the Lord for being able to be a mother. I do not take this for granted whatsoever.
It didn't start out all a bed of roses for me, this motherhood title - I married at 19, got pregnant within 4 weeks of our wedding date and two months later went through a horrid miscarriage; in bed for a week - miscarrying slow and constantly throwing up as we lost our first little one.
I had had little sign that I was even expecting - thus, water skiing and cliff jumping were some of my activities in the weeks I was unknowingly pregnant... before our first was no longer there. I had some blaming of myself to work through the following weeks - and finding my refuge and comfort in Christ in an all new way was what God had for me through this tragedy.
That, as well as my heart being turned towards the calling of motherhood, and a desire to have a child like never before. I had a doctor tell me to prepare myself for repeated miscarriage if we were to pursue having a family.
I've miscarried two other times. Pregnancy has been very sickly for the first five months, or more, in every single one of my pregnancies. I've been through one pregnancy where we were told it would most likely end in a still birth. (Brighton.) Caedman was born not breathing.
No, the bringing into the world of these precious gifts has not been a walk in the park. On the other hand, what grace we have been shown! And oh how grateful I am for what we have been given! I hear often of such heart wrenching situations with births, with children, and from those who desire to have children and cannot!
My story of motherhood and how it's become one of a wonderful crew to love on of seven, is not as most people would think. I am not one who has believed no birth control, no self-control, aiming for great and mighty numbers, the season of child-bearing from the beginning of marriage to menopause... no this has not been our goal, or belief. I believe the number of children one should have is between each individual couple before the Lord.
I have been asked what I believe on this "issue" of "how many children" or "since the Bible says children are a blessing, do you believe that means we are to have as many blessings as possible?" via this xanga blog nearly weekly.
Questions about "a full quiver?" "How many is in a full quiver?" "Does a full quiver mean we have as many arrows as we can possibly have - no form of birth control, goodbye to any self-control or responsibility?"
Today being Mother's Day, I thought I'd finally answer the messages all at one time.
*(And though my blog has never been about answering questions, sharing opinions, discussion of issues, etc. but about journaling, scrapbooking my photography, and writing what the Lord is walking me in through relationship with Him - I am branching out just this once to save myself some time by addressing the many messages I've received concerning this one issue. I have no desire for debate, argument, and I am not asking what others believe... I am merely answering those of you who have asked what I believe.)
The question about how many children a couple should have can only be answered by each couple accurately understanding their abilities, gifting, health, and God's provision with an attitude of stewardship before God FOR HIS glory.
HIS glory. Motherhood is for His glory. Not mine. It's not for us. It's for Him.
The answer of "how many" can only be answered between the couple and through their fellowship/ relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Like anything in our lives, we are to go to the Lord, and seek His face and listen to His voice.
A quiver "full" of broken arrows does no good in the heat of the battle. A "full quiver" of arrows never trained to fly or released to fly from the quiver - what is the point? This would be child-bearing for the glory of the parents, not for the glory of God.
Ultimately our goal as a woman in the call to motherhood should always be to glorify God - this is not done in the number of children, be the number great or small, but how we love God, our husband and those children for the glory of God.
As I look back on my first ten years of motherhood I am completely in awe of Jesus Christ. Of His mercy, His wisdom, His miracles, His sustaining power, the many, many answered prayers, and yes, the "unanswered" prayers: where the answer was not what we were asking.
It has been a grand journey.
It has been a thrilling journey. It has been a difficult journey.
It's been a journey not done alone, but thankfully, one walked hand in hand with my man. And also the loving support of some godly people in our lives.
It has been terrifying and delightfully tremendous all at the same time. It is something I would not trade for anything. My heart is so full of thanks to the Lord. Each one of my children is a complete miracle to me - their existence, their lives.
As much as motherhood is one of my callings, I've also found and learned much about how motherhood really does not define me and who I am. It is not my first calling, not even my second. First, my calling is as the bride of Christ, and second - the bride to my husband.
Motherhood doesn't define my spirituality. It doesn't define my relationship with the Lord. It doesn't define who I am in Christ or how He sees me. It doesn't define my importance or security. How many children I have doesn't define me - make me anything better or worse in the eyes of God. Amen! What a horrid thing if it did.
I know wonderful mothers of one child who love the Lord God with all their hearts and souls and love their child and are raising that child for the glory of God. I know mothers of lots of children who do not live this way. And of course vice-versa. Our character as mothers is not defined in how many, but what we do and how we love the ones we have.
I read this wonderful article recently on the subject of child-bearing and my heart could not agree more:
The Bible tells of:
"The fruit of the ground is a reward and a blessing."
"The fruit of the womb is a reward and a blessing."
If a farmer plants as many seeds as he can without consideration for the ground, the health of the plants, etc.
...and thinks the fruit of the ground should be God's area and we should NOT get involved whatsoever in the number of seeds planted, or the spacing of the seeds, or the size of the garden which he can reasonably and responsibly care for...
...the seeds will produce fruit of course (it is the nature of the creation) and he will have more plants!
However, the ground will suffer, the plants will not be healthy (because there are not enough nutrients in the soil to supply that many plants), and the plants will ultimately be neglected since there are more plants than the farmer has time to weed, prune, fertilize, and care for.
If a man plants as many seeds in the womb without consideration for his wife's body (the ground), the health, training, discipling, educating, providing, and loving of the children, etc. and thinks the womb should be God's area and he and his wife (the farmers) should not get involved in the consideration of the number of seeds planted, or the spacing of the plants (children), or the size of the garden (family) which they can reasonably care for, the seeds will produce fruit (children--it is the nature of the creation)...
...they will have more children.
However, the wife's body will suffer as well as her emotional state, the children will not be healthy (because there is not enough emotional, spiritual, and physical nutrients in the parents to supply that many plants/children), and the children will ultimately be neglected to some degree since there are more children than the couple have time, energy, and resources to weed (rebuke), prune (discipline), fertilize (teach, train, disciple), and care for (love and meet their emotional needs).
The farmer is responsible before God to be a good steward of his land and the fruit of the land.
The husband and wife are responsible before God to be a good steward of the womb and the fruit of the womb.
They are responsible in God's Word to provide for them, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, keep their hearts turned to each of them, and provide a rich example of the love of Christ for the church as the children observe their love for each other and how they relate to each other.
Therefore, since we want to walk in a manner worthy of Christ and the gospel, we must have the same attitude as He had (emptying ourselves, humbly serving, and willing to lay down our lives for others) and to think about the interests of others (our wives/husbands first, and then the other children) more than our own interests (reputation or self-esteem or own desires).
Parents should remember, having children is not about them, it's about Christ. And if all of life is about Christ, then it is about others. So the question about how many children should a couple have can only be answered by each couple accurately understanding their abilities, gifting, health, and God's provision with an attitude of stewardship before God for His glory.
One farmer may have planted 10,000 seeds in his plot and there stands 10,000 stunted corn plants because the farmer did not accurately assess what the ground could supply and he care for.
Another farmer may have planted 1000 seeds in his plot and there stands 1000 healthy, fruitful corn plants because the farmer did accurately assess what the ground could supply and he care for.
Which farmer brings more glory to God in his stewardship?
One husband plants as many seeds as he feels like and his wife allows in her womb and there stands # of children (the number is not important) emotionally, spiritually, physically, neglected children because the couple did not accurately assess what they could reasonably care for.
One husband plants seeds wisely and lovingly guided by the Holy Spirit in the womb of his wife and there stands # of children (the number is not important) emotionally, spiritually, physically healthy children because the couple did accurately assess what they could reasonably care for with the Lord's fulness and strength.
Which couple brings more glory to God in their stewardship?
One couple may not pray or seek the Lord in his (their) stewardship because the law (what is being taught by some as God's law) is "have as many children as God wants you to have". On the other hand, another may have their children conceived and birthed out of faith in fellowship and prayer with Jesus Christ. They may have 1 child after many attempts or they may have 10, but they come together freely and with excitement because they are living by the Spirit, in fellowship with God, and with His attitude for His glory.
So the most important consideration isn't how large the family is, but are they walking by faith, in love with God, living with the attitude of Christ for His glory..."
A couple can have only a few (or no children) out of a heart of selfishness, AND a couple can have many children out of a heart of selfishness. God isn't looking at numbers, or lack there of, He is looking at our hearts. He is looking to see His name glorified, whether it be a couple is led to have 2, 4, or 8, etc. He is desiring us to follow His leading to be good stewards and to be responsible to raise our children for Him and with a heart to love Him and others.
This article is a great encouragement to me - one, because I believe that the fruit of the womb is a reward/blessing from the Lord - yet at the same time, we as a couple are called to be responsible before Him, to seek Him, to fellowship with Him, to ask His will (as a couple) in regards to the size of our family and to live by the Holy Spirit and not out of law.
We are to love God and love others and walk this out in all areas of our life. One thing that constantly motivates me in my motherhood calling is to be a good steward of the children I have. Whether that number is 2 for some, or more for some, we have a calling as parents - in God's Word - to provide for them, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, keep our hearts turned to each of them, and provide a rich example of the love of Christ for the church through our marriage.
This can ONLY be done out of a relationship with Jesus... a living, daily relationship with Jesus Christ that is the real deal.
Motherhood is a calling that cannot be achieved for His glory without first acknowledging that it cannot be done without HIM!
Oh! as the each day passes I realize this more and more and more! How helpless I am in being a good steward of these six blessings and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, keeping my heart turned towards them, being an example of the bride of Christ through my relationship with Robert - unless I am intimate with my Savior.
Drinking at the river so to speak - feasting at His table.
So this evening of Mother's Day, I was thinking of all those mothers who have written me with their questions on motherhood and number of children and the why and what of their own beliefs... some carrying a burden that they are not glorifying God unless they populate their family with more children yet burdened because they cannot love the ones they have nor have any time for their husbands... some asking how I can find it biblical to deliberately use nursing as a form of "birth control" for the spacing of children in our family.
I don't have all the answers. No where even near. I am not experienced at motherhood! I am but on a journey and at the beginning of it at that! But I do know that all things go back to Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. And that our purpose for living on this earth is to glorify Him - to love Him and to love others.
And that the Holy Spirit is our Helper, Guide. And that as His children, He can and will lead us as we go to Him in prayer. I also know that we are not all cookie-cutters, thank goodness. And His plan for one is not His plan for others.
Elizabeth Elliott, mother of one daughter, is a woman who has impacted my life. When I was a mother of three little boys in a one bedroom house, I would tune in daily to her radio program and listen to her teach the Word of God to women all over the nation and world.
I would sit on my kitchen floor, block the kitchen doorway and give the little boys kitchen things to play with and books to look at and drink in her wisdom, her living relationship with Jesus Christ.
I remember one afternoon as I sat there listening, she was talking about motherhood. I don't remember word for word but I will never forget the summation of her words. It was that motherhood was to be for the glory of God - not our glory, not our satisfaction or significance, not for our pride or for our pat on the back of all the "selfless" things we might do all day and all night year after year... not for some reward or blessing.
But for the GLORY OF OUR GOD.
Tears streamed down my face, and not just out of feeling tired after a busy morning with three boys under three. It was like it hit me in the face, her words. It was like God opening my eyes to how here I was "selflessly serving" by being a mother, only to really see that I was doing it with a selfish heart for my own glory.
It had been pretty much all about me. My strength. My name. My calling. My goodness.
I was convicted and changed and challenged by this woman who "just" was a mother of one. And way more than just that time have I been drawn closer in my relationship with the Lord and set back on the right track by her words of wisdom and challenges from Scripture.
She was hugely instrumental in my early days of motherhood. In those long and seemingly lonely days at home all day without a car in that little tiny place with three little boys, her words (God's Word) drove away the loneliness and filled my heart with abandonment to mother for the glory of God.
And I believe that's the answer to the messages/comments I've received asking about number of children, "Is it God's area, or our area?", is motherhood really for all women?, etc. Those of you who don't feel or see it possible to mother after the sorrowful experiences you received from your own mother. There's not a 1.2.3 - a copy of what God led someone else to do about children and paste it into our own lives. It's just not a copy and paste sort of thing.
He didn't do that throughout Scripture, throughout history - some of the great men/women of faith had none, one, others had more. Their spirituality, their usefulness, their devotion to God was not measured by the number of children they had.
(Check our George Mueller's life - father of few of his own, spiritual father to many!)
Will we have more children?
It is a God area and our area together as a couple - it's a He/we together thing. And as we go to Him as a couple, as children of God - we can go in confidence and with peace, that He will show us as a couple... He will guide us, as we seek to glorify Him alone and as we ask Him and wait on Him to answer - and as we look at being good stewards, good "farmers" as you will, in taking into consideration and in prayer health, responsibility, our own marriage relationship, our giftings, abilities, personalities, and the loving and training and meeting of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children we already have.
So that's my answer."
- Excerpt from Resolved to Worship
Jul 12, 2010
How cool is she?! Read her info and article below.
ENDOW Advisory Board Member, Jeanne Monahan, is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. She researches, writes and speaks on the culture of life, with a focus on the sanctity of human personhood from conception until natural death. Prior to FRC, Jeanne worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Secretary. Her federal government experience includes global health policy, as well as domestic and international health care issues. Before working in public policy, Jeanne worked for the Catholic Church in a variety of positions involving educating on life issues, human sexuality, marriage and family. Jeanne has an undergraduate degree in psychology from James Madison University and a Masters degree in the theology of marriage and family from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
She stands up for the dignity of women in many ways, and below are several of her articles.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2010
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS
FDA Places Politics Above Science, Women's Health, and Informed Consent
Washington, DC - This afternoon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Panel considering the new "Emergency Contraceptive," Ella, which can also act as an abortifacient, voted against recommending ANY precautions or labeling that would inform women of the drug's abortifacient capabilities as well as health risks.
Jeanne Monahan, Family Research Council's Director of the Center for Human Dignity , released the following statement:
"The FDA is placing politics above science, women's health and informed consent. Family Research Council calls upon the Obama Administration and the FDA to make good on their promise of transparency and honesty. Women deserve to know that this drug can take a life that has already been implanted as well as the serious health risks it imposes, including infection and bleeding. Women's health should not be jeopardized just to advance the agenda of the abortion industry."
Jun 18, 2010
Enjoy reading the article below:
The Hour is Late
Posted by Patti Maguire Armstrong • June 15, 2010 • Printer-friendly
Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? Put down the birth control. You heard me. Put it down and walk away.
I don’t like to be harsh, but the hour is late. The citizens of many countries belong on the endangered species because they are dying out. Never before in the history of the world have so many countries lost so many people without disease or war to blame. This loss is by choice and it’s downright suicidal.
I am not telling you to have more children if you do not want them. I am telling you to want them. Couples have come to think that there is some cosmic balance that limits families to two children. Of course there are families who want to have children but can’t and those that can’t have more. This article is not addressed to them. Nor do I (or I hope anyone) give dirty looks to small families assuming they are not doing their part. It is between them and God. Even when people express shock at learning I have ten and proceed to either categorize me as a “special person” or announce the reasons why they don’t want more, I don’t judge them. Alas, I was once in the group that thought family planning was all about the planet, money and freedom. These are the main reasons people choose not to be open to new life.
Money. Portfolio or another soul? I get that this is between you and God. Do you? It’s not between you and the banker. Children cost money. How much depends on your perspective and spending habits. For the record, my kids get jobs to buy their own cars and get themselves through college. We might wear brand names if we stumble unto them at rummage sales or on sale, but really, we don’t care about labels. So, my kids cost less then some.
For thousands of years children were considered treasures and investments for the future—including eternity. Poor families tended to have large families because their children represented help and security. But in the last few decades it’s all about money. Nowadays, children are treated like siphons on the ledger sheet. Spending money on children leaves less for parents. For many couples, there’s a level of comfort and financial security they refuse to dip below. Pity.
Population control. Now, this reason has become a real hoot. We were lied to and bullied senseless. People were made to feel guilty for even having children at all.
During the sixties and seventies, people were told we would run out of food and natural resources. The opposite occurred. We still pay farmers not to farm. Our technological advances has provided for abundant food production. As for the natural resources, they are there, but in many countries, there are just not enough people to get to them.
The lies have been revamped as global warming—oh wait-make that “climate change” now that we have many months where average temperatures are below normal. Climate has always fluctuated but now anti-people groups blame humans for the change and change is not good according to them. The solution: stop making new people.
Climate change actually even reared its head in the seventies with the 1976 bestseller, The Cooling: Has the New Ice Age Already Begun? Can We Survive? I’m all for taking care of our planet. It’s a gift from God and I absolutely hate pollution. But radical environmentalists like to throw birth control at every problem. In reality, we need humans to fix the problems.
Are we running out of space? Yeah, right. Get out of the city and take a trip across the country. Entire books have been written debating both sides of the overpopulation debate so I’m not going to cover this in depth. Ironically, the latest and most troubling news is actually the exact opposite of what we were warned about--- there are not enough people. It’s as if we went to sleep to one scenario and woke up to another.
Freedom. People often count 18 years from the birthday of their youngest to figure out when they will be “free” again. Or, they just don’t have children and openly admit they are too selfish to do so. In such a case, may God have mercy on them.
The Numbers Tell the Story
In Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, the only thing we are running out of is people. There are not enough babies. We are witnessing the self-extermination of entire nations.
According to the United Nations Population Division discussing the 2007 populations changes in Eastern and Central Europe: “The expected global upheaval is without parallel in human history.” Germany’s population is down 10.3 %, Poland down 20.5%, the Russian Federation down 24.3%, and Bulgaria dropped 35.2%. The only population increase in Western Europe will be due to the large migration from Africa and Asia. There are pockets of growth here and there, but this is due to Muslim populations. For instance the districts in Russia there are exceptions to the dying trends—the high abortion, high HIV infection, low birthrate, high alcoholism and other social ills. Twelve of the eighty-nine Russian federal regions showing substantial population growth are Islamic regions. Islam is growing rapidly in a country where the native population is in the death throes. This is a country awash in natural resources except the most important one—people. It possesses a resource-rich eastern hinterland that it cannot get to without people. It is also the land of nuclear weapons and know-how. The future possibilities are frightening.
The number you need for merely maintaining a population is 2.1 babies per woman. Seventeen European nations are now at the “lowest-low”, 1.3 births per woman. This is the rate, which, according to demographers, no human society has ever recovered. In theory, countries at the lowest-low” are falling fast, halving every thirty-five years or so. In reality this will likely happen much faster. Imagine the social upheaval as an aging population grows increasingly dependant on youth to support all the government services they need (certainly not enough children to take in parents). It’s likely that many young people will head for the hills, or at least another continent where their entire livelihood will not be sucked up into government social security. It also seems inevitable that Euthanasia will become ever more popular and aggressive. With more old people to support and less young people to do it, the pressure will be to reduce the burden.
Why are so many countries, more educated, more peaceful, wealthier and healthier than at any other time in history, failing to create the next generation?
On June 24, 2008 in Moscow, His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia spoke to the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the population decline. He attributed Russia's demographic crisis to the pitiable status of family and marriage and the low level standards of morality and spirituality. His Holiness claimed that any attempts to overcome the crisis by economic means only, without a spiritual component, are “doomed to failure since the sources of the crisis are not in purses, but in the souls of people.” He said it is not accidental that believers have more children than non-believers in identical economic conditions.
“Demographic problems do not arise in poor countries that have kept their religious traditions,” he observed. “Thus Russia should be looking for a way out of the demographic crisis in a spiritual and moral transformation of the person and society.” (1)
In a sermon at a Neocatechumenate meeting in Jerusalem on March 27, 2008, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna issued an attack against birth control, blaming it for Europe’s declining birth rate. He blamed his predecessors for lacking the courage to speak out after the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the constant teaching of the Church on birth control.
“But those bishops,” said Cardinal Schonborn, were "frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful". Blame lay not only with the bishops responsible at the time - none of who is still alive - but with all bishops for the fact that Europe is "about to die out". (2)
In the Unites States, Christianity is a bigger part of everyday life than post-Christian Europe. Prayer, church membership and participation is higher. Also encouraging is that America still is willing to share it’s future with children. Although our birthrate was declining for many years and generally falls in around the 2.1 replacement, the United States reported a rise by 3.1% between 2005 and 2006 reaching almost 4.3 million births. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, that is the largest single-year increase in the number of births since 1989.
An Associated Press examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France. "Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, `Let's have another kid,"' said Nan Marie Astone, associate professor of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University. (3)
Yes, this is somewhat encouraging. Statistics show we pray more and have more children than Europeans. But really, our tendency to teeter at replacement is not a position of strength. Let’s go back to Europe—the mother country for many of us—to see what is accompanying the decline in native births.
Europe’s increasing social welfare programs depend on a growing population. Unable to generate such an increase on their own, they depend increasingly on immigration. And the majority of immigration is from Islamic cultures that are becoming increasingly more radical. Immigrant Muslim populations are not acclimating to the European culture. Europe gets older and its faith grows ever more feeble while Muslim populations within Europe increase due the need for immigration to support the aging population. Muslim religious fervor is strong and they have large families, thus their population is increasing on both ends. Christianity fades while Islam increases. Already, much of Europe is catering to Sharia law. In Brussels, ten of the eighteen members of the ruling Socialist Party Caucus are Muslim. “That’s to say, the capital city of the European Union already has a Muslim-majority governing party.” The introduction of Sharia bonds make London the world capital of Islamic banking. In country after country, civil laws, schools and cultural norms accompany Sharia sensibilities. (4)
According to Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone, he contends that the growing, youthful populations of Europe will ultimately take over. “What’s the Muslim population of Rotterdam? Forty percent. What is the most popular baby boys name in Belgium? Mohammed. In Amsterdam? Mohammed. In Malmo, Sweden? Mohammed. What country today has half its population under the age of fifteen? Spain and Germany have 14 percent the United Kingdom 18 percent, the United States 21 percent—and Saudi Arabia has 39 percent, Pakistan 40 percent, and Yemen 47 percent. Little Yemen, like little Britain two hundred years ago, will send it’s surplus youth around the world—one way or another.” (5)
If you look at in terms of birthrate, consider these birthrate numbers from Islamic countries: Niger is 7.46; Mali, 7.42, Somalia, 6.76; Afghanistan, 6.69; Yemen, 6.58. Yes, we can change the world, and we are; by disappearing. The future belongs to those willing to create the next generation. Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America and Europe. And throughout the world, Muslims are becoming more radical and aggressive in their faith.
By now, some readers have branded me racist for comparing the dwindling populations with the growing populations given who’s who in the scenario. Well, don’t even go there. I have two boys from Kenya, as dark as they come, who call me Mom. Besides, Muslims are not of a single skin color or culture. Am I phobic of non-Catholic religions? Don’t go there either. The books in the Amazing Grace series that I co-authored included stories from people of other faiths. God’s grace is for everyone. This is not a war of who has the most people; it is spiritual warfare. We are losing because we aren’t living our faith.
In 2008, the Vatican announced that Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion. "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4% of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2%. (6)
The growth is attributed to both aggressive conversion tactics and large families. While millions of Westerners have bought into the secular one-or two-child mentality, Islamic societies are rapidly increasing in numbers. If current trends continue, Europe will make up just 7.5 percent of the world’s people by 2050, compared to 22 percent in 1950. At the same time, the countries with the most youthful populations will all be Muslim: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq. Worldwide trends indicate that by 2050, Muslims will comprise 30 percent of the world’s population, with Christians making up 25 percent. (7)
If anyone walks away from this article thinking that I’m sounding an alarm based on them versus us, they would be misinformed. This is really about us. What has happened to us? Why are we dying out or just teetering on existence?
I contend it’s all based on a people that have become worldlier and less religious. God matters less and the world more. Religion has taken a back seat to Wall Street. Selfishness precludes parenthood, and people are hugging trees instead of babies.
If the statistics alone convince you to have more children, then, again, you are not hearing me clearly. If our homes and hearts are not open to more children, then we need to go back and open them. We do this by putting God at the center. Whatever stands in the way of openness to life, needs to be pushed aside. Souls, life, God, eternity….these are of the greatest value. The rest will fade away, just as it should. For it is the world that should be fading away and not us.
(1) “Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II: Demographic Crisis Can Only be Overcome by Morality not Money”, Translated by Andrey Bystrov, July 8, 2008, LifeSiteNews.com
(2) “Cardinal Schonborn lambasts the failure of bishops to condemn contraception”, CatholicActionUK.com, November 6, 2008
(3) More U.S. babies born, fertility rate up, defying low-birth trend in Europe, Mike Stobbe - Associated Press, Tuesday, January 15, 2008
(4) Steyn, Mark, America Alone, Regnery Publishing, Inc. xii
(5) Ibid pp 6-7
(6) “Vatican: Muslims now outnumber Catholics, USA TODAY, 4/2/2008)
(7) (Ali, Daniel and Spencer Robert, Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, Ascension Press, 2003)
May 15, 2010
(CNN) -- Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.
And as I've grown older over the past five decades -- from 1960 to 2010 -- and lived through this revolutionary period in female sexuality, I've seen how it has altered American society -- for better or worse.
On the upside, by the early 60's The Pill had made it easier for a woman to choose to delay having children until after she established herself in a career. Nonetheless, for young women of childbearing age (I was one of them) there was a need for some careful soul searching -- and consideration about the long-range effects of oral contraceptives -- before addressing this very personal decision. It was a decision I too would have to face when I discovered I was pregnant at age 19. Read More Here >>
Apr 28, 2010
Mar 31, 2010
It's a shame that I don't always have these moments of clarity throughout every minute of my day, especially in the middle of my 3-year-old's meltdowns or when my 1-year-old is running away from me as I'm attempting to change her dirty diaper…being 8-months pregnant. Despite the fact that I struggle with some of the uncertainty that can come along with practicing NFP, I am finding out more and more what a blessing it is to be out of control of situations, because it makes me rely solely on God and not my own abilities, wisdom, or strength. Looking back, there are so many decisions that, if they would have been left to me, would have had led me down a completely different path. I am so grateful that God knows what I truly need to be happy, and what my soul needs to grow in holiness if I only say YES to Him!
"Only when God's spirit lives within us to the fullest, are we able to be most fully human. The only way to be filled with God's spirit is to empty ourselves of any false sense of who we are, or who we think we ought to be." – Michael Dubruiel
Mar 23, 2010
Behind these three L words:
Did anyone realize it's the last week of lent (well before Holy Week starts)?
Anyone feeling weak in their noble resolutions they made five weeks ago? Or anyone simply feel in a slump or wishing they lived their lent better.
Me! Me! Me! (I'm raising my hand.)
I was thinking about this for a few days now and by God's grace several things came to mind:
- There's a parable Christ tells of a master calling servants in the morning, afternoon, and at night, with only an hour left in the day of work. The master pays them all the same wage.
- My three year old son, has every desire to get dressed by him-self these days, but try as hard as he may, he simply needs my help. He can't do it by himself.
Ha, this describes how I, with God's grace, am going to make this a good lent in a nutshell.
Last Call: I can still come up to the bar at last call and get a drink. It's the fifth week of lent, the last hour of work, and I can still ask Christ for a day's wages, a tremendous amount of grace for my soul.
Love: I read this in my meditation this morning.
St. Therese of Lisieux in Her Last Conversations:
Look at little children: they never stop breaking things, tearing things, falling down, and they do this even while loving their parents very, very much. When I fall in this way, it makes me realize my nothingness more, and I say to myself: What would I do, and what would I become, if I were to rely on my own strength?
I understand very well why St. Peter fell. Poor Peter, he was relying on himself instead of relying only on God‟s strength. I‟m very sure that if St. Peter had said humbly to Jesus, "Give me the grace, I beg you, to follow you even to death," he would have received it immediately. I‟m very certain that Our Lord didn‟t say any more to his Apostles through his instructions and his physical presence than he says to us through his good inspirations and his grace. He could have said to St. Peter: "Ask me for the strength to accomplish what you want." But no, He didn't because He wanted to show Peter his weakness, and because, before ruling the Church that is filled with sinners, he had to experience for himself what man is able to do without God‟s help.
Before Peter fell, Our Lord had said to him, "And once you are converted, strengthen your brethren." This means: Convince them of the weakness of human strength through your own experience.
Wow. I love Peter.
Dear Peter, thank you for being weak enough to fall because you were relying on your own strength, even with God himself right in front of you. How stupid of you….oh wait – I'm so like you!
I'm like a little kid who knows how much God loves me and yet I still fail. I rely on my own strength. I get nowhere and fall often.
Lent: The whole purpose of lent is MERCY! Second chances, forgiveness, the thief who "stole" heaven because he asked for forgiveness minutes before he died….WE STILL HAVE TIME. HE STILL LOVES US. HE WAITS TO BESTOW MERCY for those who ask.
LET'S GO! For all of us who may be far behind, for those of us who failed, lived lent half hearted, or are saying, "what? How is Easter next week already?"
AMEN to MERCY….Here's to the BEST LENT EVER – Starting this week!
Let us all pray for one another,