Category: pregnancy/birth control

Free Ebook– Deceived: Little Lies the World Tells to Keep Christian Families From Growing

Cindy Dyer is a friend and fellow-blogger whom I admire, trust and applaud for her consistent, clear voice in topics of controversy. When she told me she was writing a book to discuss how she believes the subject of children is and should be handled among Christians, I was so very excited.

First, I knew she would handle it well and thoughtfully, and biblically.

Secondly, it’s a much-needed word. I’ve long held the belief that the Church universal will suffer from impotence as long as it has a view of children inconsistent with that in Scripture. Pun very much intended.

Here’s the best part…Cindy’s book is absolutely FREE!

Read it and especially share it!

Here’s an excerpt:

“No number of children can either save you or condemn you. On the Last Day, when we stand before God, His question will not be “How many sons did you have?” but “What did you think of my Son?”

Naturally though, what we think of His Son, if we are in earnest in pursuing Him, will affect our earthly behaviors. Procreation is one area in which I see most of Christendom not thinking at all–not because they don’t care or because they harbor some sin in their hearts, but because the subject of faith and fertility has been removed from the bounds of polite discussion. Even worse, they’ve been removed as topics in the pulpit. Christians are, consequently, missing out on the most joyful blessing—and yes, the toughest responsibility—with which God has charged the human race: that of raising Godly offspring.”

And another:

“…our pastors and teachers don’t seem to me to be terribly frightened of confronting such egregious sexual sin as homosexual behavior, shacking up, fornication, or pornography….This is all well and good, and I’m glad to see it still happening even in this degenerate age. But this kind of teaching doesn’t go far enough. In fact, the social and political activism seems to me to be at its heart an attempt to clean up the mess we made ourselves. By refusing to loudly affirm the blessings of the family, including the eleventeenth child to be added to it, we’ve been giving the world’s attitude toward procreation a fig leaf of doctrinal respectability.”

Deceived is such a thoughtful and important discussion and I’m thankful to Cindy for it. Read it HERE.

 

 

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It’s Normal to Have Babies. (That’s Why I Look at You Weird When You Ask Me If I’m “Done.”)

My recent post on Facebook seemed to be a favorite, so I thought I’d share it here.

I ran into a sweet mom of 4 today. She told me that all she hears is “You’re done now, right?”

For those of you who say that to moms with more than 2, what does that mean? And why do you say it? And would it change your response if you knew that we hear that all. the. time.? And how would you feel if almost everyone you ran into asked, “Why don’t you have more children?”

And what does it imply of God’s created design? That He forgot the cut off switch? That He just expected that we would *know* only 2 children are normal and after that if we don’t take destructive, body-altering drugs, known to have all sorts of side effects, then we deserve the comments meant to imply our apparent ignorance?

Why is natural so en vogue in almost every other area, but is virtually insane as it applies to reproduction? Do we even notice that we have let cultural expectations dictate what we call “normal”? It’s normal to have the babies God gives you. But the few who do are treated like misfits. It’s almost like making fun of people who don’t have tattoos. I’m OK with your tattoo. But I’m not a freak because I don’t have one. You made a deliberate decision to get one. It didn’t just show up one day.

In a normal marriage, and if God has opened the womb, babies will show up unless you deliberately prevent them. That’s OK if you want to. I’m not going to ask you why or imply your family is too small or that you must hate your children since you didn’t have more. But it would be so awesome if others would show the same courtesy. And even better, that other Christians would speak the language of Scripture when it comes to children.

Do you know what Rebekah’s marriage blessing was? “May you be the mother of thousands and ten thousands, and let your children possess the gates of those who hate them.” Is that the way we talk to young newlyweds? (Most often I think it goes something like, “Don’t get pregnant too soon.”)

God spoke of children–not just the first two–as wealth and prosperity, blessing and inheritance. The modern church ignores a lot of what the Bible says, but perhaps nothing as much as what is has to say about children. It makes me scratch my head a lot, I guess because I’m sort of a “catch all” for the opinions of others about fertility. It makes me sad. Not me personally, not because of how much rudeness or misunderstanding I have to endure, but because of the impotence of the church as a result of our misguided beliefs about children.

God’s intentions were that we would not only love children for the sake of loving them, but that we would see them as a primary way to propagate the gospel. That generally, godly children would be the obvious fruit of a Christian marriage, and that would cause the enemy to quake. At the VERY least, a Christian who understands this, would rejoice when other people have babies, not make them feel like freaks. I’ve never seen reactions to children in the Bible like the ones we get so often. When the Hebrews were in bondage under slavery in Egypt, do you know what God gave them? More babies. (They couldn’t afford them, by the way.) I’m just challenging God’s people….where are we getting our cues about how to think?

And I may be meddling now, but I so long to see pastors return to a biblical view of children from the pulpit. It is your business.

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10 Reasons to Have (More) Children

There are plenty of reasons, inscribed in articles everywhere, not to have children. Things like “poop, sleeplessness, hectic trips to Disney World and giving up a thousand freedoms.” And of course, “to have more time and energy left for the dogs.”

Those things are true. In fact, there’s a never-ending list of things children cost a parent.

But all costs aren’t equal. I’ve noticed most of the reasons to not have children hover in the “now” and are relatively shortsighted. There are expenses and there are investments. The temporary expense of children pales in comparison to the value of their investment.

So I offer you 10 reasons to have more children:

1. Companionship. They’re a barrel of fun when they’re young, and as they get older, they become your best friends (if you’re investing in them). Has anyone ever wished they had fewer best friends?

2.  They share the load of life. Whether it’s emptying the dishwasher, or sharing the grief of a lost loved one, more is better, every time.

3. Each one changes you. Every child in a family has a remarkably unique personality. I could never have guessed how different 10 children from the same family could be. But the difference in each personality meets yours at a different place and refines you, grows you, expands you.

4. Children give you vision. Whether it’s thinking about tomorrow or ten years from now, children force you to look ahead and make better decisions about your today with their tomorrow in mind.

5.  They take you outside of yourself. Every time a sweet-smelling newborn has been placed in my arms for the first time, it’s like the first time. The realization that a new, incredible, helpless human has been placed in our care is overwhelming and important. There is no love like parent love and the more we must live outside of our own cares, the better, I think.

6. They show us the world. Life loses its real meaning without the fresh awe and wonder of children. Children teach us to see the good in people, to forgive easily, to let a sunset thrill our senses. They make us kinder and teach us to appreciate simplicity. Each new child that comes along refreshes our perspectives all over again.

7. They keep you from watching TV. TV is fine sometimes, and I like watching it. But it also takes up a lot of time we could be talking or reading or helping someone or making something. And it bombards us with ads for things we don’t need and desensitizes our faculties. A full house keeps us too busy and too entertained by little ones to watch it and I’m grateful.

8. You get lots of gifts on holidays. And that’s fun.

9.  As they get older, the investment returns. Whether its monetary, emotional, physical or spiritual, a family works like a body. When one part needs something, the others help compensate. We’re connected, and we all thrive or not depending on how we contribute and take care of each other. It starts in small ways–older ones pitch in for gas, insurance, food. But it may end up with adult children pouring into the lives of their older parents, just as those parents poured into their children.

10.  You get to partner with the Creator of the universe, becoming a vessel through which the love between husband and wife becomes flesh, and a one-of-a-kind, fresh, new idea of God, full of possibilities is placed in your arms, positively soft and beautiful and captivating and unbelievable. A thing you could never do too many times.

Too important to include in a list, the all-encompassing reason to have children, for Christians at least, is to make disciples and expand the Kingdom through the first, natural means given to us. More than just propagating a civilization, we propagate an army for Him.

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The Link Between Birth Control & Abortion: Is the Church Really Pro-Life?

People get really squirmy when the topic of birth control comes up and I can attest, having studied and written on the subject for almost 7 years, there are few hotter button topics.

I’ve been begged to leave the subject alone, reminded that it’s “an issue solely between husband, wife and God.” And it is. But the ripple effect goes far beyond that, and it’s that effect I’m so concerned about, among Christians, which is why I keep tackling the topic.

Some beg for the lives of the innocent at their local abortion mill. And some beg with words, agonizing during the night, rushing to find a keyboard.

I have believed, and will continue to unless I’m convinced otherwise, that there is a short walk between the birth control mindset and abortion.

Hear what I said: “the birth control mindset.” This is a very important distinction. I am not saying, nor have I ever said, it is a sin to use birth control or that a Christian can not, upon careful prayer and discernment, space children. It’s not a discussion about specific circumstances, or sick mamas or hard pregnancies.

The “birth control mindset” is one that treats new life too lightly, fails to give proper authority to the Creator, assumes absolute control over fertility and consequently establishes (either consciously or not) that the idea of “normal” family size is two or three children.

The birth control mindset inadvertently becomes hostile to the practice of forgoing birth control. And herein lies a great problem.

To the church I say: we cannot be staunch pro-life advocates only where abortion is concerned. It is hypocritical to fight for the life of the unborn, but insult the life of the born (and the mother who gave him life), where we deem his birth order to be too high. That is as good as saying, “you should have aborted those last three.”

You might say, “no, she should have prevented the last three.”

Which could be said to every mother walking into an abortion clinic. But her birth control simply failed. Yet we still clamor for that child’s life, and rejoice to see it spared. And we should. Just as we should celebrate every life, especially the life of a believer, receiving into his family the very heritage of the Lord.

Here are my reasons for believing there’s a strong connection between birth control and abortion:

  • The contraceptive mentality fosters the notion of unwanted children.

“The connection between contraception and abortion is primarily this:  Contraception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral character that are likely to lead to abortion.  The contraceptive mentality treats sexual intercourse as though it had little connection with babies; it thinks of babies as an “accident” of intercourse, as an unwelcome intrusion into a sexual relationship, as a burden.  The sexual revolution has no fondness – nor room for – the connection between sexual intercourse and babies…” -Professor Janet Smith,”The Connection Between Contraception and Abortion

  • Abortion is simply the back-up method for failed contraception.

Planned Parenthood vs. Casey:

“…the recent Supreme Court decision that confirmed Roe v. Wade, stated, “in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception… for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” (emphasis mine)

Janet Smith again writes:

“To support the argument that more responsible use of contraceptives would reduce the number of abortions, some note that most abortions are performed for “contraceptive purposes.” That is, few abortions are had because a woman has been a victim of rape or incest or because a pregnancy would endanger her life, or because she expects to have a handicapped or deformed newborn. Rather, most abortions are had because men and women who do not want a baby are having sexual intercourse and facing pregnancies they did not plan for and do not want. Because their contraceptive failed, or because they failed to use a contraceptive,they then resort to abortion as a backup. Many believe that if we could convince men and women to use contraceptives responsibly we would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and thus the number of abortions. Thirty years ago this position might have had some plausibility, but not now. We have lived for about thirty years with a culture permeated with contraceptive use and abortion; no longer can we think that greater access to contraception will reduce the number of abortions. Rather, wherever contraception is more readily available the number of unwanted pregnancies and the number of abortions increases greatly.”

  • Birth control increases the number of abortions.

Judith Bury, coordinator of Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion said:

“There is overwhelming evidence that … the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”

  • Artificial birth control can actually cause abortions.

Dr. Walter Larimore, who for decades prescribed the pill, tried to disprove the claim that the pill is abortifacient, only to find 94 scientific studies proving that “postfertilization effects are operative to prevent clinically recognized pregnancy.” He published his findings in the scientific journal of the American Medical Association, and from then on stopped prescribing the pill.

Why it matters so much

Christians must think carefully and discern wisely about reproduction and fertility. To simply adopt the culture’s practices of such an important, world-changing activity, without due attention to God’s directives, is not only unwise, but potentially destructive.

Where God said:

  • Be fruitful and multiply…
  • what I have created is good…
  • It is I who have made you…
  • I knew you before you were formed in the womb…
  • I want to give you a heritage…
  • a gift…
  • your children will help you fight the enemy
  • the fruitfulness of your marriage is to reflect the church
  • I desire godly children from your union (Malachi 2:15)

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood & Pro-Choice Advocates said:

  • “The marriage bed is the most degenerating influence in the social order.”
  • “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
  • “Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most.”
  • “A baby is a baby when the mother says it is.”
  • “I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.”
  • “a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity (read: “child”) inside of her. Always.” (So What if Abortion Ends a Life)

Before we can hope to see abortion eradicated and life embraced as sacred–sacred enough to protect, preserve and defend at all costs, all life must become so.

If the birth control mindset causes us to measure the value of a child’s life by the number of children born before him, we do not share the mind of God, and deserve the consequences of sharing the mind of a culture who defends death.

We cannot mock what God has created and called good, while simultaneously claiming to be pro-life. As long as we do, we needn’t wonder why abortion is such a vile blight on our society.

 

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It’s Weird That Having Lots of Kids is Weird (And That’s Bad)

Mollie Hemingway summed it up best in her piece, “Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear of Children and Fertile Women“, when she said,

“The media remind us regularly that the most important cultural value relative to family life is what’s euphemistically called “choice.” The choice of whether to have kids or not is held so sacrosanct that our laws permit the decision to be made many months after a new human life begins. Some even advocate extending the choice to a period of time after birth. So why the weird reaction to people receiving children as a blessing instead of fighting them tooth and nail with hormones, chemicals, surgery and scissors? Do we need some remedial courses in how babies are made? It’s entirely natural, of course, for babies to be conceived when men and women have sex. Treating the entirely expected procreation of children as something to be avoided at all costs — and an unspeakable atrocity if one has, say, three children already — would be weird even if our culture weren’t obsessed with sex at all times, in all places, in every context, at every moment.”

We are a freak show everywhere we go. It’s just a fact. My kids know. They hear it. They feel it. One of the things they ask me from time to time, after a stranger in public has reacted to the “yes, they’re all ours”, is, “Mom, why do people not like kids?

Because the number of my children is irrelevant to each of their unique feelings. When someone makes a snide remark about the fact I have more than the average number of children, what they never do is volunteer to tell me which one I should exterminate.However, they are willing to insinuate he should never have been born.

This, I tell you, is why a Christian who claims to be pro-life in one breath but calls a woman crazy for having more than 3 children in the next, is an oxymoron. (I have had not one, but TWO pastors ask the question, “Are you crazy?! upon learning of my large family.)

And this reaction, over time, shapes a culture’s beliefs about children.

Why are we a freak show? Just because the majority of the population decided to stop having children?

Think for a minute:

If everyone shaved his head tomorrow, everyone except just a few people, would those chide the ones who still had hair? Because that’s weird. But the truth is, hair would become the oddity and yes, people with hair would then have to defend their position.

The one with hair doesn’t even say to the bald one, “how odd you look“, yet he will still  have to defend his naturally-growing-hair position.

We create weird beliefs.

It’s even worse because we are conservative Christians. In addition to being weird just because we let reproduction do its thing, we also have ridiculous myths projected on us:

“Her husband makes her have all those babies because they believe in biblical submission and so you know he must be an ogre.”

or

“They are so smug trying to see how many babies they can have. They believe that more babies makes you more godly.”

Nonsense. All of it.

Why can’t I just have babies because that’s normal? Oh, wait, because that would make NOT having babies not normal. See, like shaving heads.

Weird, I tell you.

But the more important point in this post is not that I don’t want to be weird anymore. The stigma of having too many children will have serious implications for all of us. We are about to suffer a serious demographic implosion (and that doesn’t even include spiritual repercussions for Christians) as an aging population who thought children were too much of a burden become a heavier burden on their now-grown children staggering under the depleted workforce too small to keep up with caring for them.

The truth is, God knows a little bit about His Creation. And when we stray too far from the way He ordered it, we pay.

My whole point? It shouldn’t be weird to have children, even if you choose otherwise. And the fact that it is will cost us dearly.

God doesn’t think having kids is weird, and neither should we.

 

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Are You Going to Have More Babies?

I love how Jesus urges us, no, insists that we become like little children, especially since I get to constantly witness the minds of children. If you listen closely, they teach things we’re “too smart” to learn.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

“Unless you turn.” Turn from what?

A spontaneous conversation ensued with my 5 year old. She is curious and strong and is my child who just says it like it is; not in a bossy kind of way, but in a matter-of-fact-no-point-beating-around-the-bush kind of way.

I wish I had recorded it. It was so cute and fun as are most conversations with a 5 year old. I’ve tried to remember the conversation as closely to verbatim as possible. Listen in:

Kyla:”Mom, you have lots of babies. Are you going to have more?”

Me: “I don’t know. Do you think I should stop?”

Kyla: “How do you stop?”

Me: “I could take a pill or have a surgery to make my body stop.”

Kyla: (puzzled look) “Take a pill, like medicine?”

Me: “Yep.”

Kyla: “Are you sick?”

Me: “No, but you can take something to make your body not work right so you won’t have any more babies.”

Kyla: Eyebrows furrowed. Then, brighten again. “What if God gives you more?”

Me: “Well that’s the thing. I only know that if I don’t take the pill.”

Kyla: “I’m glad you didn’t take a pill. I would NOT want to live with another family.”

Her lively little face actually turned sad when I explained to her that she would not be living with another family but would, in fact, not be living at all.

And this fact, this looking into my children’s big eyes and trying to imagine life without them is what most propels me to trust in God’s sovereignty over life, even when my flesh fails.  There is so much He knows that I don’t. About me, about our circumstances and about her and her future.

Just like my daughter counsels women each week who are contemplating abortion, urging them to consider that the life inside them is no mistake and is depending on them to give it a chance to live, even the babies-to-be depend on a mother and father willing to receive them. Babies whom God has known from the foundations.

Kyla understands that. She hasn’t been educated enough to know that people are too expensive and bothersome to raise and thus, easily and flippantly avoided.

Babies are people to her; important people. People who, like her, are glad they get to live with their families.

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