How does a mom that believes that children are a blessing from the Lord, end up with only four children? By being right where God wants me to be! It hasn’t been easy, and that is what I want to share today, but it is where God has me.
When Todd and I married in 1986 we talked about how many children we would like to have. We both agreed that four or five children would be good. We also agreed it would be a good idea to wait until we could afford to live on one income before we had children; after all, we wanted me to stay home once we started having babies.
Around our second anniversary something started to stir in me. As I read the Word, I saw that children were a gift from the Lord. Why wouldn’t we want His gifts and lots of them? Still we couldn’t “afford” a child and my quitting work, so we waited six more years to have children.
During the next six years I changed. God created in me a parenting vision. I realized it was a privilege to raise children, not a burden. I understood and truly believed what God meant when He said, “children are a blessing”. What developed in me was not just a whimsical feeling; it was a desperate yearning to be a part of raising warriors in God’s army. All of this was so foreign to me that I was convinced it was God’s work in my life.
God miraculously intervened and we were pregnant! After a few tear filled months back to work, Todd said I could quit. Finally, I could see my dreams coming true. For the next six years we had babies---four in all. It was pure joy for me to leave “family planning” in God’s hands. Whenever we got pregnant we knew it was His timing!
Yet, after our fourth child was born, Todd was feeling done. Needless to say, I was not! Actually, I was struggling with believing it was even our right to “feel done”. It seemed selfish and I couldn’t find anything in the Bible about saying “no” to more children.
For months Todd and I prayed together and separately. We sought counsel and discussed our positions on this topic. I pulled out all the stops and hit him with every argument in the book. I had scriptures, quotes from other Christians, my own thoughts and even pleas on his emotions. Did I mention I prayed? In the end, Todd had peace about the size of our family and went ahead with having a vasectomy.
How could this be? Hadn’t God done this work in me? Yes, He did. Yet, who had changed? I had. Todd was the same man I married that wanted four or five children.
I was confused. I mourned the loss of more children. And I was mad at God for not changing Todd too. Why didn’t God move in Todd, was a question that haunted me.
After months of shifting anger from God to Todd to those who gave Todd counsel and then back to God again, I turned on a CD we have that starts with the song It is well with my soul. As I sang along the tears began to flow and song after song ministered to my hard heart. It was my own personal revival. The questions ceased and I recognized God’s goodness. I knew He was watching over me as one of the songs pointed out, like He does the sparrow. (Matthew 10: 29) Once again I received amazing grace that saved me from what I deserved. (Job 33: 27-28)
It became clear to me that one of the reasons I was negative about God was I had put too much hope in having more children and not enough hope in God. (Romans 15: 13) My focus was on the gift and not the Giver. A second reason God was on my blacklist was I knew God had changed me so I assumed He would change Todd. This was a problem because it is NOT for me to dictate to God how He must move. It is for me to accept and to surrender to however He leads. (Proverbs 3: 5)
God tells me to honor my husband and to respect him, (Eph. 5:33) now it was up to me to obey. Just like Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac---even though it didn’t make sense—and still believed God would fulfill His promise somehow, (Hebrews 11:17-19) I needed to believe God was in control---even if it didn’t look like it. (Hebrews 11:1)
Although, I received a very real release from anger, I still struggled and shed several tears. Each monthly cycle brought disappointment and a sense of loss. It took constant renewing of my thoughts to love my Lord with all my heart. Accepting my role was coming along…slowly…yet, the story is not over, there is more.
Although each month brought with it a reminder that I wasn’t going to have another child; I was, over all, back to trusting and loving my Lord whole heartedly. Yes, periodically I still hoped Todd would get a reversal and our family would grow, yet, that was not what I was putting my hope in.
About two years after our last child was born, Todd sat me down for a talk. He looked very serious; I couldn’t imagine what this would be about. He shared that he had been praying that morning and asked God what he could do to bless his wife. (This is not something I am aware of him ever doing before or since) Wow, I was really listening now. He said that God had told him he could bless me by having a reversal!
I was shocked and thrilled! Within a few months we had an appointment scheduled.
The day came for the reversal. Much to my surprise the doctor asked if I would like to observe the procedure, so I did. The surgery went as expected and the doctor was very optimistic.
As I am sure you can imagine I was spinning ahead in my heart and imaginations. I could picture the wonderful bundle the Lord was going to bless us with. I could nearly feel and smell our baby’s presence.
The first month went by without getting pregnant. To be expected, I could wait. After six months I was starting to get anxious, but I had heard plenty of stories where it took up to a year to get pregnant after a reversal. As a year approached I started to wrestle with God again.
Again I had assumed I knew what God would do and got my heart set on that. After all if God told my husband to have a reversal, didn’t that mean He was going to give us more children?
For years I hoped I would miss a monthly cycle and be pregnant. Again I had a choice, love God no matter what He had for me or fall into bitterness while demanding my way. I learned quicker this time and rested in God’s being all powerful and all knowing.
Nearly ten years have passed since the reversal. Four children is the number of children God has for us. Some may think we are paying the consequences of having a vasectomy in the first place. Perhaps we are, there is no doubt we messed with Todd’s body and before the surgery we had no problem getting pregnant. Yet, my peace comes from knowing God is big enough. He is big enough to get us pregnant and big enough to fill me with peace if we aren’t ever pregnant again.
There are two things that have helped me this time that I feel are gifts from the Lord. The first is the fact that I got to observe the surgery. I know myself and I would have wondered if the surgery was done or if it was done correctly. Of course being there doesn’t mean it was done right, but it helped with my imagination.
Secondly, I have peace knowing we corrected what I felt was wrong. There weren’t a certain number of children I was after, I just didn’t want to stiff arm God by saying don’t give us any more. Now we were open to what He had for us.
So that is how this mom that believes children are a blessing from the Lord ended up with only four children. I know there are a lot of other stories out there. There are many broken hearts regarding this topic. Yet, as I was reminded this week as a struggled through a much smaller trial, God wants what is best for me, although it may look different than I had hoped. Am I willing to learn what God wants me to learn? Will I trust Him no matter what? Again, I will choose to let God be God and I will follow wherever He leads!