Thursday, September 30, 2010

If we would have stopped there...

When I look at this picture, I feel a rush of emotions. Most people would not understand the significance beyond, "Aw, how cute." However, there's more to the story.

When I look at this picture, I see our "baby" of three years meeting, for the first time, the little sibling he loves so much. It hits me that he's become the protector of his sweet sister. He's become her little companion- checking on her when she cries, concerned over her little grunts.

When I look at this picture, I see a newborn we prayed and hoped for. I think of the four losses that proceeded her pregnancy. I think of the heart condition God healed while she was in the womb, and I am in awe.

But, most of all, when I look at this picture, I think about how this photo might never have been.

When Brandon and I were dating, we talked about children. We would have three or four, we guessed. That sounded about right. However, once we trials of marriage hit, and we found ourselves on sinking sand, the two we had seemed such a burden. We were selfishly centered, running in a vicious circle, living a Godless life while attempting to be religious and look like we had it "all together".

Don't get me wrong- we LOVED our children, but it's hard to truly view children as a blessing when you're so caught up in yourself.

We talked about "getting fixed". (Although, now that term doesn't make much sense. Afterall, our fertility wasn't broken!) My husband began talking about getting a vasectomy because I just couldn't bring myself to even consider altering my fertility. I was torn. The world's wisdom said we should stop. My own wisdom said we shouldn't carry on. We were a mess. We shouldn't bring anymore children into this union.

But part of me- a huge part of me- really struggled with the thought of stopping there. The end of pregnancy. No more tears of joy when a newborn is placed in my arms for the first time. No more babies cuddled against my breast. None of that anticipation. No more toddler years. No more first steps, first words.....

I couldn't even imagine. I would ask my older friends, "How did you know you were done?" and "Do you ever wish you would have had more children?" Most of them seemed content. Was I just being selfish?

When I looked at my marriage (crumbling around me) and myself (oh the issues), I knew that it would not be wise to add another child. We were on the verge of divorce after being separated multiple times. Still, there was this hope deep inside of me. There was something in me that said, "There will be more."

And while I had yet to have a true relationship with God, I feel that this was His whisper of hope to me.

God did mend our marriage. We eventually did come to the end of ourselves, wondering how in the world we would fix what was so horribly broken and realizing only God could (because with Him, nothing is impossible).

On the last day of that year, we found out that God had blessed us with our third child (Keagan). His birth was very emotional and spiritual. Brandon and I both cried, and I spent many days staring at him in awe and thinking, "Wow, God."

And, over the last three years, Brandon and I have often turned to each other and said, "What would life have been like without him? I can't even imagine!" Keagan has added such beauty and wonder to our lives. What if we would have stopped at two?

And, three years after we found out we were pregnant with Keagan, we found out we were pregnant with another little beautiful blessing. When I see Keagan lovingly hovering over his little sister, gently soothing her, softly rubbing her fuzzy little head, tears come to my eyes.

If we would have stopped at two, they would have never been here. We would not have known what we were missing, but oh how much we would have missed!

It reminds me of how many times I have stopped short of full obedience to Christ. Oh the blessings I know I have missed!

And, while I absolutely adore my oldest two (Merikalyn and Nolyn). They are beautiful and amazing. I couldn't ask for better children, but they too would be missing out on so much had we decided to stop there.

I know how many of our friends (and strangers) feel about our decision to allow God to control our fertility. I know I struggle to give Him control in MANY areas of my life. I can certainly justify why I should use my own wisdom to "control" my finances, my children, my household, my time, and yes, my fertility, but it's so much more joyful when I just submit it all to God. It's not always easy (and I often fail), but God lavishes us all with such wonderful blessings when we follow in obedience- blessings that go far beyond there here and now. In fact, these blessings extend far beyond my own life!

It was such a joy to see Merikalyn, Nolyn, and Keagan eagerly anticipate and then joyfully welcome the birth of sweet Evangeline. They lavish her with attention and love. They eagerly seek to serve her (by bringing us wipes, helping hang cloth diapers on the line, folding her clothes, and holding her while Momma gets stuff done around the house). Even though it's only been a few weeks, I've already lost count of how many times I've heard one of them say, "I'm so glad you're here!" to our sweet swaddled bundle.

And again, I'm reminded.... oh what joy and blessing we would have missed out on... if we would have stopped there. I am so thankful that God gave me a glimpse of the future inside His will even though I was very much outside His will at the time. I am so grateful that He has so greatly given to us even though we have NOT deserved it at all.

Thank You Lord for blessing us so!


Tim and Melissa said...

What a beautiful post, Mandy! It is truly amazing what God can do, given our willingness to let Him do so!

Pam said...

We never go wrong when we commit our ways unto the Lord, delighting to do His will. We never go wrong when we listen to His still small voice; for He sees and knows the whole picture and we see through a glass darkly. Amen to you, young sister of mine in Christ. Amen to your testimony.
Ps. I endlessly hear from people of how they wished they would have let God plan their family, and how deeply they regret taking into their own hands. It is too big a burden for me to take on. My flesh would have over ruled many times. We are so glad we never had to decide.

Jamie said...

Hi Mandy!

I love this post. Thank you for your honesty. I happened upon your blog via someone coming to my blog from yours. (Did that make sense?:)) I SO need to write about my testimony like you have here. Our story is a bit different. I had my "tubes tied" after my 4th c-section because I was afraid of what "could" happen during another c-section. The Lord taught us so much through that dreadful decision. We have given the Lord complete control over my womb. We have had 2 miscarriages since my reversal on March 2, 2010. I had an HSG test today to see if my tubes are open. Praise God the right tube is completely open and possibly the left tube too. I have such a peace now that I did not have the 2 1/2 years that I was sterile.
Anyway, I am now following your blog and just wanted to say hi. By the way, I hope you don't mind me asking (and you definately don't have to answer), how old are you? You look SO young.

Jamie from Pursuing the old Paths

Jeanette said...


Wow, once again you have posted the thoughts of my heart better than I could have ever put them myself.

We are expectiing #4 in November and now my husband is suggesting that 'v' word as I refuse to alter my fertility as well. While the outside pressure is there to complete the procedure ASAP. I just can't bring myslef to have him do it...nor can he. Some inner part of me is screaming "WRONG, DON'T DO IT!!!!!"

I love our children dearly and yes I am extremely sleep deprived. I am taking on homeschooling and an infant. My parents think I am crazy. No my health isn't the greatest. (that's hubby's reason for suggesting the vesectomy.) Money is tight, the car is out of seats after #4, some days I feel like I am living a circus of insanity, and the list goes on and on.
Yet I can't help but feel that God is great, so why would he give me more children than I can care for or teach? Wouldn't it be so sad to not trust in him and take the matter in our own hands. It is quite possiable that I may never be able to get pregnant why am I worried. God knows what we can handle. And yet there is that nagging feeling of, butr what if I end up pregnant again, could I handle it?

I love your honesty. We also nearly stopped after #2. Nearly divorced...the works.

Thankfully God is merciful and great. He brought us closer together. Now I just pray that I can trust him more fully with our fertility!