Mike and I had just wrestled our way through 4 weeks of intense classes about Natural Family Planning at our local Catholic Church (we were, and still are, considered Protestants). I say we wrestled, and we certainly did with some of the heart-level theological questions posed at us in the class, but the reality was that we both knew from the moment we stepped into the class that this was the path for us.
I’m a domestic kind of girl. In high school my friends used to joke that I should have been born a half-century earlier because I would have made the quintessential 1950’s housewife. Not that any teenager growing up in America these days would ever reply to the so-what-are-you-going-to-do-when-you-graduate-college question with, “Oh, have babies and cook and take care of my family and house.” Yeah, right. “Don’t waste your talent!” would be the pat reply.
Mike too had similar inclinations in high school, although no one ever accused him of being a 1950s housewife at heart. 🙂 If you ask Mike, though, what his life dream has been, he will tell you that it has always been to have a wife he loves and a baby he loves. And he’ll also tell you that he has happily fulfilled his dream. What a guy.
When Mike and I finished our Natural Family Planning course, we felt like we had stepped into something, encountered some sort of culture, that actually fit. And believe me, we did not fit in the world around us very easily. Still don’t.
After that class we knew that the 2-year plan wasn’t for us. Neither probably was the 1.5 kids and a dog scenario. You know, the one with the white picket fence? It’s not that following NFP means having kids early and often. If you study it, it is actually about being in constant communication as a married couple about children. It is about prayer, and about being open and discerning to the Lord’s directing to have or not have children at a certain time.
Yet, after the class, Mike and I knew we did want to have children early. That was the deep level desire of our hearts. That was what I personally sensed was my deepest calling- to be a mother. Even though I have struggled and will probably continue to struggle with the idea that I am “wasting” my life and my talents (and bachelor’s degree), in the core of me I know that there can be no higher calling upon my life than to love my daughter and my husband (and our future babies!)
And at the same time, the Lord was imparting to us a Pro-Life heart. I’m not talking about a political statement of some sort. I’m talking about a lifestyle, an attitude, that values life and relationship above everything else. In a culture that is at best ambivalent toward marriage and childbearing, and at worst cynical and degrading of these sacred callings, we felt it impressed upon our hearts to become beacons for Life. No matter the sacrifice it would mean, no matter the inconvenience, no matter the shock childbearing might bring, I knew that every baby to come out of my womb would be wanted. Deeply wanted.
As Mike and I moved toward our wedding date we had many more shaping conversations with those that we loved regarding children and marriage. We spent many hours in heated conversation over delicious meals with our marriage officiant, George, and his wife, Lisa, elders at our church. We talked to our friends and mentors in our college ministry circle. We talked to our dear friends in ministry with the House of Prayer.
Even though none of these friends had necessarily had children quickly after marriage, each affirmed us in our desire. Yet, in that season we also began encountering more and more dear friends who struggled with infertility. It was a reminder to us that despite how much we might want to have a child, either immediately or down the road, nothing was guaranteed. Our lives, and the lives of our children, if there were to be any, were in God’s hands…
Read Part 4 Here