Why do you have/want so many kids? Chapter #1

I recently went through a stage of mourning with Luke being a senior.  It was the day after his basketball team’s loss in the regional finals.  All the sudden it hit me, I won’t ever get to watch him play basketball in this way again.  It seemed my mind was suddenly flooded with memories…from the initial moments of his arrival on this earth, to remembering him wearing his Michael Jordan jersey as we would turn out the lights and announce him with flashlights and he would come running out and shoot on his little tyke’s hoop.  I remembered his surgery at age 5, playing with him in the sandbox the day we brought Abi home.  That morning I was a mess!  My little Luke is no longer little! Where did the time go?  How thankful I felt that I have enjoyed and savored every moment!  This prompted me to say something re; this when talking with some other parents at the basketball banquet…and they were like, “you got a ton more kids though,” like, I shouldn’t sweat Luke trekking off to college.  I guess some people may assume when you have lot of kids that what’s one leaving?  Well, it certainly is not like that.  Each child is so unique and holds their own place in my heart.  Sometime I feel I love them so deeply, they probably cannot even comprehend it!  I am guessing all you mothers out there understand this!  But, even with six, Lord willing eight or nine, when all is said or done…each will still be created in God’s image and are irreplaceable in their own right.  Usually I go through different times and stages of grieving processes.  Whenever a child weans, when they first head off to school, when they switch to the next school and now the newest one is coming…when one graduates. 

This all to try to attempt to answer the question that some people actually speak, some only think:  WHY DO YOU HAVE so many kids?  Or why do you want more? 

I feel that this story may involve more than can be written in one blog.  We shall see.

To begin with, I didn’t know if I could have children.  Ron married me knowing this.  We talked of adoption even before we were married.  So part one of the story would be my eating disorder.  It is not always fun to talk of our struggles.  It is much easier to appear to others to have it all together.  So, this story comes with obedience to God asking me to share it.  I don’t like the memories or feeling sharing it evokes, yet it then reminds me what a loving, patient, caring Lord I serve.

I am not exactly sure how it happened.  I have always loved sports, running, and activity.  I had two brothers.  If I wanted someone to play with I played football, baseball, whiffle ball, kickball or any other sport.  I also had a lot of boy cousins who were all really active.  I did pretty well even though I was small.  In trying to understand what happened to cause my eating disorder I think I subconsciously desired control.  I think this started when I was about 12 and my 8 year old cousin Nathan died.  He had some sort of allergic reaction while swimming in the water.  He swelled and life flight came, but they couldn’t save him.  It seemed surreal.  My brother Jason and he were best pals.  They were born 16 hours apart at the same hospital.  I can’t even imagine how this affected him.  Then, my freshman year, my Grandma Lillian died.  She loved the Lord and always encouraged me to follow Him, reading me daily breads when I spent the night.  I loved hearing her sing.  She was ready to go be with her Lord and we had a singspiration at her funeral.  But, it seemed something in my heart yearned for control of my life, which I am guessing sometimes death may cause.  I unconsciously did this by controlling my eating and exercise and eventually my weight.  To begin with, I felt I was obeying God by being healthy and holy.  I was spending time with the Lord and felt I needed to be disciplined in all I did.  I really did not intentionally become anorexic.  I was definitely a pleaser and always wanted to make everyone around me proud.  I was an all A student and worked very hard in sports.  Eventually my problem came to a head as I grew from five foot to five foot and 4 and went from 100 lbs. down to 89 lbs.  I remember feeling so hungry, and feeling so grumpy and short with my family.  I had to exercise.  I could not eat anything that was high in calories.  Eventually my parents, teachers, and coaches became concerned.  My basketball coach would pull me out saying I looked so frail and weak.  One teacher actually had a meeting with me, my parents and some family members who had a daughter who had been through an eating disorder.  It was a very difficult time in my life, and honestly it seemed NO ONE understood.  No one understood except Jesus.  He was there.  He cared.  He loved me regardless.  Through counseling and lots of time my eating disorder was overcome.  I truly believe that the Lord healed me.  And although it wouldn’t have been my design, it truly drew me close to the Lord.  It really helped me see that I could not lean on my own understanding as Proverbs 3:5-6 says.  I know this was so very hard on my mom and dad, and for that I am sorry.  Meeting Ron was undoubtedly a huge way the Lord allowed me to feel loved and accepted for who I was.  I still struggle to find the balance at times…knowing that anything can become an idol, even perfection in our bodies.  I feel anger when women portray the wrong image for young girls to follow.       

At any rate, because of my eating disorder, I never had my own menstrual cycle.  I even had a laparoscopy to make sure everything was OK.  The doctor explained the reason I didn’t have periods would be like if I was in a concentration camp and running for my life.  That would not be a good time to have a baby!  God’s design for our bodies is amazing!  So, my restricted eating and over exercise caused my “infertility” so to speak.  I had to be put on a birth control pill to induce cycles.  But, as soon as I went off them, I wouldn’t have cycles again.  So, even when I was first married, I still had never had my own cycle.  When I first went off the birth control pill to see if I would have a period, I got pregnant with Luke!  I was so disappointed that I wasn’t having a period and then later to realize it was because I was with child!  It has definitely changed my perspective about the balance of eating/exercise.  God created women to have some fat.  We are not supposed to be stick thin as the media and Hollywood make us to think.  Exercise is good and healthy, but there is a point that goes too far.  And to think millions of people in the world are starving!    

The Lord blessed us with an amazing pro-life doctor.  He was very helpful in enabling us to understand many things.  One thing, I had no clue about…was that the many birth control pills had abortificients in them.  An abortificient is used in many birth control pills as a secondary mechanism if the first mechanism, repressing ovulation, does not work.  So, if the pill fails to repress ovulation, this means you do ovulate and then can conceive.  The abortificient makes the uterus in conducive to implantation.  I was horrified!  What a minute, you mean a child may have been created and it just couldn’t implant?  I don’t know if the pill I was on had this in it or not, but I have had to seek the Lord’s forgiveness for the fact that I could have had children during those first years of marriage and did not know it.  I do believe that the Christian society has completely ignored and missed this aspect of “birth control.”  I feel so blessed to have had someone share this with us early in our lives.  I wish there was someone who could have shared that with me sooner…thus I share it with you. 

This began our journey of trying to have faith and trust the Lord…with how many children we would have.  We decided the route of natural family planning which allowed you to understand the way God made your body and the signs of fertility.  After Luke turned one, we were open to another child and the Lord blessed us with Abigail, 21 months apart from Luke.  I am not even sure if I had a cycle between them.  So far pregnancies were pretty easy, other than the fact that my belly got so large, many thought I was having twins!  It seemed a little more time was needed between Abi and Kaiti, and Kaiti arrived about 2 and ½ years after Abi.  I definitely experienced a lot of nausea with Kaiti, but she was a wonderful baby.  Sometimes I felt my hands and heart were full, and three was enough.  But, as Kaiti approached 2, we both felt open to another child.  Again, nausea hit hard and a little over three years after Kaiti, Joshua Robert arrived.  Joshua was my first colicky baby.  I honestly think I just tried to be the perfect mom to all of them, instead of just allowing things to not get done.  It seemed to us that four was good and that Joshua’s collickyness was a sure sign we were done.  I fought the desire for another baby as Josh hit two.  Natural family planning in your mid-thirties Is a little trickier than we realized and with a really early ovulation, God blessed us with Anna Rebecca.   I remember when I was in my fifth month; I had a little spotting and just cried out to the Lord, forgive me for I want this little girl!  Everything ended up being fine, but it was a wake-up call to my sometimes negative attitude.  It then seemed that all was perfect.  Anna was my first baby to sleep through the night, by 12 weeks she was sleeping 12 straight hours!  Of course, then her ear infections began, but that was nice while it lasted. 

Then into my life came a friend.  Anna was probably about 1 and ½.  Ron definitely thought we were “done.”  We never felt a peace about doing anything permanent, because of a lot of the literature we had read and in searching the Bible never really felt that God wanted us to do that.   As I became friends with this young lady, she shared her heart about being open to however many children God wanted to bless her with.  It seemed rather ludicrous to me at the time.  Then, I watched her on her journey…she found out she was pregnant and was bleeding, so she was put on bed rest.  She had three little ones at home and it was very hard.  A long story short, she carried her little girl to around 23 weeks and she was born stillbirth.  It was very painful for her, but I also stood amazed at what God did in her heart and life through this loss.   It drew her closer to Him.  One Sunday at church she shared her testimony and sang this beautiful song.  Her hope in the eternal became stronger.  I could actually see how God used the gift he gave women of childbearing as a blessing to draw us to Him.  It seems I had completely missed all that God had taught me with these five blessings!  Anna herself transformed me as I could no longer keep up and HAD to trust the Lord with every minute of every day. 

  This coupled with my diligent search of scriptures left me feeling the Lord calling us to be open to more children.  God’s word was filled with nothing but positive about children and about the blessing of them.  In the days of old men and women both were considered blessed when their “quiver was full.”  The message Bible says it well: Psalm 127:3-5 “Don’t you see that children are God’s BEST gift?  The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.  Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!  Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you: you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.”  Children weren’t a nice thing to make your life complete, they were the BEST gift God could give you!  If someone came to your door and said, “He, I have a million dollars here and am supposed to give it you, no strings attached, would you want it?  I am guessing most of us would!  Well, God knocks on our doors and says, could I bless you with another child?  And we say, no thanks, I am good.  Perhaps through your womb, through adoption in America, through foster care, through international adoption…?  I could find nothing advising against having more children, except the scriptural mandate to be submissive to your husbands.  So, in sharing this with Ron, he did not feel the same way I did.  I had done so much research and praying.  Yet, I had to be obedient to my husband.   It was about 6 months later that the Lord brought him to the same place as me and we were convicted that as God’s Word says, “the Lord opens and closes the womb.”  Little did we know the trial that awaited us.    

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7 thoughts on “Why do you have/want so many kids? Chapter #1

  1. I read this with tears in my eyes this morning. It’s amazing how God can give that nudge that we can not ignore. And when we try, we’re just miserable! Thank you for sharing such a personal story about yourself. It’s hard, but God has a reason for you to share. Maybe, to reach someone else that might be struggling with an eating disorder, birth control, family size, adoption or foster care. Your words are inspired by God, thank you for being obedient to Him. You have reached me today…

    (Now I’m going to finish working on my blog about Chocolate Raspberry Pound Cake. For some reason now it seems so trivial!)

    Love you,
    Tahny

  2. sally says:

    You are sharing your heart and God will Honor that! Sometimes we are needing to hear a message from someone that has been tried as Job was. I pray this will be an inspiration to someone in need of your message and how you have followed God’s leading. You are so loved. Sally

  3. Thanks for sharing so freely from your heart, Michelle! Of course I can completely relate to your feelings about Luke leaving the nest. When our oldest left, that was the hardest. One of my daughters recently reminded me that shortly after he started college, I came to set the dinner table with 8 plates. When I realized it, I cried as I put the extra plate back into the cupboard. I do have to say that it has gotten a bit easier to nudge them out of the nest now, realizing that they come back–with new family members sometimes! The family just keeps getting bigger! 🙂

    Also, I wish every young girl who struggles with an eating disorder could read your story. Sometimes it’s not just about looking glamorous; it could just be a faulty thought that the less you eat, the more you are pleasing God & others. And it almost alwaysrelates to having some sort of control in a person’s life after going through events over which the person had no control. I’m so happy that you–with God’s help–were able to overcome this issue. It can be so damaging.

    Thanks, again, for your openness! And so happy that you heard the call for a large family–and you listened!!

    Blessings!

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