Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2 Kids and Counting

For those of you who have read my previous blogs, you know my husband and I committed our family on a journey of faith when we decided that I would quit my job as a high school teacher of six years and stay at home to raise our young daughter.  We chose to obey God's leading, trusting Him to provide for our every need, especially when I made more money than my husband at the time and the numbers on paper did not even hint that we would financially survive the drastic pay cut.  But we serve a BIG God...One Who knows our every need, comforts our every scrape and hurt, and Who picks us up when we fall down.  Ultimately, when we committed to one income, we knew we were in for the ride of our lives.  No longer did we falsely believe we were steering our own ship, but letting go of that income also meant letting go of what little control we thought we had over our lives.  We knew that God would provide (and He has provided abundantly more than we ever thought or imagined); conversely, we also knew that Satan would begin attacking our family and our steps to raise Godly children in a Godly home. The call was clear, though, and we knew that was God's will for our family, so we stepped out and trusted Him to lead us where He was calling us.

A beautiful thing happens when we obey the Lord.  We experience a peace like no other and FREEDOM!!  We also expose ourselves to God's work in our lives, His blessings, His provision, and His faithfulness, especially when the future is unclear and the road is rocky.  Additionally, obeying the Lord in one area allows us to hear Him more clearly the next time He asks us to follow Him.  Every time we obey Him, the closer we walk with Him and the more alert our spiritual ears become the next time He speaks to us.  On the other hand, the more we disobey God and ignore His voice, the fainter and fainter His voice becomes in our lives, until our hearts are hardened and we no longer hear His calling.  My husband and I want to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that "without faith, it is impossible to please God."  We still disobey because we are sinful and not perfect, but our goal and desire is to please Him, and that requires faith.

To that end, we have been somewhat blindsided by God in His next call on our lives.  I didn't see it coming, and my husband certainly didn't see it coming when I shared it with him one night after work.   When we got married, my husband, Josh, and I talked about our plans for our family.  We would buy a house in the county where we both worked, remodel it, adopt a dog, be married for two years, then begin expanding our family...on to the American dream, right?  We planned on having two biological children, then adopting children.  That was what we wanted and agreed on without seeking God's opinion and plans for our lives.  Well, God allowed our plan to move along as scripted until we had our first child.  That was when the Lord started knocking on my heart, revamping my desires, and calling me to stay at home...whoa, Lord, that was nowhere on my radar.  I was going to continue working and our children would go to public school.  But, we found ourselves at a crossroads with a clear calling and knocking that we could not deny.  Since then, we have found ourselves at a few more significant crossroads where we have a choice to obey our Savior's voice or reject it, such as the one at which we found ourselves last month.  

During the second half of our last pregnancy, the Lord started gently knocking on my heart, gently stirring my desires until my desire would match His.  I began looking into natural child birth (not what the Lord was calling me to) and what that entailed.  I guess it was a little late to start looking into natural child birth, since I was over half way through my pregnancy, but natural child birth intrigued me, so I began looking up articles on the subject and reading other women's stories.  While I scrolled through the internet late at night when I should have been asleep, reading various articles on how to give birth medicine-free, I came across an article or two about a Christ-following families who allowed God, the center of their families, to be the One to control the number of children they had.  They decided to give up contraceptives and completely trust the Lord to provide the right number of children for them and the means they would need to support that family.  That was the first knock on my heart.  Later, God would subtly nudge me to other people and families who shared the belief and confidence that God would provide for them, even down to the number of children they birthed.  Finally, all the articles and people I talked to came to a head when I felt a sure calling that God was asking me and my family to live the same way, with the same faith that He would decide how many children we have and He would provide for each of their needs.  The knock was so loud in my heart that I couldn't deny it any more.  I had a choice: I could either ignore God's clear calling or I could tell my husband and ask him to pray about it and through it with me.  I chose the latter.

It was quite a comical scene when I told my husband the desire that God had laid on my heart to let go of the one area I still felt like I had control over and allow Him to be the ultimate decision maker for the number of children we would birth.  It floored my husband.  If the men in your life are anything like my man, he likes to be prepped before entering a conversation like the one I started with him that night.  However, I didn't prep him with details beforehand--I had only told him I wanted to talk with him about something God had laid on my heart and ask him to pray with me about it.  He politely said ok and asked nothing else about it until he got home and the kids were in bed.  When I told him that I felt like God was leading us to give up contraceptives and trust the Lord wholeheartedly in that area, he was floored.  He was so taken aback because he didn't see it coming, either.  He said something very similar to, "Wait.  That is not what we agreed on.  We agreed to birth two children, then adopt more."  I told him that I knew I had agreed to that and that I did not know God was going to ask us to take this step, either.  We both had reservations.  Of course, mine were self-centered...I currently have ONE pair of pants that fit me.  I don't really like what pregnancy does to my body; I am ready to get fit again. And then there's money.  How will we afford more children?  Then the Lord gently reminded me that my husband and I can't even afford the two children we have now.  The Lord provides every cent we have, every article of food and clothing we own, both of our vehicles, and everything else we have.  If we trusted Him to provide for us with two children, why is it difficult to trust Him to provide for us with more kids?

In the book of Matthew, when the Sadducees tried to trick Jesus about marriage at the resurrection, Jesus answered them, "you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29).  If we knew the Scriptures and His power when we trusted Him to provide for our needs with one child and then two children, then His promises and ability remain true no matter how many children we have.  He does not change, nor do His promises.  His Word and character were true when the Bible was written and they are true today.  He is the same God...God Almighty, the Owner of the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds me that I am not my own.  My body does not belong to me, so why should I try to control it myself?  Why not allow God to control it, if I believe He is Who He says He is and that He can do what He says He will do?  1 Corinthians continues to state that I should "honor God with my body."  Therefore, if I want to honor God with my body, then I will submit it to Him for His glory, whatever that may be.  So, after praying about this decision and seeking God's will for our family, my husband and I have decided to let go and let God lead us and control the number of children we have.  Children are such a blessing...a HUGE responsibility, but a HUGE blessing!  Likewise, obedience and submission are also HUGE blessings and responsibilities, but even when we don't see the next step or past the next step into the future, we know Who holds our future and we can choose to trust in Him.  As we take steps of obedience in faith, we experience His perfect peace in the midst of the storm.  Our God is good and He is our ultimate Provider.  Nothing we have is from ourselves or through our own efforts. 

So please partner with us in prayer as we follow the Lord's leading in this next step He has called our family to take.  It is a scary one for me, but we are trusting in the Lord's provision.  He is Jehovah Jirah!!

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