75- The Challenge
To Keep On
During our engagement, Dan and I had agreed that we wanted God to be our family planner. We had prayed seriously every day during the six weeks prior to our marriage, putting our faith in Him for how many children we would have.
I had gotten pregnant on the third day of our honeymoon and then when Timmy (#1 son) was 5 months old I became pregnant with Steve. When Steve was 12 month old, I became pregnant with Mark. Mark was now 4 months old.
Because our quiver (see Psalm 127:4-5 below*) was filling up very quickly, we had been, for 2 months, using a system called Natural Family Planning through the Catholic Church. But, without going into detail, the charting was not working for me. I felt unable to do it properly, and the nice nun who was working with us could not understand why I could not be efficient with it. I also felt some pressure from Dan who is just plain competent at everything and could not identify with my discombobulation. Here are my musings.
*Psalm 127:4-5 Like Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them….
July 8, 1982
As I was praying about birth control, realizing again how the worry of pregnancy interferes with my intimacy with Dan, I remembered back when I was getting burned out in my public school teaching job. I wanted to quit one summer, but felt the Lord said STAY. Staying that whole next year was necessary because I was able to share the Lord with many people and several got saved.
Now in this quandary of wanting to QUIT charting my cycle for birth control, I really feel I’ve given this to You, Lord; I am going to thank You in advance for how You are going to reveal Yourself in guidance and faithfulness.
Later the same day:
I remembered: A couple of months ago I went to the Lord about quitting Natural Family Planning, and in my devotions I got:
Hebrews 10:35-36, 38 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised…but My righteous one shall live by faith; and if SHE shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in her!
And once again I am thrown onto the faithful arms of My Savior. I believe You, Lord, want my best; I want to TRUST that Your best is going to make my life a glory to You and bring me the rest that comes from obedience. HALLELUJAH! I will keep going with the charting. But please change my attitude to a better one!
A week or so later, I caved in and decided to stop charting.
July 19, 1982 Dearest Lord, yesterday as I was telling Dan why I was quitting Natural Family Planning, he exhorted me about my attitude, about taking responsibility. I was so discouraged, I could only say, “I can’t, I’ve quit.”
I went into the other room and was led to read Daily Bread, which You have used so many times before. It was hours later than the time when I usually read it each day. But the timing was perfect—the title of the day’s devotion: “PERSISTENCE PAYS …in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Galatians 6:9 If God has called you to a task, quitting is never fitting….Satan is quick to suggest you might as well give up….But you are where you are by God’s appointment, and He has neither changed His orders nor given you new ones. If you’re in this kind of situation, the noblest expression of faith is dogged determination to go on with the task.”
Then someone speaking on the radio about Joni Erickson, a paraplegic Christian woman greatly used by the Lord. The speaker said: We need to go on with God inside the limitations He has given us. He is using Joni greatly as she is. What spoke to me was just keep on with God, doing what He has requested, and in this case to keep on with the charting.
Sometimes the scriptures and all of the input can seem confusing. It was a frustrating time while we talked and prayed about what to do. Spoiler: I ended up quitting the program, and the pressure was off.