As I inferred in a post or two ago… there is often great anguish over decisions we make or made or must make in marriage. Actually, more specifically, in the area of childbearing and/or “childbarriering.” I know I’ve made some very bold statements in regards to this matter – and I stand on them, though there are times I might even seem to bend or waffle on strongly held beliefs, I guess I desire to convey that I seek to hold my gaze fixed on the Standard of the Word. Being fallible, I do have times of fretting, of doubting, of questioning, etc., etc. But my resolve is to keep my eye, my self, my hope and my will on the goal of serving and submitting to the only Holy, Immortal, Invisible, Unchanging, Infallible, Omniscient, Omnipresent, all-Loving, all glorious, Eternal: God. That high calling —that grace of God— keeps me stepping Heavenward.
I know it is in this stepping that I both step on toes and am stepped on. I do not intentionally do so or maliciously do so – though, for those on whose toes I step, it likely appears intentional –as if I have an ax to grind or some self-serving reason for writing as I do. I took a risk sharing strongly held beliefs and I took a risk sharing what I’ve shared in the past concerning motherhood, homeschooling, government issues, trends in the “church” today, homemaking, submission, child-training, and most recently: birth-control. Risk is a curious blend of doubt, probability, hope, danger and trust. Since I trust the LORD for who He is, what He has done, what He said He will do and for His eternal purposes to be accomplished because of Who He is: I, by faith, take steps forward that *seem* like risks and yet, in reality, they are steps of obedience — steps of faith. Faith being the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith that by prayer and the reading and rereading of the Word, I come to conclusions and set about to share what I see it saying based on the Word itself, by the truths I have seen laid bare and the experiences of others and the teaching of men who walk with God. How else, then, do we live and move in this world? It is by faith in God that comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God by the moving of the Holy Spirit that we know that we know that we know. I think of Romans 1.20 – “…that the invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by the thing that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.”
So why do I say then that there may be anguish over decisions? Because we are not infallible. We make decisions, sometimes foolish ones, based on what we see. We live and move making decisions based on what we *don’t* see. We make decisions based on fear or based on doubt. We even make decisions based on Truth – but the consequences or the outworking of the decision becomes painful even scary at times. As one of the readers and an additional few personal letters I received indicated, past decisions regarding childbearing have present consequences or cause present anguish. Decisions to limit family size based on convenience alone are usually met with regret later when things aren’t (or didn’t, in fact, turn out) as they once appeared. Even when the determination to limit family size or childbearing is or was based on medical reasons, there is still regret years down the road — there is still anguish —it may have been a right deicision, but there is still anguish. Was the decision wrong or not of faith or whatever? No – as I have shared on a number of occasions, there are times when our situations do not pan out the way we assume they will or would have. This, to some, may sound like waffling or hesitation or even contradiction to a “staunchly held” position – it’s neither – it’s just reality. The reality for my friends with pcos or endometriosis, or cancer or other conditions is limited, no or ending childbearing. They still stand strong – I still stand strong – on the resolution regarding birth-control and faith-based-family size — whatever that ends up being or appearing.
With those for whom this is a hurtful or painful area I empathize. With those for whom this matter of past choices in “birth-control” is one of remorse, I empathize. To those who heard and bought the lie that a vas or a tie was going to fix things for them and now see that the big fix is a big lie, I truly empathize. I cannot count the number of men and women who are walking with the LORD and share how they now deeply regret that painful and seeming permanent decision to end childbearing. We have several friends who were told the same lie: do your wife a favor and get fixed. They so deeply regret a decision based on worldly assumptions, methods and falsehoods. So is there hope for the anguish over past decisions? Yes – hope and life and *that* more abundantly! All the promises of God in Jesus are yay or yes and amen!
The enemy would have us to believe that we can never be forgiven. It’s either immediate or down the road, most times, that the schemes of the cunning enemy are revealed as lies… the enemy that makes sin so enticing, so expedient, so necessary that it’s not only believable but something to be embraced. That’s what the enemy’s big fix is – the only way out of the problem of: children.The enemy will never reveal the consequence of the big lie – the termination of godly seed, the finality of cutting off blessings, etc., etc. Is there hope? Is there forgiveness? Is there a solution? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s all in Jesus. As is everything. It’s all Jesus.
The solution may simply be in repentance. The solution may be a reversal of the heart. A solution may be fixing the broken – a physical, surgical reversal. A solution may be all those things… but it is in the hand of the LORD that those things will be done or decided – that’s where peace is and that’s were anguish is turned to joy. That’s where regret is turned to trust, iniquity to cleanness and doubt to faith—where the self-centered life is yielded to God and its members as instruments of righteousness – no longer of iniquity unto iniquity.
In the end, a decision may not appear outwardly, but it will be of the heart… where decisions are made and where decisions matter.p.s. Thanks again, Jill, for the beautifully succinct comment post regarding this matter and God’s eternal purpose.