I have always wanted a big family. Like, really big. I remember from a little age fantasizing about having four, five, six...or more children. I never thought about the specifics of family planning, or what my views were on things like birth control (hello, I was eight!) But I just knew I wanted my house to be bubbling over with children, or as the Bible says, I wanted my quiver to be full of arrows.
When I got married at 21 I knew I wanted kids right away. My husband, not so much on board. After much prayer we agreed that we would forego the birth control pill, and vowed that the pill had no place in our marriage, ever. This was a very personal decision that was not easy to make, but we believed God was calling us to make it. We did agree though that some other forms of birth control were okay, and we settled on the Fertility Awareness Method.
Surprise, Surprise! Penelope arrived a few days after our one-year anniversary. Was anybody surprised? Nope. We had been told countless times that forgoing the pill was the absolute wrong idea, but we stuck to our convictions, and welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our lives at the ripe old ages of 22.
Looking back at our first year of marriage, I am reminded of one thing: choosing God's will (whatever that is for you) is always the best choice. My husband was in school full-time, and I was laid-off at fourteen weeks pregnant. We survived off of savings, and love. But I don't really remember much stress, or even fighting, throughout that entire year. We were so happy, resting in the promise that God would carry us through, and he did.
Once Penelope arrived we had to look back at the promises we had made to God. The pill was so tempting to me. I wasn't ready for another child, and I felt we were financially strained enough. Staying true to our promise to God, and standing firm on our convictions, was 1000 times harder this time. But, we did it. And here we are, fifteen months later. Most people are shocked now, that we didn't have a baby right away.
But I'm not.
I know God knows my heart, and I knew I wasn't ready in that first year. And I believe because I was faithful to my promise to God, he saw me and met my needs. That's not to say if I did get pregnant that I would have been angry at God, I would have just assumed that my heart wasn't in line with God's.
So here we are, over two years into marriage, and we have stood firm on what God has called our family to. He has grown me so much. I will admit in the early days, I was always trying to bring others over to "my side" of seeing things. I still do believe that family planning is something that God needs to be hugely involved in, but beyond that, I step back when I see couples that do things differently. I realize that on these issues, God doesn't always call us to the same way of doing things. That is okay, and different doesn't always mean bad.
But I am thankful to God for the call he has given us. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know how many children we'll have, or when it will be time to stop. But I do know that during these child-bearing years we will rest in God. I'm happy to allow God to do the family planning for me, because so far, he's been spot on.
PS: I truly do respect other opinions on this subject. My friend Emily gave great words to this on a post she wrote called When Women Make Different Choices Than Me (read it here). I echo these words, and also repent that I have not always felt that other opinions are as "true" as my own.