How patient you’ve been with me! It’s been about a month since I wrote my last article, and maybe you’ve been wondering what happened to me. Well, in addition to having moved into a new home, we will be welcoming a new baby! (still in the womb at this point) For the past month, I have been in the “pregnancy fog.” “What is that?” you might ask (though if you’ve been pregnant before, you probably know exactly what I mean).
Well, the “pregnancy fog” is, for me, that period during the first trimester, after finding out that I’m pregnant, that I feel so NOT MYSELF. And even though this BEGINS during the first trimester, it continues throughout the rest of the pregnancy, though not as intense. I feel extremely tired, as if I were anemic. Believe me, this isn’t like feeling burned out after a workout. It’s way worse. For example, after my last birth (the baby who is now one and a half) I lost a lot of blood (though still within normal limits). This caused me to feel VERY weak. I could barely lift my hand to feed myself, I was so exhausted. This continued for about a week, while I gradually regained my strength day by day. Well, I feel that way most of the time now. I do take a multivitamin, and I try to get protein and iron in my diet, but the nausea makes it hard. It’s hard to eat well when I feel like throwing up. (By the way, if you have any pointers, please feel free to share them with me!)
Which brings me to the next point: feeling nauseous every day, almost all day, is hard. Almost as soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I began to experience an intense awareness of ALL SMELLS. I used to actually LIKE that Airwick air freshener that automatically squirts fragrance every ten minutes. Now, I CAN’T STAND IT. My husband thought he was doing me a favor when he bought me lavendar-scented trash bags. They make me CRINGE. Perfumes make me feel like I’m about to SUFFOCATE. Don’t let me even look at raw meat, much less inhale the odor of it while it is cooking. I hold my breath while opening the fridge. I look away when tossing items in the trash can. I could go on and on. In order to SURVIVE this, I need to cushion myself from all these smells (not to mention loud noises and bright lights, which bother me, too). Therefore, the feeling that I am constantly in a fog. Also, as I mentioned before, feeling very tired and not being able to respond well to what’s going on around me greatly contributes to that sensation.
Now, more than ever, I understand what this verse means:
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children…”
When God told Eve (and by extension, all women who would follow after her) “I will greatly multiply your sorrow” I believe He was referring to the fact that pregnancy involves hardship and sacrifice. Now, hardship and sacrifice are not necessarily BAD things. God also told Adam that,
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground…
Well, farming certainly IS hard. But, after all that hard work is done, doesn’t the farmer feel a sense of accomplishment and joy to see all his efforts result in food to feed the hungry? Hard, yes. Harder than when God first created the world to be a perfect place, before sin entered and marred everything. BUT, though it definitely involves a lot of “toil,” it is well worth the effort. So, what about child-bearing? Is THAT well worth the effort? Even though it involves “sorrow” and “pain”? Well, let me put it this way: What is a human life worth? What is it worth to bring into existence an ETERNAL person with a soul that will never die? A soul that will continue living on, and on, and on, and on into forever… Ladies, we are populating ETERNITY! We are striving to fill the KINGDOM OF GOD with human souls who will adore Him FOREVER in immortality! This is no small work!
The world and its worldly wisdom shun childbearing. They say: “Children get in the way. Only have as many (or as FEW) as will not get in the way of your educational goals, your career, your responsibilities, your other children (who will feel so ‘neglected’ if you give them another brother or sister), your church duties, your ministry… Do you see how we Christians have swallowed these worldly philosophies? Wisdom with God is foolishness to the world. Foolishness to God is wisdom to the world. It’s all backwards.
Recently, my children and I finished reading about Joy Ridderhof, founder of Gospel Recordings, which has taken recordings of the gospel in many different languages to people all over the world. Joy found out early on that she could trust God to provide for all her needs. She was a woman of prayer and faith. And you know what? God ALWAYS came through for her! What a testimony! She reminds me of George Mueller. When we pray, God answers. He will NOT leave us alone.
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
God will provide! He will provide for every child that He sends into our lives! Does that mean that there will never be hardship? No. God may allow us to go through times of scarcity as a form of testing, so that we may learn to trust in Him. But, ultimately, He will take care of us, and we need not worry. Joy Ridderhof knew this. If she needed money, God provided. If she needed new equipment, God came through. If she needed a guide through unknown territory, one would conveniently meet with her “as if” it was all planned! (it WAS planned though, by God). Look at George Mueller: He took care of thousands of orphans, and he prayed for everything that he ever received! Whenever he had a need, he would pray, and God would take care of it. Other people would call this “coincidence,” but Mr. Mueller knew it was MUCH MORE than that! It was our loving heavenly Father “adding these things unto [him].” If God provides for missionaries and orphans (when prayer is lifted up to Him in sincere faith), surely He will take care of us as we allow Him the freedom to decide our family size!
So, does having children count as “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”? Absolutely! I don’t keep getting pregnant because I LIKE being pregnant! Now, I DO love feeling the baby move inside my womb later on during the pregnancy. I do love seeing and holding that baby for the very first time after the intensity of labor. I love feeling like a WOMAN: I love feeling that I am fulfilling God’s DESIGN for me (after all, what are a womb and breasts FOR?) But, do I love nausea? You’re kidding, right? Do I love feeling tired and out of breath? No way! This is my burden that I bear for Christ. This is my “cross.” I have children MAINLY out of obedience to my Lord. I AM SURE that I will receive a HUGE REWARD (in heaven) for all the hardships that I go through momentarily during pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing, etc. It’s ALL worth it! How do I know that this is God’s will for me? Because the Bible says so!
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…”
Look carefully at how God designed things “in the beginning” (you’ll need to read the first few chapters of Genesis):
- Being officially joined in marriage (God Himself officially presented the woman TO the man–the Bible does not allow “living together”)
- Marriage of MAN and WOMAN (NOT man and man; NOT woman and woman).
- ONE man and ONE woman (no, the Bible NEVER condones polygamy, contrary to what some people think).
- Marriage is supposed to be FOR LIFE (What God joins together, let no man separate; God hates divorce).
- The man is head, the woman is helper.
- AND…one of the main purposes of their union is to “be fruitful and multiply”!
Do you see how we’ve become inconsistent? We can accept the first five concepts (at least those who hold to a literal, transcultural interpretation of the Bible), yet we just want to cross off the last item as if it doesn’t apply to us today. Well, wait, doesn’t the rest of it apply to us today? Is cohabitation okay? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning. Is homosexuality okay? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning. Is polygamy okay? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning. Is divorce okay? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning. Is it okay for the woman to be the authority over her husband? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning. Is it okay to limit conception through the use birth control (even “natural” family planning)? Not according to how God designed things from the beginning!
Jesus made this important point about children:
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them…And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Mark 10:13-14a, 16
Did Jesus think that having little children around would disrupt his ministry? No way! “Let the little children come to Me” He said! How many pastors use birth control (or have a vasectomy) because they think having “too many” children would get in the way of their ministry? But they are misguided. Jesus, according to the story related above, would be DISPLEASED with them. Because Jesus LOVES children! EVERY baby that our Creator sends into our lives is BY DESIGN, and greatly LOVED by Him! How DARE we reject these precious little ones into our lives out of fear that God somehow won’t be able to provide. On the one hand, our pastors preach to us that “we must trust God to provide,” that “we must trust God’s perfect timing,” that “God is perfectly reliable and can be trusted with every detail of our lives,” while AT THE SAME TIME, they and their wives REJECT these precious gifts of God through their use of birth control! Why? Because THEY don’t “trust God to provide” for the children He would send into their lives if they got off birth control! Because THEY don’t “trust God’s perfect timing” when it comes to conceiving new children! Because THEY don’t REALLY believe that “God is perfectly reliable and can be trusted with every detail of our lives” when it comes to having more babies! We live in a world of RIDICULOUS INCONSISTENCIES. But, we aren’t living according to the word of God, when we live contrary to His design, live in fear that He won’t provide, don’t trust His perfect timing, treat children not yet conceived as if they were burdens, and basically spit in the face of our God.
You know, pregnancy IS hard. For a little while, I’ve had to live a different lifestyle, which involves resting a lot, having my older children help out with chores more, making very simple (non-smelly) meals for my family or having them make something easy when I’m too sick, and not getting out very much. It can be discouraging, at times. But my husband has amazed me with his sacrificial love for me. Do you know that he has brought me a pre-breakfast snack and milk EVERY MORNING since we found out that I was pregnant? He didn’t used to do this for me, but now, he does. He is THE BEST HUSBAND EVER! He makes meals for me, does the dishes, puts the children to bed, etc. I know, I know, this all makes me sound like a lazy bum. But, it won’t last forever. It’s just temporary, while I get past the most intense time of tiredness and nausea during early pregnancy (I’m trying VERY HARD to not throw up, since I HATE vomiting, and getting up and doing stuff jiggles my stomach around and makes me feel extra bad). God has used these pregnancies to transform our marriage, I believe. And you know what? I just had an ultrasound yesterday, and after I saw those tiny arms and legs moving around, and that little body turning from side to side, and that mini profile of forehead, nose, and chin, I knew more than ever that this is ALL WORTH IT (yes, all of that is clearly visible at 11 WEEKS gestation!) This isn’t a glob of tissue. This isn’t a disease. This is a BABY! Our baby! An expression of our passion and love for each other. A unique and new thought from the mind of our Creator. A little person with an immortal soul. Amazing. Going through the “pregnancy fog” is definitely worth it!
And one last thought: God DOES provide! As soon as we found out we were expecting, my husband started to receive calls every day for him to do work! We have been able to pay our first payment to the midwife in cash, and we already have the next payment all saved up, with more money to come, as my husband completes the jobs that he already has lined up… God has done this miracle for us (not to mention the past three pregnancies that we paid the midwife in cash, as well); He can do the same for you, too!