Thursday, May 19, 2011

Confessions of a Tubal Ligation

It's been a week since our newest, and last, son - Henry Delbert - arrived safely into the world via c-section.  He is absolutely beautiful, perfectly content and as predictable of a baby as I've experienced.  Ever since we became pregnant with Henry, I've been coming to terms with this being our last baby - treasuring every little bump and kick in spite of heartburn and general discomfort during pregnancy, and now, as each day passes and Henry grows (and cries, and hiccups, and chirps, and poops, and sleeps, and stretches, and eats), I find myself experiencing similar bittersweet emotions about this phase of life coming to a close. 

Brandon and I decided this would be our last baby almost before we were pregnant with him.  I have to admit that I love being pregnant, and I love having babies, in spite of the discomforts that come along with pregnancy and c-sections.  We planned on having my tubes tied several months ago, though in my heart I could only commit to being 95% sure this should be it.  After all, I'm 28.  Most of my friends and acquaintances my age aren't even considering starting families until they are safely out of their twenties, and here we are, putting a stop to the baby making business?

However, last night as I was feeding Henry, I realized that we've been trying to make babies, recover from losing babies, or birthing babies every year since we got married.  I've been pregnant every year since 2004, counting my three living and breathing miracles as well as four miscarriages.  It has been a long season of baby-making, baby-losing, and baby-birthing, and it feels good to be done.  I will remember this period of life as one of significant growth, spiritually and emotionally, and rejoice in all that has happened in these seven years.  All good things must come to an end, after all, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to carry these babies - for my three children, Lydia, Elvis, and Henry, and for the lost babies.  God carried us through some very difficult chapters of our marriage the last eight years, including those miscarriages, and though walking through those valleys was probably the hardest time of our lives so far, it also taught us a lot about God and our relationship with Him.

Now that the decision is official, and permanent, I am surprised at how relieved I am to be closing this chapter.  I am sad at the finality of it all, but every month with any sort of delay or abnormality won't be plagued with the anxiety of whether or not I'm pregnant.  I can claim back my three c-sectioned body (once it heals).  We can plan our future vacations knowing we will need one roll-away bed in our hotel room and space for three car seats in our vehicles.  It is finished.  And a brand new season is beginning. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

On the Eve of Henry's Birthday

We're creeping up on the final hours before Baby Henry is born, and we're all eagerly waiting his safe arrival into the world.  It is hard to remember what it was like to have Lydia just over five years ago now, especially compared to how Elvis came into the world.  I have to admit to being a little anxious about the delivery and post-delivery in light of the trouble Elvis had when he was born, but I also know that worrying over these things is absolutely fruitless.  Plus, God carried us through that storm, and no matter what happens tomorrow and beyond, we can rest in his presence.  Any time those little worries start to creep up, I've been praying them straight to God -- he can handle them better than I can.

I'm enjoying this last day with the kids and my husband as a family of four - we've gone to the playground and had lunch together, and now we're spending some time outside on the deck at my mom- and dad-in-law's.  Lydia and Elvis picked a bunch of wildflowers from the woods.  The beauty and detail found in nature is marvelous - I love the variety, subtlety in color and scent, and seemingly effortlessness of growth. And then there are the little hands that are picking these flowers - simple, sweet gestures of love.  And now I am sentimental and mushy. :)

Probably the next time I write will be in between diaper changes and feedings :)  I can't wait to share details of our new little one's life.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vessels of Wrath and Their Destruction

In light of varying responses from Christians, non-Christians, Republicans, Democrats,, it's tempting to just say, "no comment" and move on with today's news that Osama Bin Laden was killed last night.  Status updates on Facebook and Twitter feeds keep us within a certain character limit that is nowhere near sufficient for reflection.  If you find cause to celebrate the end of a decade-long manhunt to capture or kill the man behind the deaths of over 3,000 Americans, someone is sure to post a note about it being God's to avenge.  If you are a believer and post something about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you, your more patriotic friends and acquaintances flare up and declare that justice has been served.  Everyone wants an opportunity to step up on the soapbox that is social networking, spit out something clever and/or abrasive, and wait for the likes, retweets, and comments to roll in.

I think it is good for us to post these things - it keeps us thinking and dialoguing with one another - but I also think the world is complicated, and I think God's ways are mysterious.  As I refresh my wall on Facebook, I find myself nodding, yes, yes, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, and then another, yes, good has triumphed over evil, yes, he is gone, an enemy is vanquished, a step is taken toward victory in what seems a neverending war against powers of darkness.  I think, yes, it is true that vengeance is the Lord's, and he will repay, but then I think, God has given the people of the world governments to uphold justice.  Government is "a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil" (Romans 14:4).  I think, yes, it is our hope that none shall perish but have everlasting life in Christ, but also God is sovereign and raises up vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction. 

Pray for our enemies, yes, pray for their souls.  David prayed to God that he would be delivered from his enemies.  Often that came about the same way we have been delivered from our enemies - at the hands of men in an army of a nation.  I want to tip-toe through this minefield, but I do believe that upholding good and fighting against evil is a charge and a responsibility that God has given the governing body of this country.  I think we can all agree that bin Laden and his mission were evil, and that left to his own devices, he would have done much more than 9/11.  Of course we pray and hope that the world would lay down its weapons.  But as long as evil continues to strike down the innocent, I hope we will not deny the sword its power to serve justice.