I understand that this topic is sensitive for many, but I want to share since I alluded to it on Sunday.
I spoke Sunday about having to face the reality of a decision I made early in marriage that I had to deal with three to four years later. It seemed harmless enough, and for many couples, it is; but it took time for me to come to grips with my own decisions and receive the grace that Jesus died for me to receive. And it revolved around birth control pills.
If you’re wondering why this matters, let me explain.
Courtney and I, like many couples, didn’t want to have kids right away. (This actually flies in the face of advice I give engaged couples because I regularly say, “If you aren’t ready to have kids, you aren’t ready to get married.”) And, like most couples I know, we got a prescription for birth control pills. I didn’t spend much time researching it (other than a quick call to a pharmacy), and we were on our way.
The ugly truth. . .
I can’t remember why exactly (maybe it was Josh Laravia), but something stirred in me three to four years into our marriage that had me wondering if I had made the right call (I am aware that this was a two-person decision, but I’m still the leader). I did more research, read this book, and hated what I found.
In some instances, the birth control pill creates an environment that can prohibit a fertilized egg from attaching properly.
This wasn’t some crazy right-winger sharing the information (though those people are fun); I was reading the testimony of medical professionals. So, I did what all people do when they begin to feel guilty about decisions they’ve made. . .
I started to justify my behavior. . .
“Well, nobody knows the actual percentages of all of this.” “Courtney is diabetic.” “Doctors are fools.” “God wouldn’t let something like this be used by so many people if it were bad.” “I wouldn’t make a dumb decision like this.”
You know what, though? None of that mattered. No, I don’t know percentages. No, I’m not sure if anything like that happened during our first few years of marriage. It doesn’t matter.
My pride wasn’t willing to admit that I could’ve lost children I never knew I had. I know, I know. It can’t ever be proven until I see Jesus, but I couldn’t face the worst possible scenario; I wanted to live only with pride-colored glasses.
And then God broke in. . .
At some point in time, after working through this over the course of months, I finally realized something: I am shorting the grace of God if he can’t cover all my missteps. I know this lesson seems simple, but for an arrogant man such as myself, it was essential. It dawned on me with this thought: “One day I may get to heaven and see a child that I never knew I had. One day I may get to heaven and realize that God protected me from that. Either way, I need his grace and his grace is sufficient.”
I know for those of you reading, you likely get this; but I don’t know why it took so long for that truth to settle in. Praise God it finally did, because it has changed me for the better.
And now. . .
When I do premarital counseling, I always ask the couple about their birth control decisions. I feel as if pastors who are helping people during important parts of their lives (such as marriage) should be so bold as to talk about it (not pressure, just talk). I share with them this story, an article or two, and ask them to pray over their decision to be sure they are okay with it. I don’t cast judgment on people who have made a decision to use the pill, but I pray with them and for them. I have many friends who use the pill, but the Googer family will not.
Either way, God’s grace is good to receive. Even for stubborn sinners such as me.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16.