Sunday, June 29, 2008

Birth Control

Now don't get all crazy but, prayerfully, Tim and I decided to go off birth control. We made this move of faith at the end of May. Since that time, God has moved my heart to see how much I disagree with the process of preventing children. This change of heart, under the influence of godly women, is something that only God could have brought about, and I speak out of humility and a desire to glorify God, so please join in dialogue about this subject. I would like to pose some questions regarding this subject, which I believe, by and large, Christian women, including myself,  have believed personal truth rather than searching and trusting God's truth.
I. My previous heart:
I believed that bc would keep me from getting pregnant, which most of the time it does. I thought I was immune from the power of God to allow pregnancy until "I was ready". I also believed that 3-4 children would be all I would want and I would use bc to stop any more pregnancies because, "I would be done" and any more children would be "more for me than I wanted". I used bc to prevent pregnancy because "I would know when I'm ready", "I want more time for just Tim and me", and "we can't afford to have children". As I look back, I realize how entirely selfish and egocentric these ideas are for me. 
II. My changing heart:
Before we were even married, Tim had objections to bc. He believed that if God wanted to grant us a baby, He would do it regardless.  But as we planned the wedding, and the time came for me to get back on the pill, we made a hasty decision just to do it --even though we hadn't really thought, prayed or conversed about the ramifications of bc. During the first 7 months of marriage, I settled into the belief that we couldn't afford children because we were and continuing to pay for two houses, school loans, braces, cars, etc. I still believed that the pill kept me immune from God's power. I was meeting with my Mom and aunt Sally studying through Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Lies Women Believe book and I came to the chapter about children. All this time, God was working on my heart in regards to this area, so I was primed for what I heard. 
In summary: 
1. Children are a blessing from God. 
Nowhere in the Bible is there one verse about children wherein it does not regard them as a prize, a gift or a crown from God. (Malachi 2:5, 1 Tim. 5:14, Matthew 19:13-15, Psalm 127:3-4; 128:3)

2. When we take methods to prevent God's blessings, especially if those blessings are a result of sacrifice, what we are really saying to God is, "My kingdom come, my will be done, not yours God."
3. It is ultimately God who opens and closes the womb. I began to see how selfish and utterly audacious I was in believing that I could determine when and how many children we would have. I realized this because I started getting a little fearful of how many women I knew were not able to bear children. A great friend of mine longs for children, but is unable to conceive, another friend went off bc and for two years, waited to get pregnant, another had to wait 5 years, and still others have lost babies to miscarriage, who knows if these problems are at all associated with what we do, chemically, to our bodies in an attempt to stop God's blessings. I also came to realize that just because I am ready, doesn't mean that I will automatically be a baby machine. Case in point at my naive belief that I would be pregnant this month. (Surprise- no baby!)
I'm going to include a long quote, but I think it is the heart of my heart:
"As Mary Pride points our in her penetrating book The Way Home,
'Family Planning is the mother of abortion. A generation had to be indoctrinated in the ideal of planning children around personal convenience before abortion could become popular. We Christians raise an outcry against abortion today, and rightly so. But the reason we have to fight those battles today is because we lost them thirty years ago. Once couples began to look upon children as creatures of their own making, who they could plan into their lives as they chose or not, all reverence for human life was lost...Abortion is first of all a heart attitude. "Me first.""My career first." "My reputation first.""My convenience first." "My financial plans first." And these exact same choices are what family planning, which the churches have endorsed for three decades, is all about.'
The process by which most people- even 'believers' - determine the size of their family is often driven by fear, selfishness, and natural human reason:
'How will we ever provide for more children? We're barely making ends meet, as it is. What about college tuition?' 'I can't physically handle more children. I'm already exhausted trying to take care of the two I already have.' 'I just don't have the patience to handle more children.' 'If we have more children, we won't have time for us as a couple.' 'My friends or parents will think we're crazy if we have more children. They think we already have too many.' 'If we were to let the Lord decide how many children we should have, we'd have two dozen kids!'  " -DeMoss

4. It is God's desire that we be fruitful (Genesis 1:28) (Genesis 9:1) and multiply, even to filling the Earth! Henry M. Morris writes,"It was therefore God's intent that man should fill the entire Earth, at least to the extent of its optimum productivity. Since this has not yet been accomplished, it is overt disobedience to God's command to seek now to impose population controls to prevent it."  Onan (Genesis 38:1-14) wasted his seed on the ground and God took his life. I think this has more to do with his disobedient heart in regards to God's laws about fulfilling your brother's duty, but if God's desire, generally was to have brother's fulfill their duty to their sister-in-law in order to produce children for the next generation- do you think this reflects the heart of God in desiring our obedience to his will in regards to our offspring?
III. My changed heart:
Is not firmly grounded in trusting God. I still waver back and forth. Many of you, including myself, are thinking, "Yea, just wait till you've got 5 kids and God's still 'blessing' you, then you'll eat these words my dear." Yup, I still fear. Can we afford kids? No, not if we continue to own two houses, desire a boat, buy whatever we want whenever we want and hope to live in a 4000 sq. ft. home. Yes, if we trust that God will provide what we need, when He deems we need it and hope in him to sustain us and our children. Do we want 12 kids? No, not if we continue to believe the lie that the world has fed us that it is our will and our plan to determine our family size and that we can't raise up and discipline that brood, even if I put on a wonderwoman outfit and Tim wins the lottery. Yes, if my heart is like Mary's "I am the Lord's servant...May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38) For Mary, the timing was all wrong, she wasn't settled in a home, pulling 95K a year, nor was she even going to be home when Jesus was due. Yet, her response was exactly why God chose her to bear His Son. "I am your servant."
I have to ask myself:
If I trust God, why do I believe that I can prevent or become pregnant upon my will?
If I trust God, why do I worry that we can't afford to have children?
If I believe children are a blessing, as God says they are, does my desire to prevent them parallel the heart of God?
If I want to gain patience, and visualize the depravity of man, why would I prevent that sanctification process?
If I am unwilling to bear fruit in my family, can I really desire to bear fruit in the church- the bride of Christ? What if Christ's bride decided to "take birth control"? 

I urge you sisters, to examine your hearts. Why are we so accepting of our ability to control what God designed us to do? Biologically, emotionally, psychologically, physiologically- in every way I believe that the majority of women, at some point, will desire to be a mother to her husband's children. For those who do take bc, I don't judge you, I did too! I just want to share what I believe God is revealing to me through His word as I seek him. Of course I would be so interested in why you came to the belief regarding this topic that you have- whether you agree or not. You may also pray that if it be in the Lord's heart to give us 12 children that He gives you the grace not to laugh at me too loud. =) Love, Lauren 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weight Watching

Oh boy, this post is going to take a lot of humility...yesterday I joined Weight Watchers. The struggle against my weight has been life-long, and lately I am losing. So, I decided to attend the meeting with my mom since the small attempts I am making to lose the weight I have gained over the last year and half is not working.
It all started in high school when I turned 15 and really noticed that I had filled out in areas I was never filled out in before. Due to diet and exercise (something homeschool Moms have to work hard at training their kids in since the food is so available and there is no PE class...) in early teen years, I was gaining 10 lbs every year. At 15 I weighed 150, at 16, 160 and finally at 17, I was reaching 170. I decided that I had to stop this trend and started working out at Family Fitness (before it was 24Hour) and trying to eat better. I lost a little bit of weight and was 150 as I headed off to college. At 17, Biola's cafe could have been disastrous for my weight, but I started making good choices and I also started running consistently,
I was running about 4 miles a day. After a confusing time with boys, I was full of sadness and I dropped to 142. At this time I was running in the mornings and working out at night and not eating very much. From then until about 2 years ago I stayed just under 150.
After my divorce there was major stress in my life: I had to pay for the house mortgage myself and it was about 80% of my monthly check that would come and go. I was teaching 6/5ths, which means I am contracted to teach 5 periods a day, but I was teaching 6 without a prep period, I was also coaching track every day after school to try and bring extra income. I was extremely lonely as many of my friends did not know how to deal with the despair and confusion that Christians have about divorce. I am still very thankful to my Mom, above all, Aunt Sally, Christina, Jason and Andrea for coming along beside me to love me. Anyways, at that time, I was running about 20 miles a week and not eating very much. My weight went from its steady 150 to 142 again. That may not seem low, but on a 5'9" girl it is.
Then, Tim came into my life (start hallelujah music). We went out to eat, indulged our sweet tooth (he claims all his teeth are sweet) and just started putting on weight gradually. When we went on our honeymoon, he bought a whole stick of cookie dough to keep in our condo's fridge, we ate out, we drank, we were just so happy (and still are). Everyone told me, oh, it's ok, marriage makes you happy and people put on weight. But that didn't excuse the poor choices I was making, or how I was viewing food.
So, here I am, none of my clothes fit, my body has to work harder to do everything, and most importantly, I'm concerned that if God grants us a baby, I will fall deeper into weight gain permanently. So, about 6 weeks ago, I started running 3-4 miles about 3-5times a week. Yesterday, I started on the Flex plan limiting my food intake and trying to surrender to God my dependence on food to satisfy my feelings of emptiness. Tim has been a wonderful support, and I know that he is trying to change some unhealthy habits (he now eats only 6 cookies instead of 16 in one sitting). I guess I also was inspired by Rose who posted similar sentiments a while back. Rose, I am praying for you as you progress too =) Keep fighting that fight for God's glory.
I guess one valid question is: "Why do you want to lose weight, Lauren?"
I don't want it to be a vanity, but here are some reasons, maybe you can give me more.
1. I want to be a godly wife and mother- in order to be strong and fulfill that task as God desires, and looking toward his model of the Proverbs 31 woman, and Titus 2 wives, I have lots of work to do and I need to be fit and strong in order to do it well.
2. I don't want my every encounter with people to be so stressful. I want to bless others and minister to them and right now all the voices in my head are focused on how uncomfortable I am in my skin and not on the other person. This is more a surrendered heart thing, but if God is prompting this desire, I should slim down to minimize the distractions.
3. I want to bear healthy babies. I need to make smart food choices now that will grow a child efficiently.
4. My kids will model their eating habits after mine and my husbands. If fasting and eating and maintaining our bodies is a care of God's, then it should concern us too.
5. My husband will be less tempted to look elsewhere for physical gratification. Because I can't fit into any of my clothes, I looked ragged and frumpy in elastic band soccer shorts, too tight bras and shrinking cotton tanks I bought at Old Navy 6 years ago. Thankfully Tim works in a firehouse, so little to fret there, but men are bombarded by teeny, tiny, busty, scantily-clad women all day. Women who style their hair, put on some mascara and look nice even in modesty are better groomed than me at times. If I want to make myself the most inviting woman to my husband, I need to be attractive. And even if your husband tells you adoringly that you ARE the most beautiful (like Tim does to me), do I feel beautiful? Am I willing to be spontaneous, exciting and carefree in regards to my husband, or is my appearance hindering me?
6. It will ultimately benefit my extended family. Diabetes runs in my family, cancer forms, hearts stop, obesity is debilitating- just 10 extra pounds can raise your cholesterol 10 points!
I worry about the ramifications of health for my family, and we all know that prevention is the best medicine. If I don't do something, my body will work harder, strain further and suffer longer just for that one extra cookie I ate 3 times a week for the last 5 years. It's so easy to just pop things in our mouths, to choose seemingly healthy foods over ones that actually are (like Costco's delicious Rosemary Oil &Thyme Bread-yum!) So, for all you trying to lose weight, I'm with you in this battle. I surrender my desires to God and ask Him to see food as He sees it, to see my body as He sees it and to find glory in my discipline. I also pray that discipline will blanket my emotional life, my spiritual devotions and my crafty tongue. Now, time for lunch =) Love, Lauren
I would consider these my inspiration pictures:

December 2006 January 2007

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Biblical Marriage

Tim and I attend Faith Bible Church, we have been there about 9 months now. I cannot speak highly enough about this fellowship in regards to its faithful teaching of the Bible and God's overwhelming grace that draws sinners to their knees. Before we were married, we worked through a premarital book by Wayne Mack called Marriage God's Way. We were married in November and Faith Bible began a marriage and children series shortly after we returned from our honeymoon. I have also been reading Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and I also turned Tim on to the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. All this to say that I feel as though I have been scrutinizing, analyzing and experiencing the mechanics of marriage for the last year! I cannot tell you what a blessing this has been for Tim and me, especially since it is giving us a solid, biblical foundation upon which the seed of this marriage may flourish.

I have grown, thanks to the Lord, in my understanding of marriage in the last year and have had to reflect on many, many mistakes that I made and continue to make. I do, however, have a great joy in the fact that I am not at the forefront of this movement toward humility and understanding. My husband has taken up his cross to serve our family and lay down his own desires daily to pursue an intimate and tender marriage that focuses on Jesus Christ and his incredible saving power and how we can allow that love to minister to each other in our relationship. Anyone who is married knows that this dying to self is a difficult, ongoing process of mutual sanctification, and God knows that I have royally messed things up in the past. Thank God for his grace and for allowing Tim to be my husband.

One element that we are both developing through is that of the pointed and biblical sermons that Pastor Chris is delivering from the podium. You can check them out at . The leaders' position is that Christian marriages today are failing to do what God intended for them: reflect the redeeming love and grace of Christ in relation to his church. The Bible clearly teaches that God's heart for marriage is that when two people commit to love each other that it is not for their happiness but rather their holiness and moreover God's glory. It is hard, as a divorced woman, to acknowledge that I became a statistic of those failing to fulfill God's high calling, but I do not believe that God is unable to reprimand, resolve our sin through Christ, and restore our ability to admonish and encourage others. I have been so encouraged because much, if not all, of the responsibility of marriage and raising children is placed squarely on the shoulders of men. It is with this understanding, that men are the godly leaders, fully equipped to support and serve their wives, that I have been set free of a task that I was neither equipped for, nor did I desire: leading my marriage.

This submission to God's desired roles and deepening my love for Tim has created a fathomless well of intense love, respect and admiration for him and all he does for us. I know that much of my focus during this first year of marriage will be "us", but I know that I am a work in progress and I hope that God will continue His reforming so that my focus will continually be " for Him" and not just for us; but for now, I am so smitten and in love with the strong and godly man that Tim is as he yields to God's desires spelled out in His word. I just can't say enough about how wonderful Tim is for me. I am also utterly thankful that he continues, by the power of God's spirit, to lead our family to great blessings as we honor God. I pray that your marriage will reflect God's glory. 1 John 4:7-20 states, among other truths about love, that it is only because He first loved us that we are able to love. We are also encouraged to learn to love one another, for only those who know God can learn the sacrificing love that marriage demands. Only through Christ can our marriages be truly and profoundly joyful and enduring. Love, Lauren

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I have been delaying posting lots and lots of blogs--mostly focusing on our dating life and how insanely busy we've been since the wedding--but ever since blogger changed their photo uploads, it takes sooooo long. Now that I am on summer vaca, I will hopefully get up to speed.
The other reason I have not posted is because I am so anally Type-A that I can hardly stand to not start in the beginning and move progressively toward today. Therefore, this blog is entitled "nonchronos". I figure if I just put it out there, that things aren't going to be sequential, then I'll have to deal with it. So, now you know.
Friday, June 13, school finished and I got to see another batch of my former students graduate. I taught the valedictorian as a sophomore, and I coached the junior girls powderpuff game last year, so I watched all those girls, now seniors, finish their high school work and receive a diploma. I coached many of them in track, and I know them because they are involved in the Invisible Children club I advise on campus. I have to say that the class of '08will forever retain a special spot in my memory as a 10th grade English teacher. After the graduation was done, I was done too: this is just one more year that I am moving classrooms and I worked hard to have all my assignments graded, all my boxes packed and all my check-outs finished on Friday. Tim and Mom came to help me pack and label my boxes and that was so helpful. Both of them are so willing to serve and assist me, and I am truly thankful for their hearts.
On Saturday, the 14th, Tim surprised me by taking the day off and planning a fun adventure date. I woke at 6:00 and made us french toast. We dropped the pups off at Mom and Dad's around 7:30 and headed for Escondido. Anyone who knows D-do knows that there really isn't anything that fabulous there (except the Calles fam), but as we headed past the civic center, I started to piece together some portion of Tim's day planned especially for me. We pulled into a parking lot and got out of the car. We were at the Sprinter station, a light rail train that departs from Escondido and terminates in Oceanside. Wonderful Tim knows that I am a fan of public transportation, and as I reiterated this to him on the train he said, "then you'll probably like today." We sailed smoothly through Vista and Oceanside- stark social economic lines were evident- and arrived in Oceanside in time to have a snack and purchases tickets for the Coaster, a rail line that goes to San Diego. We decided to try and eat places that we rarely, if ever, visit; therefore, the Burger King mini-cini buns and coffee were perfect for a upper-level, ocean-view, canyon-twisting slow ride to downtown. It's amazing how wonderful our day was, and all this time not driving gave us time to talk and joke and enjoy each other immensely.
We arrived in San Diego at the Santa Fe terminal, where the Amtrak trains arrive too, and we walked over to the trolley. From the trolley, we grabbed a bus at Central College and rode a bumpy ride to Balboa Park. We've been here before, and I am sure I will have to post about the hippo fun we had, but for now I'll just continue this story...Remember those sophomores I had two years ago that I just watched walk across the stage as graduating seniors? Well, one of those students gave me tickets to the Natural History Museum way back then; two years later, Tim was taking me to see the exhibits. The focus of the museum was volcanoes. They also had a movie on Pompeii. We loved the black and white photos of the southwest featuring volcanic/earth movement features: alluvial fans in death valley, pinnacles in Monument Valley, etc. We also enjoyed creating our own earthquake on a seismic measurement exhibit. Lunch on the grass outside the museum and then back in for more, we had an amazing day. We decided to hoof it back the mile to Central College and shop at Horton Plaza. We tried on shoes, clothes, visited the Sanrio shop, got some new threads and decided we were having SO much fun that we would skip the 7:45pm train and leave on the 10:40. The only problem with this is that we would be in Oceanside with no way to get to Escondido for the Sprinter stops running at 9:30.
We decided to wing it and after more shopping (which we are both actually bad at and dislike ironically) we headed to Buca Di Beppo. Tim had never been to this restaurant and it is a fun and funky place that appealed to him. Few people know how much of a goofball Tim is. We enjoyed some good conversation over a good meal and then walked arm in arm to the train station. We fell asleep listening to music on the train, ended up paying for a 24 mile taxi ride (ouch!) and then drove home and finally crashed into bed at 2am. We had a sublime day.
I am so thankful to God that I have a creative and fun husband who takes the time to research and plan days like this. This day was wonderful, but it wasn't the first or only time Tim has created special memories for us. I look forward to all the days that we spend together, but I am happy that we had this special Saturday to celebrate another work year finished. Love, Lauren