May/June, 1997 Volume XII Number 6 - FEATURES

Melissa's Story
by Melissa Carroll

In 1989, I was a volunteer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. In the course of conversation I learned something from a volunteer and the director that changed my life. I learned that the pill does not always prevent ovulation but changes the endometrium in the uterus so that the newly conceived child cannot implant and grow. It withers and dies.
Being on the pill at the time I had to find out the truth. My husband Mark and I did much research and found out that it was true. During our investigation we also came to another conclusion that since:
* as Christians we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1.
* children are a reward. Psalms 127:3.
* God is able to open and close the womb. Gen.30.22, 1 Samuel 1:5.
* God knew Abraham when he was yet in his fathers loins. Hebrews 7:10
* Birth control came from the hands of the one who wants to destroy.
We were no longer going to use it. How could we as Christians even consider using birth control. At that moment we fell to our knees and offered my womb as a living sacrifice. We asked God to open or close my womb as He saw fit. We were willing to receive as many blessings as He desired to bless us with. That decision was not easy especially for my husband. We had one child at the time and had no intention before that of having more than two children. I became pregnant within a few months and we were very excited. God was already starting to bless us.
Well, over the years God has blessed us with five beautiful children. But this is where my story begins.
The first four pregnancies or births were difficult. I had one premature baby and three caesareans. When the birth of my fifth child approached I was very apprehensive. I did not want to go through another cesarean.
Well, as the Lord heard the desires of my heart for my upcoming birth He blessed us with a wonderful birth in the confines of our home with just a close friend and midwife present, my mother, and of course Mark. It was wonderful.
Shortly after I had my baby I felt overwhelmed. I didn't lean on God's strength. It is a lot of work to raise children and I tried doing it without the Lord's help. I forgot that God knew where I was. I also forgot that I gave God control of my womb. I began worrying that I would become pregnant soon again. As I type this I see more than that as well. I see that I was tired of the negative response from others, including Christians on how many children I had. I was tired of trying to justify why we had "so many." Or how many do you really "plan" on having? I just wanted to be "normal."
Sooo...........I started justifying in my mind why we shouldn't have any more. I convinced myself and others that God wouldn't really expect us to have so many. I persuaded my husband to have us speak with a pastor and his wife (who did believe in birth control, and I knew it). I wanted to get an okay for what we were about to do. And I did.
I went in for my post-partum checkup planning on getting a diaphragm, but was persuaded instead to start receiving Depo-Provera injections once every three months. It was to be great. I would never have to worry and I wouldn't even have periods.
I wanted to talk to my husband about it first, but I was told that I needed to get it right then if I were to use it. I agreed.
I did have a lot of the side effects; unusual bleeding, major depression, weight gain. I even went to another doctor to check to see if I had hypothyroidism and was told that my problems were caused from the Depo. Still I kept getting the injections for over a year.
As far as my relationship with God . . . . over that time it dwindled to close to nothing. I was filled with so much remorse. I tried to busy myself with church activities on one end, and at the other end I felt so much guilt about my decision I began doing things I never would have done before to take away the hurt. Talk about a double life, I sure lived it. I ruined my testimony before my family that I had tried to build for years. They had previously seen my life change for the good. My whole focus for years was on living what I preached. I couldn't be a "lukewarm" Christian. But here I was a hypocrite. I used to try to have every area of my life controlled by God. When I took that area back I couldn't live with myself. Last July I came to the end of myself. I saw where I was and I couldn't believe it. I prayed and prayed for God to forgive me. I had drifted so far. I repented.
Within one week of my repentance and decision to turn that one area back to God, I had a miscarriage.
But wait a minute! I was on Depo; I couldn't have gotten pregnant!
Or could I?
Within another week I had met someone who, not knowing all that had just taken place, invited me to a Right to Life meeting. I went and what I heard tore me apart. Depo-Provera, like the Pill, does not always prevent ovulation. I had killed my baby by being on it.
It has been ten months since my last injection. My periods have not returned. But I have now learned that is not uncommon. In fact, many women now suffer the consequences in their bodies from taking Depo, Norplant, the Pill and the IUD.
It may be as long as 18 months or more for my periods to return. I don't know how long the "or more" will last. All I know is that, because I could not trust God enough with my body and my life, I have a toxin in me and no one can guarantee when or if my body will ever go back to being normal. I've heard from some women that are still sterile after a few years.
What is my hope for telling you this?
Well, first I need to ask this question; Why are children considered a burden in the church and no longer a blessing? Well, maybe the first one or two, three at most are considered to be blessings, but after that they become burdens.
"Oh, I couldn't handle that many!"
"You must be a very patient person, I'm not!"
"I can't afford anymore!"
"God gave us the brains to know when to stop!"
"I couldn't bring a child into the world the way it is."
"The world is overpopulated, didn't you know?"
"They would interfere with my work for the Lord." (Explain that one please!)
Maybe we need to rethink this as a Christian Church.
I take wholehearted responsibility for my actions. But how many women are going to be deceived, persuaded into making a life changing decision because, my goodness, what will people think if my quiver is too big?
We sing, "In my heart of hearts be the Lord of all. In my secret thoughts be my king. If you're not Lord over all my life, then you're not Lord of anything." How can we as the church of Christ speak against abortion, preach on Lordship, and say that children are a blessing when our actions contradict our words? Large families are the exception and not the rule.
Why is it that one of the first things newly married couples do is to go on the pill or use a "contraceptive" device? Those are the devices of the world. And who should be following who? If we can't be an example in the little things, why should they listen to anything we say? We are no different.
God can and will sovereignly open and close the womb if we would just let him. He knows what we can and can not handle. We need to trust him to do that. We find it easy to let any drug into our system by just trusting the one who prescribed it. But we can't seem to let the Creator of the universe, the God who has the stars as well as the hairs on our head numbered, determine the size of our families.
Please be willing to rethink this area. Please don't use your own reasoning. Ask God to let the Spirit guide you.
We as Christians need to know the truth about birth control. We need to recognize that it is okay, in fact, good, to let go of our wills and let God have control of the reproductive area of our lives as well. It's not easy to do that. What is harder is sticking to your beliefs, and the hardest of all is to have the courage to tell others the truth. I believe we as a Church have been deceived. But don't take my word for it. Study, Pray, Research, Pray, Ask Questions, Pray. And don't be afraid of the answer. Then, when you have come to your decision, teach others.

Copyright © 1997 AFLM