My first essay in The Gift of Giving Life is called “The Spirit of Elijah.” The following story was, at one point, part of that essay. But I later cut it out and made it into a separate story that eventually became one of the book’s “deleted scenes.”
It reminds me of Heather’s post “Satan Hates Mothers.” And it reminds me of something I heard over the pulpit at church a few weeks ago when a new convert was speaking. As his family was nearing baptism, he explained, they encountered lots of opposition. He described it as Satan throwing cinder blocks at them. I was so touched and impressed when he said, “I told the missionaries that if Satan was going to throw cinder blocks at me, I would just build a house with them.” Let’s build some houses, my friends!
Here is my story, “Turning My Heart,” as it was when we cut it. I hope it touches someone’s heart out there. In fact, I think I’m needing to reread it as much as anyone.
Turning My Heart
By Lani Axman
When my second child was a toddler, and we ventured headlong into the “terrible twos,” I found myself devoid of any desire to have another baby. The adversary had been working on me. Each day felt like a battle to find joy and fulfillment in motherhood. Satan whispered negative thoughts to me, persuading me that I wasn’t fit to take on any more children, that we couldn’t possibly afford any more children, that the world would look down on me for having more, that two was definitely more than enough. When I did think of trying to care for a third child on top of everything else, I was overcome with a paralyzing, overwhelming fear. I also entertained thoughts of how uncomplicated my life would be with only two children to care for. I thought of all the goals and dreams I would have time and energy to pursue with my childbearing complete. Satan almost had me convinced that I could be done, that I wanted to be done.
Even while I stubbornly and fearfully kept my heart closed, deep down I knew I still wanted more children. I also couldn’t shake the memory of a dream from several years earlier of a little blond toddler boy running into my arms. We had two daughters, but I knew that my son was waiting to come. My heart softened just enough. So my husband and I began to pray. We asked the Lord whether we should have another baby. We waited for an answer. God simply said, “It’s up to you.” But accompanying that response was a subtle whispering of an impression that we would be blessed for choosing to welcome another child into our home. We made a chart in my journal outlining the reasons for and against having another baby at that time. I wrote our final consensus at the bottom of the page: “Trust!” Within two months, I was pregnant. And to say that we were blessed for choosing to welcome a third child into our home would be a cosmic understatement. I was amazed, and still stand all amazed at the outpouring of blessings we received. My blond little boy had made his appearance.
When my son was approaching a year, through promptings, prayer, and much pondering, we chose to surrender (a.k.a. take a flying leap off a very tall cliff) and consecrate our bodies and fertility to the Lord, letting Him choose the timing of our next conception. Four months later, our fourth child was conceived. Though the adversary redoubled his efforts to tear me down throughout my fourth pregnancy, continually working to convince me that I was crazy to conceive that child and would be crazy to conceive any more, I still hoped that the child in my womb would not be our last.
It has now been four months since her birth, and she has brought more joy and love into our family than I ever could have imagined. No wonder Satan was so angry at me for welcoming her here. Thank heaven I turned my back on my fears and instead chose “Trust!” all those years ago. Joy and rejoicing in my posterity, indeed.