There are many wrong choices that I have made in my past. I have nobody to blame but myself for all of them. I’ve taken them all to the feet of Jesus at the Cross and begged for His mercy and He in His Goodness has forgiven me. And, in His mercy, He showed me that there is one thing that I am able to take back and make right. It\’s only by the Grace of God that I was even able to see that.
There are so many points to this story and there is no way to put the whole thing in order. I will do my best to tell it the way it makes the most sense to me and pray that through my rambling, God can make sense of it to anyone who is reading it. I will add to it as I see fit seeing how this isn’t something that can be told in one sitting. I met my husband when I was 4 years old. Even before then our lives had already crossed paths, but we had no idea. If there was ever a doubt that God had a plan for my life, it changed the day that Stacey and I figured out how much our lives were intertwined way before we ever even knew it.
In my mind I always thought of Stacey coming into my life his first day of school at my school in the 7th grade. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I have loved him since the first time I saw him that day. He is the love of my life. I know a lot of people say those words, but for me it is really true. Never have I loved another man the way that I love this man.
When I was 13 my only dream was to marry him and have his baby. But the fastest way to get a 14-year-old boy to run from you like a bat out of hell is to tell him you want him to marry you and have a baby with you. And that is what he did when I told him that. I will never in my life forget the look on his face. We both laugh about it now until we cry, because as adults it’s funny. We were stupid kids, and I was a love-sick 13-year-old girl who had no idea what I was even saying.
When he broke up with me I remember praying for God to make him love me and marry me. Part of the prayer came true on October 7, 2010 when before God, our friends, family, and our 7 kids from previous marriages; we exchanged vows promising to give our whole selves to one another for life. At that moment in time we understood what marriage was, but had no idea how much more we had left to learn. We had made the choice to be chaste for the months leading up to the wedding with the help and spiritual guidance of our priest. Chastity was not anything that Stacey or I ever heard of in our life (much less ever even tried, it was a shock actually). We had heard of abstinence but not chastity. We had no idea that chastity was a part of love and love a part of marriage. I’d say that we still don’t fully understand that. We knew that we had to think of the good of one another above what we wanted for ourselves to be married. And we were right, and boy are we learning how to put that in action.
The part that was missing was that we were both sterilized during our previous marriages. Once the Church declared that we were free to marry each other, we told Father that we were sterile. (I had confessed it already, but this was the first time I brought it up outside of the sacrament). At that point we starting talking about what that meant. That we would never have children of our own, and whether we wanted to add the vow of accepting any children God gave us in our marriage.
We kept it in because we both felt that God could give us a child if He wanted to. A miracle baby. That is what we called the baby from there on out. We were fully open to God giving us a miracle baby that was conceived even though we were both sterile. We were not however, open to reversing our sterilizations.
We discussed it with Fr. J and he told us that the Church did not require us to reverse. At this point I had 4 kids and my husband has 3; that is 7 kids to feed. We were renting our home, we owned our own business and we wanted to put the youngest child, my 10-year-old daughter who wants to be a nun, in Catholic school. So we could not afford or even justify spending 10 grand on reversals to have a child. I make it seem very justifiable right? Well really we were both relieved actually. The kids we do have are all older; we can come and go when we please without worrying about small children. A baby would greatly change our life.
At some point I realized that if I was really honest with myself that was the true motive for not wanting reversals. I felt called by God to put my fertility in His mighty hands, and I wish I could say that I fully gave it to Him and was open to His will. But that would be a lie. I clung to it for a long time. I spent the first year of our marriage coming up with every excuse I could think of as to why it would not be prudent for us to get reversals. But really, it was that I didn’t want another baby to mess up my peaceful life plus I didn’t want to bring it up to my husband. I knew he would not like the idea and we would fight about it. So the whole thing was an inconvenience that I didn\’t want to deal with. I wrestled with God about it. That\’s how I roll. God always wins.
I told God that if He wanted us to get reversals then He was going to have to make it happen. He was going to have to give us the money, the means, and talk to my husband. I knew that in order for my husband to get on board to do this it would take St. Gabriel himself to come down from heaven and have a long talk with him. I doubted the goodness of God the Father, and doubted that he would give Stacey a St. Gabriel moment. After the sheep in Rome, I really should know better.
That was only a little over a month ago. As I type this both my husband and I are healing from our reversal surgeries. (And as I edit it, we are fully healed.)
I am not saying the Church in her wisdom should say that couples who are sterilized should get reversed once they realize the wrongness in what they did. The Church knows what she is saying. She is always right. But what I do know, is that was God’s will for us. I know it because He made it happen. The doors just came flying open for us to do it. Money and all. (We had a group of faithful Catholic women all praying for us, and I\’m sure that helped also.)
I’m not saying that it was an easy choice. It wasn’t. At one point in the conversation of it all we had a knock down, drag out fight. We doubted every truth that we had come to accept at one point. While we were working on getting appointments and the money that would help us financially, our sewer line burst. All the floors in our downstairs needed to be replaced. My husband and his ex-wife began having huge issues about co-parenting their children and every one of our company trucks broke down. (They are still breaking down. And Stacey\’s father is ill in ICU right now, too.) Those are only the big things that happened that I remember. There are a lot more, but you get the point. It was not easy, and everything went crazy and is still going crazy.
But here is what changed: during our fight I told my husband that I am his wife. I demand to be loved and love is more than a feeling. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was saying love is, but I knew it was more than being able to have sex whenever we wanted without worrying about having a child. Besides that, I wanted to do the right thing by God. (That is when he doubted that God exists for a moment, which is so typical of anyone who wants out from doing God’s will. If He doesn’t exist, then you don’t have to follow His will.) We both came to the same conclusion that getting these reversals would be the moral thing to do. We agreed to cling to that and to Christ when we wanted to dart and run away.
So then came the day of my surgery. I realized how whole I felt after it was done. I felt like I was a whole person, a woman again. After Stacey’s surgery, we just felt at peace. We felt the Grace of God and we felt scared at the same time. Because as humans we are very scared of the unknown, and as it sits now we are facing the unknown of what God\’s plans are for us.
Then yesterday I realized what it was that I was trying to say about love and what I wanted from my husband. True love is looking outside of yourself and willing the good of the person you are claiming to love. Love does not look at ones feelings and make choices to hurt the other based on them. Love is more than a feeling; it is a choice to do right by another by respecting their dignity. One cannot truly love another without virtues. This explains exactly what is going on in the world around us. Without a moral foundation and objective right and wrong then we cannot love. Without love then we all reduce each other to things to use rather than people to love. For my husband and me, loving each other means following God’s will, reversing, and being open to the possibility of creating children.
When I was first approached about the idea of getting reversals I was very much offended. I was defensive and I was not willing to hear anyone out. My husband loved me and I loved him and the Church did not require this of us, so in my mind everyone needed to mind their business. That worked for me until God stepped in and made this His business. At that point I had a choice to either listen to Him or ignore Him. That is the beauty of how He works, He gives us the choice to ignore Him. So if this post makes anyone mad or angry I would suggest that you take your issues to God, because He can handle your feelings; He well aware of how much accepting His will freaks us out.
Last night the words of my husband made me feel more loved than anything he has ever said to me in my life. He said that he was getting bored in our marriage before the reversals because he was taking it for granted that we could do whatever we wanted without worry. Now he can’t do that because we have to discern whether to get pregnant, and live chastely according to that. The reversals, he said, made him put me back up on a pedestal where I belonged where he treats me with reverence because of the fact that I am not a toy to be used but a gift that he is called to protect and defend. Every husband needs to follow God’s Will in order to love their wife. The first step is to understand the true meaning of love, not what the movies, TV, music and other media says it is, but what God says love is. God is Love itself.
I love my husband. He has given me his whole self, which has given me the security of knowing that I am loved and then I am able to love my children. Because of this reversal and the teachings of the Church I have come to see that my children are God’s blessings to me. That they are not a burden and I should never treat them like one, or speak to them as if they are.
The greatest thing I have taken from this experience is how profound the words of Christ at the last supper are. “This is my body, which will be given up for you.” Christ gives up His body for His bride: The Church as an example to men on how to love their wife, by giving up their body for her. And vice versa. That is marriage. Fully giving of ones self to the other, without holding anything back. Men: Love your wives. And women: Honor your husbands. That is the key to love, life, and happiness.
So many people want to know why we did it or they assume it is because we want a child together. I can only answer that in one way: We want the will of God and hope that means we will have a child together. The word hope means a Christian Hope, not a wish. Hope for us is trusting in the Promises of Christ, which are that He is faithful, that He has our best interest at heart, and that He will be with us always.
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