As believers we understand there is a need for The Lord to reveal sin to us, right? And we understand that it’s The Lord who opens our eyes to the reality of depravity around us in the world? To the reality of sex slavery or child abuse? And we totally agree on the fact that it is God who breaks our hearts,often calling us to adoption after we realize the brokenness of our foster care system or see oversea orphanages with parentless children living in complete and total poverty and filth? Right? What about our society’s acceptance of abortion? Not only is it legal, but it’s accepted and often advised by medical professionals, politicians, and celebrities. It is God alone that has allowed us to see the pain and brokenness behind what the world paints as a good decision.
When we look at these popular, and seemingly “oh so sinful” issues in our culture, for the most part, it’s apparent that we live in a fallen world. It becomes easy to say that we can’t simply trust every opinion we get from leaders, doctors, government officials, or sadly enough, even from preachers. But it would be foolish to say we always have clear eyes. It would be nice, but also just as crazy to think every situation we find ourselves in, will have a black and white answer perfectly outlined in scripture on how to act. Take this job offer, stay at home. Go to Africa yourself, support a missionary. Move your elderly parent into your home, find a good living facility. We are presented with choices like this daily. Thankfully we can rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s word to direct us, but what if we don’t know we need direction? What if The Spirit is whispering in our ear, speaking through His word or other believers, drawing us into the light? Satan is so good at deception. Our sin is so good at deceiving us.
I’ve shared this before, but one of our biggest prayers is a plea for The Lord to open our eyes and reveal to us what he wants me and Josh to see. Parenting flaws, pride towards each other, sin hidden deep down in our souls. Show us Lord. Prune us, refine us, make us more like your son. And please oh please give us eyes to see and be drawn more near to yourself.
Let’s talk about sex. In marriage, sex is considered a tool for protection (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). While The Bible is clear on this role, sex also blesses couples with pleasure physically, serves to create intimacy, all while allowing us to fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Sex is powerful, mystical, and a great defense against Satan’s attack on this covenant between God and man–marriage. But here’s the thing, when this great thing is taken and used in any situation other than marriage, brokenness follows. Divorce and abuse are two areas where it’s easy to agree with me, but what about in couples that are engaged, or between highschool students that are newly in love burning with passion for each other (hormones ??) or in meaningless, casual relationships that are solely for the pleasure of sex claiming nothing emotional?
Here’s where it comes full circle. Deception. I’ve been there, done the walk of shame home. I’ve never been one to hide my struggle with sexual sin thoughout my life as a believer and it’s because I have seen the power sex has over us, even when we try so hard to ignore it. But sin has a way of blinding us, allowing us to accept lies as truth, that is until The Lord comes around and rocks our world. In the moment our lives can seem so shatterproof and fulfilling, fun and nonchalant, but there are still consequences to our sin. We are separating ourselves from Christ, we are living in darkness, missing out on an intimacy with The Lord that comes from seeking Him over desires. With sex specifically, sometimes we are drawn back to reality by a hard (but oh so wonderful) blessing such as a pregnancy, other times it’s prolonged and manifests as trust issues or struggling for intimacy inside of marraige. However He chooses, God has a habit of bringing those he loves, into the light (Hebrews 12:7-11).
When we chat about sin, I think it’s also so important to emphasize God’s grace and Christ’s death. How many times a day do you think you sin that the Lord doesn’t reveal it to you? I know for me, it’s endless. Whenever I spend time trying to confess and praise the Lord for his forgiveness over my life, I find myself dumbfounded at the renewed realization of my need and utter dependence on Christ’s salvation. Walking through these periods on sin and struggle, lead me to a place where I saw how badly I needed Christ, more than I ever would have noticed without the sin. Paul said it best in Romans 5 and into chapter 6. I could try and put it into my on words, but God’s voice is powerful enough in His word. These chapters paint such a beautiful picture of what it’s like to walk with God.
My marraige is a great testament of his grace and his ability to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). During our engagement, Josh and I were not wise at all while we traveled to Lexington to try and find an apartment. We were caught up in our emotions, so excited about our coming reality of marraige that was only weeks away, and we had sex. We felt like failures and were so ashamed and prideful about it at the same time. We shared this with a few close friends, but before we knew it, our struggles had become a public viewing for all to watch and weigh in on. We even had a few guys drop out of the wedding because of this sin. While I feel I should add that I still don’t think that’s how the Lord has called us to handle situations as followers of Him and His Word, it is a great testament to how quickly sin can manifest into pain when it started with such “good intentions.” Josh and I were only weeks away from being married, excited and so in love–the world would say sex is a perfect way to celebrate that, but God’s word teaches us otherwise (Hebrews 13:4).
I’m so thankful The Lord didn’t end our story there. I’m even more thankful that in marriage, through sex, we have been refined. It’s not easy to all of a sudden (literally overnight after you say your I do’s) to feel “allowed” to want to have sex and to desire each other. To lose the feelings of guilt you have so long tried to avoid after having sex or to be able to even see how powerful it is in your marriage, is extremely difficult. It requires a lot of prayer and requires you to actually be accepting of forgiveness.
For so long, Josh and I both fought God’s grace and the freedom he had given us, and remained enslaved to the sin and guilt from what sex used to be, instead of allowing it to be what God has created it for in our marriage. God took this sin, revealed it and manifested it into something new and beautiful while using it to deepen His relationship with each of us and our relationship with each other.
Okay so I say all of this, as an example. It’s not even what I want to talk about in this post. I’m hoping that The Lord is opening your eyes and allowing you to be prepped for what I do want to say. Because it’s a topic that is even more risky to bring up than sex. It’s a topic that pisses people off, often results in name calling, and has even ended friendships. Vaccines. AHH RUN AND HIDE. I know you might be tempted to hit that red x in the corner of the page, but before you do, engage this a tad bit longer.
I’m sure some of you reading know this story but I’ll give you some back ground. While I was pregnant, I was semi-health conscious but also very trusting of what I would consider now “mainstream” parenting styles. I saw in a FB group (of course) a mom ranting and raving about the chiropractor and how much it helped with her pain during pregnancy. Having always had back pain, I was worried about adding a gaint baby belly into the mix, so I set up an appointment. Quickly I fell in love with my chiropractor. She was (is) always so patient and took her time with me. She never dismissed my thousands of questions and always passed along research to me that she thought I would enjoy. She brought new topics to me and encouraged me to learn about them, and loved hearing about things I shared with her. She amazed me with her passion for knowledge, backing everything up with facts and information, and created a trust between us that I’ve never had with any other medical professional.
One day, I went straight in from a check up at my midwife’s office with a bandaid on my arm. She inquired what happened and I shared that I received the DTaP vaccine that day. She met me with complete shock. Knowing me, she was so surprised I got it. I was so surprised SHE was surprised! This woman that I trusted so much, could she be… Anti vaccine?! (Cue the thunderstorm sounds) She told me that she was just alarmed because it hasn’t been tested on pregnant women and the vaccine packet even says the effects on the fetus are unknown. I just kind of brushed the conversation off. I was slightly uncomfortable and fearful for the baby, yet I tried to ignore it entirely.
When Josh got home from school I told him about our conversation and confessed I felt kind of lead to research it a bit more. Pridefully I felt like I made the right choice and didn’t want to be questioned, but I really did trust her opinion and wanted to look into what she said about it. She was the only person I knew that ever questioned vaccines and I knew she wasn’t a wack job. In our heads, Josh and I had this picture of anyone who didn’t get them, as being nuts. I don’t really know what I thought was crazy about them, but that’s what we thought. I avoided the research but right before Judson was born she brought it up again. She asked if I had followed up with my “I’ll look into it” and what I had found. Granted I had done a quick little Google search with no actual researching effort, I told her I had and that we decided just to trust the system and get them. She was sweet of course, encouraged me to look into the need for the hepatitis B shot specifically in newborns and that we could chat about it more if I had any questions. Oh how I wish she would have pushed it more, but this side of things I totally understand why she didn’t.
Fast forward to the week of Judson’s 2 month check up and his dreaded first “real” appointment wth vaccines. He did receive HepB at birth, honestly because I never looked into it, but I knew this appointment was more intense than just that one vaccine. I think it must have been the Holy Spirit, mixed with my God-given motherly instinct, but I was so so so uneasy. I started looking into vaccines more and was completely overwhelmed.
For everything I found that said there was no reason to be concerned, I found another that said there was. If anyone even mentioned autism, total craziness broke loose. I would read that the chances of a negative reaction were super slim, but then see 5 stories of vaccine reactions that made me think otherwise. There was so much fear, it seemed, in either choice. Plus what about people who have cancer, was my kid going to pass along polio to them if he didn’t get the vaccine? I had no clue how it all worked and I didn’t know what to do. Every where I looked, I was seeing something vaccine related, doing my best to ignore it all.
We wanted to make the best choice for our son but didn’t know what that looked like. So we prayed and I messaged a believer mom friend of mine and asked her opinion, thinking she probably struggled with this choice too knowing her tendency to lean towards natural options. We asked The Lord to direct our plans and choices as parents, especially in this area. We want healthy, safe, (and alive) kids so show us what to do, Jesus. Looking back now, I can see The Lord throwing stuff in our laps that we just ignored, but we decided to move forward with the full schedule (looked into Dr. Sears delayed schedule) and get his vaccines.
While we had decided to move forward with the vaccines, I still had a million questions for the doctor. First red sign, I wasn’t allowed to actually talk with my doctor and was told by the nurse that she would answer any questions I had. She was super dismissive and said she’s done this for years and I have no reason to be concerned. “No mom likes to see their baby cry.” Okay lady but it’s about more than just my son crying. I asked for the package inserts from vaccines that he was getting so that I could read over possible side effects (like I would do with any medicine being given) and she handed me a one sheet, printed off piece of paper the office typed up. When I asked more about fevers, crying, or anything possibly negative happening, she said not to be concerned unless it didn’t stop after a couple of days. I asked for signs of what a negative reaction was, and she said “nothing unless it’s still happening after a couple of days,” and assured me that fevers, screaming, welps, rashes, extreme fatigue, all of it, is normal.
At this point I was so worried and confused, but when the doctor came in he pushed away my concerns as well. So here she came, back with 7 vaccines combined into I think 3 shots and an oral serving. I begged her to at least let me nurse Judson while she did the shots, and she reluctantly agreed. Y’all have seen this kid, he’s always been so happy and never cries (unless he’s in the car) and he wouldn’t stop screaming. Not even when they actually poked him, but after. He wouldn’t nurse or calm down and then screamed endlessly until he finally fell asleep in the car which totally never happens either. They didn’t have me wait to see if he stopped crying, or to see if he had a seizure, or turned into a monkey, I was simply sent home with my peice of paper and told to wait a couple days if I had any concerns. “New moms are always anxious about shots, you’ll get used to it.”
Well Judson didn’t run a fever, but he was either screaming or asleep that whole day, and didn’t even want to nurse. I refused to put him down and skipped small group that night. When Josh got home, I had relaxed a bit and Judson seemed to have chilled out as well, so we went to bed. We had given up on using the bassinet and Judson just slept with us because if not, we never slept. Because he’s in the bed with us, I’m a super light sleeper, always ready to wake up at the start of a hunger cue so that I can avoid a fully woken up, starving baby and we all can get more sleep.
Well that night, I just woke up. No fussing baby, no movement, just up for no apparent reason. Which was extremely rare because believe me, I was soaking up any bit of sleep during the night that I could get. I put my hand on Judson and I didn’t feel him wrestling at all like he usually does when I wake up. I sat there a couple seconds longer, still nothing and I realized he wasn’t breathing. I gave him a little shake. Nothing. Maybe I’m missing it. Shake again, nope nothing. I snatched him up. STILL NOTHING. Finally I moved him around enough, startled him or something and he started breathing. I was relieved but still freaked out beyond what I could ever relay in words. It happened so quickly that I didn’t really even realize what was going on.
I remembered the nurse warning that after vaccines, babies want to sleep a lot and that if you are worried, just to wake them every 30 minutes so that they don’t get into “too hard” of a sleep. Well of course, I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. Judson was woken up every 30 minutes on the dot and I called the office as soon as it opened. Not to my surprise, once again they dismissed my concerns and told me that it’s normal. If it happens again, they said to go into the ER but that lots of babies sleep so hard after vaccines that their “breathing slows.”
Okay, so this didn’t sound normal to me. What if my child had been in the crib?! What if I hadn’t just woken up and touched him? At first, we were super hesitant to talk about it with anyone. We didn’t tell our parents what happened, and I think I only told my little sister because I was so traumatized by the experience and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Josh and I didn’t really talk about it much because it was just so scary. Could there be more to this whole vaccine thing? Is it really possible that my son is the “one in a million chance” everyone says there is of having a negative reaction? I mean that seems like a negative reaction to me, can that really be normal? Am I crazy to believe it’s not okay for a baby to stop breathing post shots?!
Feeling overwhelmed, embarrassed to question it, and hesitant to talk about it with anyone, we went to The Lord. We had been begging him to give us direction and finally felt like we had an answer. I mean, what’s more clear than a bad reaction to vaccines as your answer. I decided to get a second medical opinion and to really start researching this for myself. The more studies we read, the more facts we found out, and the more families we talked to with similar stories, the more we felt confident in not vaccinating any longer. We met with another doctor who was recommended as being “parent choice friendly” on vaccines. We explained what happened and asked for his opinion. He was dumbfounded at how the situation was handled and reassured us that it was definitely a negative reaction. He said that while we could move forward with vaccines one at a time to try and possibly identify what the reaction was to, he wouldn’t recommend it and that he would be more than willing to provide documentation for a medical excemption whenever we need it. Ah peace like a riverrrrr right there. Yes, it was scary to hear that he wouldn’t advise more vaccines, but he left the choice up to us, which as a parent helps you trust a doctor more. He explained his thoughts on both sides of the choice, and recommended we be educated on the diseases we vaccinate for so that we would know where to have concern if needed. Side note, we switched to his practice and have been much happier there since!
THIS link is one of my favorites when it comes to vaccine/disease education. Yes it’s a blog, but follow the links provided in it if you don’t trust the writing. That’s what I did, so I’m not hating on doing just that. I have followed links and read study after study that have been summarized in good blog posts. And I’m not going to lie, I like an informational blog post written by a parent. I like when people read studies and sum them up. I also like reading those studies myself, but I also totally can find value in those putting in the hard work and sharing it later on so that we can reap the benefits of their labor. I applaud education and even if you’re not a doctor, I applaud caring enough to seek out answers.
The article breaks down each vaccine and it’s correlating disease listing out facts about them both, the treatment options and side effects, along with statistics about the vaccine and the disease. I’ve found out that the best way to combat fear about this topic, is with information.
Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts about the measles cases in Memphis. You know what happens when you get the measles? “Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body.” Straight from The CDC website.
Yes, there are complications (diarrhea being the most commonly reported complication) from the measles, but there are rare complications from trying out new mascara. You could become blind!! It comes down to the fact that I just don’t like fear based decisions. Not to mention that most of our parents and grandparents all had the measles. I read an article the other day HERE that lists out postitive things your body acquires from fighting off the measles, such as natural prevention for asthma and allergies. Plus, what are the side effects of the vaccines? “Common side effects of M-M-R II include injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, or a lump), fever, rash, headache, dizziness, joint or muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.” Sounds similar if you ask me, with a much smaller window for negative consequences. Okay that’s all, I’m done.
It’s all I’m saying about this for now.. If you are interested, once again THIS first article I listed really does a great job of breaking it down for you. Don’t be fearful friends, be educated!
I could talk about vaccine deception all day, and I plan to do a post on it with more detail. But I don’t want to scare you guys away. I want to plant a seed and see how The Lord brings it to fruition in your hearts. I want to shed light on the other side of the issue peacefully, showing that not everyone who doesn’t vaccinate is crazy. I want my pain and our scare with Judson to be used by The Lord to show you guys, negative reactions DO happen to vaccines. I’m not pro/agaisnt vaccines, but I am so so against bullying and fear mongering, whichever “side” you stand on. Everyone is extremely understanding about our decision to no longer vaccinate Judson whenever they hear it’s because he had a negative reaction and our doctor is on board with our choice, but what about our other kids? Am I supposed to risk it with them and wait to see if they react as well? Or can you understand how as a mother, I would be hesitant to continue? Would you really ban my children from play dates or refuse to play on a soccer team with us?
I end this post with the promise that there is more to come. I want to share with you guys what we have learned on vaccines. I want to share with you all some theology I have on how Satan is using deception in this subject to harm the body of Christ, families, and babies more specifically. I want to give you guys research I’ve found and to create a safe forum for a conversation. I don’t want to change your minds on how you handle this choice for YOUR family. And I don’t want to scare you. I think it’s a risk vs benefit choice for each family to make, I don’t dare say it’s the same for everyone.
What is my goal then? It IS to end this fight between people on the topic. If you are believer, you are called to act like Christ. To be loving and encouraging, building each other up with your words. Is that what you do when you see someone vaccinating or not vaccinating their kids? Are you alienating these families or welcoming them into the love of Christ? Are you being prideful and refusing to talk about the subject, or are you willing to see what The Lord has been so gracious to reveal to these families, possibly though pain and trials?
I praise The Lord every single day as I lay next to my sleeping son during his nap time watching him breathe. While my joy is found only in The Lord, he has been so gracious to bless me with Judson. I can think of very little that could make you more aware of your blessings than thinking you might lose them. So as you hug those you love and make the choices you think are best for them, all I ask is that you have an open mind to what others have to say about vaccines and be willing to flirt with the idea that people of the world aren’t as trustworthy as we so often accept.