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October 21, 2021 6:00 am
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It honestly feels impossible in the moment that you discover your pregnant that you can go through the next 9 to 10 months that you can again for your life out to another child. If you have so far beyond your ability was sure there are many can identify with those feelings and maybe you know some pregnant never planned to have another baby today on Focus on the Family will have honest conversation about surprise children and hostess focus president Jim Bailey John Fuller John. There's about 6 million pregnancies each year they keep this data and somehow about half 45%, almost 3 million are classified as unplanned and I never knew that about half of the pregnancies are that that was my story. My mom had me at 42 I was the baby always introduced. I can remember being 45 is old and my mom saying this is my child. I don't know why that was special. Sometimes it was a little what does that mean but it does mean that this is an accidental pregnancy, one that was unplanned. This wasn't what we were thinking at the end of our child-rearing years and so often on the broadcast were talk about teen moms and what they go through the decisions they have to make. Hopefully in the pro-life context and hopefully parents can help those children make those better choices, etc. but we often hear from people who have struggled at the latter end of their childbearing years and they've asked us. Could you cover this some time and working to do it today.
There's a whole another set of challenges and issues and emotions associated with being an older parent and your done with diapers and the kids rough in school and you finally get your life back and then oh I'm pregnant and there.
There's just a lot. There is John and I'm grateful working to cover the topic today will Leslie Leyland field is our guest and I she's been here before this and were so glad to have her back. She's a former university professor and author and an international speaker today will be talking about one of her books that really is quite powerful is called surprise child finding hope in unexpected pregnancy, and we do have copies of that here the link is in the episode notes Leslie, welcome back. I am thrilled to be back so fond of people that they would know this either but your husband you finish up in Alaska as your other job along with everything else you're doing. Sounds rather exhausting. Well as it is I really try not to think about my life is has these all these different compartments, but there so they all feed each other. I love it. Seven fishermen University Prof. speaker me to sleep. It works now the sun doesn't set up there for a long time that was good to have you back at let's jump into the story year, or how old when you and your husband find out. Whoops were pregnant and what were your motions yeah I was I was 42 and I was teaching I was an English professor at University of Alaska English professor, I will please don't be shocked to learn grammatically correctly. Don't end with why not check your address.
Their dangling participle that I can't anyway so I always get nervous with the English professors nearby. Now don't worry, I'm not judging from her anymore I when I fell at the grammar police but your 42 and a course you arty have four children and what were their age is about that time so the youngest was five and this is a very strong memory.
He was just about to enter kindergarten so that was really exciting because that meant no more you are feeling I had time to normal rights.
Your than five-year-old would be going to school you have three more hours.
I think I would have four hours of my own every day to do my work and so that was the big no relief at the end of this long time, or children, so they wear a CLI she was five. They were 12 down to five okay and then yeah I remember not feeling well. Feeling exhausted and going to the drugstore and picking up that pregnancy test and I remember clearly just standing there looking at that double line and it's it was like no now.this can't be happening.
And so you're taking the test.
I can imagine I'm in again this something my mother went through, obviously read about the same thing that is so with that I mean when you see that positive stripe. What went through your heart. What were your first emotions when you happy.
No, now that's now I was shot because we were using birth control and we we were done we had given away all her baby stuff. We were onto the next chapter of life.
And so the thought of starting over and spheres.
I mean in those first few minutes you are crushed with all these fears and anxieties and you are literally thinking 30 years ahead for any I'm literally in those first few moments figuring out okay.
How will the mic to be when this child graduates from my 60s, and that means I probably can't retire and that means I'm already projecting 30 years in those first five minutes is already feeling like a failed mom before you even have my yeah and I feel like a bad mother already because I'm already I'm resenting this child.
I don't want this child and having all of those negative emotions and you know I had never experienced those emotions before because my other four children were prayed for were desired wanted and pursued land. Leslie Lamy asked the question. I feel like I'm hearing back through the microphones is seen as a Christian woman, someone who puts their faith in Christ. Some women would be saying what.
Why would you be saying that why you know God bless you with this child and I appreciate your vulnerability because I think many Christian women all speak just to that audience and I know there are non-Christians listening. I hope you receive Christ. Those good blessings come your way, but that honesty is so refreshing. Let's start with God that will move your husband will keep it in that order. What was that talk like with God.
What was he speaking in your heart, what were you wrestling with them about and how did he settle you down where you you just looking straight into my heart into exactly what happened. I did wrestle with God immediately in all of those fears and anxieties. I am aware that cost with me right now in this moment, and I'm I'm complaining, I'm lamenting I'm saying all these things to him and and yet there's some this very clear sense that my goodness, what are you doing it's not what have we done. It's not what mistake have we made it.
Scott, what are you doing here, and even as I said that I even had a sense of what the answer was you I was teaching full-time. I had four young children.
I was so kind of busy and crazy and exhausted and he now in some tiny part of my heart. There was a sense of relief of knowing. Okay, this is what you want, this is what you want right. How long was that process was at the first moment it was the first moment and it didn't necessarily stay with me the whole part of your why women don't have your husband may be a good opportunity. How did your husband react what he had to be shocked as well.
He was he was and it was the news was hard for him as well. You were both Christians were both given our lives to God. We both want to follow God and be obedient to God. But this was not our plan and we both saw all the long-term consequences of it and it was concerning to my husband because he he felt very clearly that the financial repercussions of that and he was thinking. This probably means we can't retire when we were hoping to retire and so we both share it any I'm so glad this sounds strange but I'm so glad that my husband was as anxious as I was, because we could really share our fears together and some husbands might respond beautifully and say, oh, honey, it's okay. You know God's got this were going to be fine but my husband could join me in that hard place in that dark place. I think we have adequately painted that pain you were in that moment emotionally and what you're anticipating physically and at that point you were contemplating the giving up of the late career but a year later, your child the unplanned one is about-year-old and what happens next. Well, I did not give up my teaching career.
I decided all right Scott I have this wonderful baby Abraham, who everyone in my family just absently fell in love with him but happens with the baby and I were going talk more about that. That's the really important part right so I went back to teaching. I was a crazy woman. I shouldn't have done that but you try to make it work.I am 12 and I am trying to make it work because I I feel a strong call to teaching. It's part of my ministry arriving and loving others and I'm 43 and I am not feeling well and I think maybe it's because I'm teaching an extra class this semester will, of course, I'm tired and and I'm you can already guess the end of the story. I discover I am pregnant again. I am pregnant again. Abraham is a year old. I still have a baby and I'm pregnant again this lot.
III mean I was on the floor so use ever say the Lord, Lord, what did I miss last time that you wanted this time I had my first course I did. And you know what I actually when he recognized was that the Lord was really was really speaking to me about my priorities and he was. I saw a really clearly I didn't get the first time I went back to teaching and I probably should not. It wasn't the right time to go back to teaching and I knew that God was calling me to step away for a while I didn't. How long for. I thought it was forever yeah Leslie one of the things that you mentioned the book and I again this is extremely vulnerable. I appreciate your honesty but with that second groups baby 43 you had a thought that crossed your mind what was yeah it was some you know and as were talking arrest.
Actually I was 44 was 44 minus pregnant. That second pregnancy.
I it was a really bad time in our lives.
We were going through so much up. He felt my husband's job was in jeopardy.
Our house was going to not just to remodel it turned out, our most of her house was rotten, had to be completely rebuilt. So I finances were devastated and I've got five children up at this baby. I'm trying to teach. I'm a wreck.
It just was a really really bad time and now I'm pregnant and not added just an unbearable burden, and in those moments, I said suddenly. I had this flashlight. This could go away. I know that this could go away.
I could just end this right now before anybody knows I wouldn't even have to tell my husband so I had that thought I had those moments of worded that go me what happened next was commensurate not to move that direction. I mean, I think people in their honest with themselves and knowing your situation I'm in the course as a pro-life organization is Christians you know we always talk about it. Never bring the right solution, but the honesty of having the thought is what I'm really interested in. Obviously you didn't do it, but I guess why the thought and why you didn't do yeah.
Even within 10 minutes of thinking that I me my soul is in turmoil. My mind is in turmoil. I am just on the floor before God and I know that this baby isn't mine in this child is in my body, but this is clearly God's design. I'm not happy about it. I'm angry about it.
I don't know how on earth I'm going to make it through another pregnancy, but I know that this child is not mine to get rid of and I know that God has some kind of purpose and intent through it and I was going to have to believe that.
So Leslie what I'm hearing is so important for men and women but particularly women, because the burden is on them. We can be supportive and we need to be, but that morning that anchor that you are attached to your faith in Christ You for making that decision. I would think that you recognize this is God's way and it's not.
It's not long just inconvenient and terribly disruptive to what I want. Yeah.
And at the time and I think everyone experiences this any woman in an unplanned pregnancy experiences us.
It feels impossible. It honestly feels impossible in the moment that you discover your pregnant that you can go through the next 9 to 10 months that you can again pour your life out to another child.
It feels so far beyond your ability and the truth is it is right.
It is beyond your ability, but the Holy Spirit who who lives inside. It was was very clear this child isn't yours. You don't get to decide. We know that's an amazing statement down here and to feel yeah and waiver. Yeah, and in some ways it is a relief because you now it's clear what the step forward is the step before it is not what am I going to do about this baby. The step forward is okay Lord help me help me through this pregnancy and maybe you can relate to the dilemma that our guest Leslie Lyons fields faced with her unexpected pregnancies. Maybe you have a similar struggle or a crisis in your family that you just don't know how to deal with. Please know that were here to help. Focus on the Family has a team of caring Christian counselors and were just a phone call away our numbers 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459. We can find out more on our website and will of the link in the show notes when you get in touch. Be sure to check out Leslie's wonderful book surprise child.
Finding hope in unexpected pregnancy Leslie I love your honesty because I know the struggle is real for many women choosing between a career or child.
It's tough, which is most important where your priorities but you know in the end I think it's obvious. It is obvious and it's what is most important right now and so after that second pregnancy. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I'm walking away from teach. I am not I'm not going back and there was a bit of relief in that clarity you get up in the morning and we do cuts well that day. We want to live outů We have for me today.
So every morning that I got out with this child inside of me.
I knew what God's will for me was that day to love this child that I was carrying to care for this child and to care for the children. They got it given me and the husband that got it given me. Leslie, you know so much a culture screaming the opposite direction right now. In feminist groups will so you can have both know you can have a baby and have a career in the better choices. The career because you deserve it. And this is what women's rights it's what it's all about is exercising that choice of career over a child is devastating.
I think it's so antithetical to the heart of a woman that it does tear them apart. Even those people that support choice and that way. What do you say to that young woman, the 25-year-old, 28-year-old who you know is having the choice today.
I think that the voices in our culture put us in a false dilemma.
I don't think it's an either or we have to see that we have a lifetime ahead of us when I stepped out of teaching at 45 and I happily and willingly said goodbye to my career and I thought that was it. Well interestingly God literally hand delivered to me and other teaching job. Two years later, but I could teach from home is a part-time job that I could teach from home and it was in a graduate program and it was exactly used all of my education, my abilities and my gifts, I now 63 and God has so prospered my career and my calling beyond my wildest expectations, and I thought it 45.
That's it I'm done I'm knocking to be a professional anymore, but God had other plans for that is so amazing and I think God smiles when we show faithfulness toward him. That's was looking for when you trust me and when we do, and I think the Lord just responds with the blessing. Whatever might be just peace in your heart you know I think that believer has that relationship with Christ available to them.
Listen to me to capture conversations. I think it paints a picture so clearly you're on the flight was overheard some women.
What this really is typical right so what have yeah yeah so I was pregnant. This is my second pregnancy. I'm flying off to conference and I hear these two women just a couple of rows behind me and they're talking about party training and really loudly about all the details of their of their their toddlers potty training and member sitting there thinking I'm just feeling so embarrassed for them and embarrassed for womankind that bears for them to go the other way now help numbers for yourself. Now I like numbers for all women that you don't here like this to women are to gather the obviously really good friends like this is this is what they're talking about together on a plane so loudly that everybody can hear and realize in my mind was his judgment and this kind of again prioritizing like I was more important because I was heading off to a conference and they are discussing puppy training and that's that voice of the culture sneaking in, that's as raising children is not nearly as important as going to speak at a conference and and I recognize later that those voices are such a lie. Those voices that say what were doing this hard work of having kids and changing their diapers and feeding them in the highchair and carrying them in the backpack and cleaning toilets.
This is this is beautiful work in the kingdom of God in its brief burritos are brief.
Yeah, yeah. And when you're when you're the woman in the midst of that you know it feels like it goes on forever, but it doesn't so I'm really here at the other end to say that time is going to zoom by well and I think Leslie the difficulty I struggle with. When I look at the broader culture today and you see the denigrating of motherhood, but the next generation comes through mother's and dad's wildcards.
I know we got our issues are problems, but if we lose the heart of women for their children were doomed. We got there is no future in the planet getting closer to that. Yeah, yeah, what is the next generation comes through the love physically through a woman yes and it breaks my heart that young women, particularly our announcing the value of that we think that when were pregnant and you're about to birth. This child spent in a pour out our lives for this child. We think that your life is going to shrink, we see a career as a make life like that's out there. It's a public life. Everybody can see and everybody values that and we think that having a child suddenly confines us to the home and that it's a small life and I have found the opposite to be true that my life has grown and expanded. I have become smarter and wiser and deeper of a human being because of my children every one of my children has grown and stretched and made my life bigger. That's the reward and you know the Scripture John 1010 the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that you would have life and life more abundantly.
And even with your honesty. You said it you had that moment where the thief almost got his desires, but you slam the door and now you're two children have life and have a purpose and they have a future and they I know have life more abundantly because of the homes are being raised. How old are they now they're about to turn 18 in 20 oh I love 18 and 20. It's still my you know any of these unplanned babies and being special because I think because you have to fight harder for them. You pray more you cry more you cling to God more and they end being more all just for the firstborn's in the middle boards were all special in my other going right right yeah is awesome. Thank you for coming all the way down from Alaska and that wonderland up there to spend time with us to talk about what God has shown you and your great book surprise child finding hope in unexpected pregnancy.
This is a book for most women, and I'm sure many boyfriends and husbands to but the girl who, 16, 17, that young woman, 27, 30, and then maybe especially that 40 something who's having the baby. Thanks for being with us so glad to be here. Thank you. And as we said earlier, be sure to reach out to us if we can offer counseling services to you, or other resources we do of course recommend Leslie's book. It is full of great stories and encouragement and we got the link in the episode notes so you can get your copy and John, let me just remind everybody like we often do, if you can make a gift to partner with us in the ministry will send you a copy of Leslie's book for gift of any amount just to help us. Let's continue to help women make the godly choice when it comes to their pregnancies and the babies that they carry into this new life and also optional percent. What a great program that is here Focus on the Family we have been doing this for 16 years, we saved almost 1/2 a million babies at $60 a baby minute makes me teary-eyed. Think about we have the metrics we know what were doing in this regard. Working with these crisis pregnancy centers around the country who are in the trenches every day. Support them if you can look them up in the phone book. If you have a Christian pregnancy center near you volunteer time volunteer your resources help them because they are helping women each and every day. Make that right choice for life and what we do is come alongside and provide that ultrasound machine so that they could provide a picture of the baby and 54% of abortion minded women abortion minded women that go into those clinics were free ultrasound will choose life hear God saying do it. I hope so. $60 you can really make such a difference. Donate online or give us a call to learn more about how together were helping save pre-born babies every day through option ultrasound are numbers 800 the letter a in the word family or look for the link in the show notes and this reminder as you will contribute to the work you will say thank you by sending a copy of Leslie's book surprise child coming up tomorrow. Encouragement for you to be a bold witness for Christ in your everyday life.
Since Satan knows that how you see yourself will determine how you behave yourself so he can convince you as a believer that you're not a full-time minister, you're just an insurance salesman or you're just a realistic work just to stay at home mom or whatever he can convince you that that's how you have to Jim Daly in the entire team here at Focus on the Family. Thanks so much for listening today I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help your family thrive in Christ, I'm here asking people how they could both give and I don't know maybe love you give and get love through body. It's also possible that the charitable gift annuity you get a secure source of fixed income and a charitable tax to decks and class giving a charitable gift annuity to Focus on the Family family thrive for generations to come. Find out more good and giving.com focus planned giving.com