A Prayer for the Sick

A friend of mine recently asked me to pray for her nephew, who is presently fighting a recurrence of a malignant brain cancer known as medulloblastoma.

His name is Gabe — if you’d like to send up a prayer for him, too, I know they’d be grateful — and he graduated from high school the day before this latest tumor was discovered.

I’ve been thinking about Gabe a lot lately. It makes my mother-heart hurt to even imagine what their family is going through.

Sometimes, when problems loom large, it’s hard to know where to even begin in your prayers, but in this instance, God brought the following Scriptures to mind almost immediately. These are the verses I’ve been praying over Gabe:

P is for Peace

Pray that God would calm their heart, quiet their fears, and grant them a peace that passes understanding. Ask Him to carry them through this trial and comfort them with His presence. Pray that they’d find complete rest in Him, casting their burdens at the foot of the cross and leaving them there. (Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:7, Matthew 11:28, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Exodus 33:14, Psalm 68:19-20)

R is for Relationships

Pray that God would use this illness first and foremost to draw others unto Himself. Pray that relationships to family and friends would also be strengthened, that any past offenses would be freely forgiven, and that sincere words of love and affirmation would be spoken. (John 6:44, Exodus 20:12, 1 John 4:20, Proverbs 17:17, John 15:12, Ephesians 4:15)

A is for Assurance

Ask God to assure them of His great love and faithfulness. Pray that He would remind them that He has a purpose and a plan, that He is in control, that He can work all things together for their good and His glory, and that He is committed to continuing His work in their hearts until it is completed. (Psalm 117:2, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 103:19, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6)

Y is for Yielding

Pray that the afflicted would yield themselves completely to God and place their full trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Pray that the would boldly approach the throne of grace to make their requests known unto God, yet would still be able to say with all sincerity, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Joshua 24:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 10:9, Hebrews 4:16, Philippians 4:6, Luke 22:42)

E is for Endurance

Ask God to strengthen and uphold them in the days ahead. Pray for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fortitude. Pray that God would give them grace as they walk through this trial and protect them against weariness and despair. Ask Him to bear their burdens and put a song of deep and abiding joy in their heart. (Isaiah 41:10, James 1:2-3, James 4:6, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Corinthians 4:8, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 49:13)

R is for Restored Health

Pray that the Lord would mercifully and miraculously restore the one who is sick to health. Pray that He would heal them, body and soul, and would receive all the glory for having done so. Ask Him to prolong their life, and pray that they’d live out the remainder of their days in grateful service to Him. ( James 5:15-16, Matthew 8:17, Luke 4:40, 1 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 91:15-16, 1 Samuel 12:24)

Do you have friends or family members who are struggling with poor health? Pray for them! Scripture tells us:

“…the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” – James 5:15-16

To download a free printable copy of this prayer guide, click here. To view copies of our other prayer guides, follow this link.

Fathers Matter (Every Day of the Year)

Fathers Matter!Last Sunday was Father’s Day — a day for celebrating the parent that goes largely unnoticed and under-appreciated the rest of the year.

Dads are under-appreciated partly because our society is no longer conditioned to hold fathers in high esteem.

Fathers have long been a favorite target of television sitcoms, where the vast majority of them are depicted as inept, irrelevant idiots more deserving of ridicule than respect.

For decades, fathers have been marginalized and emasculated and treated as if they have nothing of value to contribute to their family’s life beyond its economic support (if that).

And to the degree that life imitates art, men must fight against these stereotypes, not only in contemporary culture, but sometimes even in their own homes.

But another reason dads go unnoticed and under-appreciated is because so many of them are absentee fathers — they’re seldom around to attract any attention or appreciation.

This may be due to death, divorce, abandonment, or career choice; regardless of the cause, their absence comes at a high cost to the children they’ve left behind.

Despite what the liberal media might lead us to believe, fathers play a vital, irreplaceable role in the development of their children. Despite the divorce lawyers’ assurances that “kids are resilient and will quickly adjust to life without you,” the children rarely (if ever) escape such an ordeal unscathed. Most will carry scars from their parents’ split for the rest of their lives.
Do Fathers Matter?
And while having a loving, engaged father living in your home, eating at your table, and taking interest in your life is not essential to success, studies show that paternal involvement makes such success a lot more probable.

According to a fascinating new book by Paul Raeburn, Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, the general consensus, at least in the research community, is that fathers do matter. They matter a lot.

Beginning before conception and moving through pregnancy, delivery, infancy, children, teens, and all the way to fathering in old age, Raeburn covers cutting-edge research that gives insight into how fathers shape their children, for better or worse.

The bottom line? When fathers are involved, everybody fares better:

The children benefit.

  • Infants respond most positively to the way their father plays with them, which tends to be more physical and idiosyncratic than their mother’s play. (p. 126) Furthermore, children of fathers who engaged in the most physical and enjoyable play were less aggressive, more competent, and better liked by their peers. (p. 152)
  • Fathers have a huge impact on their children’s language development, even more so than mothers and irrespective of the mother’s education level or how she speaks to the children. (p. 145)
  • Children with fathers who are supportive and encouraging show a boost in intellectual development. (p. 147)
  • They also do better in school, both academically and socially: Paternal encouragement is associated with better relationships between children and their school teachers, as well as better behavior and social skills. (p. 150)
  • Engaged, attentive fathering has been linked to higher IQs in children, lower risk of smoking as teens, and even lower incidence of depression and psychological ailments decades later. (p. 151)
  • Sadly, there appears to be a robust association between father absence — both physical and psychological — and accelerated reproductive development in daughters, increased sexual risk taking, and higher incidence of teen pregnancy and STD infection. (pp. 160-164)

The wives benefit.

  • When fathers are present in the delivery room, mothers are less likely to cry or to require pain medication. (p.111)
  • Supportive parenting on the part of fathers has been shown to improve the behavior of mothers toward their children. When he’s more loving and attentive, she is, too. (p. 147)
  • When couples forge a strong alliance in parenting, their marriage is strengthened, as well. (p. 85)

The fathers themselves benefit.

  • Fathers who are involved with their children have a reduced incidence of illness and mortality. (p. 138)
  • Men who devote more time to fatherhood also have higher self-esteem and lower parental stress. (pp. 123-124)
  • Interestingly, low testosterone is not only associated with increased longevity, but also with better, more attentive fathering (pp. 74-75) — so why does our society push supplemental testosterone on middle-aged men as if it were candy?

And those findings are just the tip of the iceberg. I’d encourage you to read Do Fathers Matter? to get the details on the benefits mentioned above and to discover a myriad of others.

So what does all that mean for us? How should these studies affect our day-to-day lives?

For me — and these are my thoughts, not the author’s — this book serves as just one more reminder of how vitally important it is that I nurture my marriage. The next generation is counting on it!

No matter how much others would like us to believe that marriages are just contracts of convenience that can be dissolved without consequence, that simply isn’t true. When Mom and Dad go separate ways, the children are always affected.

No matter how often society argues that what consenting adults do in private should be of no concern to anybody else, their behavior does affect the community around them — especially the children.

And no matter how emphatically our culture insists that one definition of “family” is just as good as the next, the preponderance of research indicates there is an optimal design, at least when it comes to rearing offspring: that of a father and a mother firmly committed to one another and jointly and lovingly involved in the lives of their children.

Praying for Our Country

Pray for America: Here's a free printable prayer guide to get you started!Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Whether you celebrate such occasions by sending up the Stars and Stripes or not, I hope you will make it your practice to send up a prayer for our country — and not just on national holidays.

America needs prayer. She needs it now more than ever.

We all do.

But God has promised,

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14

Won’t you join me in praying for our country?

Here’s my prayer. If you’d like to make it yours, as well, just scroll to the bottom of the post for a free printable copy of this guide:

Praying for Our Country


C is for Conviction of Sin

Pray that God would open our eyes to personal and corporate sin and would call us out of darkness into light. Ask Him not to abandon us to wrong thinking, but to forgive us and cleanse us and break the chains that bind us. Pray that He’d give us the strength and willpower to forsake, repent, and turn completely away from the sin that entangles and enslaves us. Pray that He’d enable us to live as servants of righteousness instead. (Acts 26:18, Romans 1:28, 1 Kings 8:50, Psalm 51:2, , Isaiah 58:6, Isaiah 55:7, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Hebrews 12:1, Romans 6:18)

O is for an Outpouring of God’s Spirit

Ask God to revive our hearts and draw us unto Himself. Pray that He’d fill us with His Spirit, that we might speak the Word boldly and with such authority that others would recognize we have been with Jesus. Pray that He’d empower us to walk in His presence, according to His calling, dedicating ourselves to the good works He prepared beforehand for us to do. (Psalm 80:18,John 6:44, Acts 4:31, Titus 2:15, Acts 4:13, Psalm 140:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 2:10)

U is for Understanding and Wisdom

Pray that God would grant us an extra measure of wisdom, that He would fill us with knowledge and understanding and discernment. That we would see things as He sees them and would stop calling that which is good “evil” and evil “good.” Pray that we would center our minds on what is true and right and noble and pure and lovely. (James 1:5, Philippians 1:9, Psalm 119:125, 2 Kings 6:17, Isaiah 5:20, Philippians 4:8)

N is for News You can Use

Ask God to raise up an army of journalists, reporters, and newscasters who are more concerned with proclaiming truth than with pushing politically-correct propaganda or propping up ratings. Pray that He’d break our country’s addiction to celebrity gossip and sensationalized accounts of current events and that we’d instead learn to use the news, not as entertainment, but as motiviation to pray and to make a difference in our world for good. (1 Corinthians 13:6, Proverbs 22:21, Galatians 1:10, Exodus 23:1-2, Proverbs 16:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, Colossians 4:2-3, Matthew 25:35-36)

T is for the Truth to Prevail

Pray that truth would be spoken in love, that it would be proclaimed, not only over our newswires, but in our homes, in our churches, in our schools, and in our courtrooms, as well. Pray that parents would guide their children in the truth, that pastors and teachers would rightly handle the Word of Truth, that judges and juries would uphold the truth, that the Holy Spirit would help us discern truth from error. (Ephesians 4:15, 3 John 1:4, Deuteronomy 11:19, 2 Timothy 2:15, Zechariah 8:16, John 16:13, John 8:32)

R is for Righteous Leaders

Pray for those in authority over us, that they might fulfill the purpose for which God placed them in their current position. Pray that those elected/appointed to office would be trustworthy and God-fearing, and that they would issue decrees that are just. Ask God to grant wisdom and discernment, both to the elected and to those doing the electing. (1 Timothy 2:2, Romans 13:1, Exodus 18:21, Proverbs 8:15, Daniel 2:21, Acts 1:24)

Y is for Yourself — Where Real Change Starts

Humble yourself before God and plead for mercy. Pray that whatever work He wants to do in your country would begin in your own home, in your own heart. Ask Him to enable you to recognize and address the log in your own eye, rather than focusing your attention on the speck in your brother’s. Pray that He would deliver you from evil and help you live an exemplary life in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. (James 4:6, 2 Chronicles 34:27, Luke 6:42, Matthew 6:13, Matthew 6:6, 1 Timothy 4:2)

Praying for Your Country Prayer Guide

[Click on image to print B&W version or here for full-color version]

I know many of my readers are not from the US. I would encourage you to pray for your country and its leaders as well. Other than the clip art, this guide is not specific to America. :-)

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage Earlier this week, I published an essay written by my daughter concerning her commitment to save sex for marriage. Choosing to walk a path that others have long since abandoned can make for a lonely journey, and she sometimes wonders whether her carefully preserved virginity will ever be valued or appreciated by anybody else.

I’m confident it will.

I am trusting that God — in His perfect timing — will bring my precious girl an amazing husband, one who will recognize and appreciate what a treasure she is. I know He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:32; Matthew 7:11)

In the meantime, I pray for her. I affirm her good choices. And I encourage her to keep walking that lonely path, as there are lots of smart reasons to save sex for marriage:

  1. The Bible Commands It
  2. God designed sex to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage; He forbids it in every other circumstance. His commands are safeguards designed not to confine us, but to protect us. Not to stifle our enjoyment, but to heighten it. That should be reason enough to cooperate with His plan, but for those who need more convincing, here are six other compelling arguments for saving sex for marriage:

  3. Limits Exposure to Disease
  4. In the US alone, there are nearly 20 million cases of new sexually transmitted infections every year — all from just eight viruses and bacteria. One in two sexually active persons will become infected with an STD by age 25. Saving sex for marriage greatly reduces the risk of contracting STDs — and when a virgin marries a virgin, that risk is almost completely eliminated.

  5. Prevents Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy
  6. Abstinence is the only 100% fail-safe method of birth control (and carries with it none of the health risks associated with hormonal contraceptives). Barring in-vitro fertilization or immaculate conception, if you don’t have sex before marriage, you won’t get pregnant before marriage. Children do best when raised by a mother and a father; saving sex for marriage increases the odds they’ll have both.

  7. Minimizes Comparisons
  8. If you have no sexual experience with anybody prior to marriage, you will have no frame of reference by which to judge your spouse’s performance. This goes a long way toward putting minds at ease — your husband won’t be constantly wondering how he measures up against your past lovers. The same holds true for a woman who marries a virgin husband. Instead of being anxious and self-conscious, couples who are inexperienced in the area of physical intimacy can learn and grow together, just as God intended.

  9. Reduces Guilt and Stress
  10. Saying “no” to sex before marriage means saying “no” to the worries that often accompany it: the fear of being found out, the worry that your partner is using you, the misgivings about where the relationship is headed, the concerns about pregnancy and disease, and the guilt for violating Scriptural injunctions. The hook-up culture is fraught with stress, so don’t sleep with someone you haven’t married — sleep with a clear conscience, instead.

  11. Encourages Marriage
  12. There was once a time when a major impetus for marriage — at least, for men — was the promise of sex that came with it. I don’t think we’d see so many young people waiting until they’re nearly thirty to marry, if it also meant waiting until they’re nearly thirty to do what married couples do. The fact that sex is so freely available to singles today has, for many, removed the incentive to get married ever, much less early. (Why take on the burden and responsibility of a wife and family when immediate, no-strings-attached gratification is available via hook-ups and porn?)

    Saying “no” to sex outside of marriage may not change the current cultural trend toward postponing marriage (or forgoing it altogether), but it will keep you from wasting time dating guys who are only after one thing, as they won’t stick around long once they realize you’re serious about waiting. That works out, since a man with that mindset (who’d pressure a girl for sex and ditch her if he doesn’t get it) is not good marriage material, anyway.

  13. Rewards Commitment
  14. Virginity is a very special gift you can only give away once. Saving sex for marriage allows you to give it to a person who isn’t just saying he loves you to get what he wants, but has proven it by making a lifelong commitment. Plus, couples who save sex for marriage fare better, both in terms of marital stability and sexual satisfaction.

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for MarriageBut what if you’ve slipped up? What if you are unmarried, and your virginity has already been given away?

I am speaking from experience when I say there is still hope (Ephesians 2:3-10). You do not have to let your past dictate your future.

In Christ, you can find forgiveness, grace, and strength to follow a different path going forward.

It takes intentionality and determination, but there are several things you can do that will make preserving purity easier.

And for those who are already be married but may be regretting mistakes made beforehand, I offer this word of advice: You can’t make up for being promiscuous before marriage by being frigid afterwards.

Don’t punish your husband in the present for mistakes either of you made in the past.

There’s a time for everything under heaven, but our society has it backwards: The time for saying “no” to sex is before you tie the knot.

Once you are married, the response your husband should hear most often from you in regards to sex is “yes.”

(For the rationale behind this statement, read: Why I keep Saying Yes to Sex)

Join in the conversation:

  • What are your thoughts on these matters?
  • How did your attitudes toward sex before marriage impact your relationships afterwards?
  • How would you encourage a young person who wants to save sex for marriage, but has grown weary with waiting?

Virginity: Is It Really Worth Saving?

Is the idea of saving one's virginity for marriage too old-fashioned?When you’re sweet-16-and-never-been-kissed, people write songs about it, but when that status hasn’t changed by your mid-twenties, people begin to look a little askance at you.

That isn’t the way it should be — isn’t the way it’s been for thousands of years — but, unfortunately, that’s the culture our children are growing up in, where virginity is regarded by many as more of a curse than a prize.

What follows is an essay written by my daughter Bethany. She is smart, sweet, beautiful, talented … and single. She is also a member of that seemingly shrinking population of young people determined to save sex for marriage. (Stay tuned for another post next week on why I believe that’s still the best choice.)

Please don’t misconstrue the intent of what she has written here. As she assured her friends when she originally posted this essay on Facebook, she does NOT regret her choices, nor does she think she’d be happier had she chosen a promiscuous lifestyle:

“What I’m saying,” she writes, “is that I don’t know what ‘waiting for marriage’ is supposed to look like if marriage never comes. And I’m not just talking about sex. I’m talking about everything — so much of our identity and purpose in Christian culture is wrapped up in the idea of being a wife and mother.

“I know all about ‘Love & Respect,’ about honoring God by honoring your husband, about following him as he follows the Lord, about being a ‘help-meet.’ All of that was beautifully modeled for me.

“But seeking holiness and meaning as a single woman? Even when that singleness is indefinite? That I am having to learn vastly on my own and without an example. This essay wasn’t intended to condemn abstinence as antiquated and obsolete; it was intended to shed light on the loneliness that often accompanies choosing a path that most others have long-since abandoned.

“And hopefully, by reading this post, others who are in a similar situation will feel a little less alone.”

Mint Condition

I was raised in the age of beanie babies and purity rings. Everyone I knew bought into the hype, with sterling silver rings on their left index fingers and rows and rows of beady-eyed bears lining their shelves. The rings invariably read “True Love Waits” and the pristine, heart-shaped tags on the bears invariably read “ty.”

Labels, you see, are of the utmost importance when you are 12 years old and still discovering what in this world – what in your own self – is of any worth.

I never bought a purity ring. I often wondered if maybe I should get one – you know, so that people would know what a good girl I was. So that people would know how seriously I took my faith (or my virginity, really, since at the time the two seemed interchangeable.)

But I never got one.

Purity rings [in my mind] were for the pretty girls, the ones with the boyfriends, the ones with the opportunities.

I had never been given that sort of offer, so I had no need for a ring to remind me to reject it.

And so I managed to escape puberty with naked fingers and not-naked everything else.

I did not, however, escape the beanie baby hype.

To be fair, I didn’t buy it myself. It was a gift. Brand new with tags and in a box that had never been opened, it came accompanied by a promise and a warning:

A promise that if I left it in the box, left it unopened and un-tampered with, that one day it would be worth a fortune.

And a warning that if I took it out – even for a moment – if I risked getting it dirty or losing those precious tags, it would be utterly worthless.

All my friends had beanie babies, and those beanie babies stayed in their boxes for days, weeks, months, even years. But eventually they all came out of their clear cubic prisons. The beanie babies were played with and shared, just like toys are meant to be. Their tags came off, as had been warned, and the fortune my friends might have had was forever lost.

Oh, but not mine. I heeded those warnings and hid my beanie baby away, safe from all the perils a carefree and careless childhood might bring. And as I watched my friends laughing and sharing and playing, I reminded myself over and over again of the fortune that awaited me if I just waited.

A lifetime has passed since then, a lifetime so very different from what my 12-year-old self imagined it would be. The purity rings and stuffed animals have long since passed out of fashion, ending up in garbage bins and garage sales and goodwill piles. But she is still here: my little brown bear with her heart-shaped tag, hidden safely in her box on my shelf – in perfect mint condition.

When people see her sitting there, their reactions are varied. Some are impressed that I’ve managed to keep her for so long. Some are nostalgic for the time when they, too, believed that a little stuffed animal carried with it all the hopes and dreams and promises of a prosperous future. But more often than not, it’s viewed as strange.

To be a quarter of a century old and in possession of such a novelty is an oddity, to say the least.

But despite all that, I’ve grown sentimental. I’ve had her for so long now that I could never just throw her out or give her away to a stranger like so many others before me have done. And in all honesty, I’m beginning to think that – despite all those pretty promises I was given at 12 – she isn’t worth anything at all anymore. She’s become nothing more than an odd remnant of a lost time that no one really wants to re-visit.

And somehow, by association, so have I.

But a part of me still secretly hopes that some day a collector will show up on my doorstep – an oddity, like me, who clung to those same childhood promises that I did. I imagine him falling to his knees and joyously proclaiming that she’s the one, the rare and unique treasure he’s been searching for his entire life. Then, at long last, she could come off her shelf and be exchanged for the fortune I was promised so long ago.

I wouldn’t mind parting with her then, because I’d know that she was valued. That she’d be cared for and treated with gentleness and respect.

It’s such a silly, pretty dream. With each passing year it becomes a little less realistic, a little more ridiculous.

But the hopeless romantic in me still clings to it, just the same.

So she sits there with me to this day.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

A symbol of the innocence and hopeful naïvety of a childhood past.

Priceless? Worthless? I suppose that distinction is in the eye of the beholder.

We are both untouched.

Unblemished.

In Mint Condition.

Why God Made Mothers

I woke up this morning with the following verses forming in my head, so in honor of Mother’s Day (and at the risk of stating the obvious) here’s why I think God gave us mothers:

Happy Mother's Day from www.flandersfamily.info

Why God Made Mothers

by Jennifer Flanders

For giving birth — as moms do best,
For nursing babies at her breast,
For singing lullabies at night
For soothing fears and hugging tight,
For wiping teardrops from my eye
And sympathizing when I cry
While kissing boo-boos on my knee,
For bringing out the best in me,
For teaching me to tie a lace,
For using spit to clean my face,
For rocking me upon her lap
Cajoling me to take my nap,
For baking cookies by the batch,
For making sure the doors are latched
At night before she goes to bed,
For placing cold rags on my head
Whenever I am feeling sick
And fetching throw-up buckets, quick!
For bringing me “just one more” drink,
For understanding how I think,
For daily lifting me in prayer,
For combing tangles from my hair,
For teaching me to blow my nose,
For scrubbing stains out of my clothes,
For reading stacks of picture books,
For complimenting my good looks
And calling me endearing names,
For driving me to football games,
For watching o’er me as I play,
For spanking when I disobey,
For letting me help wash the dishes
After dinner — so delicious,
Coaxing me to eat green beans,
For being patient in my teens,
For measuring how fast I grow,
For holding on, for letting go,
For all the many things you do,
I’m grateful, Mom, God gave me you.

Postponing Motherhood… at What Cost?

Postponing Pregnancy - 6 Must-Read books for the next generation of Mothers
Back when my husband was in medical school, his pharmacology textbook listed seven full pages of adverse side effects associated with oral contraceptive use, including:

  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • liver tumors
  • blood clots
  • gall bladder disease
  • migraine headaches
  • depression
  • loss of vision
  • urinary tract infections
  • yeast infections
  • weight gain
  • thyroid problems
  • high blood sugar

… and myriad more, as well as an increased risk of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects even after discontinuing use of the Pill.

That was enough to convince us we’d made the right decision when, as newlyweds, we opted to forgo hormonal contraceptives three years (and two babies) earlier.

Yet when we shared this information with family and friends, they remained skeptical. “If the Pill were really that unsafe,” they reasoned, “then doctors wouldn’t prescribe it.”

Fast forward 25 years, and we’re still having those same discussions. That’s why my husband recently bought me a copy of Sweetening the Pill: How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control.

Sweetening the Pill The author, Holly Grigg-Spall, writes from an ultra-liberal, pro-abortion, anti-Christian, doctor-bashing, communist-sympathizing, sexually-licentious radical feminist perspective.

In other words, she is my ideological opposite.

Yet on one point we can emphatically agree: that there are compelling reasons to reject hormonal contraceptives that have nothing to do with religion.

I found the book refreshing (despite the author’s rather one-dimensional representation of folks — like me — who do not share her political agenda).

It asks questions that desperately need to be asked, discussed, and answered. Plus, it’s chock full of interesting (and ofttimes harrowing) statistics:

  • “Today eighty percent of women will take the birth control pill at some point during their lifetimes.” (p.25)
  • In the US, half of all women under the age of 25 are currently using the Pill. (p.26)
  • The Pill significantly lowers a woman’s libido — sometimes irreversibly so, since “the impact on testosterone levels is permanent.” (p. 50)
  • Using hormonal contraceptives greatly increases a woman’s risk for developing many life-threatening conditions, including heart disease and breast, cervical, and liver cancers. (p. 60)
  • “Recent research shows that if a woman starts taking the Pill before she turns twenty her risk of developing breast cancer in later life is doubled.” (p. 60)
  • Birth control pills represent “a $22 billion a year industry with approximately sixty brands on the market.” (pp. 112-113)

Interestingly, Grigg-Spall and some of the authors she quotes have run into the same argument my husband and I heard when he was in med school: People (mistakenly) believe the FDA wouldn’t have approved hormonal contraceptives if they weren’t safe.

She answers that objection by pointing to the money trail. In her mind, the Pill is a conspiracy to pad the pockets of physicians and pharmaceutical companies, to keep women in the workforce, and to bolster our consumer-driven economy.

Granted, some of those factors probably do come into play. But I don’t think you can fully understand our society’s unhealthy addiction to birth control without taking into account its general prejudice against children and aversion to “unplanned” pregnancies.

Just as cancer patients routinely submit to chemotherapy, despite the fact it saps their strength, leaves them nauseous, and makes their hair fall out, because they consider the alternative (letting the cancer grow unchecked until it kills them) completely unacceptable, so our society is willing to assume the high risks associated with hormonal contraceptives, because the alternative (conceiving and carrying a baby until it is time to deliver) is seen as something to be avoided at all costs.

These days, an unplanned pregnancy is about as welcome as a cancer diagnosis.

As long as this is our attitude toward babies, doctors will continue to prescribe the Pill, and women will continue to take it, regardless of the risks.


Interested in reading more on this topic? Check out these books, all of which I highly recommend:

Adam & Eve After the Pill Start Your Family Be Fruitful & Multiply download Three Decades of Fertility

Postponing Motherhood... at What Cost {6 Must-Read Books for the Next Generation of Mothers}