God Who Multiplies
This is a pause from previously scheduled programming (i.e. the fertility as a cross series) to bring out what is on my heart today. I'll get back to finishing that series, either sometime this weekend or perhaps 45 minutes from now. <<It all depends on the delicate balance of the baby's nap and the older brothers' choice of loud pre-dinner argument.>>
About a year ago, I started teaching the Marquette Model of NFP. I was the only instructor in Nebraska. I was paving a new road. And although it felt a little (ok, a lot) reckless to embark on the journey to become an instructor at 7 months pregnant with baby #3, by the time I was teaching couples, I had found a piece of the woman I lost, buried under mountains of laundry and dirty dishes.
Marquette was the new hot thing in our NFP community.
"It uses technology?" "There's an app?!" "I can test just once in the morning!!"
Our local Catholic newspaper ran an article. The archdiocese invited me to host a day long workshop within weeks of finishing my certification. I taught 100 couples in 9 months. My goal of "make enough this first year to cover all of my expenses and take my kids to Disney world in December" was smashed in the first four months.
I had devout Catholic couples coming to me with affirmation beyond anything I could have imagined. These couples I looked up to were thanking me for bringing this gift to their marriage.
It was a ministry, a job, and a total success.
Deep down I knew I could not continue this alone, there was simply too much demand. Regardless of that entirely logical argument, it stung the first time I opened the email from my former preceptor at Marquette University.
"Hey Bekah! I have a nurse in your area applying for instructor training!"
Would everyone like her better? Would I become insignificant? Would there still be a place for me in this?
I'm super secure, if you can't tell. I have since received three identical emails. My initial response has improved...slightly.
Eventually (definitely NOT the first time I was wrestling with these thoughts) I took it to prayer. Immediately, like God often does when I *finally* bring something to Him without reservation, I heard:
"I am the God of multiplication. Not the God of division."
The loaves and the fishes. The believers at Pentecost. God multiplies.
Division. Hatred. Envy. We know where these come from, and they are not of God. Nor are they conducive to progress. These are weapons used to hold us back. As women find our voice and our place in society, as we unleash the unforeseen power of our feminine genius, these forces of division are becoming more obvious. Competition rather than cooperation. Tearing other women down rather than building each other up. (Oh, hey mommy wars. Yes, I am talking specifically about you.) We have to stop this. God can take your talent, my talent, and the perfect mom at preschool pickup's talent and multiply all of them for His glory.
There is a place for every gift at His table. I am confident He called me to this place, and if He has called others to similar mission, there will be abundant life for both of us. That's who He is. That's a loving father's heart.
As a mom, it should not be so hard to get this concept through my thick head. I remember wondering when I had my second child how I could love him without taking away from our firstborn. He was born in December, and I am a sucker for animated movies, so my social media announcement (obviously *the* most important seven minutes of that day) quoted the Grinch.
"My heart just grew three sizes today."
Ah, what a wise man, that Dr. Seuss. Parents can attest to the reality of this phenomenon. My love for my second (and now third) child doesn't take away from my first. There is more room. Multiplication of the capacity of my heart to love.
The new Marquette Model instructor came over for coffee today. Looking from the outside in, it went about as well as any play date goes when both parties have small children. From the inside out, though, it was beautiful. Two women who were transparent about fears, struggles, goals, and dreams. As soon as that nagging voice of division tried to creep in, I reminded myself of that important truth:
God is the God who multiples. Not divides. And He will make room for any person, any gift, any talent that He has called forth.