The Gift of My Body
By: Roberta Plantic
When I was 13, young girls started using birth control to clear pimples, to regulate “periods” (I’m not sure the result can be called a natural period), and to promote safe sex (somehow doctors and parents thought—and still think—this is a good idea). I knew these pills were not for me. I’m more of a true love kind of girl; less of a “go with the flow of society” type of person. We’re created to be exceptional, to love like we’ve never thought possible, and experience joy that things of this world could never give us. We’re created to love God, and to let His love pierce everything in our lives. Back then, though, I didn’t think this way. All I had was the gut feeling that if birth control was going to mess up anyone’s body, it would be mine. Even at 13, I felt destined to be a mom (now I’m almost 26 and it hasn’t happened yet, but hey, in God’s time), and I’d hear stories of women being on birth control for too long, only to have it sabotage their chances of having children at all. This example perfectly depicts the human tendency to try and control everything in our lives; we want things to happen in our time, according to our plans—rather than realizing that we need to give our lives to God. Needless to say, I had definitely had pimples, but there was no way I was touching birth control.
The years passed, and I made my fair share of mistakes. There were times I was lost, making decisions pretty typical of our society. The point, though, is that at 21, God took hold of my heart with a vengeance. I began studying world religions because I was certain that God left us ONE church (not 48,000 with varying beliefs), and I needed to be sure that I was part of the true Church. God is perfect, and His church needed to be, too (keep in mind, people will never cease to be sinful, but in my mind, if we were to take all people out of a church, the teachings needed to be perfect, consistent, ethical, and morally, historically, and philosophically sound, etc.). I found this perfection in the Catholic Church. The teachings aren’t always easy, but you can’t say that they aren’t consistent. So there I was: 21, amazed by my faith, falling deeper in love with God with each passing day, and trying to figure out how to be a faithful woman in this crazy world.
Earlier this year, my best friend asked me where I saw myself in five years; she was curious about the man I saw myself marrying. I thought about it. Smiled, and: “I am going to be married to the love of my life; I am going to be married to the man who keeps me pure.” My future husband will understand the virtue of patience. In our dating years, he will be attracted to me and will yearn for the day he can call me his wife, but he will never let his physical desire for me overcome the truth in his heart which screams, “True love waits.” He will learn to love me in the hundreds of ways apart from sex. He will inspire me in my goal to be a woman of God. His dignity will encourage me to never tempt him. He will cherish me. He will attend Mass with me. We’ll read scripture together. And he will spare me of ever feeling like a hypocrite. Our love will have integrity. And I will love him all the days of my life.
Our wedding night will be the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I will know that he loved me enough to make me his wife; he loved me enough to wait for me, treating me like a precious gift. There will be no birth control making 150 changes to my body within the first week. There will be no condoms between us basically telling one another, “I don’t want to bring a child into this world with you.” There will be no withdrawal method at what is supposed to be the best moment in making love. We will be together freely–no barriers, no limits, no fears. We will not try and control our fate or the fate of our future children, but rather, we will place all of our trust in God’s hands (at least we will try). If there is ever a time in our lives where there is a valid reason we have to wait to have children: Natural Family Planning (NFP) will be our choice.
To clarify what I mean by valid reason, consider this excerpt from Humanae Vitae:
If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or
psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church
teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the
generative functions… [Pope Paul VI,Humanae Vitae 16]
Here’s how NFP works: the husband and wife track the wife’s ovulation on a calendar (both spouses are accountable), and after a few months of tracking, they begin to see exactly when the woman is ovulating. When a woman is not ovulating, she can’t get pregnant. It’s that simple. For those 3-5 days of ovulation, the married couple exercise chastity. Five days of loving your spouse in all of those other ways… Beautiful.
Too many couples no longer yearn for one another; our society puts so much pressure on sex. Most women end up feeling used (hence the “I have a headache” lie was born). Men can become robotic. What people don’t understand is that God sets us up to have an amazing sex life; He wants us to love deeper than we thought possible. When we learn to use our heads (self-discipline and control) in union with our hearts, the result is a loving, passionate, respectful, and deep relationship with your spouse (and first and foremost, a deep respect for yourself as a precious child of God). I know that life isn’t easy, and I can only imagine how difficult marriage will be (two sinful people… Yeah, it won’t be near perfect), but we make life so much more difficult than it needs to be when we give into sin rather than giving our lives freely to God.
Remember, true love is sacrifice—and that sacrifice comes in many forms—but we know this because that sacrificial love was shown on the cross. God gave his only son for us. In turn, we glorify Him, allowing his love to strengthen our hearts and all relationships in our lives. Don’t let temptation and promises of this world deprive you from the greatness you were created for!
Let us pray:
Lord, give us the wisdom to understand the beauty of human sexuality, and the courage and integrity to preserve it for marital love. May we place all of our trust in you,submitting wholly to your perfect will, glorifying you in all that we do, in our single and married lives. Amen.
For more information on Chastity and Natural Family Planning, I’d recommend:
- Jason Evert’s “Life Giving Love” (AMAZING DVD!)
- Chastity Project http://chastityproject.com/get-involved/about-us/
- EWTN https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/nfp_serious_motives.htm
- Catholic Education Resource Center http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/marriage-and-family/sexuality/the-how-and-why-of-natural-family-planning.html