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A Big Little Announcement

September 26, 2011

In this week’s post, I some incredible, exciting news… the This Pilgrim’s Progress family is getting a little bit bigger. In 2012, Michelle and I will welcome the newest addition to our family, baby Williston 4.0. Michelle is just 7 weeks along but baby is already the size of a blueberry! To say that your prayers are appreciated is an understatement but, honestly, we could not be more excited to share the news with the world!

While I know that most of those reading will be genuinely excited to hear the news, I can already anticipate some of the questions, we’re in for:

Are you crazy?
Don’t you know how this happens?
How do you decide to have a fourth child?

To which, I will invariably reply:
“Yes, but have you seen my hot wife?”
“Let me explain.”

I think, on some level, it’s a fair question when people ask, “How does a couple in today’s world decide to have a fourth kid?” Our culture has, on many levels, conditioned us to look at kids as sort of a drag on our personal identity and freedom. Truth be told, kids are loud, dirty, generally exhausting and…awesome.

There are probably some who have read this and thought, you just have lots of kids because you’re Catholic! To be honest, you’re right, but not for the reasons you think. You see, a lot of people have the gross misconception that the Catholic Church teaches that all married couples of child-bearing ability must have as many kids as physically possible. I have even been told by non-Catholics that the Church teaches against the usage of contraceptives because, “if you’re Catholic you’re not even allowed to have sex unless you plan on getting pregnant.”

If that’s what you believe, you have some serious reading to do of past This Pilgrim’s Progress posts. For sake of brevity, let me just say that the Church doesn’t teach either of those things, but rather, advocates for Responsible Parenthood, in which married couples consider where they are in life and earnestly ask God, “what is your will for our family?” It never guarantees that having kids will be easy, but it does encourage us all to be asking that question which should be at the center of our family anyway.

When our third child (Lorelei) was born just two years ago, Michelle and I were both pretty convinced that our family was complete. People often asked us if we were “done,” and while we always left the possibility open for more, in our private conversations it was clear that we were both feeling like perhaps, with three, that was it.

Then, something funny happened. We’d be out at various places herding around our three, and I found myself looking for another one. We’d load up in the car, getting everyone situated, and I couldn’t help but feel like someone was missing. I didn’t say anything to Michelle about it because, honestly, I felt kind of foolish. In conversations later, she admitted that she was feeling the same way.

When we finally told each other we were feeling this way, we set forth to start really thinking and praying about the possibility of adding another little one to family. In my mind, I came up with many “logical” reasons why we shouldn’t. “We’re already outnumbered!” “It will cost a lot of money!” “We ONLY have a four bedroom house.” It is amazing how many absurd excuses you can invent to resist doing something that you know in your heart is the right thing to do.

It didn’t take long for my mind to relent and, while the thought of adding a fourth should probably overwhelm me, I can honestly say it doesn’t. It turns out that any decision that starts with the question, “God, what is your will for me/us?” is accompanied by remarkable peace. If only I’d remember that more often…

Thanks, in advance, for your prayers for Michelle and Baby Williston #4.

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