How has NFP worked for you? -Part VII

Jenelle’s Answer

When Rae asked me to guest post I was surprised.  This is my first one so I’m not sure how to start.  My name is Jenelle.  I’m 25 and I have been married for 2 years – no kids yet.  My husband and I are both cradle Catholics but only one of us was excited to learn about NFP, I was the skeptic.  This is about how NFP has worked for me (and my husband).

The first thing that comes to my mind is openness.  People hear about how Catholics must be open to life and must not use contraception.  I would argue it is so much more than that.  It’s not a rule, it’s an invitation to change your perception.  Growing up I always thought I would get married in my late 20s and have two kids in my 30s – it was an idea I thought was set in stone.  Then I met my husband, got married, and started using NFP.  Before the wedding, my idea on kids hadn’t changed much – they were later on and not too many.  Now, everything has changed but not in the “I want to be the next Mrs. Duggar” way.  Going into marriage I was closed off to the idea of letting God lead me in the matters of children.  I wasn’t using any “protection” so He could force my hand if he wanted me to have kids sooner right?  Now it’s not about the timeline at all.  There is no time and no number in my head, there is just the desire to see my married love grow into another person to love.  I’m open to changes in my life path and, despite the fact that “planning” is in the name, it is much easier for me to go with the flow when things don’t go according to plan in any area of my life.  I truly believe that NFP has helped me become more open to the possibilities that life brings each day.

The second main point that jumped to my mind is humility.  I am humbled to know my husband respects all of me and I need to do the same (respect myself and my husband).  I can’t continue believing I can do anything if I work hard.  It is an American value, but not a Catholic one.  Just because I want kids does not mean I am entitled to “work hard” and use any method available to make that happen.  God has a different path for everyone and I need to be humble enough to accept it.  NFP has helped me get past my stubborn nature and accept some surprises that have come my way.

The third thing is, quite obviously, that is works.  I have not had a surprise (or any) pregnancy.  I know more information about my body and I’ve been able to be diagnosed and treated for endometriosis instead of going on the pill for medical reasons not specified.  Yet above that, it is my increased understanding of the beauty and gift of love and sex and procreation.  My biggest hope right now is that, whether or not I receive the gift of procreation, I will remember the lessons of openness and humility in order to accept the unfamiliar path God has shown me.

You can read more of Jenelle’s experience with NFP at her blog Effortlessly Complicated.

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