Recently, a woman wrote the following comment on my Facebook page. I read it to my husband, Ken, and he immediately began telling me how I should respond. He had a lot to say so I asked him to make a blog post about it so he did.
“Is there a reason you only have four children, transformed wife? If I’m correct based on what I’ve believed to have seen on your page, you only have four, right? If there was a medical reason why you stopped that’s understandable but if not, for you to condemn other women for not having large families when you yourself don’t have a large one seems hypocritical to me. Again, if you were UNABLE to physically have more children, fine, but if not, how can you tell other women to. Also, you tell women not to go to college but you’re educated and went to college. You tell other women to live a life you didn’t live. You’re an educated woman with a relatively average size family.” (Nicole Martinez)
This is how Ken responded to her:
Wow, Nicole! Your comment seems far more of an accusation than a question, but let me respond. First, we have five children, but only four who are alive. We lost our first precious child when Lori miscarried and it was a very sad and traumatic time for her as she wanted a child so badly, and not have to go teach every day in a difficult part of LA. I was the one who wanted to wait a couple years after marriage. So, when she got pregnant with our first, she was so happy, but one night she started to bleed and the doctor said she needed to go to bed rest. I had just broken my ankle sliding into third base, so we went to her parent’s home to spend the night. At about midnight, Lori called me from the bathroom and I hobbled in just in time to have her faint in my arms. She was miscarrying while I lay on the bathroom floor with her calling out for help from her Dad. What a sad night that was.
But rather quickly, Lori was pregnant again and we were thrilled. She delivered the most perfect bundle of joy who was just with us on vacation with her husband and fun-as-can-be baby boy. A number of times, I had tears well up in my eyes as I listened to her put her baby to bed singing to him wonderful hymns of God’s goodness, knowing that she had waited a long time to be able to hold her own baby in her arms. We had prayed for that baby for more than seven years, and God was so gracious to hear our prayers.
From then on out, we had a child about every two years. At one point we had four children under six years old. It was a joyful time with a lot of hard work. I was traveling 40 percent of the year as I was getting my career off the ground, and Lori was dealing with some unknown stomach ailments that were at times debilitating. We searched high and low for answers for four years with specialists when finally, a family doctor ordered a stool test to discover that Lori was loaded with parasites.
You will have to read the book “The Power of the Transformed Wife” to get many more details, but in brief, the first antibiotics worked great for six weeks but then the parasites became immune to them. This kept happening until finally they gave her a cocktail of antibiotics that fried her stomach for more than 15 years. The cure had become as bad as the original disease.
If that wasn’t enough to stop us having babies, when our last was still in diapers, Lori traveled up the freeway and was sandwiched between two semi-trucks when the first one braked and spun around. She hit it head on as the truck behind crashed in from behind. After she was pried out of the car, the State Trooper said to her, “Ma’am, if you had not been in this big old Mercedes, you would not have survived.” She had a cracked bone in her neck and broken coccyx, both of which caused her severe and debilitating pain for more than twenty years, and it was made worse by a neck fusion. Only in these past five years has she found solutions to the pain and is now doing things we never thought she would do again like picking up her grandbabies and swimming in the lake.
Somewhere in this story of great pain and trials, Lori found the strength of God to raise four wonderful, godly children. She was truly amazing. Every week, she would never miss taking the kids to AWANA to learn their Bible verses. Every Monday evening, swimming and pizza with the cousins, and many nights a week taking our oldest to ballet. Our kids were good athletes and gave us much joy watching them play multiple sports, and she was a heroic mom getting them to practices and games when I was traveling.
One night before a basketball game for our boys when they were in high school, she just couldn’t take the pain anymore and we ended up back in the ER. Her stomach and neck were on fire and she had had a perpetual headache for about a year. When they wheeled her in for a Cat Scan of her stomach, she begged for a scan of her brain, and sure enough, she had a brain tumor. This was our introduction to the first of many bouts of Cerebral Sodium Wasting with trips to the ICU.
I hope this brief synopsis gets her off your hook, Nicole, for not having more children, but I must say, we really did little to try and stop having children. We actually tried to have more at one point in our early 40’s, but God chose not to give us more. Even as sick as Lori was, she loved her children and would have loved more of them. The joy they have brought us at every stage of life is beyond measure. I think fondly of the many times I would walk into the room and see the pain in her eyes, yet the children were all playing on or around her with lots of hugs and kisses. And now we are getting this same joy with our grandbabies as Lori is the best grandma I have ever seen in giving of her time and love to her grandbabies. And we thank the Lord that these past five years God is restoring her health and thirty years of great suffering.
I have a phrase I wrote years ago which says, “And only through pain it seems can be the commitment of love that two can know.” Although I married a sick and sometimes difficult wife, God has, through our trying times, together cemented in us and our family the love that few will ever know. Our children grew up watching mom battle daily to care for them and so their perspectives on life and love have been molded by her great sacrifice. They do not fret or care much about the little things of life or the trying circumstances; for they know that our God is faithful to carry us through whatever trials we face each day.
Do you realize, Nicole, that in today’s America, four is considered a large family? Yes, Lori teaches that we should all want as many children as God will give us; for children are the best gifts of life and worth far more than the millions of dollars some women may make going to work instead of caring for bundles of joy in their own arms each day. We are big believers in family over all else and sharing the love of Christ whenever and wherever we can. These are not just our thoughts but God’s thoughts. He too wants to have millions upon millions of adopted children who He can love, and who will love and serve Him for eternity.
And, Nicole, I fundamentally disagree with you when you say Lori would be hypocritical for teaching “be fruitful and multiply” if she herself was not more fruitful than having four children. Maybe we could have had five or six if we had not bought into the lies of society telling us to wait a few years after marriage to start a family. Maybe if we knew what we know now from God’s Word we could have figured out a way to have more children. One is not a hypocrite if they learn lessons in life and then share those lessons and truths with others, even when they did not do everything just right. Hence, where the name “Transformed” comes from, as we are both transformed by Christ who lives mightily within us and is growing us up to be like Him.
Imagine if every minister of the truth had to be perfect before they proclaim God’s Word and ways. Half the ministers or more would be disqualified when speaking on sexual sins or marriage. No, God’s truth stands on its own and even if a donkey speaks it, we must listen and respond. God’s Word and ways are always truth and best for us. Even as society falls further and further from the truth in so many ways, we as believers must never tell those who did not live perfect lives to not tell others about His perfect ways. Instead, we must do as TTW is doing and scream as loud as she can to anyone who will listen to not have sex before marriage, nor college debt, not leaving your babies to be raised by others so you can work, not being controlling and unsubmissive to your husband, and almost all the things she teaches have a solid foundation in God’s Word and are the truth.
Yes, TTW was not perfect, and neither are you or me. But what is so beautiful about her story is that out of her imperfections, God has transformed her into the wife of my dreams, and the mom and grandma of her children’s and grandchildren’s dreams. It’s all His doing, and God will do this with all of us if we will just submit our lives to His will and ways. I invite you to join us on this journey. It will never be a perfect journey, but it is one where we try our best with God’s help to live a life of “doing all things Christian.” And I can tell you that through all the trials and the difficulties of having many attacks on us from social media for what we teach, we are two of the most blessed people in this world. God will bless you too in this life or the next if you will be faithful to look only at God’s Word and His perfect Son without looking at who is teaching God’s truth. Truth stands on its own with or without us and our lives. And he or she who does God’s ways will reap his blessings. This is God’s unfailing promise to us and we hope you will join us in it.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.