Woven in the fabric of our being is a gift that reflects how much God loves us. By creating our bodies in such complex beauty so that the mystery of life comes from love, and love leads to life, God has revealed his image as the Creator and Source of Love. Couples who use natural family planning are schooled in the lessons of being a gift to one another, and through that love, to be a gift to the community around them.
Built in to the process of NFP are times of love making and times of abstinence. Both are a gift to the other. Each partner has opportunities for self-sacrifice for the good of the other—a clear message that no matter how great is the joy of physical union, it is the inner soul of the beloved that is the focus of the love. The person always means more than the act.
Although contraceptives can be easily available and some relatively safe, the couple realize it is because God is first in their lives that they choose periodic abstinence. The commitment to choose God’s plan for our bodies, rather than suppressing his artistry, reaffirms the hierarchy of love of God, spouse, self, others. Life becomes balanced, even through difficult times.
At times, the gift of self is putting away the busyness of life to give sole attention to the beloved. A refocusing of what is important in life and the strengthening of the love that gets us through life.
From so many angles, NFP helps life stay in balance, through all the cycles of hormones, through all the cycles of life. For the medical field, promoting NFP to a couple is a gift of knowledge that will empower them for a lifetime of understanding their fertility. It is a gift that can be opened or not, by the couples. Colleagues I have challenged to offer NFP have told me if they suggest NFP they can’t be sure the fertility will be controlled, since it will be up to the couple. The couple may not use the method right, or may choose to use days of fertility. Their ‘gift’ of contraception, especially the longer acting forms like the depo shot or IUD, reassures the doctor that they have controlled the couple’s fertility. Clearly a very different type of gift, that keeps the couple dependent on the health care field for something that is not a disease, and could be navigated if educated in fertility awareness.
And now CANFP is in need of your gift – we have great plans to promote the message more abundantly in 2018 (the 25th anniversary of CANFP), in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. We need your help! Whether it is a general ability to tackle a project and see it through, or specific skills such as website design/maintenance, marketing, event planning, funding and development, graphic arts, filming, volunteer recruitment and management — we would love to hear from you! We can provide you the rewarding opportunity to contribute your gift of talent to promote the Gift of NFP.
NFP is a gift from God to help couples see the beauty of fertility as He wondrously created it.
NFP enables a gift of self between spouses, reinforcing the person is more important than the act.
NFP allows the gift to the child to be created out of an act of love.
NFP is a gift from the health care professional to empower women to understand their bodies.
NFP is the gift CANFP is continually promoting throughout the state (and beyond)
Lynn Keenan, MD, President of the Executive Board of the California Association of Natural Family Planning and Vice President of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine, is a Clinical Professor at the UCSF/Fresno Internal Medicine Residency Program and Board Certified in Sleep and Internal Medicine. She earned her BSN at UCLA, her MD at Temple University School of Medicine, and completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at UCSF/Fresno.