“As many as the Lord wants to give us!”
That’s my answer! Does that mean I’d be okay with having FIFTEEN KIDS?! Well…yes! Any number is welcome – I believe the Lord has a plan for my life, and I am choosing to entrust the size of my family to him, as well. Why not? He knows best, anyway!
I said I’d write a post regarding our decision to forgo all forms of birth control (contraception). This includes pills, barrier methods, natural family planning (calendar and temperature charting), IUDs, etc. All forms.
This is a very controversial topic. I know it’s difficult for some people to understand, but I think it’s a very important subject. I believe it ought to be discussed and taught in the church far more than it is. Personally, I’ve gone through a lot of thinking, praying, and feeling the gentle tugging of the Holy Spirit on my heart in regards to our family size. More recently, Ryan and I clarified and specified our exact beliefs and convictions and we made a final decision to give this matter completely to God.
I was first truly made aware of this “quiverfull” mindset about a year and a half ago. I found out that a couple I respected very much had chosen to give God the control over their family size. Immediately, I was struck by an odd but extremely peaceful feeling of curiousity and passion. I started talking through this mindset with some close family and friends, but most felt that it was based on personal conviction alone, and definitely wasn’t applicable to everyone. I heard what they said, but it still seemed to me that I should choose to trust God with all aspects of my life – not just the parts that didn’t really matter. I kept thinking about how everyone says God has a plan for our lives. Didn’t that include plans for my children?
Of course I began to process the issue with Ryan. At that point in our life together, Ryan did not feel convicted to give God the reigns in our “family planning.” I knew that I couldn’t be the one to push him to change his mind, so I just began to pray for him. I knew that God would keep speaking, to both of us, if this was his will.
As most of you know, I was soon unexpectedly pregnant with our lovely son Jack (who is 8 months old today!!! :). All throughout the pregnancy, the issue of future birth control would come up. We never quite settled on anything, but I still heard the Lord’s gentle voice telling me to just trust him. After Jack arrived, we were so on and off again about contraception. Sometimes, it really mattered to Ryan, other times, it didn’t. Finally, I told him I just didn’t feel right about it. We agreed to give God control – but not indefinitely. We figured we’d keep having kids until we decided we’d had enough. I still felt the pull to give up control completely but I knew the Lord would speak to Ryan’s heart in due time.
About a month ago, once again I became very aware of how important this issue was to me. I realized how important it was that Ryan and I were on the same page. I called him immediately to find out where he stood (what can I say? I get a thought in my head and I can’t rest till I share it out loud! :). I told him exactly what I felt. I explained that I didn’t quite know why, but I felt a very real, strong desire to completely relinquish our control over our family size to God. I told him I realized that we had to be in agreement over the whole issue – it takes the husband AND the wife to build the family. He gave me his answer – something I feel is a common concern for most people. “What if we can’t handle it? I don’t want to be so spent and exhausted that I can’t even be a good father. We could end up with so many children!” Those concerns are very real and understandable. We ended our conversation without reaching a final decision.
“I’ve got to pray,” I thought, “this could take years, but I have to trust that God will reveal his plan to both of us. If this is right, Ryan will know!” Then I realized something…I realized that up until that point, my beliefs rested solely upon the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and not yet on what God said in his Word. I realized that I needed to become educated on my belief (does that make sense?). I think that we, as Christians, tend to be very passionate about certain issues. But how can we make a difference and influence others if we can’t tell them WHY we believe what we believe?
Here is a very specific verse regarding having children:
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5
Another variation of verse 3, one that I like very much, is:
“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
God also gave a very specific command in the very beginning of time:
“…and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth….’ .” Genesis 1:28
Of course those are just two of many references, but I found them to be very helpful and encouraging. I was so struck by Psalm 127. In a culture that views children as difficult, complicated, financially burdening and inconvenient, it’s so refreshing to see God put it so plainly! They are a reward! A blessing!
Later that day, Ryan came home and we continued our discussion. He completely shocked me when he said, of his own accord, that he believed it was the right way to go. He wanted to let God have the reigns – he was ready to take on as many children as our loving God chooses to bless us with, no restrictions. My heart sang and rejoiced that night. How good of God to listen to my requests! And what a lesson for me! He showed me that submission and a prayerful heart are far better than a wife who pushes and nags. He encouraged me to trust him and his timing. He lovingly spoke to my husband’s heart and put us both on the same page. How grateful I am.
There’s something specific I’d like to address. We all know how babies are made. But I’d like you to consider something. God chooses when to open and close your womb. Are there not perfectly healthy, fertile women who remain childless for months, even years, without using contraception? Simply having sex does not guarantee pregnancy. God knows his plan and purpose for us, and he is the one who decides if we get pregnant or not.
Why is it that we have such a difficult time trusting that he is in control of EVERY aspect of our daily lives?
I recently had a very uplifting, encouraging and enlightening conversation with my dear friend Katie regarding this “quiverfull” mindset. She brought to my attention a verse in Malachi that I found very interesting:
“Has the Lord not made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15
One could even argue, then, that God specifically states that his original design for marriage, for the union of two that become one flesh, is for the production of children! And we’re not talking about inconvenient, financially draining burdens, we’re talking about children, rewards from the Lord, who we are to raise up to follow Jesus and to walk in a manner that’s worthy of the Gospel.
This is a high calling, my friends. Many people claim that they have enough children and couldn’t handle more. “3 is enough!” I believe, however, that God supplies grace as it is needed. Do you need grace for 2 children? He will give it to you. Need grace for 5? 8? 12? You’ve got it. The Lord knows what we need and he will never give us more than we can handle. And remember, we’re not handling it all on our own, anyway. Jesus is there, and he tells us that we can come to him when we are weary and burdened, and he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). He doesn’t expect us to be super-parents! We’re all at God’s mercy and thankfully, he loves us enough to provide the strength to push through every single thing he puts on our plate.
There is such a feeling of freedom in my heart – knowing that not only is God in control, but I’ve also accepted that he’s in control – it’s a wonderful state to be in. All the worrying, the planning, the wondering…it just falls off of me. I can’t help but feel that this is how it’s meant to be! I’m not fit to be in control of my life, anyhow!
So, there you have it. I will continue to pray and study what the Bible says about this, and will post new information and inspiring stories as I come across it/them.
Sometime, I’ll post a blog about our hopes to adopt one day! And, about my support regarding extended breastfeeding! 🙂 And, and, and!