This will likely be a beefy post. I’m also assuming it won’t be a very popular post. And, I have a feeling it will be a tad on the scarily controversial side. You know what, though? I’m okay with that. I’m just here to have a good time. 🙂 I like controversy because whether or not we agree with the controversial subject at hand, we are forced to think outside the box and examine our hearts and motives. If anything, my goal here is to create a place where it’s safe to discuss such matters, and sometimes, agree to disagree. However, like I said, I don’t really expect this to be a popular post because in the past, when I’ve written on this topic, this blog has been eerily quiet following the publishing of the post. Hehe. Okay, end of disclaimer (was that a disclaimer?).
I was just hanging up clean laundry when I felt intensely inclined to write about children, contraception, and the choices we make about the two. I’ve already written about our family’s stance on contraception, but I want to dive a little deeper here. I’ve found myself smack dab in the middle of some interesting conversations lately – sometimes with family, sometimes with friends…and sometimes even with my husband! I have noticed a recurring theme (or shall we say question, or in some cases, statement) and I’d really like to talk about my feelings regarding this theme.
One of the most common things I hear regarding whether or not someone believes in the use of contraception is this: “Well, we all know that God is in control, and if he really wants me to get pregnant, he’ll work through the contraception and I’ll become pregnant, anyway!” This is usually followed by a few laughs or hearty nods in agreement. I’ve also heard it phrased like this: “Yeah, she got pregnant even though she was on birth control. How funny when God reminds us that he’s in control regardless of what we do!” While parts of these statements are true (God is ultimately in control and can open our wombs regardless of what we do to prevent it), I feel as if those statements are a cop-out.
You see, the beauty in foregoing all forms of contraception (that means no pills, no devices, no barriers, no chemicals, no calendars) is that we have left our lives in the hands of a loving, good Lord. Instead of saying, “God can do whatever he wants, but in order to make it less likely that I become pregnant, I’m going to use some form of contraception,” we can say, “The Lord knows me inside and out, and he will graciously open my womb in his very own timing. I’m laying my fertility at his feet and trusting that he knows far more about ‘good timing’ than I do.” I must say, from first-hand experience, this is a very freeing mindset.
Now, I’ve also run into men and women who simply say, “I don’t want to be pregnant. I want to do x, y, and z before I’ll be ready for a(nother) baby.” Sometimes, it’s buying a house, finishing school, making enough money (by the way, there is never “enough” until we can be satisfied with what we have at any given moment), or moving somewhere with an extra room. Other times, they don’t feel emotionally prepared, or they’re simply not ready to give up their independence.
At the end of the day, my friends, I realize that not everyone will share my conviction. But, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand firmly by what I believe. You see, God never said we’re supposed to finish our education, buy a home and make 100k/year before we have children. In fact, the Bible never says anything about abstaining from having children (that is, if you don’t count Onan, and his story doesn’t end very well! 🙂 ). The Bible is, however, full of scripture telling of the blessing of children (see Psalm 127:3-5, 128:3-4, and Deuteronomy 28, for just a few examples).
It is rather unfortunate that we live in a time where having children is an aside. Many women look forward to it, as do men, but they assume that they have responsibilities to tend to before it’s “wise” to have children. They deprive themselves of biblical blessing in the name of responsibility and wisdom, and all the while, the Bible is so clear about God’s will for us as married couples!
Another common argument (one that Ryan and I had to wrestle with ourselves) is, “Pregnancy is the result of ‘unprotected’ sex. If we don’t use contraception, we’re guaranteed to get pregnant. How is that smart?” I learned very quickly that this is not the case. I resumed cycling (menstruating) back in late November of 2007. I did not become pregnant until August of 2008, and we didn’t use any form of contraception the entire time. I know many other women who want to be pregnant and still don’t become pregnant for months, even years. I know of other women who become pregnant immediately (this was my situation back when I became pregnant with Jack). The point is and always has been, the Lord opens and closes our wombs. He has plans for our lives, and sometimes, he chooses to keep us from becoming pregnant because of some situation or another. He may also choose to give us many children close together. Regardless of what he does, the point is, he knows best! Why should be assume that we know better than the Creator of the universe?
While my conviction rests on lots of research, prayer, and reading the Word, it began with the Holy Spirit. I knew, before I was even aware of the term “quiverfull,” that the Lord had plans for Ryan and I. He was nudging me, pushing me to look into what it meant to be fully surrendered to him. I simply didn’t feel right about selfishly holding onto control over my womb, especially when the Bible is so clear about God’s love for us. He hears our cries and protects us. He will not give us a child without equipping us to handle that child – emotionally and financially.
With all of this in mind, we have a choice to make. Are we prepared to relinquish that “control?” Are we ready to lay down our selfish desires and plans for our lives? Are we ready to see our will conform to that of the Lord’s will? Are we ready to say he is good, above all else, and will bless our desire to honor him?
Are we ready to take on our rolls as men and women of God? Is the man ready to step into his role as sole provider for his family? Is the woman prepared to take her place as keeper of the home and mother of her children? The greatest legacy we can leave is that of godly descendants. All the rest (homes, school, work, money, independence) will fade away but their souls will live eternally. What do you want to leave behind?
I have friends who don’t believe they are ready. This is an obvious predicament. If we don’t believe we are ready, if we don’t want to relinquish our control…then we will not be able to place ourselves in a position to receive God’s greatest blessing: an increase in offspring. Now, I’ve said this before – I don’t think God is mad at those of us who choose to use contraception (that is, contraception that isn’t an abortifacient, which many of them are, including the Pill and the IUD). I don’t think this issue determines our salvation. I do, however, believe that we are called to live a life that’s holy and pleasing to the Lord. We can trust in the Almighty God. If he truly loves us (and he does), we can count on him to open/close our wombs, space our children, and give us the grace to handle them.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:33-34
If you’d like to see all my posts that involve this topic, please click “Quiverfull” on the right margin under “Categories.”