“So why do you have all those kids anyway?”
It’s a question we’ve been asked many times. Actually, the most common question we’re asked is “Don’t you know what causes that?” And I confess that It’s a lot of fun to reply in a conspiratorial whisper, “Yeah!! And we like it!!” Usually the person asking that silly question realizes that it wasn’t the nicest way of putting it. Many will blush and stammer. But a few have a good laugh. It kind of puts things into perspective--our personal life is, well, personal. ;-)
Many times we are asked if we are Catholic, Mormon, or Muslims. I simply explain that we are Christians. And usually they want to know if we plan to have more, to which we reply that we would love to--God willing.
So what do we believe and how did we get there? That’s what I’d love to share with you.
And be not conformed to this world…
When we became Christians in 1988 our lives changed dramatically in every area. Truly transforming, to say the least.
From that first moment of salvation, the desire of my heart was to live a life that was pleasing to the Lord. I understood that I needed to learn many things--or rather UNlearn them. A Christian’s life should look far different than a non-Christian’s in regard to what is truly important in the grand scheme of things.
In the next few months a dear friend of ours wanted to share some teaching tapes by a lovely lady in their church based on Proverbs 31. But there were things that she decided not to share because she said that we weren’t really in a position to follow that particular idea. She believed that we weren’t wealthy enough and it would be a burden to my husband who worked long, hard hours to support his family. Bless her sweet heart for her concern. But when the Lord desires to reveal His will, nothing can stop Him.
One day while in the Christian book store a book caught my eye--“All The Way Home” by Mary Pride. What an incredible eye-opener!! I knew when I read it that the teaching that my friend had kept from us was the concept of allowing God to plan our family or being “Quiver Full”. What a revelation and so opposite of what was expected of us. We already had 3 children--two boys and a girl--so the “responsible” thing to do was to end our fertility.
I also read “A Full Quiver” by Rick and Jan Hess. My bible was highlighted with all sorts of QF verses. My favorite was the verses in Romans 12:1-2 “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 (using birth control to avoid being “blessed“), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (allowing the Lord to plan our family). Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will.” I can attest now with a pure heart that giving our fertility to the Lord was His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Why the Lord chose to reveal teachings to me that were radically divisive to me and my husband, I don’t know. He could have chose to reveal His desire for wifely submission first. Nevertheless, there were many arguments and sleepless nights (for me) to endure before my husband’s heart was softened to this concept. I am stubborn by nature and knew with all my heart that this was what the Lord desired for us. In hindsight, with the knowledge that I have now, I wish that my behavior would have been more Christlike and full of prayer, silently winning my husband over by my behavior. But there we were, iron sharpening iron (or, more aptly, goats butting heads with each other!!). Finally it was decided that whatever happened happened but he did not want to know when my fertile time was (we had previously used natural family planning as our method of birth control). Ironically, many years and several children later my husband thanked me for being so incredibly stubborn and for fighting for this belief.
The first command…
After the Lord created our world--ground and seas, plants and trees, sun, moon and stars, fish and birds, livestock, creepy crawlies, wild animals and finally the man and woman--He then blessed Adam and Eve and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply--to increase in number and fill the earth and subdue it. I have never read anywhere in the Bible of an expiration date of this command.
Many people complain about overpopulation and such. I can’t help but wonder, is it not the right of the righteous married couple, who desire to live for the Lord, to bear children? Should the ones who are living in a manner that is pleasing to God (in Holy Matrimony) be browbeaten to be “responsible” to give way to those who are living a sinful life and being irresponsible? Why are God’s children letting the ungodly outnumber them?
Blessings and cursings…
Many times throughout the Bible the Lord speaks of blessing his people when they obeyed Him by causing the women to become pregnant--blessing the “fruit of the womb”. Likewise when He was displeased the women became barren.
Deuteronomy 28 speaks of blessings and cursings--if the people were obedient to Him the Lord promised to (among other things) bless the fruit of the women’s wombs. If they were disobedient the fruit of their wombs were cursed. If you look at many women in the Bible, their hearts desire were to bear children--a true treasure. Why do so many today choose barrenness (a curse) through birth control?
Am I in God’s stead…
Having experienced loss and barrenness myself, I sympathize with the infertile couple. I am in no way implicating that infertility is always a curse. The Lord is at complete liberty to open and close a woman’s womb for whatever reasons He Himself decides. In Bible times, if a woman did not conceive she knew Who was responsible. And when she did conceive she knew Who to praise. When a grieving, barren Rachel cried out to Jacob to give her children lest she die, an angry Jacob quickly pointed out who was responsible for her barrenness, “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?”
We cannot create life on our own. Each new life is created by our Heavenly Father who has plans for each and every soul whether they live to be 100 years old or enter heaven as an embryo. Having said that, why do we feel that we must control our fertility? It takes great faith to trust the Lord in this area because I think that deep down most people revert back to their evolutionary upbringing in thinking that we actually can control our fertility. Sure, we can prevent a pregnancy but without the Lord, who can create life on their own? I love the cartoon I once read picturing a mad scientist holding a test tube saying, “Once I create life in this test tube I will prove that it did not take an intelligent being to do it!!”
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death , blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Summing it up...
So why do we have all of those kids anyway? Simply because the Lord requested 21 years ago that we allow Him to open and close my womb as He sees fit. We love Him and trust Him to make the best decisions for us. He will ever provide for each and every precious life He gives us.
Has it been easy? Not always. We are human and tend to worry when things look discouraging. But oh, the peace of knowing that it’s not in your hands--that you cannot make a “bad” decision when God is in control.
Being QF doesn’t mean that we should have lots and lots of children. It simply means that we trust His judgment not only when the babies are coming fast and furious but also when they're not coming at all. There are QF families with many, many children and those with none. Allowing the Lord to plan your family is a heart issue.
Are we immune to the troubles of life because of our QF choice? Not by a long shot!! In fact I think that those who allow the Lord to plan their families are more susceptible to pride issues. In my experience I’ve noticed that moms and dads of many tend to take on the yoke of trying to be “supermom”, “superdad” and “superfamily”. It’s so that we don’t make the Lord look bad. And we absolutely DO NOT want others to say, “See I told you that you were biting off more than you could chew!!” It’s hard to be real about our shortcomings--and when you are responsible for so many little ones there is great opportunity for shortcomings!! Only by God’s grace can we walk our daily walk in His strength. It is difficult sometimes for us to endure suffering for our “choices” when the house is messy, children are rebellious, finances are nonexistent, etc… “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
As a woman of God I believe that the Bible is our final authority and try to live by the precepts the Lord reveals to our family. I have yet to hear of or read anything found in the Word to support using birth control. I would be happy to hear opposing comments based on scripture and not “feelings” or “common sense”.
Remember that it was the foolish servant that buried his talent (no “increase”) who was the one who lost it all.
E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org