Generation Cedar

Another topic I had wanted to address that comes up in the BC issue is finances. And although I love to talk about the practical details of stretching our money and being content, etc., an even more powerful thought hit me today.

If we get our thinking in the right direction from the start, (regardless of what we ultimately choose to do), and we are convinced that God is the author of life, the question of “affording more children” becomes one I think we better cautiously ask.

Because, if I believe Scripture is true, and that Jesus asks, “Why do you worry about what your life, what you will eat or drink…do you not know that your Heavenly Father knows your needs?”

Then there is no question left. My children are not really mine…they’re His. (Do I really believe that?) And if they are His, how dare I ask (I’m really speaking to myself here!) if HE can provide for them? And what am I really revealing about my faith if I do?

I know there are extreme instances…I’ve said that ’til I’m blue in the face! I don’t have the answers for those.

But I do know that I serve a God that parted the Red Sea, and shut the mouths of the lions, and multiplied fish and bread, and DELIGHTS in doing what men say is impossible.

And that same God says to me, (you can almost hear the urgency), “If the flowers, who don’t even work are clothed with splendor, do You not think I’m capable of clothing you?!”

The YOU in that verse has to refer to my children too if I believe that children are from God.

Is there really an argument about “my wisdom to only have children I can afford”? Do I not rob God of His own authority as He begs me in Scripture to acknowledge that all I have to do is “seek first the Kingdom, and everything else (all my needs) will be added?

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32 Responses

  1. The odd thing is about the people that get married and say, “We can’t afford kids right now….”
    It’s that if they waited until they could “afford” them, they’d never have them.
    Jesus was a poor carpenter’s son (as evidenced by the doves given as sacrifice when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus as a young child to the temple)- I am surely glad Mary didn’t say to God, “You know, we’re just not ready for this… it’s too soon for kids… we don’t have the money… I really want to make some pottery to make myself feel like a valuable part of society and sell it at the local market for a few years first…”
    Men should have their lives set up before marriage to be able to support a wife and children, that if the couple conceives on the wedding night, it’s not a scary thing, financially.
    That doesn’t mean having a mansion or servants, but it does mean knowing the man has a life-work and can provide for his family on any kind of level. God blesses those who work hard and have faith in Him to provide.
    If a couple “can’t afford” babies, they realistically can’t afford being married, either.

  2. Beautiful post! I am on the brink of tears… this is one of the reasons I had my tubes tied. :’-(
    And my hubby said boldly (in front of family)that he wishes we could have more. If only we had THOUGHT about this!

  3. Your post gave me the encouragement I needed. I reversed my tubes due to something that was said to me. That God would bless me and he knew what was in my heart. I am very happy I did. I think that if God put it in your heart to regret your reversal, then there is a means to find a way in reversing it. We did, and now we have left my womb open to God’s Will.

  4. I posted about this very topic some time ago. My thoughts:

    “Have you noticed that in recent years the way couples insure their financial future is to limit their family size? How often do you hear of couples being willing to sacrifice the size of their home, the type of car they drive, vacations, or even eating out for the sake of their financial futures? I rarely hear talk of spending less money on self-indulgent pleasures for financial security. It’s always, β€œwe can’t afford that many kids.” Even when the couple is living in relative financial prosperity.

    I’m not saying that everyone should have large families. Some couples are only meant to have one child, or two. Some couples never have any children. God is in control and we must be content with His plans for us. I’d just appreciate the same consideration that His plan for our family includes more than the standard 2.7 kids.

    What kind of world have we created when we consider a curse what God has declared a blessing and a gift? Even more alarming is that this attitude is just as prevalent among Christians as it is with nonbelievers. It should make us pause and consider our priorities. If our society has reduced even our children to nothing more than financial assets or liabilities, I shudder to think what kind of people we’re raising them to become.”

  5. I should add that my above comment (as does your post) does not address extreme or extraordinary cases. I know they exist. I’ve said numerous times that when we say that God isn’t concerned about our individual circumstances that we deny His loving compassion. That said, I do know families whose situations many in our culture would consider “extreme” for whom the Lord has provided despite them having numerous children.

    My comment was specifically related to couples who really do live in relative prosperity yet decry children as something they “cannot afford.” If you don’t want a lot of kids, that’s your choice, just be honest about why was all I was trying to say.

  6. I’ve been following all of your posts on this topic for awhile, and find them very interesting. I’m kind of in the middle on this subject…not too opinionated in one direction or the other.
    This is just a thought for me personally, but I’ve noticed in my online reading, that the blogs I’m more influenced and affected by are the ones where people are just sharing what God is doing in their life.
    Of course if you feel God leading you to really speak out about this subject then you need to follow His guidance, I’m just wondering if you’ve ever thought about the impact just sharing about YOUR life could have on people. Sharing the joys of your large family and letting them speak for themself.
    I hope you don’t take this as a critiscm, because that’s not how it’s intended. Like I said, it may just be me and that I respond better to examples that I can make my own conclusions about. I just think it’s obvious that you are blessed by the direction God has led your family, and just sharing that can be very impacting to people.
    God bless.:)

  7. In regards to Mrs. Gunning’s comment; being able to “afford” to get married needs a bit more clarification. Maybe I am just sensitive about this because some may say my husband and I can’t afford to be married. Well, seeing as how we’re expecting our first child, it’s probably best that we stay married.

    I’d just like to say that while it’s ideal for a man to have his finances all set before he’s married, that isn’t always the reality for various reasons. I think it’s important to look at a man’s work ethic and character, not just his net worth and investments.

    My husband’s job is not so great and doesn’t pay so great either, but he’s never complained. We are stepping out in faith together, some may call our faith stupidity.

  8. This post is timely to me. I was recently chatting with a very well-dressed mom at the library and she asked if I “just had the one.” So far, I told her and asked if she had more than her two girls I saw.
    Her immediate response was, “No! I don’t see how anyone can afford to have more than two!”

    She went on to tell me about the “great deal” she got on daycare, only $100 a week, for each. When I said I was a SAHM, she found someone else to talk to.

    As I left, I saw her and her girls (all wearing name brands) getting into their new SUV. I wanted to laugh. I couldn’t believe she couldn’t see the connection.

  9. Ashley,

    You have a thoughtful point…I’ve actually been told that before πŸ™‚

    From a fleshly standpoint, does it make sense to say I feel nothing less than *compelled* to speak about these things?

    Would it make sense to you to know that I literally walk around most of time “debating” into the air? Don’t worry…my hubby and children are used to it.

    They no longer ask, “Mom who are you talking to?”

    I debate/discuss/analyze in my sleep. I mean it. At any given time that I wake up for some reason, I can recite the last sentence that just went through my head…it’s usually some “point” I’m making.

    That’s actually why my husband encouraged me to start this blog. He knew I needed an outlet (besides him πŸ˜‰

    The spiritual side of me may want to justify that I am teaching women, as instructed to do in Titus 2. I tend to think the church forgets how insistent Paul was on being willing to be taught about rather personal issues.

    (Ex. Teach the women to love their children…wouldn’t it stand to reason that women must first be challenged to make sure they are even thinking about children from a biblical perspective?)

    We are a people who think no body has any business telling us anything regarding how we are to live. And while I believe there is a way, a time, a place and a limit, I do believe it is OK and even expected that we should exhort one another to pursue biblical living. (Paul even says we are to rebuke each other if necessary.)

    I’m sure there could be some flexibility on both ends?

  10. To catherine r.: I don’t really think that mrs. gunning was putting the emphasis that there was a certain financial status that had to be attained before a couple gets married — as she even made reference to Mary and Joseph being poor.

    I do think that she was meaning that marriage and the possibility of babies go together. If you are not ready for babies, then perhaps you are not ready for marriage, either. (Personally, I think this could be carried out in more areas than financial!)

    Anyway, that’s how I interpreted what she had to say. πŸ™‚

    But, you ARE married and ARE having a baby. All’s good. πŸ™‚

  11. Kelly:

    It IS important to consider the financial impact of adding more children to an existing family.

    We all know 1 Tim. 5:8 and I suggest that a father does well to consider the needs of his living children. This is not lack of faith, this is wisdom.

    There is no trump verse in Scripture regarding having as many children as God sends, regardless of the circumstance.

    We ALL make decisions regarding our circumstances. Again, this is not lack of faith, this is wisdom!

    If it is raining, I carry an umbrella. I do not say: “Well, Lord, you created the heavens and earth to rain, so no matter if I’m dying of pneumonia, I will allow myself to get wet because You said ‘seek first the kingdom!'”

    Seeking first the kingdom doesn’t mean throwing out common sense.

  12. Very well said Kelly, once again I agree 100%!! We cannot see what the future holds…like it says in Ecclesiastes, if we wait for “perfect” conditions, we will never get anything done! I am so glad God blessed us with the children He did, even though our financial situation is not good right now. Money changes like the wind, children are eternal!

  13. Elizabeth,

    Just to clarify what you’re saying regarding “common sense” and child-bearing:

    Even though our reproductive systems are not flawed, and even though God repeatedly discussed the blessing that children are, even to the point that he specifically says the man with many of them is blessed, and even though there is no mention in Scripture anywhere of humans interfering with the process of conception, and are in fact commanded to resume relations on the 14th day of a woman’s cycle, and even though our reproductive organs are the ONLY part of our bodies we willing alter to perform improperly–despite all that would point to the contrary, you’re saying that to throw out birth control would be a lack of common sense?

    Which, by the way, implies by default, that those of us who believe God is calling us to letting Him be sovereign are operating from a from a lack of common sense.

    Do you see the thread?

    Here again, it’s no condemnation to the one who practices BC..but the reason we give behind it has HUGE implications. The reasons imply everything…

    And if Christians are walking around believing that it’s a lack of common sense to receive children from the Lord, then the default mode automatically makes everyone else an idiot.

    Which begs the question…”How can God feel one way, but I’m an idiot for parroting Him”?

  14. I must say that I agree completely with you on this, Kelly!

    Who – in the history of the world – (and not just famous people, but everyone) would not be born if the qualifier was that “their parents could afford them?”

    If that were the case, NO ONE in third world countries could pro-create! Some of our most brilliant people should have been denied birth.

    I read Clarence Thomas’ biography earlier this spring…he was illegitimately born, raised by his grandpa, and most of the time they didn’t have money for shoes and underwear! WOW! And now he sits on our nation’s highest court! He’s only one example.

  15. Holly,

    That’s good. Like I’ve said before, even if we agreed that “common sense” was sufficient to prevent life, what’s the criteria?

    Does poverty really deny a child anything? (Like you said, how has poverty ever been a measure of the success or failure of a person?) And if so, who defines poverty? For me, poverty looks a lot different than someone in another country. For you, I may look like poverty!

    It’s not even common sense to try to reason with this one.

  16. I had another post script…I wonder how many of us would be here if our grandparents had used “common sense” on the affordability topic?

  17. Kelly:

    You wrote: “you’re saying that to throw out birth control would be a lack of common sense?”

    No, this was not my point. My point was that a father does well to consider the needs of his living children before adding more. Period. There were no further implications. You added those yourself.

    As far as you parroting God, well, I guess that depends on whether or not you believe you are speaking for Him.

    So I guess the real question is: are you speaking for God, Kelly?

  18. Elizabeth,

    …”How can God feel one way, but I’m an idiot for parroting Him”?

    God says: “Children are a blessing.”

    Kelly says: “Children are a blessing.”

    God says: “Happy is the man whose quiver is full, whose children are like olive shoots around the table, whose wife is a fruitful vine in the center of the house.”

    Kelly says: “Happy is the man whose quiver is full, whose children are like olive shoots around the table, whose wife is a fruitful vine in the center of the house.”

    Yes, I believe I’d call that parroting (not “speaking for God”). It’s speaking the things God spoke and agreeing! And anyone can do it, even you. It’s allowed.

    And I disagree about the implications only being mine. You may have only meant to make a specific point, but by making that point, you cannot escape making the other.

    That’s really my whole issue with this topic. It’s hard for me to see how every angle can be right. If the world (and the church, apparently) thinks that God needs me to control the womb because He can’t provide for His own (he only asks us to work honestly and said he would do the rest), doesn’t that challenge a whole different part of my theology? (Whether I really believe what the Bible says?)

    And can’t it be concluded that if we think that way, then unless we have not only a hefty income but absolute security (who has that?) in it, then I am reckless and senseless?

    Follow the dots now…couple A have been repeatedly told they need to “use wisdom” and stop having children (they have 3 already.) They “slip up” and get pregnant. Shame on them! They’re going to hear it now! What will people say? The pressure is so great I’ve heard of young Christian couples considering abortion to avoid the ridicule. How will they view that child? A welcomed blessing?

    I just don’t see the marriage of “children are a blessing” and “we should be preventing children for xyz reason”…

    I know I’m not being clear, I am really trying to push through this point. Not argue.

  19. Catherine, dear, I am not sure if you read anything after my second paragraph, because I completely agree with everything you said – and I said it in my comment! πŸ˜‰

    Please feel free to look at my blog as well, my personal living situation is FAR from stable at the moment. I just shared about it in the last week or so. I continue to trust the Lord with our family size and keeping the home, in spite of the world telling me we “can’t afford” children or for me to guard my family.

  20. Mrs. Gunning, this would not be the first time I have been overly sensitive. So thanks for being nice about it!

    I did not mean to put you on the spot. I realize that this affordability issue has gotten out of hand in our culture and it’s just hard sometimes not to feel pressured by it and be self conscious because of it. But you probably know that too.

  21. So I guess I shouldn’t be married then because we can barely afford to support ourselves, much less children? I truly can’t afford children, and by no means do I drive a new SUV (they pollute the earth anyways) or a nice house (I live in a shoebox apt) and I buy second hand clothes and my husband and I are full time students who work part time and pay for school with financial aid, loans, and scholarships.

    But yeah, I can see how we’re so selfish by living this grand lifestyle and then say we can’t afford kids? I don’t want children right now. So? Don’t judge.

  22. Isn’t the term “LETTING God be sovereign” an oxymoron? I mean, If YOU have to LET someone be sovereign, then they are not sovereign, YOU are.

  23. Anon,

    Well, that may not be the perfect choice of words…so let me put it another way:

    What God has created, we are leaving to function as He intended. I don’t snip my urethra in half because I’m annoyed with the number of bathroom visits a day.

    Similarly, using your reasoning, I should be able to jump off buildings and have God save me if it is His sovereign will that my time has not yet come. But His sovereignty doesn’t usually override my disobedience to the law of nature.

  24. I think what the issue here is our definition of affording. I can’t afford to buy brand new baby clothes or a designer crib is selfish. I can’t afford to feed my child nourishing food is not. I’ve met a child who’s family couldn’t feed her, right here in America. Her teeth were rotting in her mouth from malnutrition. She was in foster care because of the situation, but the bottom line wasn’t that her parents couldn’t put food on the table. Not because they were bad people, but because they really were that poor. They tried to get assistance, but it wasn’t enough. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life, and I was determined that I would not subject my own child to the same suffering. So, because I am also a struggling student, I use BC. It’s right for me and my husband. When we know that without a shadow of a doubt we can provide nourishing food for our child every day, a stable home, clothing and a good education, we’ll have children. Until then, we can’t. I don’t believe God doesn’t understand or objects to this.

  25. From a worldly standpoint (without the knowledge of a faithful, promising-to-provide God) this would make sense.

    For the Christian, it is a huge error in thinking.

    The Bible says that we are not even to THINK about what we will eat or wear (btw, a “good education” can be achieved without spending a dime. And it shouldn’t be a stipulation on deciding to prevent children. Benjamin Franklin, and many like him, was too poor for a “good” educaton; he taught himself.)

    For the Christian, we are only required to be hard-working and honest; after that we believe when He says he will provide for His own. If He gives children, and we are faithfully serving Him and working honestly, we have every reason to believe He will provide for them.

    That’s the glory of being a Christian! We serve a God who delight in showing forth His strength among those who will trust Him. We don’t have to worry at all! What peace, what unspeakable peace.

    “I have been young, and now I am old; in all my life I have never seen the righteous forsaken.”

    A quote from the Psalmist, David

  26. Anon,

    Another thought…I mentioned this in another post, but (assuming you are a Christian), do you think what God asked of His people in the Bible is different than what He asks from us?

    Or do you think the Bible is an example for us to follow–to glean insight into the mind of God?

    Based on your theory of man’s wisdom, the children of Israel would have certainly been expected to practice BC.

    They were not only captives, slaves, poverty-stricken and under tremendous amount of mistreatment, once they were released from their bondage, they were then stranded in the wilderness for 40 years.

    The entire time–from the time they were in bodage under a cruel dictator, to the time they were through roaming in the dessert (suffering illness, death, etc.), God repeatedly commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (and the earth wasn’t empty, btw). And He repeatedly said, “If you will obey me I will multiply you.”

    Where was man’s wisdom? Where it belonged–outside of the decision to control life.

    Are we just too stubborn to see what is so plainly laid out for us?

  27. Just to jump in…
    Ashley, a personal story.
    My husband and I got married and could not afford anything! Because of sin in our lives prior to marriage, we started out with a newborn too. (I’ve always marveled at how the Lord blessed us in our sin and changed the course we were following for eternity!)
    There have been many times where we had so little, yet He always provided for our every need, and even many desires that weren’t needs!
    He provided a $1000 check to us when no one one earth knew we needed (almost exactly) that amount for a repair to our car! He provided groceries via gift certificates to a local market, from an anonymus source. He provided clothing for me and my kids and continues to do so, so abundantly in fact that I usually have 40 gallon bags of clothes to give away to other mom’s who need them!
    Our 5th child is due in 9 weeks, and she will be a blessing to us! I know that the Lord will always provide for all of our needs according to His riches (not mine) and will always do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or imagine!

  28. Anon,
    I am sorry that you are not able to “afford” much right now. I know we have been in some pretty tough places ourselves.
    Thankfully, Marriage isn’t about “affording” since that can change quickly! but God deosn’t change, and He promises to provide.

    I would like to ask (not that you have to answer me, just to think about) is attending college, and the associated debt, something that is important to your future? You say you don’t really want children now, but is that something that you’d like in your future? My point is, many of our young ladies spend their time, effort, talent and money pursuing a college degree, something they think they are “supposed” to do, that in fact is contrary to the path they see for their future.

    Also, you said… “I don’t believe God doesn’t understand or objects to this.”
    I think this comes down to a world view issue. Some of us believe that God, as the Creator and Sustainor of the world, creates the life in the womb, that physical acts aren’t solely responsible. And the He will “provide for all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Others believe that through physical acts only, life begins, and as far as provision, you’re on your own. (There are of course degrees between) I’d ask, do you believe that lives are only the result of physical acts, or the result of God ordained timing?

    We see it as an issue of blessing. Will we choose to limit God, and tell Him “Bless me with health, riches, a house” and other blessings we will accept, “but keep the kids Lord.”
    I am not saying you’re wrong. Ask God what His will is for you and follow it whole heartedly. He will guide and He will provide!

  29. Yes, I am a Christian. I understand God provides, but we live in a society that requires money, as evil and as dirty as it is. And while I may educate myself at the local library, unfortunately, a degree is required for the job I feel called to. I do want children, but I am a teacher. I look at each of my students as if they were my own. I work with underprivileged students in Louisiana and I know they need what I can give them. I have already worked my hardest to reduce my cost of education. I’m a PhD Fellow, which means I get all of my tuition paid for plus I get a small living stipend. It helps, but it’s not enough to start a family. Certainly not in this economy.

    As to my opinion on bc, I recall a story that seems really appropriate.

    A man of God was caught in a flood. Several people paddled past him on a raft and offered him a place on their raft. He said, “No, my Lord God will provide. He will Save me.” A rescue boat arrived and the man refused to get in. “My Lord God will Save me. ” A helicopter flew by and threw him a life line. Still the man refused. “God will save me.” The man drowned shortly there after. In Heaven he looked at the Lord and said, “Lord, why is it that you did not save me?” And God replied, “My child, I sent you a raft, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?” At this time, I believe He’s providing me with bc. This is his way of providing for me and making sure that when I am ready, the children I have can lead joyful lives. He gave man the ability to reason, to think and to develop tools to assist us in life. If we turn our back on all that man has created because they might interfere with God’s plan, then we’d still be living lives without the technology we take for granted–electricity, medical care, ect. I don’t see the sense in this. Should we refuse medical treatment for our children because if they are sick the Lord may want to call them home? I don’t think so. I think the Lord wants us to use the technology available to provide the best life for our children. In particular, I don’t see a problem with oral contraceptives because if an egg is not released, just like it’s not released on many other days of the month, then there is no issue. There is evidence that the pill can cause you to abort if you are pregnant, which is why you shouldn’t take it if you are. So it’s up to me to know my body. I pay very, very close attention to my cycles, and if there is a doubt, I take a month off or see my Dr. Yes, I can see the problem with the morning after pill and certainly abortion. Preventing conception and harming life are not the same thing.
    I strongly feel that now is not the right time. And, since BC is not 100% effective (unlike a hysterectomy), then should God decide that now is the right time, he most certainly could beat the odds and help me conceive. Should I become pregnant now, I would look upon it as an unexpected blessing. I think that is one of the most marvelous things about God. If He wills it–it will be, regardless of what I do to stop it. Try as I might, His will will be done.

  30. I also wanted to mention, that anyone who feels BC is not for them is clearly not a problem for me. I only feel that it is right for me. I cannot speak for anyone else.

  31. Waiting until you can afford it? Things can change in an instant. You may not have another day. Pray about everything. God will meet your needs.

    Alex(homeschooling mom)

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