Generation Cedar

From time to time I choose to publicly answer a reader who has emailed me with a question or thought.  The following question is, I’m sure, a universal one among couples who have approached the issue of birth control and children differently from the norm:

“I am a Christian, homeschooling mom…My husband and I have a daughter who was married to a godly young man last year. They are now expecting child #1!! Needless to say, we are all thrilled!!

Sadly, though, our world, and even our Christian world (“the church”) doesn’t always embrace children or trusting the Lord for when and how many children He wants for a couple.

What would you write to a new mother to help her know that she isn’t crazy for trusting God in this and to help her see the many blessings she can expect?”

(I’ve written extensively on this subject because it is one dear and near to my heart.  Anyone looking for more details and information I’ve written on the topic can do a search from the sidebar.)

After I thought about the things I would say, something struck me again (it has struck before)…our thinking has been so deeply affected that we don’t even realize that it is virtually insane that women even need encouragement regarding child-bearing. That’s not an insult to the mother…that’s an insult to our intelligence, having allowed a system to turn nature upside down in our minds.

What I mean is, the reproduction process works (usually) just like any other bodily function.  It’s natural, it’s normal, it’s built-in. Our ability to tamper with it shouldn’t change that.  Can you think of any other physiological process that requires “encouragement”?

Imagine a new trend…people found out that they could get a lot more work done if they got a catheter.  Think of it, you could go for hours without the need to stop and go to the restroom.  At first people are hesitant, but after a while it catches on.  Then one day somebody gets the idea that they don’t want to use a catheter–they found it caused infection and just doesn’t seem normal.  Problem:  the “norm” has been changed.  And now, if you don’t have a catheter, you’re weird.  So, authors start writing books, blogs and articles about how it’s “OK” to go catheterless.  And despite all the encouragement, those catheterless people will continue to receive criticism simply for not interfering with nature.  If you ask me, that’s insane.  Should people be allowed to get catheters if they want them? SURE!  But should that be the norm?

You’re smirking at my example.  And yet, it’s entirely comparable to the birth control issue with one difference:  there is a lot more at stake…namely, living people.

What would I say to a young, new mother?

  1. Keep your eyes on Him who gives life.  Ridicule will come–be sure of it. If the Lord has shown you that “it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves”, you can get it settled in your heart that every child born into your home is a good gift and then set your face like flint to the Son.  If He blesses you with many children, pray that it will be an instrument through which you can glorify Him as you become “set apart” in a culture hostile to life.
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  3. Research all the health benefits from having babies, avoiding birth control, ovulating less and breastfeeding.  Every bit of research I have done about health-related issues has only confirmed God’s design for our bodies.
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  5. Keep far-sighted vision.  We have to train ourselves in this society to look past today.  In an instant-gratification kind of culture, it is harder and harder to invest our time and energy into things that can take years to see the final product of our labors.  Keeping our eyes focused on heavenly things–the immortal souls of our children–provides the needed stamina to keep at a job that may seem never-ending.
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  7. Stay mission-minded.  Motherhood is a natural calling a woman can embrace with full confidence that this is God’s will for her life.  It doesn’t require a plan on our part, a decision we have to make or second-guess. It’s usually the natural result of  marital love.  And if and when it comes, it is our mission field.  Think of it as such.  No missionary ever used the ease or hardship of his circumstance as a measure of God’s will in his ministry.  Nor should we.  The Christian life doesn’t promise anything beyond basic needs regarding our physical realm.  Consider arguments like “affordability”:  If God said he would take care of His own, emphasizing with the statement, “O ye of little faith”, we mock Him to assume we need to take control out of His hands.  “His own” includes our children, since He, in fact, is the author of life.

As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think it’s necessary to rule out any and every consideration of a couple limiting their family size for extreme reasons.  I don’t claim a dogmatic belief.  What I do believe with all my heart is that our starting point should be the same as that of Scripture.

There is no evidence, whatsoever, that God is for our refusing the blessing of children “just because”, for controlling life and altering normally-functioning body parts. Marriage, intimacy and children are the standard, normal processes. If one chooses to stop the reproduction process, let it be a personal choice.  But according to God and nature, it is the deviant action, not the expected one.

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176 Responses

  1. My oldest daughter is only 4, I’m expecting my third, and I’m already instilling in her the idea that pregnancy is normal, natural and a blessing simply by my comments and response to it all. She’s excited about a new baby boy! If this reader homeschooled her daughter, I would have hoped that all those years were used to instill this belief. I could’ve understood the comment more if she has said “my daughter-in-law is expecting her first” rather than daughter. Did soon-to-be grandmom just now realize that these things need to be passed down?

  2. Kelly, This may be my favorite post of yours that I’ve read so far. May God richly bless you for speaking the truth!

  3. Interestingly, I think young children simply expect babies to be born – they are taught that it’s a “good” “wise” or “sensible” thing to use contraception when they get older.

    I remember my little niece saying to my sister when I got married “Can I visit Auntie Rachel’s baby when she is married?” and “Auntie Rachel will have a baby in her tummy when she’s married” (Sadly she has been disappointed so far!!) Or all those children who ask Mummy and Daddy when they are going to have a little sister or brother.

    I think this suggests what a natural and normal thing it is – and society works very hard to change this mindset when children get older, sadly!

  4. Rachel,

    So very true! Here’s what my 6 year-old said to me last night (while the baby was crying, no less…)

    “Have you stopped having babies?”

    I said, “Why do you say that?”

    “Because I want one.”

  5. Kelly,

    I get very, *v e r y* ill when I’m pregnant. My youngest is just 6.5 months old but already I’ve begun thinking of ways to handle another rough pregnancy with three children to care for. A post I found spoke to my heart (besides yours, of course!) are two posts by Bethany at Apple Cider Mill:
    http://applecidermama.blogspot.com/2010/01/mothers-sanctification.html

    and

    http://applecidermama.blogspot.com/2009/05/sanctification-of-pregnancy.html

  6. Love this post! I will add, though, that in many many families that I know, the buck stops with the father. Obviously, the father is head of household in a Christian home, but I have quite a few friends whose husbands ran out to get a vasectomy after they had a nice, neat 2 children (one friend’s husband got it done while she was still pregnant!!!!). The horrible part about it is that some of these wives have been praying in earnest, diligently training their children and waiting on the Lord to touch their husband’s heart, and now he’s gone and “taken care of it”. 🙁

    I think pastors need to be preaching these truths from the pulpit more often…men listen to men (and hopefully, their pastors!) more than they listen to their wife who wants more children. It is HEARTBREAKING to me how many people I know (some of them non-believers) who would LOVE to have more babies but their husbands have said no. 🙁 I think many men are deceived (as are many women) into believing that children are more of a hindrance to the Christian life than they are a blessing. They rationalize their decision by saying that they will have more time to “serve” the Lord if they don’t have too many children. What they don’t realize is that a large family working and serving the Lord together is far more powerful than one Dad who goes out on his own to serve.

    Anyway, that got long, but just wanted to point out that men have a role (obviously! haha!) in the decision of family size, too. Again, great thought provoking post! I’ll be reading lots of your archives at the hospital after I deliver our fourth baby who’ll be arriving in early April 🙂

  7. I am confused. Birth control is man made and synthetic. As in not natural and made in a lab somewhere. It is medicine, that does not grow on trees GOD made? You can NOT be for someone choosing to have children under God’s direction but, to say that you think birth control is “far more natural” is indeed Weird! I will go a little distance on this and assume that Jennifer is talking about the “natural METHOD of birthcontrol” and that is different than birthcontrol. Confused?

  8. Melissa,

    Yes, me too. And I will have a shot at the “natural” method…The New Testament gives one time and one time only that a husband and wife are to abstain…instances of prayer and fasting.

    The only time the “other” method is mentioned is Onan, killed for “the thing that displeased God”. (Some argue he was killed for failing to do his brotherly duty…however, there was already a punishment for that–a very light one involving the widow’s placing her foot on his head in public for shame ;-))

    And again, not that I think it’s wrong in every case, just that it may not be as natural as we like to make it, and certainly things we should ponder before our decisions.

    Oh and another interesting tidbit…in Deut. a couple was to abstain during the week of her cycle and one week after…resuming on, guess what day? The 14th day…the most likely for ovulation 😉

    But yes, I would like Jennifer to expound a bit too.

  9. I like that analogy. I think it is a good illustration of how the norm has been reversed. And you know, we could get into how using catheters isn’t sinful, and how God doesn’t say anything about *not* using them, and how he gave us our clever minds to come up with that solution to our problems, but that isn’t the point, is it? :p

    What should be normal and natural has become highly regulated and technologically restrained to the point that those who do view it as normal and natural are the “crazy” ones. Well, I find being “crazy” when it comes to reproduction to be so freeing and peace-inducing.

    Love your advice to the young woman, as well.

    Oh, and I too am curious about how birth control is “more natural”!

  10. Seriously ladies, relax. I think birth control, which has been around far longer in various methods, is far more natural than a tube in the urethra and very much justified; I don’t see how this is weird. That passage in the Bible spoke of abstaining from sex, not trying to get pregnant; the idea that God commands us to try compulsively to get pregnant as much as possible is an unnatural idea to me. Onan was killed for mistreating his wife, dishonoring his brother and in general being a wicked lout, not for refusing to pump his semen. Does this clear up your confusion?

  11. “I am confused. Birth control is man made and synthetic. As in not natural and made in a lab somewhere.”

    Surely you’re aware of more old-fashioned types of birth control, which included herbs and other natural resources that God made?

  12. Jennifer,

    Actually, no, not at all. First you said: “the idea that God commands us to try compulsively to get pregnant as much as possible is an unnatural idea to me”…

    That is an assertion, taken out of context, to try to inflate the topic. No where in the post or elsewhere did the idea of “compulsively trying to get pregnant” come up. That is not even remotely akin to the subject at hand. You’ve got to stick to the point to maintain credibility of your argument.

    We are discussing the natural consequences of intimacy between husband and wife–children or no children–and how that natural consequence should be considered the norm.

    Science nor the Bible supports a “norm” of controlling birth.

    And again, there is strong argument against your explanation of Onan. Why would death be his punishment for dishonor if there was already a much softer punishment established for his offence?

  13. “Why would death be his punishment for dishonor if there was already a much softer punishment established for his offence?”

    Because God often works in different ways than the law of the land. Onan was trying to torment Tamar because he knew the family hated her and she’d be considered worthless if she didn’t conceive.

    ““the idea that God commands us to try compulsively to get pregnant as much as possible is an unnatural idea to me”

    This is what your interpretation of that Bible passage seemed to imply to me, that sex is always for procreation by default and God rarely commands to abstain from it.

  14. Jennifer,

    There is no implication about “sex is always for procreation”…you just made that up because it’s easier to argue against something “radical” like that.

    Sex is just that…a gift given to couples. The results of it should be as natural as the act itself. We should not be shocked or in avoidance of what God has created to naturally occur in a marriage.

    There is no argument against the fact that “reproduction is natural”. If we weren’t so “informed” by technology, it would be a lot easier to see. If we had only the Bible and what nature tells us to inform us of what is “natural”, our thinking would be very different, I think, and large families wouldn’t be considered odd.

  15. But “the natural consequences of intimacy between a husband and wife” do not have to include a baby, do they? Is that what you mean by “no children?” There are sexual practices that can be satisfying to both partners that do not involve intercourse. Such non-intercourse (but nevertheless sexual) activities could be construed as a form of birth control, could they not? I confess that I am unaware of any biblical proclimations mandating otherwise. Perhaps some of those that Kelly has mentioned previously in this post do address it, but I am simply too obtuse in my worldly ways to pick up on them. I simply can’t argue with “the bible says we have to try to have a baby with every sexual encounter, therefore it is so” because, as has been pointed out before on here in one form or another, we’re just coming at this from different world views and are unlikely to change each other’s minds.

  16. “you just made that up because it’s easier to argue against something “radical” like that”

    I most certainly did not, Kelly. I thought that was the clear implication. I find this position easy to argue and am certainly not so desperate that I’d make something up and then lie about it.

    “There is no argument against the fact that “reproduction is natural”.”

    There are natural genitals and then there’s natural common sense, the latter which often overrules the former and confirms that children aren’t best for everyone, all the time. Again, many forms of birth control come straight from the earth and interact with the body, rather than simply invading it like a catheter. In order to lose weight, Kelly, I use scientifically created fat-ridding pills as well as natural methods like exercise and healthy eating; in order to sleep, I use laboratory created sleeping pills INSTEAD of a more natural pill we have which simply increases our biological need to sleep. I am currently using birth control rather than chewing weeds or what have you to help my cycle, and I frankly don’t care if anyone considers one or all of these things to be natural or not. When I marry, I will continue to use birth control; I will do what’s best for my family, my body and my financial situation, not what the conservative world deems best.

  17. I feel sure that my comments earlier are a little more harsh sounding than they were intended Jennifer. However, now I am more deeply disturbed than before at your confession of… “When I marry, I will continue to use birth control.” Now I am seriously sad for you. You have no business arguing child/no child when you are not even married and honestly, you have so many bigger problems than that decision if you are on birth control before you are even married. You go ahead and let birthcontrol, your financial situation, your body, etc. be in control of your life and God will never be…. Now that you are good and mad at me for this comment I will make it worse by saying that I will pray for you and your future decisions.

  18. Eric,

    With all due respect, I’m pretty sure I’ve gone overboard to emphasize that I do not believe every interaction between husband and wife “have to include a baby”. That’s so off topic it’s beginning to be frustrating.

    I really didn’t think my point was that hard to understand…here we go, yet again:

    MY POINT:

    Having babies is a natural consequence of marital intimacy–though not every instance causes conception, nor is sex “only” for children.

    That natural consequence (if I get pregnant from having sex with my husband) should be considered normal, every time.

    Choosing to stop that process either temporarily or permanently is one’s prerogative; my challenge is for us to consider how our thinking has been distorted. Just because we can stop conception doesn’t make that the normal or natural thing to do.

    A woman with a large family should be considered the norm, if we were looking at it from a biological and, I believe, Spiritual aspect.

  19. I understand your position, Kelly; I don’t think there’s a thing unnatural with your beautiful family or your decision to have them. I just wish more would respect my own decisions the same way. I expected people to disagree, but not for the whole board to throw up their hands in shock.

  20. I will say this then I am signing off tonight. I feel like my talking today has gone overboard, Jennifer- one more ?….. If you wish more people would respect your decisions, you might just ask yourself ~ Why they don’t? Is it possible they are right? Putting aside right and wrong,

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Romans 15:13

  21. I think it would be wise for both Eric and Jennifer to please go read Kelly’s post again. I truly don’t mean to offend by suggesting that either. There just seems to be some pretty far reaching confusion about what was written. I see no where in the post anything about other elements of a couple’s sexual relationship being used exclusively for birth control. It wasn’t even part of the post. I don’t believe other activities that may be part of a couple’s intimate times together should be used as birth control just like any other form is not normative. It is about the heart. I certainly see nothing that says that couples are to ONLY have sex in hopes of creating a child. What about couples beyond child-bearing age? That is ridiculous! Really. It is also not intended that way in scripture. What I read was that sex is a gift GOD gave to husbands and wives to be fruitful and multiply and he made our bodies to be able to enjoy that gift. The NATURAL expectation and HOPE should be that in God’s timing there will be children. Certainly a woman does not get pregnant each and every time she and her husband have sex. BTW, Scripture does give us examples of activities that are OUTSIDE of HIs design for our bodies and for marriage. Birth CONTROL is just that-controlling conception and birth by means outside how God intended our bodies to function. There are actually more elements of confusion coming out of those comments then I have time to go into but I hope you get my point. Kelly, great post! I think very logical and accurate. the catheter analogy is priceless! Actually gave me quite a chuckle. Thank you for continuing to Share the truth in God’s word. blessings to all,jen in al

  22. I think it would be wise for both Eric and Jennifer to please go read Kelly’s post again. I truly don’t mean to offend by suggesting that either. There just seems to be some pretty far reaching confusion about what was written. I see no where in the post anything about other elements of a couple’s sexual relationship being used exclusively for birth control. It wasn’t even part of the post. I don’t believe other activities that may be part of a couple’s intimate times together should be used as birth control just like any other form is not normative. It is about the heart. I certainly see nothing that says that couples are to ONLY have sex in hopes of creating a child. What about couples beyond child-bearing age? That is ridiculous! Really. It is also not intended that way in scripture. What I read was that sex is a gift GOD gave to husbands and wives to be fruitful and multiply and he made our bodies to be able to enjoy that gift. The NATURAL expectation and HOPE should be that in God’s timing there will be children. Certainly a woman does not get pregnant each and every time she and her husband have sex. BTW, Scripture does give us examples of activities that are OUTSIDE of HIs design for our bodies and for marriage. Birth CONTROL is just that-controlling conception and birth by means outside how God intended our bodies to function. There are actually more elements of confusion coming out of those comments then I have time to go into but I hope you get my point. Kelly, great post! I think very logical and accurate. the catheter analogy is priceless! Actually gave me quite a chuckle. Thank you for continuing to Share the truth in God’s word. blessings to all,jen in al

  23. Melissa, have you ever aksed yourself why your definition of the right and wrong way to live is so one-sided and narrowly across the board? If not, you should.

  24. Jen, with your argument you could also say that chemotherapy, epidurals, weight-loss supplements, X-rays, and organ donations are wrong. My heart is just fine, thank you; I will be making decisions based on myself and my husband’s needs. Just because we have reproductive organs doesn’t mean we’re meant to be parents; there are superior factors and organs, like physical conditions and brains, which determine that.

  25. Here’s my original post to you, Melissa, which repeatedly hasn’t posted:

    Thank you for your apology and well-meaning, I’m sure, patronization Melissa. You’ve proven the prejudice of so many who assume that those who use birth control, which may well be for the best of their family, can’t possibly be doing God’s will. I suppose I should ignore financial difficulties and, as the brilliant Nancy Campbell suggested, get my womb rattling regardless of how it is?

    It’s really none of your business, but my birth control pills were prescribed by a doctor after several female difficulties I experienced and they have greatly helped. My doctor is a Christian, though I suppose you will now feel the need to pray for her because she led me to what you deem as heresy?

    “You have no business arguing child/no child when you are not even married”

    That’s about the most non-valid statement I’ve seen yet. I have every business arguing what I think the Bible says and what it doesn’t; I also have every business knowing and deciding what I can and can’t handle. I know how I am around babies, I know my limits. You, on the other hand, have no business whatsoever telling me what I can and can’t do as a Christian woman.

    My apologies Kelly if there ends up being several duplicates of this message.

  26. Jennifer,

    Whatever you ultimately decide, I just think it’s important that you follow every thought/argument out to its fullest end, being confident of your conclusions (which is why I keep writing on these topics). Why? Because Christians have an obligation to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.

    Let me ask you to think about what you mentioned regarding “chemotherapy, epidurals, weight-loss supplements, X-rays, and organ donations”…

    All those things involve treating pain and/or brokenness and sickness in the body. We are FOR that, just as God is for healing and life-giving measures.

    Birth control prevents life and in many cases negatively affects the life of the mother. It’s not comparable to medical advances that promote life.

  27. Why aren’t you all talking about sending aid to Haiti instead of arguing over whether you should/shouldn’t have children/more children?

    Real Christians do good works. Why don’t you do some?

  28. Jennifer…

    I meant to add…

    Ultimately we have to confront the question of our belief in God’s sovereignty and whether we are willing to “submit” (there’s that nasty word) to His design and order. He gave us brains to make decisions about things that require decisions; other things He built in our bodies and set in order so that there would be no question about His will.

    We can fight and kick against the way God made things, but in the end, He still made them that way and we’re still fighting and kicking.

  29. Birth control can save lives and preserve health too, Kelly; it’s all a matter about the individual. In matters such as those, the mother exists; the what-if baby doesn’t, not even as an embryo. I’ve tried to explain why I think birth control’s not forbidden and more natural, at least, than catheters; I’m sorry if I failed in this. Thank you for your polite discussion and advice.

  30. We both know that having a womb is not proof that God wants everyone to have babies though, Kelly. Some couples aren’t meant to and I credit them for taking responsibility about a matter they’re not meant to handle.

    “Real Christians do good works. Why don’t you do some?”

    Quite a presumption about the women here, Laverne. Obama’s already promising to practically ship our whole country over there anyway.

  31. So you’re against sending aid? I’m curious. It’s interesting how professed Christians are sometimes less than eager to actually help people! What a peculiar Heaven you’re going to inhabit.

    My first cousin is in Haiti right now, digging out bodies. So yes, I’m being presumptuous. I would expect the Christian blogs would be full of how to offer aid to those suffering. Instead they are talking and talking about the usual on and on and on.

    Sad.

  32. My heart is heavy as I read everyone’s comments. There are advantages and disadvantages to participating in a forum where no one knows who you are. My comment is not meant as accusation against anyone. I am just going to share what the Lord has shared with me.

    My husband and I have used many natural forms of “birth control” over the years. Despite our best efforts, 4 of our 5 daughters were unplanned, and I am so glad God knows best.

    Something has changed for us these past few months. I saw a picture with a poll about abortion on facebook. The baby in the photo looked unnatural and the picture was hazy. A closer look revealed that this baby was the result of a partial birth abortion. I thought I was going to throw up. I was so repulsed by it that I could only think, “This is an abominiation.”

    A couple of weeks later I had a dream in which God was standing behind me and he spoke to me. He showed me all of the people in our nation, busy with their lives. He quoted for me the scripture that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” He told me it was easy to see these people who were chasing wealth, position and things to be leaning on their own understanding. “but,” he said, “my own are also leaning on their own understanding” by using birth control. He was frustrated with us. He quoted the scriptures that said, “children are a blessing from the Lord” and “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. He said we tell Him “bless us, but don’t bless us like that… we’re done having children”. And, “use us, but not like that”. He said it is the Lord who opens and closes the womb, and if we want to be in HIS will we need to let Him build our families. He showed me an image of abortion and said, “Yes, this is an abomination,” and then he showed me our people using all manner of birth control in the name of “family planning” and said, “This also is an abomination.”

    Afterward I felt again like being sick again when I realized my own folly. Now you can put the whole dream thing under scrutiny, but the fact is that you cannot argue with scripture and the logical use of it here was so clear cut and simple it blew my mind. My husband and I stopped using birth control and our relationship has been blessed as a result. I no longer carry the burden of worrying about becoming pregnant. There is intimacy and an enjoyment of one another that we did not have before. It was always the running joke that I got pregnant if my husband breathed on me, and yet I have not become pregnant. If God blesses us with another child it will be just that… a blessing.

    It is not about what is natural or not natural. It is about trusting God completely. It is not about even “leaving it to God”, but rather GIVING it to God. Leaving it implies an omission on our part. We are to be, however, participants in God’s plan for our lives. We should be seeking His guidance in everything, from great to small. If we can trust Him with the right house or the right job—for Him to juggle that requires working with more people and factors than just us. But to trust Him with our children— being Lord over our bodies, that should be the easy part. Isn’t He just as capable to decide when it is appropriate to open and close our womb? Any part of our lives that we hold onto with tight closed fists is glory we deny God.

    Still in doubt? I encourage you to read all of Psalm 127 and then use a concordance to do a word study on rewards.

    Thanks for your forebearance on my long comment.

  33. Laverne,

    It’s easy to stay kind when I receive such dumb comments; having a discussion over an issue (any issue) doesn’t exclude the very real possibility that everyone involved is doing good works…as if those are separate from seeking to honor the Lord in our decisions about children. It’s never a waste of time to challenge thoughts on important issues that deeply affect the church.

    We are organizing a help fund for Haiti through my church….sorry to burst your bubble.

    Refrain from dumb comments.

  34. Jennifer,

    I also wanted to mention (although you may have read this here many times already) that one reason some Christians are so hostile to artificial birth control (myself included) is because of the abortifacient properties that have been discovered. (Though the package insert itself discloses it.) Many Christian doctors are beginning to refuse to prescribe them because they can cause early abortions.

    This reason, if nothing else, should give Christians serious pause.

  35. Dear Kelly, Thank you for answering Jennifer’s question about life-saving treatment versus life-preventing or killing methods. 🙂 Many blessings to you and your sweet family!

    Laverne, no need for the hostility really! It is heart breaking to see and hear what is happening over there. I am going to assume that the presumptions you were making about people in this discussion are because you are truly overwrought over their plight. Please try not to assume that each person here is not doing “good works” every day.

    Jennifer, I will pray that God changes your heart to love children the way He wants to. You may scoff at that now but you never know….:)

    nighty night, jen in al

  36. Hi Kelly:

    LOTS of comments! I’m not into debating an issue that seems so cut and dry (if you believe the Bible is God’s Word) – just wanted to say that the catheter/birth control comparison is awesome – I love it! and keep on keepin on…Hope you had a pleasant Christmas and New Years Celebration.

  37. Kelly,
    Liked the comparison very much. We know the Lord has told us we are only having one child. And we are very grateful to have her. I believe in letting the Lord control the womb (easy for me to say since He said 1…LOL) But knowing we are having one didn’t shut down our sex life! It is silly to think you were saying that is sex’s only purpose in a marriage. Sometimes I don;t know how you take some of this; it is certainly due to God’s gifting.

  38. Mrs. Santos – “I’m not into debating an issue that seems so cut and dry (if you believe the Bible is God’s Word)”

    That was about as flippant and disrespectful to Christians as Laverne’s comments. It is entirely possible to believe that the Bible is God’s Word and yet have disagreement in it’s applications in so many areas. I congratulate you for your ease with this subject. Best wishes.

  39. Yep I have heard of abortion-inducing birth control pills, Kelly, and I’ve got my eyes open. Thanks.

    “It is silly to think you were saying that is sex’s only purpose in a marriage”

    It’s not silly at all, especially considering the fact that I and Eric I’m sure have seen plenty of Christians use this logic before. It’s a miracle how WE take some of this.

    Linda-wow. You have a dream and just like that any dissenting opinions are blown away in your mind. I know how powerful dreams can be, but yours contained ALL the rhetoric I’ve seen ad nauseum from your side of the issue for years now. Unbelievable. You’ll forgive me I’m sure if I don’t consider the matter closed by any stretch of the mind.

    “Now you can put the whole dream thing under scrutiny, but the fact is that you cannot argue with scripture and the logical use of it here was so clear cut and simple it blew my mind.”

    It’s not clear cut and simple at all; babies are blessings, so everyone should have them? I’m so tired of that Linda I can’t even tell you, and I won’t bother arguing it with you.

    “Jennifer, I will pray that God changes your heart to love children the way He wants to. You may scoff at that now but you never know :)”

    You assume I don’t love children because I might put off having them for a while, or decide I’m just not one meant to be a mother? I’d return your big, rather superflous grin, but my heart’s not in it with all the numerous other silly presumptions about my character that have been made in one night.

    As for you Mrs. Santos, Lori expressed my thoughts perfectly.

  40. Gosh such a nice uplifting post that has somehow been dragged through the mud. I ( and my children) listen to all sorts of birth control advertisements every time we turn on the tube! I thought the post was very original and thought provoking, we are surrounded by a world that is steeped in birth control, it was practically the first thing the Dr. asked me when my first baby was born at age 37. I said are you kidding????? I was talking with a girlscout leader who told me she had overheard one of the older girls actually say that she thought she would like to marry at 18 and begin her family, the scout leader was outraged that any girl in this day would say such a horrible thing and questioned if the girl had fit parents. I walked away very glad I had pulled my girls out after the first year. Gosh if God told you personally not to get pregnant fine, but I believe I read somewhere that He said go forth and multiply .
    I really enjoyed your funny original post Kelly it was a great way to look at something from a different angle.

  41. I’d also like to (respectfully) point out that it is, indeed, the Lord who opens and closes the womb, not man and his chemical/hormonal concoctions. My 6 younger siblings are living proof of that! My mother was taking various forms of birth control (pill, “shot”, norplant, etc) each time one of them was conceived!! 🙂

    Might as well save yourself the time, money, and possible harmful side effects of birth control 😉

  42. Jennifer – why not look at it this way: God will not give us anything we cannot handle, and he knows us better than we know ourselves. Be open to life and let Him decide if he wants to use us to be an instrument in populating his kingdom. After all, aren’t we called to trust in him?

    To everyone else who sees so clearly that birth control is contrary to the will of God – I thought this was an excellent, thought-provoking post. In fact, it was so good it sounded… Catholic! =)

  43. Ree,

    Good question…and let me just say that I struggle with deciding whether to post certain topics that I’m so passionate about simply for this reason.

    However, I don’t believe a wife has to be silent on a matter of deep importance such as this one. I believe she can state her heart, even “plead her case” to her husband and present him with literature and any other information that might be helpful in that. A Christian husband is to “love his wife as himself” and should patiently consider anything of importance to her.

    With that said, some husbands aren’t so open. I would encourage a wife in that situation to especially exercise her privilege to approach the throne of God with fervency and consistency. (Stay tuned…this comment comes as I’ve just read an excellent thought on prayer from Spurgeon–will post soon.)

    “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

    I have seen the hearts of many husbands turned over time.

  44. Wow, Kelly, God must have given you thick skin! You post something beautiful and scriptural and you get some amazing attacks (don’t they know the purpose and vision of this blog?)as well as comments that are totally unrelated (Haiti….and yes, this Mom of many has been praying and has sent financial aid). To actually address the post, I especially loved your point number 4…that missionaries don’t count the difficulties as a measure of God’s will. How true! Thanks again for an inspiring post.

  45. “My mother was taking various forms of birth control (pill, “shot”, norplant, etc) each time one of them was conceived!!”

    Then I suppose I might as well take birth control, and if God really wants me to have a baby, He’ll just break through it.

    Pilgrim, I’m not Calvinist, so I don’t believe everything that occurs is God’s will. I believe in taking responsibility for myself. And Trisha, not every disagreement is an attack.

    “To everyone else who sees so clearly that birth control is contrary to the will of God”

    I see clearly that your ways of living are not set in stone. Thanks for the insinuation anyway.

  46. Jennifer, would you further claim that not every person in the history of the world has come into the existence by the will of God? Some people exist without God willing it?

    “Then I suppose I might as well take birth control, and if God really wants me to have a baby, He’ll just break through it.” Then why bother with the birth control anyway?

    “To everyone else who sees so clearly that birth control is contrary to the will of God” – there was no insinuation towards you here at all. My point really was to those who DO see this clearly, and that is that the fullness of truth is found in the Catholic Faith. Pardon my boldness.

    God’s law IS often set in stone, beginning with the 10 Commandments:) Even Protestant Churches condemned contraception until about a century ago. That’s almost 2000 years that Christianity as a whole condemned contraception.

  47. Jennifer,

    “Then I suppose I might as well take birth control, and if God really wants me to have a baby, He’ll just break through it.”

    Surely this doesn’t present itself as a rational option for an intelligent woman. The question is whether or not the use of birth control is a neutral one, or if it matters to God…if it matters, this is not a wise response for a Christian. No more than saying “I’ll drive recklessly and not wear my seatbelt and if God wants to protect me He will”. That’s not what believing in God’s sovereignty means.

    “I’m not Calvinist, so I don’t believe everything that occurs is God’s will.”

    Life isn’t “everything”. As I ponder this thought, I’m still left with the very literal messages of the Bible where God states, on numerous occasions that HE is the giver and taker of life; that HE opens or closes the womb; that HE made us. Given that, why would He expect us to “take responsibility” over something He has clearly stated is in His control?

    I’ll try to make this my last comment; there is a fine line between “arguing” and presenting concepts that could possibly cause a person to see things in a new light…that is my heart. It wasn’t until someone (a real person or book, etc.) disproved all my arguments for birth control until I finally realized my reasons were not biblically sound. I was “forced”, if you will, to face the heart of God about children, whether I liked it or not.

    I don’t think this discussion is about “your ways of living”. Birth control among Christians is a relatively new concept. People have found ways to avoid children for years, but I can find no evidence that it should be considered a normal practice for Christians. None. I can do it because it’s what *I* want, or because it’s what a God-hating society says is normal, but when it comes down to “what does God say”–which should be the ONLY thing we are concerned about–I can’t find justification for the purposeful avoidance of children in normal circumstances.

    And I would kindly ask you to consider this discussion to be over unless you can provide that evidence. Unless we (Christians) are on the same page about approaching life in a way that always asks, “What saith the Lord?”, there is really no point in discussing much at all.

  48. It is my opinion that certain things must be in order for a marriage to result in the ‘open womb’ concept, and even following, many things must be aligned for it to be a ‘blessing’. I know many people, myself included (and I only have 4), who followed that ‘obedience’ only to be sitting here in over our heads….while it is true others may support us in our ‘open wombness’, some of us come form sitations and backgrounds that are meticulous and require great patience and udnerstanding to unravel…and no one with 9 kids of their own is always ready and available to help.

    Secondly, who decides when an issue is of a ‘deep’ importance? Its relative….

    Thirday, if soem people here are so disturbed by commenters, (who probably only commented in the first place because *they* felt disturbed) why do I see the choice of wording in retort to be sarcastic, condescending, etc….granted, in a subtle way…its all in the wording.

  49. AM,

    “…who decides when an issue is of a ‘deep’ importance? Its relative.”

    Immortal souls, I feel confident, are of the deepest importance to God. Anything surrounding the issue of life is not relative.

  50. Lori,

    I’d say that makes sense (and I’m not, as I’ve said, arguing against the occasional spacing of children for one reason or another) except that wearing a seatbelt is to prevent death or injury, whereas the comparison prevents life; the same explanation as why taking medicine is different than taking bc pills. I just think it has to be more carefully evaluated due to this difference.

  51. Jennifer,
    Wow. You seem really hostile.

    God speaks to us all in different ways. So I had a dream. (so did Joseph) It is not the fact that I had a dream that changed my heart, but rather the opportunity to view scripture in a different light, however the opportunity was afforded me. It was a gift given to change MY heart, not yours. I decided to share it because of the relevance to Kelly’s post.

    “It’s not clear cut and simple at all; babies are blessings, so everyone should have them?”

    Jennifer, I do not believe that everyone should have babies. I believe God chooses who He wants to have babies. Some yes. Some no. Some lots. Some not. 🙂

    This verse comes to mind, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is GOD who is at work in you, both to will and to work for HIS good pleasure.” Phil 2:12, 13

    Giving my life to God means it does not belong to me. Serving Him means being available, whether that means having children or not having them— it is believing that MY obedience to HIS will (not my WILL) DOES matter in the big eternal picture, because my eyes don’t see that far, but He has promised me His purposes are good and good for me. It is HE who is at work.

    In the grand scheme, it is not about babies at all. It is about surrender. About ordering one’s life around God’s ministry instead of trying to conform God’s ministry around one’s life.

    I know a lot of people would say that throwing away the condom or the calendar is leaving a lot to chance. If I pray specifically about God’s will for me in any area of my life and I believe that God is really real and in control, then there is no chance. (notice I said “I”, not “you”)

    A friend of mine recently shared how all she ever wanted was to be a mother and about how she never can. Her story made me cry. Not because it was sad that her wishes will never come true, but because of how sweet her heart was when she shared about the Still Small voice that whispered words of peace to her and how her first dream was to live HIS dream for her. So she scrapped her plans, and her life–her testimony– is beautiful.

    God promises he will not give us more than we can handle. Most of the time we think of that in terms of our circumstances… especially when they are difficult. Sometimes it applies to where we are in our walk and our understanding. Sometimes God knows we aren’t ready. He knows we need to take baby steps. So it is okay that we are not all on the same page. God knows where we are and where we need to be. So we are in good hands.

    You all have a good weekend. I will be packing to move on Monday…into the house God chose for us! It was worth the 13 year wait. 🙂

  52. “Sometimes it applies to where we are in our walk and our understanding. Sometimes God knows we aren’t ready. He knows we need to take baby steps. So it is okay that we are not all on the same page. God knows where we are and where we need to be. So we are in good hands.”

    On second thought, a hardened heart will not be receptive to the promptings of the Spirit. The understanding of a willing heart will continue to deepen with consistent growth and maturity.

  53. Kelly, I understand the diffence as you put it. And yet I still think it applies to family planning. I personally think the human body is far frailer than we tend to think (in this day of brilliant medical gifts). So I think it’s a good idea to space children to protect the woman’s body.

    However, I support those women who want to leave that issue entirely to God.

    I believe it’s very important to be fruitful and multiply (and am pondering on some passages you haven’t mentioned yet). But I just don’t believe God, who talked a great deal about making plans AND submitting them to Him, will refuse you a child because you need some respite.

    You have asserted that you agree that it would be ok for a woman to delay pregnancies for extranious circumstances (perhaps health?). I think it’s ok to delay pregnancies to prevent certain circumstances (like health issues). Hence the seatbelt analogy. 🙂

  54. “What I mean is, the reproduction process works (usually) just like any other bodily function. It’s natural, it’s normal, it’s built-in.”

    I used to think this too, but after having issues getting pregnant myself and watching a friend struggle for over a year only to have her first pregnancy end in miscarriage I am a bit less idealistic. (She never used any hormonal birth control and has always desired a big family. Her beliefs line up with yours on the birth control issue.)

    In the end it IS God who opens and closes the womb. God bless you for being true to your calling to a big family and your ablity to have one.

  55. Linda, I think you had it right the first time. While your second point is technically true, if you’re thinking about applying it to people you actually encounter, you might stop and consider that a convinced mind is not necessarily a hardened heart (as testified to by the availability of vas. reversal procedures). Just food for thought.

  56. “Protestant Churches condemned contraception until about a century ago. That’s almost 2000 years that Christianity as a whole condemned contraception.”

    So what? The church for hundreds of years has made rules that God did not.

    “My point really was to those who DO see this clearly, and that is that the fullness of truth is found in the Catholic Faith”

    Actually it’s to be found in the Bible. Pardon my boldness.

    Thanks for confirming, Linda. If I was hostile, it had to do directly with hostility and doubt I was receiving myself. Your dream called birth control an abomination, which would clearly condemn the actions of many women, whether here or elsewhere. I’m sure you were aware of this when you made your post.

    “Immortal souls, I feel confident, are of the deepest importance to God.”

    Except for souls which do not exist yet. You say that there’s a difference between chemotherapy and birth control because the latter limits life and the former preserves it, but there’s more to it than that; as I said before, sometimes bc preserves the health of the mother. Many kinds of birth control also don’t affect life; they lessen the chance of reproduction, which isn’t the same as affecting life which already exists.

    “Surely this doesn’t present itself as a rational option for an intelligent woman”

    It’s perfectly rational to me. I will do what’s right for our family and if God disapproves, He will counter it; it’s as simple as that to me. As a matter of fact, I do think there’s a similarity between reckless driving and reckless reproduction. I have no idea how Calvinists completely, individually view God’s sovereignity, nor do I really desire to go there.

    “The question is whether or not the use of birth control is a neutral one, or if it matters to God.”

    Depends on the couple, I think. I think of it like this: I know God has a plan for every baby born, but I don’t think this means He plants every pregnancy without question; He gave us genitals which work by themselves for this and plenty of pregnancies end anyway. Not only does He have a plan for every baby who makes it, but He has always known what each child will do in their life-or WOULD, if they made it to birth. Knowing ahead of time and causing the event itself to happen are not the same. God knows what would happen if every single one of my thousands of eggs were fertilized and turned into babies; He knows the details of what every single second of each of their lives would be, but this doesn’t mean He’s going to will them into being, or their what-if lives. There’s only so far you can go with this, a great deal depending whether you’re Calvinist or not: is birth control natural? If not, does this make it automatically wrong? If it IS natural, does this make it right? If you believe God never allows anything not His will or anything we can’t handle, is it really all right for you to believe that it’s okay for some families to space their children apart? And if so, who decides this? Who decides when it’s okay and when it’s not? The Bible doesn’t mention birth control or its exceptions; we’re left to fill in the blanks if we feel the need, no matter which side we pick. If one is Calvanistic though and believes God causes every event, I really don’t see why there’s all the stress about this; you certainly can’t say we’re limiting God’s power. And in that case, the only thing left for concern on your part is, I’m guessing, the motives of the people using birth control. Which I’m pretty sure we’ve all already discussed. I’ll be happy to consider this over if no one else addresses me; if they do, I will respond.

  57. Kelly, I thought your post was interesting and insightful. I agree with your premise that we have taken what God created to be “normal” made it abnormal and then we try to convince ourselves that what we have created is normal. However, it seems to be what our culture does best. From airbrushed photos to genetically altered food to distorted body image, we are refusing to submit to God’s order in the world and prefer to create our own order. Personally, I believe it is an attempt to hide our own sinfulness and cover up or make up for the consequences of our sin.

  58. Oh, I should have added (it dosen’t necessarily go w/out saying) that I totally agree w/ the premise that we should approach family-building with the attitude that children are blessings, and we need to seek foremost God’s will, and not convenience or status quo, and I appreciate your constant work to further that mindset.

  59. Well! Quite a comment thread – not that it should be a great surprise. This is a topic that has hit the christian realm and caused polarized views.

    I liked your analogy, Kelly, and I do agree with your stance on birth control. It seems to me you were pretty clear, too, in your understanding that there will be those who choose to live differently for variable reasons.

    So here are my two bits: I AM a Calvinist and that means that I believe that once God has saved us, we then have the free will to choose either His way (through biblical study) or the world’s way (through ignoring or rationalizing biblical study) for everything in this life.

    If choices in life are made by the questionable logic of ‘if God wants me to have children, then He will render my birth control useless’ – well it makes just as much sense to say ‘if God wants me to live another day, He’ll change that stop light to green by the time I get there so I can drive right through unharmed’.

    The guidelines for our choices in life are laid out in scripture – not just single verses, but as a continuing thread from beginning to end. If we, as God’s children, choose to ignore it we have to be willing to live with the consequences – actually, we that’s when we won’t have a choice, the consequences will come.

    Now, really Kelly, try not to be so controversial! 😉

  60. “If choices in life are made by the questionable logic of ‘if God wants me to have children, then He will render my birth control useless’ – well it makes just as much sense to say ‘if God wants me to live another day, He’ll change that stop light to green by the time I get there so I can drive right through unharmed’.”

    Actually that use of logic is loose at best. Mine goes more like this: “I’m sure I’m doing what’s best for my family, but if not, God will correct it.” Try not to use bad logic when attempting to figure out others’ motives.

    The Bible simply doesn’t have answers for everything, much as some would like to think it does, and this includes birth control. It’s been almost demanded of me to provide Biblical evidence for my side of things, while the other side has given me no such proof that God thinks exactly what they say He thinks of the matter, yet they expect me to accept the idea that He does without question. No thank you.

  61. Wow. What an interesting discussion that stirs up a lot of emotions. We have four beautiful children ages 17, 14, 12, 10. Each one was carefully planned for and prayed for. My husband has had a vasectomy for the last 8 years. We still have an amazing sex life!

    I do not believe that the use of birth control is unscriptural. I do agree that certain types of birth control can cause abortions. We never used those types in our marriage. We were blessed to get pregnant easily and quickly and have smooth pregnancies and healthy natural births.

    I believe that using the verse “be fruitful and multiply” to apply to growing one’s family is a misinterpretation . God commanded that in the Old Testament to populate the earth he had just created! It’s only repeated once outside of the book of Genesis! I always find it interesting how people “pick and choose” which “commandments” in the OT they choose to follow. Do families who don’t practice birth control also stone their disrespectful children outside the city gates? Why must some commands be followed to the letter and others disregarded completely?

    Another argument I often hear is “why would you want to turn down a blessing?” Ummmm-I have four beautiful blessings! Do I have to have 10 or more to have a true blessing, as you may define it?

    Finally, what about stewardship of our bodies and resources? I know God will supply all my needs, etc. etc but I also know that God expects me to use wisdom and sound judgment in EVERY area.

    I have NO issue with those who choose to have large families. I don’t write blog posts about how people who choose not to use birth control are going against God’s word. Yet, people on the other side of the argument have no problem telling me that I am unscriptural, sinning, missing out on God’s blessings, etc. And please understand that when I say “you”, I am speaking in general about those who choose not to practice birth control of any kind. I am not referring to “you”, Kelly, specifically.

    And therein lies the biggest problem for me. Somehow we have come to believe that it’s okay to press our own beliefs and interpretations of this “gray area” (although I know you do not see it as “gray”) on everyone else. We must each prayerfully consider God’s will for our OWN families and marriage and not judge those who have chosen differently! I am all for calling sin SIN. (Heck, I LOVE Mark Driscoll and listen to him ALL the time! 🙂 but to me this is not an area that is explicitly defined in scripture, and God did that for a reason!

    Kelly, you have a beautiful family. You have prayerfully made a decision for your family based on your interpretation of scripture and what you believe God’s will is for you and your husband. We have also prayerfully considered our family size and believe our “quiver is full” with four amazing kids.

    I agree that we have come to accept a different kind of “norm”. My issue is the implication that the “norm” is the same for everyone and I don’t see that in my Bible.

    Humbly,

    Jen

  62. I suppose I’m sort of in the middle on this issue. I’m glad I’ve come across blogs like Kelly’s, because I do think this is an issue christians should think about, and one which I never really considered, and as christians we should be examining every area of our lives against scripture, and not just accept cultural norms.

    I suppose my own opinion is, that it’s perhaps more about our heart attitude – are we delaying having children for selfish reasons? Are we not trusting God in this area of our lives? What are our motivations? I think it’s important for us as christians to be asking these questions about every aspect of our lives.

    I also have come to realise that modern secular society does view children as a burden, and I can see how the christian world has bought into that. I think it’s important we try to move away from that attitude.

    On the other hand, I suppose I find it hard to say that all birth control is wrong all of the time (I’m not sure if you would actually say that Kelly, either). And for me personally – I greatly desire children, but my husband is recovering from a serious bout of depression, and I am currently working to support us. Should we just trust in God and get rid of the contraception? I don’t know – I go back and forth in my mind about it! To be honest though, I think my own personal area of sin that I need to focus on is probably the opposite of what this discussion is about – I long for children so much, that I actually think that what is a normal, natural desire has become an idol that has begun to make me bitter. So, I’m trying to just to focus on helping my husband get better and remove all thoughts of babies from my mind!!

  63. Jen,

    I respect your position and even understand your points…I could have written your comment verbatim 8 years ago. And while in replying my purpose is not to change your mind, just to make sure that you or anyone else reading with similar thoughts, have fully weighed them as I think any topic deserves to be thoroughly dissected.

    Let me also ask those reading to consider one reason I’m into “dissecting” this topic…it involves the slippery slope that is so prevalent if we step off in one direction.

    If it were really neutral, if the common use of birth control hadn’t affected the “open womb” view, I wouldn’t be concerned. But the fact that for most people the two can’t co-exist in a “friendly” environment is very telling. The choice to limit children should be just that–a choice that leaves room for the couples who have decided to leave their bodies as they are and receive children.

    Such is not the case and I’m constantly asking “why”.

    Referring to the “fruitful and multiply” command you said: “I always find it interesting how people “pick and choose” which “commandments” in the OT they choose to follow.”

    I don’t think it’s as haphazard as this. Although I fail miserably when trying to explain biblical hermeneutics, there are sensible and logical explanations about OT civil law (which includes stoning your children) which was eradicated through the new covenant, and commands and principles given in the OT which were never revoked. I think it’s paramount that we understand those differences. That being said, God never announced what a full earth was and never revoked the command or gave us any indication that if a method became available for us to take control of this area we should. I’ve also thought of it as someone telling me to “turn right” by implication means “don’t turn left”.

    Regarding stewardship of our bodies you said: “I also know that God expects me to use wisdom and sound judgment in EVERY area.”

    I completely agree in the exercise of wisdom. I also think we don’t fully understand how to get that wisdom and mistake our human promptings for it. Scripture says we must “seek wisdom like a treasure” and “sell all that we have” to find it. It’s an intense search of the heart of God…which is why discussions like these seem so important to me.

    I mean no insult or disrespect here and make a general reference when I say I have a very hard time believing that it is *wise* to have an operation that would break a normally functioning body part. We would call it insane if it were any other part.

    I am prone to think wisdom is to be exercised in areas where a “choice” is required. What job does God want me to have? Should we buy a new car? Build a new house? Move? Those are proactive decisions. To have a baby is not a decision. We literally take a completely man-made method, with no hint from Scripture about “cutting off the godly seed”, and call it wisdom. I’m OK with calling it a “choice we made”, but not wisdom.

    And I certainly agree this is more of a gray area than some, but I think the Bible says a lot more about it than we sometimes like to admit. It is simply my heart to cause you (“you” in general)to look solely at the issue through the lens of Scripture, trying to lay aside the heavy cultural influences that sway us.

    And as I’ve said all along, I don’t want to be about “telling people what they should do” or making them feel bad for their choices; but rather flipping our thinking back around to what I believe is the “default” position: most women were made to have babies pretty regularly and the Bible calls that “a happy home”. 😉

  64. Jen – “I believe that using the verse “be fruitful and multiply” to apply to growing one’s family is a misinterpretation . God commanded that in the Old Testament to populate the earth he had just created! It’s only repeated once outside of the book of Genesis! ”

    While I do agree with some things you say, here I need to point something out slightly flawed:

    The important thing is not where God gave the command to be fruitful, but to whom. God first commanded it in Gen 1:28 – to Adam and his wife. Adam was the first man, the father of all. He received this command by proxy for all mankind. Just as he sinned for all mankind.

    Now, like you I don’t tend to think of this command as translating to meaning no family planning whatsoever, but it is a command to all men (and there wives), and we must obey as we are able (since the fall there are issues we must deal with of course).

  65. Jen – “Do families who don’t practice birth control also stone their disrespectful children outside the city gates?”

    “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
    Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
    And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
    And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” – Deut 21:18-21

    OK, first of all, God wasn’t talking about children (minors) here, or else it would negate the admonishions to use the rod on your young children (minors). He’s talking about “Drunkard(s”) and “glutton(s).” Not little children, He’s talking about one’s offspring.

    And speaking of drunkards and gluttons, how did you go from that to “disrespectful?” Just curious.

    This is about being “incorrigiable” (according to RJ Rushdoony).

    The fact that the parents had to be proactive was comperable to a girl being proactive about rape offense in order to be free of guilt (Deut 22:25,26).

  66. Wonderful post!!! This is so encouraging to me!!

    I haven’t read the responses, but I am sure some of your readers are presenting all of the ifs, ands, and buts.

    As a married and healthy women with no excuses, like most women, it has been quite freeing to submit our family size to the Lord. I’ll admit it is a little scary at times, but freeing none the less- standing on His promises.

  67. I guess we’ll have to respectfully disagree. It’s interesting to me that no one commented on my point that those who CHOOSE to practice family planning think those of us who choose not to are sinning. No one seems to mind “judging” others who have made a different choice when it comes to this topic!

    Obviously our understanding of hermeneutics is different. I am amazed at some of the flawed interpretations of scripture that, in my opinion, basically narrow down to “proof texting.”

    And believe me, my husband’s body is far from “broken.”

  68. And P.S. we have a very happy home and I resent the implication that because we have chosen (wisely) to limit our family size, we are being unscriptural and our home is not happy. THAT is exactly the kind of statement from “your side of the aisle” that makes my blood boil.

  69. Jen – ” I am amazed at some of the flawed interpretations of scripture that, in my opinion, basically narrow down to ‘proof texting.'”

    Jen, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “proof texting.” It sounds perjorative. I can’t imagine that going to the scripture for your answers in life is a bad thing. And when convicted of something it’s a good thing to try to share what you believe (in the right context, but I think this forum is suitable).

    Regarding “happy home:” All Kelly said was that she wants what God defined as a happy home. She made no insinuation whatsoever about what your home looks like.

    I’m just sayin’.

  70. “I can’t imagine that going to the scripture for your answers in life is a bad thing”

    She’s probably referring to putting answers where there technically aren’t any.

  71. Jen,

    “And P.S. we have a very happy home and I resent the implication that because we have chosen (wisely) to limit our family size, we are being unscriptural and our home is not happy. THAT is exactly the kind of statement from “your side of the aisle” that makes my blood boil.”

    I’m sorry you feel angry, evidenced by your exaggeration of what I said. Paraphrasing Scripture “happy is the man…” does not exclude the possibility of any other happy homes…that was a self-inflicted jab.

  72. I’m glad the ladies here have happy homes, whatever they look like 🙂 I am blessed with many aunts, uncles and cousins; perhaps my own children will be the same, and perhaps not.

  73. Jen,

    I should have added, regarding the “happy home” statement…

    my point is that Christians are, and I say confidently, *wrong* to respond in shock and horror to a large family…that the default reaction, per Scripture, is “happy is the man whose quiver is full of them”. I wasn’t making any personal reference to anyone else’s home…I can’t believe I’m even having to qualify such a simple statement. The reactionary responses are telling, I think….

    If I took the same approach in this discussion as you have, it would be the same as if I said, “I don’t appreciate your implication that I and my husband are fools because he didn’t get a vasectomy”. You did say, remember, that you “wisely” chose to limit your family this way. I didn’t read into that like my example, but that’s the error of reacting in a discussion without careful discernment about what is being said.

  74. “Birth control = creation management”. I read this earlier today and just couldn’t get past the truth of it. Different words, same meaning. Truly we do mock God, as you said Kelly, by taking the control from Him. Creation? I’ll leave that to the Creator.

  75. Kelly,

    As always, you have written a thought provoking article. I for one, agree with you.

    I know it is frustrating to have others pick apart and misrepresent what you have said but I encourage you to keep writing as God leads. He is using you to convict so many women.

    As for those who disagree with Kelly, your comments would be more productive if you were to stick to what is actually said and do so in a respectful manner. If something isn’t clear, don’t assume, but ask Kelly to clarify. We are all adults and should be able to have a discussion, even a disagreement, without getting ugly about it.

  76. Oh, and another thing I just can’t get past is that God says that He knew us BEFORE we were formed in the womb. (Jeremiah) I sure don’t want to keep a baby from growing in my womb…that God already knows. Kinda does away with the whole, ‘doesn’t exist yet’ argument. Just a thought…

  77. Thank you, Angela.

    Charity…ah I do love the thought of it: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

    To all…I just write (with an appealing and humble tone)to challenge us all to consider searching out God’s heart, in a way, possibly, that we’ve never thought about doing. That’s all this is. Not to provoke anger, or insult, or say “you’re way is wrong and mine is right”, but to make sure this area is one where we have studied Scripture, closed our ears to the culture, and come to a hard-sought conclusion. Your choice? I am not in any judgement whatsoever of that. It’s the negative reaction to those who simply haven’t made a choice at all that concerns me.

    When Christian men and women who have had vasectomies or are using whatever other form of birth control start responding positively to couples with several children, I’ll be convinced that the mass acceptance of birth control has not tainted the original, biblical view of children. Until then, I’ll keep making the point 😉

  78. “When Christian men and women who have had vasectomies or are using whatever other form of birth control start responding positively to couples with several children, I’ll be convinced that the mass acceptance of birth control has not tainted the original, biblical view of children. Until then, I’ll keep making the point ”

    AMEN.

    When I stop getting *sympathy* from church ladies with each pregnancy (because I have only boys and poor me, I have to try again if I want a girl, what a horror that is!), I’ll stop talking about the bad attitudes in the church so much.

  79. One point about judgment and sinning. It seems like two very different things to say “Birth control is sinful,” and “You are sinning because you use birth control.” The first is a general statement. Sin also depends on the knowledge and will of the sinner. If a person is doing something with a clean conscience, is he sinning? We can leave that up to God, and still hold the first general statement. So Jen, people can say they think birth control is very wrong without making a personal judgment on your soul.

  80. “Another thing I just can’t get past is that God says that He knew us BEFORE we were formed in the womb. (Jeremiah) I sure don’t want to keep a baby from growing in my womb…that God already knows. Kinda does away with the whole, ‘doesn’t exist yet’ argument.”

    No, not really. Already discussed this. And Angela, those who disagree have also been treated in a disrespectful manner, though not by Kelly; it’d do you well to see both sides.

    Thank you Kelly for confirming all your thoughts. And thanks Pilgrim for your last post, it’s a discerning and reassuring one.

  81. Jennifer, You respond to each statement like someone is ‘out to get you’. Maybe you’ve just had a rough week. Hope you have a nice weekend though.

  82. My last few comments have been quite calm, Charity. I’ve had a good week, but a rough day or so with some comments towards me and a few others being personally critical. You have a nice weekend too.

  83. My final thoughts: I am a christian woman who has used birth control and whose husband had a vasectomy. I want to be sure to say again that I have NO problem whatsoever with those people who do not practice birth control and believe that is what God commands THEM. My problem–as I’ve said before–is the people who tell me that our different choices are sinful. And, no matter how it’s couched/proof texted on here–that IS what’s being said.

    We are blessed. We have a full quiver. God knew each of my children in the womb before he made them, just as knows all of the 8, 10, 12 or 2 that he may give to those families who don’t practice birth control. I don’t believe there are unborn children “lurking” in my womb waiting to be “known.” How ridiculous is that??!?!? Maybe we need a biology lesson!

    Kelly, you said:

    When Christian men and women who have had vasectomies or are using whatever other form of birth control start responding positively to couples with several children, I’ll be convinced that the mass acceptance of birth control has not tainted the original, biblical view of children. Until then, I’ll keep making the point 😉

    Ummm-I would say that FOUR is “several” children. And I will say AGAIN that I have NOT in any responded negatively to your family size or choices. I have responded negatively to the attitude that YOU have the corner on interpreting scripture in this area. You (and others in the comments) are the one who have repeatedly responded negatively to MY choices. And once again you have assumed things about me that are not true. Why am I not allowed to infer things from your statements but you are permitted to do so about me? You are allowed to be sarcastic in your comments, but when I do so, I’ve made a “self-inflicted jab”.

    You also said: It’s the negative reaction to those who simply haven’t made a choice at all that concerns me.

    You are talking out of both sides of your mouth! How many people on here have responded negatively to me? Why is my negative reaction to them a concern but not vice versa? Maybe because they agree with you? And, by the way, of COURSE you’ve made a choice. You have chosen NOT to practice birth control. How is that not a choice but choice to practice birth control is??

    Pilgrim, I agree 100% with your statement. My issue is that WITHOUT FAIL in my experience, those who do not believe in birth control have NO compunction whatsoever making a personal judgment. I think we’ve seen evidence of that in these very comments. I have disagreed with many of you and people have come out of the woodwork to point out how I’m wrong, have made assumptions about my family and our beliefs, etc. I’m sorry but THOSE are personal judgments, not matter how it may be couched in “christianese” and Bible verses.

    I wish you all the best with your large families and trust God blesses you in ways far and above what you can even imagine. I know he has done so for us–even with our birth control and vasectomy!! GASP!!!

  84. Charity–I can’t speak for the other “Jennifer” but I know that I respond that way because we are asked to be “open minded” and consider beliefs different than our own but when we express them, those who disagree with us aren’t held to the same standard.

    I am not expecting to change anyone’s mind, just as no one is going to change mine. However, it would be nice to be given the same respectful consideration that I am being asked to give to the other side of the argument.

    Once again, it’s the prevailing attitude that bothers me, NOT the belief.

    Happy Lord’s day to each of you!

  85. Jen,

    There are still so many confusions and assertions in your comments that I think it is futile to try and explain anything further. It appears to me that a lot of your comments are flavored with an overall anger at the argument against birth control and not so much at me (at least I hope as I’ve tried to be careful to be kind and clear that I am not in any judgement against you).

    You said: “You are allowed to be sarcastic in your comments,”…please quote because I can’t find sarcasm in my comments. By “self-inflicted jab” (that may have been the wrong terminology) I mean you were attributing injury to yourself where no injury was due. It’s as if you are so defensive that you mistake even an innocuous comment for insult.

    And let me just address this one comment and be done…

    ” You have chosen NOT to practice birth control. How is that not a choice but choice to practice birth control is??”

    Think long and hard about that comment. Say it out loud. It encapsulates and beautifully punctuates my whole entire point…

    Even the term “birth control” is new. A person doesn’t “choose” to act in a natural, bodily state. Reproduction is a natural, bodily state. I don’t “choose” to grow hair on my legs, I choose to shave them 😉 (Sorry.) The very idea that we would “choose” NOT to let our bodies function normally is a perfect example of how the birth control culture has affected our thinking.

    See Jen, I’m not at all bothered by your vasectomy; I’m bothered that you think we “choose” to have children. Because it is that idea that taints the whole picture and makes the idea of a fruitful wife seem crazy though the Bibles esteems it. If we can’t hold them both–birth control in one hand and the language of Scripture about children in the other, something’s wrong.

    “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”

  86. Becky,

    Oh, thank you for sharing that. I dearly love the boldness and articulation of Mr. Botkin…love his family as well. People just *think* I’m outspoken on this topic 😉

  87. Jen,
    “I don’t believe there are unborn children “lurking” in my womb waiting to be “known.” How ridiculous is that??!?!? Maybe we need a biology lesson!”

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt here and think that maybe your unkind comment was do to the lack of clarity of that portion of mine. I said:

    “I sure don’t want to keep a baby from growing in my womb…that God already knows. Kinda does away with the whole, ‘doesn’t exist yet’ argument.” I agree with you in that there aren’t unborn children “lurking” in the wombs of women that they and/or their husbands have chosen to taken measures to keep pregnancies from happening. I don’t on the other hand believe there are children “waiting to be known”, because scripture says otherwise. I know it is hard for us as humans to wrap our minds around the fact that God knows unborn children before they are concieved in the womb of a woman (before they “exist” to us). That’s just one of the ways that His ways are higher than ours. I think we are all well aware of the biological process of reproduction, here, so we can refrain from any “lessons”. I was stating that I don’t want to keep God from sending my family a blessing (a child that He already knows) by taking control of my womb.

    Right or wrong aside, it is not natural to alter any bodily process, be it reproduction or the ability to urinate (which has been made clear in this post). To try to argue that point is denial.

  88. Wow, Kelly, been a busy post! funny to see at least 3 jennifer’s(or forms of). LOL 🙂 I believe the comments have moved away from the post itself but i think any confusion about what is and what is not being said by Kelly are cleared up by a careful reading of Kelly’s original post. It has been restated well repeatedly. Our culture and unfortunately that includes our Christian culture has come to look at altering the natural function of our bodies in regards to having children as normal. Kelly used what i believe is a very accurate analogy to illustrate that point. Sad to see people getting their feelings hurt. For those that have felt offended, I think it is always good to evaluate whether or not I was truly wronged and that is the reason for my feeling offended OR could it possibly be the prick of the Holy Spirit on my conscience? Okay, preparing for the online tomatoes to get thrown my direction. 🙂 Truly i meant no harm. Just a thought… Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend. Blessings, jen in al

  89. “Sad to see people getting their feelings hurt. For those that have felt offended, I think it is always good to evaluate whether or not I was truly wronged and that is the reason for my feeling offended OR could it possibly be the prick of the Holy Spirit on my conscience?”

    Offended by the original post, or offended by rude comments?

  90. Jen in AL – “For those that have felt offended, I think it is always good to evaluate whether or not I was truly wronged and that is the reason for my feeling offended OR could it possibly be the prick of the Holy Spirit on my conscience?”

    I vote “C” in most cases – ordinary misunderstanding

    and occasionally “D” – misunderstanding due to assumption (I’ve heard this before elsewhere, I’m going to scan and fill in the blanks based on what I’ve heard from the other people)

    And “E” (in forum not original post) – misunderstanding due to people opting for clever quips over substance.

    Just a thought.

  91. Hey Jennifer, Hope you are doing well. If someone has made a rude comment it would be easy to take offense to that (first possibility listed) but if it is the content of what was said that offended it could be a prick of the Holy Spirit ( the “or” possibility). Actually one could be offended by how something is said and yet it still be valid enough to cause our conscience to be pricked. My statement wasn’t meant to be exhaustive of possibilities just sharing a thought. 🙂 blessings, jen in al

  92. wow! How interesting this post has gotten. I know I’m a little late, but here goes.

    Jennifer, on a personal note, I also did not like babies before I had one. I still don’t really like other people’s babies. When I was in LABOR with my first child I was really worried because I had such a lack of maternal ANYTHING. But it came…Full Force.

    Second, I think Onan was killed not because he refused to impregnate her, but because he had sex with her when he wasn’t going to fulfill his duty.

    Third, I do believe there are people who NEED hormones to “fix” their periods. I also want to point out that pregnancy will often “fix” the same problems, such as endometriosis.

    Fourth, God did not command us to fill the earth until we thought it was full enough. Maybe subdue meant more than to conquer space. Maybe we were to fill it with children who loved the Lord and we are suffering from a world filled with people who don’t love the Lord. Maybe we should have been having more children all along. This is my opinion.

    Fifth, we need to be aware of the physical problems that occur because of BC in any form. There is evidence that waiting to have children, not having many children, and not breastfeeding very long are increasing the rates of EARLY breast cancer and uterine cancer. I think as older women, we should definitely be warning the up and coming generation of the effects of altering God’s plan for our bodies.

    Lastly, God does give us a way to space our children naturally. For many women (not all) breastfeeding exclusively (no pacifiers, no bottles, nursing every 4 hours even at night) delays their ability to conceive and thus protects the woman’s body. Once again, going against God’s obvious plan for our bodies will have consequences and I wish that I knew this stuff when I was younger. I wish that there was a titus 2 woman to let me know that maybe I was making a mistake by doing many of the things listed here such as BC, not breastfeeding exclusively, etc.

    Thanks Kelly!

  93. Kelly,

    I just wanted to commend you for your EXCELLENT write-up on the topic, and for taking hostile comments with some much grace. You’re a real example to me as I’ve tried to say the same thing before on my own blog (http://happy-homemaker-vandenberg.blogspot.com), but gave up after becoming way to emotionally involved with all the attacks (I was 40 weeks pregnant at the time, so I’m sure that didn’t help-haha!)

    I’m linking this article to my blog, hope don’t mind! I wish everybody could stumble across your website, it’s great! 🙂

  94. Leslie, this isn’t about “liking” babies; it’s about how/whether you’re equipped to deal with them. In fact, I’ve had a very forceful maternal instinct since I was 19. This does not magically transform into being able to handle screaming, messy babies non-stop.

    “I do believe there are people who NEED hormones to “fix” their periods. I also want to point out that pregnancy will often “fix” the same problems, such as endometriosis.”

    Well, I’m not going to get myself pregnant right now to fix my cycles, so I guess I’m just stuck with the pills.

    “God did not command us to fill the earth until we thought it was full enough. Maybe subdue meant more than to conquer space. Maybe we were to fill it with children who loved the Lord and we are suffering from a world filled with people who don’t love the Lord. Maybe we should have been having more children all along.”

    More than the billions we have already? We haven’t been working hard enough? God also didn’t tell us to keep those organs pumping no matter what the circumstances. Many have interprated that passage to refer to making more of God’s warriors, by ways other than just birth.

    “we need to be aware of the physical problems that occur because of BC in any form”

    I trust my doctor. And for the record, not getting a period for six months is QUITE unnatural and much more immediately problematic than the remote chance of cancer.

    “I wish that there was a titus 2 woman to let me know that maybe I was making a mistake by doing many of the things listed here such as BC, not breastfeeding exclusively, etc”

    Each to their own. Interestingly, you don’t need a Titus 2 woman to do that, just someone interested/educated in natural child birth. The Bible doesn’t mention them either, so it’s not really a Titus subject. Thanks for your response.

  95. Thank you Kelly for all your posts on the blessing of children! I just recently found your blog and have been very encouraged by it. This article really stood out for me. Eight months after my husband and I married we were expecting our 1st child, we were excited and welcomed her into our family. When she was 6 months we found out that we were going to have another child and though I was really sick we were still excited, people were a little surprised, but no one said too much. Then 6 months after our 2nd daughter was born I was pregant yet again! This time I cried! I was embarassed, wondering what people would think of us! (Our 2nd daugher was born by c-section and it is advised to wait 9 months before getting pregnant in order to have a vaginal birth, this added to my sorrow) I felt like it was okay to have 2 children close together but three!! Now we would be considered unwise! I even hoped for a miscarriage in the first few days. But as the days went by I realized just how awful my thoughts were. I have a brother and sister in law who are not able to have children and I thought of how much they would love to be pregnant and just how selfish I was being. Should I really worry over what others think! I am so thankful that God spoke to me and showed me how ridiculous I was being and how this new baby was a wonderful gift from Him. I grew so much in my understanding of God and His timing. We trusted God to keep baby and I safe during delivery and went ahead with a vaginal birth. I was induced 10 days past my due date and our 3rd daughter was born healthy and safe. Her middle name is Faith! I had let what people think take over, instead of trusting God.
    We do use a barrier method to space our children and waited 2 years to have our 4th daughter who is now 9months. I get so many comments from people about how it must be so much work having 4 children! They are amazed! To me 4 isn’t that much, yes it is very busy espcially since we had 4 in 4 years, but what a blessing they are. I look forward to more.
    Keep writing, it is so encouraging to me as a mother of small children!!
    Thank You,
    Valerie
    PS. It also been such a blessing to discover other familys with children close in age and God also blessed us with neighbors who have 4 children under 4! I found out that we aren’t the only ‘crazy’ ones out there!!

  96. Valerie,

    So neat to hear your story…thanks for sharing the work of faith God has done in your family! I’ll be honest…for me it continues to be a work of faith. As strongly as I feel about the blessing of children and God’s sovereignty in our lives, I, too, struggle with “oh dear, what will people think if we get pregnant too close after the last one?” Which is so insane…people already think we’re crazy for the number of children we have…we’re way past “too close together” LOL!!!

    It’s neat, too,like you said, to run into other large families and have an instant kinship. Last night at the conference where Voddie Baucham spoke, there was a family with 7 sitting in the foyer where I had taken the baby. My dad actually beat me to them (he’s come a long way!) and said, “you almost have as many as my daughter”. It was instant “bonding” and later we talked and she was expecting #8. They were a young couple with star step children. But in the face of all the persecution I’m sure they receive, I could see joy and love and a heart that placed their thoughts about children above their fear of man. It was beautiful.

  97. Jennifer,

    I mentioned “liking” babies because I thought you wrote about how you are around them in one of your posts but I must have confused you with someone else or misunderstood the meaning.

    Also, I am not sure you understood my comments, as some of your answers didn’t really address them.

    “More than the billions we have already? We haven’t been working hard enough?”–my comment was on GODLY children. Not just people who believe in the historical existence of a man named Jesus.

    I certainly don’t think I suggested you get pregnant right now to correct your medical problem. I also think you are confusing the objection to birth control with an objection to medical treatment. I don’t THINK (but could be wrong) that anyone would expect you to ignore your doctor’s advice on medical issues. I think the main issues are related to people who choose to take birth control pills for reasons other than health. I don’t know your particular situation, but there are many people (and I was one) who didn’t know that the pill could cause spontaneous abortion and I think that may be one of the issues people on this board are talking about here. I was on the pill and was not careful in any other way. I have no idea if I caused the miscarriage of a baby.

    I disagree with you about this being a titus 2 subject. As the older women are told to teach the younger women how to love their husbands children and I very much believe those two things are related to birth control and breastfeeding, among other things.

    Not every woman who posts started out their adult life or marriages with the views they have now, or at least I didn’t. My purpose in commenting on posts like this is to help. Maybe there is a girl or woman who hasn’t thought about some of the things mentioned. I know I have learned many things from this blog/site. I don’t agree with everything I read here, but I do pray about and consider if I could be wrong about those things.

    One last comment– even though the discussion on this topic can get heated, I believe most of the “advice” is given in love. If you believe someone is doing something that could hurt them the loving thing to do is tell them.

  98. Jennifer – I hope your cycle issues are truly handled, sincerely – my sil suffers from permanent infertility because she went undiagnosed for 20 years with conditions that should have been handled surgically and with chemical therapy other than the pill. Instead she was “treated” with the pill, never even examined properly until she couldn’t conceive after marriage. The pill was actually contraindicated in her situation. I’m not picking at you, advocating for you and women who suffer similarly. I’m concerned that “female” problems are often not investigated beyond discomfort (sadly there is still an old school mentality among many Dr’s about such matters) and can end with heartbreaking results.

    It’s hazardous, I think, to rely too heavily on what we perceive as natural. It’s a label that gets thrown around to justify whatever behavior consumes us in a particular season, culturally speaking. “You must be tolerant of _______ (insert human behavior here) because it’s natural.” God is the supernatural. It’s my understanding that it is His “nature” we’re to strive for. I don’t remember Christ ever saying He wouldn’t die on the cross because it was just so impractical/inconvenient/uncomfortable/He didn’t have enough clothes or money/people would think He was weird…and it was no accident that He came as – ready for this – a smelly, messy, baby. It’s a sad reality of contemporary culture that “smell and messy” (the natural) are the labels we place on babies, rather than blessed and favored (the supernatural).

    Kelly/WW – you can put one hash mark by the category of folks who’ve chosen (and regretted) permanent bc and admire look upon large families favorably…now only 8 bajillion to go, right?:)

  99. “I mentioned “liking” babies because I thought you wrote about how you are around them in one of your posts but I must have confused you with someone else or misunderstood the meaning”

    That’s all right. I love babies, but I can’t be around them constantly, and a mother would have to be.

    “I don’t THINK (but could be wrong) that anyone would expect you to ignore your doctor’s advice on medical issues. I think the main issues are related to people who choose to take birth control pills for reasons other than health. I don’t know your particular situation, but there are many people (and I was one) who didn’t know that the pill could cause spontaneous abortion and I think that may be one of the issues people on this board are talking about here. I was on the pill and was not careful in any other way. I have no idea if I caused the miscarriage of a baby”

    I’m sorry you went through that. I do know of the risks; I’ve heard from many ladies and my doctor is a Christian as well.

    You sound like a wise woman, Leslie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

  100. Oh and believe me, I’ve had plenty of tests done regarding my situation. I’m a private person and it’s hard to believe I even mentioned cycle issues here! Oh well, we’re all ladies.

  101. Sons are a heritage from the LORD,children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Psalm 127:3-4

    Just curious Kelley: Do you beleive that ONLY sons are a reward? And that ONLY sons are like arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior? That daughters don’t “count” with regards to these Scriptures?

    I’m only asking since you often use these Scriptures (previous position posts) to “prove” that God expects us to receive children as a blessing ALL the time with no interruption.

    Becuase if you use your logic, our daughters are expempt from being “arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior” becuase the Hebrew there clearly states that the writer is speaking of sons (ben) and not daughters (bath) and not generic “children” (yeled).

    (I’m going to the above point, to point out that you have to be careful which Scriptures you use to make your case as you may make a case against something, i.e. our daughters, that you do not intend to)

    And with respect to the “civil law” being nulified through the Grace of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant, but that the other “commands” are not, WHO decides WHICH commands? Obviously in the case on child-bearing, you do. There are many, many “commands” outside of the “civil law” (I am assuming you are referring to the Levitical Law), that do not apply to us via the Grace of the New Covenant.

    Also, the Onan argument is so very shallow. It is a biblical account that is as historical as the account in Judges 19&20 when the Levite man was a guest in the home of man in Gibeh. Wicked men surround the home and demanded the male guest be sent out so that they could have sex with him. The man who owned the house would NOT give the wicked men his male guest, BUT offered to them his virgin daughter and the other man’s concubine. The other man GAVE the wicked men his concubine and they raped her all night and she died. The man then took her body and cut it into 12 pieces and sent each piece to the tribes of Israel asking for help.

    SO…..if we take this historical account and blanket apply it to our own lives as mandate now, it is perfectly acceptable, nay encouraged, for a man/father/husband to protect himself or a male guest in his home by GIVING his daughter/wife to wicked men to be raped and murdered just so his life is spared. (Eh hem…that’s anti-patriacry if I have ever heard it). We ALL would agree that is ludicrous, BUT this is exactly the type of logic/interpretation hermenutics you (and many others) extrapolate for your own argument’s sake with the account of Onan.

    And finally, your answer regarding praying for the heart change of a husband and the “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I am going to assume that you mean to state that if the desires of your heart are to bear more children and you “delight” yourself in the Lord that He will change the heart of your spouse (perhaps) and give you that desire? If that is you interpretation, again, I am going to challenge your hermenutics (using that word since you used it): This Scripture, properly translated would state: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will place within you the desires of your heart which are His for you. In other words, it is not a “if I delight in God, He will give me what I want”, but “if I delight in God, He will put within me desires that are His.” Substantial difference. (Albeit, His desire for you may be to have more children, the difference here is me-focused desires vs God-given desires). And as this relates to husbands, be careful, your advice here borders on nagging and disrespect. If he says NO back off and pray. But don’t BEG or PLEAD. This is not showing respect.

    And finally, if you really want to be considered virtuous on this account, you may want to refrain from calling someones comments “dumb.” Very, very, very shallow.

  102. …this page is littered with the “Boy Kelly, you sure take the heat…” “Boy Kelly sorry for all the hostility you endure”, etc.

    And frankly it is insulting to be told that our anger may be truly our refusal to see God pricking our hearts. If people here cant see Jen’s true frustration here, and see that the less-agreed with here commenters take just as much flack and sarcasm….I mean cmon.

    I was so annoyed with some (same ol) commenters here saying the same snarky things a few weeks ago, I just left. Yeah, sometimes, its THAT bad. How Jen’s annoyances are explained away (by others who are NOT Jen herself no less)but the annoying things said by other frequenters here are just AOK, is seriously not right. One comment here the other day had my blood boiling….and the fact that more than one visitor here claims the smae thing, only makes the ME’s and the Jen’s of the blogosphere….well, disobedient, unenlightened christians. …..???

  103. AM,

    After this, I think I’ll close this comment section. I am not a first-grade teacher in charge of mediating between everybody’s comments so nobody gets her feelings hurt. Other commenters may have, but I don’t remember scolding anyone for snarky comments here while letting others “get away with it”. I try to remember we’re all mature adults, but sometimes I wonder.

    It has been all I can do just to decide whether a comment should be published, how to respond, etc. I resent having a reader so repeatedly annoyed by my blog who not only keeps coming back but keeps telling me how to run it and what I’m doing wrong.

    Re: the comment you quoted from Jen which I edited:

    I told Jen she had made a “self-inflicted jab” and I think my wording misrepresented what I meant. She had said:

    “I resent the implication that because we have chosen (wisely) to limit our family size, we are being unscriptural and our home is not happy. THAT is exactly the kind of statement from “your side of the aisle” that makes my blood boil.”

    She was responding to this comment I had made:

    “And as I’ve said all along, I don’t want to be about “telling people what they should do” or making them feel bad for their choices; but rather flipping our thinking back around to what I believe is the “default” position: most women were made to have babies pretty regularly and the Bible calls that “a happy home”. “

    By “self-inflicted jab” I meant she was taking something I said and completely twisting it to make it appear I was calling hers an “unhappy home” by implication. Which I hope is clear to see I was not at all.

    By the way, I didn’t copy her knee-jerk reaction and say, “So since you “wisely chose to limit your family size” that makes me a fool? Which is the same tactic, but I think I’m discerning enough to know she wasn’t pointing an insult at me by that statement. Discernment: That’s what we need more of as we respond to comments.

    These sorts of misunderstandings are ridiculous, and frankly annoy ME because they’re off topic, they take up valuable time, and yes, they are born out of anger and knee-jerk reactions.

    I try very hard to be level, kind and careful to see what is being said. Sometimes I fail at that. But for goodness’ sake, if you don’t like the way I run the blog, or the comments annoy you repeatedly, take your pick of the other 112 million English-speaking blogs. You won’t hurt my feelings.

  104. the comments annoy me only because of the attitude that seems to accompnay them. for the record, i was not mostly talking about YOU, and I understood your comment about the self-inflicted jab.

    HOWEVER, if one cant see that saying things such as:

    * I am not a first-grade teacher in charge of mediating between everybody’s comments so nobody gets her feelings hurt.*

    is a put down.

    *I resent having a reader so repeatedly annoyed by my blog who not only keeps coming back but keeps telling me how to run it and what I’m doing wrong.*

    you mean like some of us resent being informed the best way to run our christian lives, and how our thinking is wrong?

    *These sorts of misunderstandings are ridiculous*

    labeling, shaming statement. No they are normal, and the REALITY of communication. there is no shame in a misunderstanding.

    i am not the only ‘reader’…they come anyway.

    I had a feeling i would be told to pack it up and take it elsewhere. God forgive me for speaking, i was only hoping to create a glimpse of understanding in someone else’s eyes, just like you are trying to do. But, again, its different when i or someone else does it?

    YOUR comments dont repeatedly annoy me, nor your posts. I have actually been enjoying many of your posts lately. But tired of watching other Christians being informed of the errors of their ways, thinking, mentality, etc.

    I also take what you said above, even though i quoted it with a grain of salt, knowing you are frustrated. it would be nice if even the disagree-ers of the blog world could be cut some slack when they have 5 people commenting them all at once.

  105. **you mean like some of us resent being informed the best way to run our christian lives, and how our thinking is wrong?**

    Case in point. When I come to your house and tell you that “your thinking is wrong”, you can resent it. I write on a personal blog with open invitation to read or not read. By the way, I actually do believe the Bible has a lot to say about older women instructing younger women which would involve a rebuke if needed in the way one thinks. Because we disagree there too, is another reason I think this blog is not a good fit for you.

    Yes, of course at this point I’m annoyed. And I think a Christian has every right to get annoyed sometimes. I just wish we could all be more careful and try to stick to the point of the posts without the reactions to “implied meanings”, etc.

  106. Amy Jo,

    I appreciate those challenges…I do think it’s absolutely important to divide the word of truth and to be careful.

    By the same token, taking the whole counsel of Scripture helps us to wade through some of these problems with interpretation. You said:

    “I’m going to the above point, to point out that you have to be careful which Scriptures you use to make your case as you may make a case against something…”

    If I had used this Scripture only, there *might* be some validity to that. However, this is one of many; we might infer from this particular verse that the Bible affirms the position that daughters are to be protected and never involved in military affairs and that’s why the author was careful to only refer to male gender 😉 But that could also be considered a stretch.

    And I do agree with you that certain examples from Scripture that occur as narrative are not necessarily to be considered normative. That’s where the whole counsel of Scripture is crucial. In Lot’s case for example. Taking his actions as normative would contradict almost everything else in Scripture about immorality, protection of daughters, murder, etc. So we have to scratch our heads at the narrative, dissect it and the end just know that it’s certainly not normative.

    I would agree the case of Onan stands for discussion. But given the fact that the Bible doesn’t speak another word about birth control, and that every other thing it does say about children supports the idea that God is the opener/closer of the womb, it all points in the same direction.

    I agree with you about the “desires of your heart”. I used it out of context.

    Calling a comment dumb…it is what it is. I’ve never claimed to be perfectly “virtuous” though I strive to increasingly grow in grace, in word and deed. I don’t think it was a sin, and I don’t think it’s worse than saying to someone “you brood of vipers” or “you sons of hell”, or other things our Lord said when he was annoyed.

    Perhaps I could have said it differently. Counsel accepted.

  107. “You shouldn’t call someone’s comments dumb”

    In Kelly’s defense, she was responding to a woman who came here out of the blue and insulted every person here, claiming we weren’t helping Haiti because we were talking about another important topic. Frankly..that is rather dumb.

  108. “When I come to your house and tell you that “your thinking is wrong”, you can resent it. I write on a personal blog with open invitation to read or not read”

    I think, again, she was referring to snarky posts by other readers, not your blog perse.

  109. Just to elaborate on the last post a bit, I know you can’t be the equivalent of a playground monitor, Kelly, and frankly I’m grateful that you’ve allowed more or less free discussions on your comment board, but I also understand AM’s frusteration with snarky posters. In that case, AM, your comments probably would have been better directed at the board as a whole rather than Kelly herself.

  110. Jennifer,

    Thank you, that may have been so. But my main point was that she “resents being informed…” whether it is by me or other commenters, on a blog forum where she voluntarily visits. There is a huge difference in “resenting instruction” that is forced upon someone and having voluntarily sought out that instruction. I said “when I come to your house” but could have easily said “when any of us”. Make sense?

  111. Yup. I don’t know if she asked for all the instruction she received, but I haven’t read all the comments. Thanks

  112. For the record:
    1. I do believe that daughters are equally as a reward as sons and are to be used in the hands of a mighty warrior. My point in bringing that up was to remind us all that we MUST consider the full authority of Scripture when drawing convictions — just as you said.

    2. I DO believe that children are a Blessing. The BIBLE is VERY clear on that. I also believe that much of our culture (nay most) do not see them this way. HOWEVER, throughout history the “church” has attempted to correct cultural misguidance by swinging the proverbial pendulum in the far, extreme, opposite direction. This has ALWAYS proved disaster. I believe that taking an extreme position that states, “all families should have as many children as the intimacy between man and woman allows” is an extremem position. It does NOT necesarrily validate that children are a blessing, either. What does validate that children are a blessing, is when a Chrisitan man and wife prayefully submit the size of the family to God and obey as He leads — regardless of the number of children that are conceived.

    3. I know you are attempting to get people to “think” about this issue. Admirable. We should be thinking about it. I believe that your initial posts provide fotter for that. It is you commentary after the posts that allows us to see that your goal is to do more than get us to think. Like it or not, you really do condemn those who do not take your position on this. And that is fine. As you state: your blog, your rules. Deal with it. I agree. I just want to make sure we are all aware of your position and purpose.

    4. Just curious: do you and your husband have intimacy EVERY night? Only asking becuase one of the points that you bring up is that we are NEVER to withold from one another unless we are praying and fasting. So…if you are not exercising your marital intimacy EVERY night, do you both fast and pray specifically on those nights? (I know that this is very personal and maybe does not require an answer.)

  113. I know this is off topic BUT, (and this is a serious question) How do we (as Christians) know where the line is that must not be crossed? In the NT Christian women are told to instruct the younger women but at the same time I don’t want to beat anyone over the head. Are we only to instruct when we have been asked? How is this supposed to be handled? Do you just agree to disagree? When is it appropriate to tell a younger woman that she may be heading down the wrong path?

  114. Amy Jo,

    “Like it or not, you really do condemn those who do not take your position on this.”

    I guess each reader can decide that for herself. Maybe it’s not “my condemning” but that a reader feels condemned by some of the logic.

    I’ve gone overboard to state my concern:

    ***It is not birth control, per se, that I have any problem with. It is the logical conclusion of a prevailing attitude where birth control is the accepted norm.*** That is, I have a problem (and I think it’s anti-biblical) with Christians who expect women to use birth control simply because it is an option. By the way, there are some who do not hold this expectation, but the overwhelming majority do, evidenced by responses that anyone with more than 3 children can testify to.

    Making this point necessitates the “unpacking” of the entire birth control debate, which unfortunately, could make people *feel* condemned, I suppose. It’s never my intention, however, to condemn.

  115. “Do you just agree to disagree? When is it appropriate to tell a younger woman that she may be heading down the wrong path?”

    I think you should do the latter if you’re concerned. If it’s a matter that can be Biblically interpreted in more than one way and there comes disagreement, however, I think that’s when the former action comes in.

  116. Dear Kelly,

    I am the mother of two absolutely wonderful children ages 14 and 11. It is such an honor and blessing to have been given the opportunity to raise these children for our Lord and Saviour. Everytime my daughter prays for someone in need or speaks a word of encouragement to someone, I thank God. Being able to homeschool them, knowing that when they read or ace an Algebra test it’s because I taught them that, is awesome! But knowing that they love the Lord, and watching them grow in their faith and understanding in Him, is awe-inspiring!

    The reason I am writing is, I am one of those women who could not have more children. Both pregnancies I almost died. After my first child, we began going to specialists to see what was wrong with my body; could anything be done to prevent such complications in the future. Many tests and doctors later, we were told that my complications were just a fluke and that any future pregnancies would be completely healthy. Not to be so. The second pregnancy was every bit as bad as the first. Every week I was told I was losing the baby and that they would do what they could to save me. Praise God! we serve a God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ever hope for or imagine! Both of my children were brought almost to full term, and healthy. My daughter had difficulty breathing for the first few days, but came home on time.

    After my daughter was born, my doctor told me I was done having children. The chances of me living through another pregnancy were not good. My husband and I cried and prayed ALOT! I so wanted more children. But, I didn’t want to leave my children without a mother and my husband without a wife. After much praying and fasting, we felt having more children would be wrong. But I know a God who is able. We told God we would be obedient in what he was telling us to do. My husband would have a vassectomy. But we believed, and still believe, with all our hearts that if and when God is willing, He can reverse that procedure (you hear about it all the time) and because of our obedience, the next pregnancy would, and will, be perfect.

    While I wait on the Lord, I must say that my friends with many children make me feel inferior. As if I have done something wrong. They have all had beautiful pregnancies. They don’t understand I ALMOST DIED! Not with just one pregnancy, but with both! Not just one time with each pregnancy. My life and the lives of my children were in perril the WHOLE time I was pregnant.

    I am almost afraid to post this. I know there are women out there who will readily condemn my actions. They will say that I have not shown faith in God. They will say that I must have sinned and that is why I had so many complications in my pregnancies. I know this, because these are comments I have heard already. But, like Job, I have examined my heart before the Lord. I have set my faith on him alone. I know it rains on the just and the unjust.

    I would just like to know…what DO I say when these friends give their hurtful advice?

    Carolyn

  117. Carolyn,
    I am so sorry about your difficulties and more so with callous commenters. I know the question was not directed to me, but feel led to answer. Many commenters here have noted that not everyone is called to the same # of kids. Even people who leave it all to the Lord and don’t interfere at all have different number of children; some a lot, some a little. Just answer that you are seeking the Lord. They don’t have a right to be answered, only God does.

  118. Amy Jo-

    “we are NEVER to withold from one another unless we are praying and fasting. So…if you are not exercising your marital intimacy EVERY night, do you both fast and pray specifically on those nights?” Assuming this question was sincere: isn’t it understood that one spouse does not withold from the other when the other initiates or asks for intercourse?

    Also you said, “I believe that taking an extreme position that states, ‘all families should have as many children as the intimacy between man and woman allows’ is an extremem position.” Do you sincerely this to be the belief of the people here arguing against contraception? I would agree that that IS an extreme position. But I see that many here hold the philosophy of being open to God’s will in leaving conception in his hands. Why can’t it be as simple as “Be open.” No one has said one has to be sure to have intercourse during every fertile time. I would argue that “a Christian man and wife prayerfully submit the size of the family to God and obey as He leads” when they refrain from using contraception, and when they are always open to God using them to create another life if He so wills it. They don’t have to TRY every time. Neither do they have to TRY TO PREVENT it every time.

  119. Carolyn,

    I’m sorry about your heartache. Your comment and explanation of things are NOT typical of the prevailing attitude, the one I write about so often, of a “birth control culture”. Just like I’ve always said, I don’t think an ultimate decision like the one you made is the issue; I think it’s the attitude of the heart…Does it embrace life and rejoice in every life, one or twelve? Does it smile on the notion that “babies come” and not *expect* people (or even taunt them) to stop having them just because it’s possible? And does that same heart accept the sovereignty of God when He closes the womb?

    As for what to say to those who are hurtful? (I’m assuming these are friends who know about your decision?) As Kelly said, God knows the heart and to Him only do we answer. I may just express to them what you’ve expressed here. That you would have loved to have more children and came to your decision through agonizing prayer. I pray you find peace and the right words when you need them.

  120. Pilgrim,

    Well said. It is so much more simple. I don’t believe AT ALL in “trying” to have children unless you’re struggling with infertility, maybe. I don’t mind saying, either, sometimes after a baby is born, I ask God for a “break” 😉 I’m not usually ready to be pregnant again for a length of time. We don’t try to prevent it, but it’s not like we’re in a race to see how many we can have, LOL! I do think some people think that’s how it is.

  121. Well said, Pilgrim. Especially the simplicity of “be open”. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about having “as many as physically possible”. It is all about being open to the beautiful fruit that God can make grow from marital love. Some trees bear many, some just a few. We just don’t cut the buds off our tree to try to minimize the harvest on our own. The Everlasting God is a mighty fine gardener, without needing us to meddle. 🙂

    Jennifer, presenting extremes like as you do, when nobody has argued for them, does not make a solid argument. I believe that’s called setting up a straw-man so you can knock it down. 😉

  122. Actually Margaret, it’s called responding to the extremes that were set before me and indeed argued for: extremes regarding my heart, my body, my feelings, my faith, my ideas, and my womb personally. That’s actually old news now, as I and most of the posters here have come to an understanding, so I don’t know why you felt the need to comment, erroneously, on it as you did. I’ll assume you’re just a little behind on all the comments and not deliberately making a pointless jab. 😉

  123. Can you point me to where anybody has argued *as many children as physically possible* and *marital relations only for the purpose of concieving*, please? Those are the two extremes you mentioned, and having read the OP and the comments, I fail to see them anywhere.

  124. I’ve heard both Nancy Campbell and Mary Pride use these extremes, so I wondered at first if anyone here did the same. After that, the extremes I mentioned were in response to people questioning my faith, my ideas, and telling me what was best for my body.

  125. While you may have heard it from those women (haven’t read enough of them to argue with you about that), your comment was *directed at Kelly*. You asked *her* if she really believed such-and-such.

  126. Yes, I asked, and she confirmed she didn’t, so it was dropped. Groups like the Vision Forum and Ladies against Feminism tout Mary Pride and Nancy Campbell around as their personal heroines and knowing that many here like those groups, I wondered if they shared their beliefs.

  127. Jennifer,

    Because it’s so important to me that people not assert untruths about a person or group (that’s gossip) and because the internet is a breeding ground for such activity, I wanted to clarify some things in your last few comments.

    I’m assuming that the “extremes” you assert that Vision Forum and LAF, etc. espouse are the idea that a woman should *try* to have as many children as are physically possible? I’m unclear on this, but that’s the one extreme that has been mentioned so correct me if I’m wrong.

    If that is the assertion, you are wrong. (Here again, the assertions are made with no quotes or references to the claim, yet you’ve stated it as fact–very misleading to the reader who hasn’t read these sources personally.)

    I’ve read and/or discussed personally the issue of fertility with the aforementioned people. The pervading attitude is “praise God if He gives us an abundance of children”. I hold the same attitude and submit that all Christians wishing to share the biblical attitude of children should…the language of Scripture is the basis of this attitude–“May she be the mother of thousands”…was a blessing spoken over Rebekah at her wedding. It was simply the way godly men and women viewed the legacy of children. It was hoped and prayed for that a godly family would produce many godly offspring–who wouldn’t want that if our desire is to see the Kingdom “come on earth”?

    Speaking this way today, is only considered “extreme” because our cultural context differs so much with the attitude of Scripture.

    It’s another “proof” of how we’ve let culture influence our ideas about children and not Scripture…the living, breathing Word of God that should shape and form all our thoughts and opinions.

    One could call it extreme; but one would have to simultaneously call the Word of God extreme. Therein lies a deeper issue that may just be the crux of the matter.

  128. Jennifer,

    Just a side note to prove that Nancy Campbell, for example does not push women to “see how many children they can have”…

    She has been a specific advocate for teaching women how to breastfeed. She clearly encourages women about the “natural birth control” God put in our bodies when we nurse on demand. If she were about the “extreme” you mentioned, she would tell women to stop nursing. She’s telling them to nurse longer and closer together so that the natural spacing of children is more likely to occur.

  129. “I’m assuming that the “extremes” you assert that Vision Forum and LAF, etc. espouse”

    I asserted that they promote two extreme authors. Whether or not they agree with every single point the authors make, I have no way of knowing nor claimed to.

    I know that the VF and LAF love and exhort the works of Pride and Campbell. I also know that Campbell says in her book that since God said to be fruitful and muliply and not to wait to do so until financially secure, we should get on it as soon as possible. Pride also said sex should consist of genital to genital; taking these two examples into consideration, many would conclude they believe in having as many children as possible. Judging from a few people’s reactions here, it seems that my question of whether you believe that was extreme, but I don’t think so; my general impression was that, to the women here, “have as many children as possible” and “have as many as God gives you” are the same concept.

    Thank God Campbell believes in some break between heavy womb work. As for Pride, I’ve recently heard she’s not so restrictive of women’s roles as I originally thought. Thank God, though her statements on sex etc remain unchanged in her original book, and some still follow it.

  130. I have read lots of Nancy Campbell’s articles were she encourages nursing a child till they are 2 and 3yrs old. Just thought I’d mention that…

  131. ” I also know that Campbell says in her book that since God said to be fruitful and muliply and not to wait to do so until financially secure, we should get on it as soon as possible. Pride also said sex should consist of genital to genital; taking these two examples into consideration, many would conclude they believe in having as many children as possible”

    Jennifer, that is really stretching things.

    Neither of those teachings is about “having as many as physically possible”. One is about trusting God and being open to children without having an arbitrary financial goal to meet before accepting the blessing of children, and the other is an ethical position on acceptable sexual expression between a couple.

    Kelly is right. If Nancy Campbell were in the “as many as possible” camp, she’d be advocating early weaning or no breastfeeding at all. I only have one or two of above Rubies Magazine, but the families who write for that magazine seem to be quite varied in their sizes, and several have mentioned having ended biological childbearing on purpose for health reasons, and going on to adopt instead, without any commentary or disclaimers from Nancy that she doesn’t approve.

  132. It’s not stretching things in the least, Margaret. Nancy said that getting to know your spouse more first, enjoying time to yourselves, or purchasing a home is not important to do before starting babies and stressed that God wants marriage mainly for children. Many would naturally assume that claiming these things and claiming that only pro-creational sex is acceptable are VERY indicative of an extreme view of babies indeed. I’m basing my statements on her own words, whereas you’re basing yours on the fact that she didn’t disagree with a few words about adoption in two magazines.

  133. Jennifer,

    I think what Margaret is saying, and what seems to be the issue here, is that “extreme” is subjective. Advocates of an “open womb” philosophy, and that would include me, Nancy Campbell, and thousands of other people, simply acknowledge that sex is a gift God gave to couples, to be enjoyed and not witheld from each other, and that it is both a means of pleasure and a means of producing children. God made it, we believe it, and we should leave it alone. That simple.

    “Purchasing a home” or “enjoying time to yourselves” should not exclude the natural gift of children. That’s a cultural “extreme”, in my opinion, and other than its selfish motivation, there are no biblical grounds for “self-gratification” that excludes children.

    Again, it’s all about what we call “normal”. We have taken a man-made idea–purposefully limiting or rejecting children–and we’re trying to make this the norm. God said, “get married, have sex, and if I open your womb babies will come.” That should be the starting place, the default attitude for believers. If a Christian doesn’t want to embrace that, fine, but he/she should at least admit that they’re choosing a cultural “norm” that alters God’s biological design. It’s the “upside down normal” that I orginally exlained in the post.

  134. “That’s a cultural “extreme”, in my opinion, and other than its selfish motivation”

    I think it’s practical, not selfish, to purchase a home in which to raise children and take time to become intimate with your spouse. Extreme is a matter of opinion; fine. In my opinion, Campbell’s words are very extreme; no one has to agree, but the point I’ve been trying to make is that my original conclusion that Campbell seems indeed to promote as many children as your body (aka God) will allow is by no means a stretch of logic after reading her own words.

  135. Thanks Kelly, yes, that’s what I meant.

    Being open from the beginning is not equivalent to “as many as physically possible”. I *could*, through manipulating my fertility, have attempted pregnancy much more often in the last 7.5 years of marriage. 3 is not the maximum my body could have borne. But 3 is what God gave me.

    Intimacy in marriage is a choice, whether children are present or not. One need not avoid children to enjoy one’s spouse. Likewise, when one believes that *God* gives the children, one also believes that he provides according to His will for each particular family. While you may think it’s foolish not to purchase a home, or to only purchase a small home, there are probably aspects of your faith that outsiders would consider foolish too. The Bible itself says that God’s wisdom looks like foolishness to men.

  136. I never said it was foolish not to purchase a home or only a small one; not once.

    “Being open from the beginning is not equivalent to “as many as physically possible””

    For many, it’s very very close, as shown in my quotes.

    “The Bible itself says that God’s wisdom looks like foolishness to men”

    Yes, I’ve seen that. Repeatedly..

  137. We have 3 (4, 2 1/2, 10 months). My kiddos get it…now that their baby brother is 10 months, my two girls keep asking, when are we going to have another baby. They see the blessing, why can’t all the church folks see it?? Does it really take the innocence of a child to see that children are gifts from God to be gladly received??

  138. Well said! I didn’t think your catheter example was nutty in the least. I followed you right through it and thought, “This is brilliant!” That’s just exactly what it’s like. Our societal norm is so messed up ~ in so many ways! It’s a good thing that we’ve been warned to not measure ourselves by ourselves. We’re a poor measuring standard.

  139. Speaking of which-

    We all know of the Octomom, right? All these kids for one woman-bad decision, right? According to most common sense, psychology, sociology, and statistics, it is indeed a bad choice. The octomom has, since last giving birth, acknowledged her mistake in logic and does not, by all appearances, intend to emlarge her single mom status any further. I didn’t discover this until tonight, when the TV was quite by accident left on a liberal channel. When I heard some catty women exclaiming over the fact that the octomom (I’m sorry, can’t remember her name) said she wanted another baby, I at first thought Good heavens, she’s loading more kids into a fatherless family! Turns out, that’s not the case. What the octomom said was that way, WAY down the road in the distant future, when she FINDS A HUSBAND, she might like to have a child with him. This was what the Showbiz nitwit hens were pecking about: a woman who might want a child with her husband in the future. Comments ranged from “Is she mentally stable?” to “I know we can’t lock her up, but can we lock her uterus up?”

    One ninny even said that since she couldn’t even answer the questions of five women on The View in one hour, how could she handle all those kids? The other hens clucked in praise of this question as though it was clever. My answer: very few can completely answer all the prattling chatter the women on The VIEW throw from all sides, and her children don’t ask her stupid questions 24/7; THAT’S how.

  140. Jennifer, I just read through a bunch of this stuff. I am married with four children. I have read the quiverfull rationale. It sounds reasonable but on a number of counts I couldn’t fully ‘buy into’ it. In Philosophy (as I’m sure you’re aware, but this is for other readers!) for an ‘absolute’ to be valid/credible it must be true for all people, in all places, at all times. If a quiverfull advocate asserts it is the ‘right’ thing to practice free marital intimacy with no interventions (I use this language because they bristle at the term ‘birth control’) – then it must always be right for all people everywhere. At this point I had to diverge from the logic they promote. I have a dear dear friend who lives close to poverty level (not poverty USA level, but poverty Philippine level – which really means not enough to eat), and who had two children. They both required c-sections or she would have died and they don’t perform c-sections in the village, so she had them at hospitals so she and her babies could live. Since then she has practiced a form of birth control. She is a Christian, full-time church planter and rice harvester. Yes, she could ‘trust God’ to provide all the material things they would need were they to continue to pro-create. Yes, she could ‘trust God’ to alter her body so she wouldn’t die in labour since her body can’t birth a baby without it or her dying. Yes, she could trust God to give her as many babies as He deems… I see she could do all that, and her three children (one added by adoption) would not only be more hungry, but perhaps orphaned too? Because we can see this is a true and real situation, not fabricated, I cannot buy into the quiverfull rationale. It cannot hold up to situational testing. At the same time I do believe some of their point is valid – that Westerners tend to be a bit of control freaks and in the realm of Christendom this has carried over and perhaps God would have us do more asking of Him, How many children would you want for our home to raise and nurture for You glory? Instead of just assuming ‘I know what’s best for me!’ (i.e. ‘lean not on your own understanding…’) But if you take the ‘I’ll let God take full control of my womb’ mentality and equate it with ‘I will do nothing to interfere with conception’ you assert that God having full control means I DO nothing. I cannot assert these two as being equal – because the Word tells us to be both self-controlled and Spirit-controlled. Therefore, Scripture must allow for some discernment on the part of the Christ-follower as to what to do in the matter of conception. I am not saying this gives all Christians free reign to obsessively ‘control’ their lives to their own personal ends (‘I couldn’t handle the crimping of my freedom so I just won’t have kids, or just one’ etc.) Nor does it give all Christians the luxury to NOT wrestle with the issues (which requires due diligence and mental work), and sit back and wait for the babies to descend upon them one by one (or two by two as the case may be).

    Forgive my rambling, all that to say, I am saddened to see the ways people have fired back and forth on here and it further pushes me to the other side of this issue, where I had been in the middle more or less. When I see irrationality it is a cue for me to go the other way!

    Your thoughts were well put, respectful and intelligent.

  141. Sarah, thank you a lot! 🙂 Indeed, I agree with everything you said; the QF will never work as an universal absolute and those who have tried it that way have occasionally risked death. I’m relieved to know Kelly’s not one to push this idea, but some still do and it’s infuriating, at best.

  142. Furthermore, I would really love to hear what Quiverfull advocates think of what I wrote, as I have never heard a thoughtful, non-emotionally-charged response to my reasoning. I wonder how they would answer my musings? Since in my own mind this matter is not fully settled as far as my own personal life, I would find it interesting to read opinions from all sides.

  143. Sarah,

    I will try to answer your very valid question…

    First, I don’t call myself a “QF advocate” or consider myself part of a “movement”. I believe my convictions on anything, including children, come from Scripture and that we are not seeing a QF movement, but have witnessed a “birth control movement”. That’s where the burden of proof should lie.

    That said, you may not have read that I do not make an absolute statement. At this point in my understanding, I don’t think that being open to receive children means that it is a sin if a couple, in extreme circumstances, chose to limit/space their children.

    You said that an absolute must be true for all people at all times. I will clarify that I believe the Bible was written with the laws of God to His people, so a drug addict or abuser (as often gets brought up) doesn’t obey God’s Word so the openness to children wouldn’t apply to her anyway. (I may not be stating that clearly, but maybe you’ll know what I mean.)

    So that what I believe is not necessarily an ABSOLUTE, but a principle, a “default mode” concerning the womb.

    Barring extreme circumstances handed to us from the fall, (and this is where the heart of the couple must really be seeking God and not calling every bump in the road “extreme”), God’s people should be open to children and should acknowledge that He promised to take care of us and them.

    When you go down the extreme road, there are so many examples that fly in the face of our wisdom. Examples of poor women throughout history who gave birth to some of the most influential men and women to date, women who had successive children born with deformities (Beethoven’s mom comes to mind…he was the 5th child born with physical ailments), so I think we judge poorly by establishing our beliefs about children based on extreme circumstances.

    Better to embrace the clear principles of God about children–written in both His word and our bodies (birth control was our idea, not His), and cross the other bridges when we get there.

    I end with an example: the biblical principle involving money is that a person shouldn’t go into debt and be slave to a lender. That’s a pretty solid principle. Are there EVER circumstances where a couple is forced to accrue some debt? Maybe…would that be considered a sin? They may reap some negative consequences, or they may find favor granted due to their situation. We don’t go around trying to quality the debt thing by saying, “but what about this hypothetical?” We just acknowledge the wisdom of the principle to be true in most cases.

    Does that clarify?

    1. “Birth control was our idea, not God’s”

      This is a simplistic, and I daresay – a bit warped? statement. (I don’t mean to offend here, just speaking my mind). There are lots of things that are ‘our’ idea that are not necessarily sinful. For instance, anaesthesia was our idea (unless you figure God putting Adam to sleep was the first anaesthesia), the oboe was our idea, girls having styled hair was our idea, boys wearing pants (not skirts and dresses like in the old Middle east!), coloured contact lenses, reading glasses, physical therapy, universities, Bible Colleges, motor vehicles, buttons on our shirts (unless you’re Amish): all these were ‘our’ idea! And many of these have to do with control, preference, convenience and bettering our lives. Just like birth control. So, I hate to say it, but that is an invalid statement.

      Scripture does not condemn birth control. We know the incident with Onan. But was it the birth control that was an issue or was it his dishonorable, greedy intentions to withhold from the woman what was her rightful due in that society? To read into this a lesson on birth control is actually very poor hermeneutics. We can’t throw Scripture around without reading the whole thing and understanding what the intent of each passage is. Was the story about Onan really about birth control? I really don’t think so.

      And as I write this, I am expecting baby #5, so I speak as one who at least embraces children heartily. I have no personal agenda in this debate – just sound reasoning and accurate Biblical scholarship.

      1. Well, then let’s talk hermeneutics. First, something to think about regarding your question about the story of Onan. Biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, (involving a strange ritual where the woman places her foot on the man’s head in public–but very serious in that day), NOT DEATH, which seems to indicate his crime was something greater than the denial of children to her. If we’re going to get specific, we must consider that and ask the questions.

        But even weaker than that argument is the first you brought up–the “warped” statement you say I made. “Birth control was not our idea” is not “warped” but accurate, just as you are right that many things were our idea. The difference, though, is paramount. Clothing, vehicles, buttons–all those things are material, insignificant, trivial things in light of a SOUL, an immortal being. Birth control as a “betterment of our lives” is the warped statement. First, birth control has caused a myriad of health issues because it opposes nature and changes the natural function of our bodies–not a betterment.

        Secondly, to suggest that interfering in the miraculous process of creating life (a creation of which we are not capable) is a “betterment” is to suggest children are burdens and God doesn’t know what He’s doing–which is strictly opposite to what Scripture does explicitly say about children.

        If you want to contend that “unless the Bible specifically forbids birth control” as your measure of authority, that is certainly your right and I do not judge you for that. However, where the Bible is fairly silent about the *prevention* of life, I want to know what the Bible says about the creation of life–and it has quite a bit to say. So I’m going to err on the side of what IS written, rather than what is not.

  144. It seems to be all about choice. A pro-choice woman says she has the choice of what she should do with her life, including reproduction, even after conception. The woman who says, “I’m done after 1 or 4”, also goes about with the same kind of reasoning.
    When Christians make the deliberate choice not to have (any more) children, they are saying that although God may bless them with more children, they are going to make their choice and not take that blessing. They make their own choices as to how many blessings make a full quiver.

    I’d like to suggest a new form of birth control. Prayer. 🙂 No kidding. God gives us the desires of our hearts, doesn’t He? We believe in seeking God’s direction through prayer, don’t we? If for whatever reasons, we don’t desire any more children, let’s just pray and ask God to close our wombs. If God does indeed close our wombs and we no longer conceive, we can rest in knowing that it’s God’s will. If the answer is another baby, who’s going to say that God made a mistake?

  145. Prayer is an excellent solution, Frieda. However, by your other logic I think you miss Sarah’s point entirely.

  146. For every anecdotal situation for why women shouldn’t have children, there are stories that show God’s omnipotence. A friend had a C-section with her first. Doctors told her she would die if she had another. She conceived and had another C-section. Doctors almost convinced my friend to get a tubal. She didn’t and conceived again and had another C-section. With her fourth and fifth pregnancies, she had homebirths! Her mother was so inspired by her first homebirth that she trained to be a midwife and attended her daughter’s second homebirth.

  147. There are also stories of women who nearly die convicted that they’re meant to have children and/or risk their mental health. Some women really SHOULDN’T have kids.

  148. Jennifer,

    May I stick something in your thinking cap? Here is your quote re-worded:

    “There are also stories of women who nearly die convicted that they’re meant to serve on the mission field and/or risk their mental health…”

  149. True, but people pushing themselves to have kids when they’re not healthy are far more likely to perish. Thanks for the thought.

  150. I had a homebirth with the first – not a choice I would make if I’d known better. It was risky – yes God protected and kept me and baby from dying. We are grateful for HIS oversight and care in this, however, I do believe it was a foolish choice. So, yes, we can choose to do something that goes against ‘common sense’ (according to various definitions!), and God can protect and keep us from harm, but is He obligated to? Also, I don’t view birth ‘defects’ or problems a child may be born with outside the ‘ideal’ (whose ideal? ours or God’s?) – so no, I don’t believe limiting family size ‘cuz of potential ‘problems’ in the baby to be exactly a valid reasoning. God creates these children, and our labeling of ‘defect’ is not, I believe, His perspective at all. That’s just a side note anyways.

    As for deciding to have more kids and risk ones life, or deciding to live and ‘serve’ overseas and risk ones life, I don’t think we just decide not to do something because of the risk to ones life. But it is something to consider – if I could choose, i would choose to depart and be with Christ which is better by far, but for your sakes (or the sakes of those around me whom I may influence for the glory of God) I remain… to quote Paul. So don’t flippantly throw it out as not worth considering, nor throw it out and that being the main factor in influencing a decision. Paul knew he was going to die in Rome and went anyways. But we must be led by the Spirit in these matters and not either fatalistic and cautionless or self-determined and refuse to open ourselves to other options in life. What about ‘Love God and do as you please’ as far as reasoning goes? What would the birth control debate do with that? Loving God means we’ll do as He pleases and there are many ways to please Him, and they are not limited to the bearing and raising of genetic offspring. That is one way, but, I wonder, isn’t it one way among many?

  151. After reading this post and article, and the comments I took several days and prayed albeit emotionally over how I would care to respond. These are the words that God has given me to say at this moment. At least, that is how I feel.

    I am a christian stay at home mother of a beautiful 8 month old daughter, and soon to welcome my husband and I’s second child, a son, into our family in July. When I was younger, misguided, and hadn’t taken God into my life, I was raped and had become pregnant as a result. Jennifer, you said, “That passage in the Bible spoke of abstaining from sex, not trying to get pregnant; the idea that God commands us to try compulsively to get pregnant as much as possible is an unnatural idea to me.” I am saddened by this, I was not trying to get pregnant, and as a result I had a horrific miscarriage. Although at the time I didn’t see the blessing I do now, However, I feel God works in mysterious ways. God took that sweet little angel far before its time, but that was Gods plan. And I am accepting of that now, however, seeing that I wasn’t sexually active until being raped, *I thought I had to be to be “normal”* I hadn’t been on birth control. I was doing things naturally. Abstaining, and praying, and not putting myself in compromising situations with young men. After being raped and becoming sexually active, I took birth control. I, proceeded out of wedlock, to have sex. As a result…I became pregnant, while on Depo, a birth control shot. I was financially unstable, and the father….well he was abusive, anyways, I ended up giving my first born to an adoptive family, for my child’s safety from his father. Jump ahead years… Now I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and am expecting a terrific son. I have also excepted Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit into my life full force. My cautionary to you is this Jennifer: Just because you may use medical or “natural” ways to not become pregnant, that doesn’t always guarantee no children. Abstaining – may not either, as in my case. My thought and point is this, GOD is the only one who can control how and when things such as pregnancy happen or don’t happen. Put your faith in HIM. Don’t change your point of view, just remember: In God’s Time, In God’s Will, will your future be received and shown.

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