Generation Cedar

Shouldn’t I be bothered by it?  Shouldn’t we all?  I know I talk about it a lot.  I know there are other matters in the spiritual realm besides our ideas about children.

But somehow, this one is blaring to me, and big, and wrong.

It is my plea that if you are an older woman who desires to be a “godly older woman”, then you MUST echo the things of God, you must speak out of His Word–otherwise, you’re just old…and a liar (professing to believe His Word and speaking things opposite what is there.)

I couldn’t help overhearing the cashier behind me, I wasn’t eavesdropping. She was checking out a sweet-natured, older couple, chatting with them about her new marriage and how her mother was wanting grandchildren.  (I can’t vouch for the couple’s salvation, but I know they were members of a church because they were “buying on the church’s account”.)

The cashier said, “I do NOT want to have children right now…”

The older woman said, verbatim, “And you don’t need to; you need to enjoy life.” (“Children are a gift from God..the fruit of the womb is His REWARD.”)

It echoed in my ears all the way home.  I wish I had had the courage to say something, but I didn’t want to meddle in someone else’s conversation.

I asked the questions…

“What does a statement like that say about the way we view children?”

“What has happened among believers to make us think that way?”

“Did women say this to younger women before birth control was so acceptable and convenient?”

“If not, isn’t that cause for us to at least be cautious about the subject?”

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

She lied to that young wife.  She told her that children would cause her unhappiness.  That children were trouble.  That children would rob her of joy.

She also told her that we are entitled to our own, personal fulfillment in life, even at the expense of other people.

She lied about the character of God in that statement because everything the Bible has to say about the fruitfulness of the marriage covenant is directly opposed to that comment.  Without exception.

This is the only reason I tend to be so black and white on the issue of birth control–NOT because I’m legalistic or seek to add to the Word of God.  But because I see an almost constant discrepancy in the two positions.

Is it possible to hold in one hand the belief that BC is good and useful for preventing children according to our own determination, and hold in the other the idea that children are something to welcome and not desire to prevent in marriage?

Is it possible to embrace the idea of preventing children and still think that children bring joy to one’s life, not hindrance?

Comments like these affirm that the general population cannot hold the two together.  And when that occurs, I’m prone to choose one and reject the other because two diametrically opposed positions, when the Bible DOES speak, cannot both be right.

(I’m not interested in a debate about hypotheticals here, please hear what I’m saying.)

God help us to speak truth about Him and about the magnificence of His most beloved creation–US.

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104 Responses

  1. Either we believe Him or we don’t. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like. It’s not a buffet.

    Children are a blessing! Every single one of them! None of them are mistakes, because they are specifically designed and created and timed by our Loving Father. How we respond to His Blessings determines the fruit borne. It’s not the child, it’s our response to a child. If we resent the intrusion, bitter fruit will be borne in that child. If we receive a child as His Gift to us, then joyful fruit is borne.

    I was so frustrated by the little comments during my pregnancies: “Don’t you know what causes that?” (Mostly from friends at church)

    I would reply, with a smile on my face, “Yes, God causes this. Because He desires to bless us.”

    1. “We don’t get to pick and choose what we like. It’s not a buffet.”

      I like that. The way we put it in our family is that you can’t play ‘Choose-your-own-religion’, or ‘choose-your-own-Jesus’ (The 2nd one we say a lot when people talk about ‘practicing the love and acceptance of Jesus’ when they are trying to condone a sinful practice in a person they love.

    2. I would reply, with a smile on my face, “Yes, God causes this. Because He desires to bless us.”

      I like that 🙂

  2. I wanted to respond with an exchange I recently had, but felt like I was gossiping, so I will just say this: Yes, there is a shortage of true Titus 2 women. That’s the Church’s demographic winter. One of them, anyway.

  3. Thank you for this…I’ve had some major issues with this in the past and quite honestly now that I’ve *allowed* God to take control of my fertility..and I’m pregnant..I have not been joyous or fact quite the opposite. My husband doesn’t understand because he says we talked about it and agreed to it and now I’ve freaked out…to say the least it’s been so hard for me to give up control and find joy in this..your blog, Just a Family and Teaching Good Things have been so nice to come and read and find encouragement because I’m really scared and feel so alone…
    Thank you for sharing (-:

    1. Tanya, I wish I could give you a hug…the freak-out? Entirely normal. It doesn’t happen to everyone, necessarily, but often enough that it’s to be expected (I think it’s worth a freak-out when we realize how closely God listens to our prayers and rewards our obedience). It means your mom hormones are kicking in, and I don’t mean that in any sort of dismissive or minimizing manner. It’s chemical. If you’re super-worried, be sure to speak with your pastor and your OB, and your husband – I didn’t realize how much I had underestimated my husband’s ability to “manage” me until I was pregnant. I think that’s chemical, too.

      Ambivalence during pregnancy and delivery is not an indication of what kind of Mommy you’ll be, only what temper of pregnant person you are, this time. Pray for joy, sweetheart – it comes!

    2. I have begged God for more children and as soon as I am pregnant I wonder what in the world I was thinking.I am not a good pregnant person but I try to be.I will be praying that you will find the joy in the journy.

    3. Tanya and Lucy T.,
      Don’t be surprised that it can be a battle in your spirit. You have engaged the enemy on the front lines of the battle for our culture. It reminds me of that song that says, “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. There is such power in our spoken words and when you feel the heaviness, one way to combat it is to speak out loud the words of His Blessings over children. Or crank up some praise music and sing aloud at the top of your lungs. Another weapon we use when under attack is our “offensive prayer weapon” where we pray for a specific person who doesn’t know the Lord to receive salvation in Him. Every time the evil one comes at us, we pray for that one person. The last thing satan wants when he is trying to attack you is for you to go on the offensive for the Kingdom. Praying for your spirits to be lifted. You are both blessing the Body in your obedience.

      1. Thank you for your reply, although not intended for me, it spoke to me. Thank you for reminding me that the enemy does seek to attack, especially when we have taken a stand for truth.
        I am so thankful for Kelly’s blog and also for the likeminded sisters that always encourage me.

      2. Dear “I live in an antbed”,
        Thanks for your comments about the attacks of the enemy. 5 years ago, when pregnant with my last child I remember that there wasn’t a day that I didn’t wake up thinking “I don’t ever want to be pregnant again”.
        I wish I could have recognized it for what it was at the time, and lived by faith and not by sight. I would love to be pregnant again.

  4. It’s doubly sad when the same sort of message comes from within one’s own home and family. I experienced the disordered pressure to NOT have children from my own mother under the guise of “stewardship of the earth” (really, Mothers, what does it say to our to children when we suggest they’ll be burdened by having children themselves? That’s unBiblical and mean besides), and another family member has been discouraged by her mother from considering adoption, but rather encouraged to continue fertility treatments that are questionably medically sound, exorbitantly expensive, and against her Church’s teachings. This is disordered not only by Biblical standards regarding children, but regarding inappropriate interference by parents in the marriage relationship. I hope this story comes across as intended (rather than merely gossip, as Jen P so wisely refrained from), examples of how even “seasoned” married women are subject to the incorrect teachings of older women – it too often comes from those closest to us, and it has tragic consequences.

  5. I grew up in a home like that and being told how I should never have children. I don’t know how my mother ever raised us when she felt so negative about children or why she wanted to have us in the first place. It really messed me up and not being in a Christian home I had no hope of learning any different growing up. Our society is so negative on the subject of children. All that said it is the reason I never wanted children through most of my twenties. Finally, at 27 decided we did not want to miss out on it. I loved my children from the moment I knew they were coming and wondered how it could be that a mother that had been through this miracle could tell me how awful it was.

    1. My mother had a similar attitude. She didn’t say never have children, but she’d say “don’t have children unless you can afford to send them to college.” Say what?!?! Who knows if you’ll be able to send them to college or not 18 years after they’re born.

      She was/is also pro-choice. I’ve often wondered if she would have considered abortion when she became pregnant with me. I was “an accident” several years younger than my next oldest sibling and I heard her say this before. Fortunately for me, it was before Roe V. Wade.

      I have a niece that has 6 children and my mother was always dismayed every time she became pregnant again. On the last child, I will never forget what she said to me: “This is why I believe in abortion!” I was dumbfounded and literally speechless. She was talking about her great-grandchild, and saying my niece should abort. My mother is also a “Christian” (she says), and goes to a mainline denomination that has become very liberal and strayed far from the Truth.

      1. Oh how very sad! I can not believe a mother would say that to HER CHILD! I avoid ever saying my children were Oops! Unplanned or anything. I want them to know that they were planned by the God of the Universe, and they are loved by HIM! (As well as me:)

        1. I love how my step-mother-in-law says it. Don’t wait till you are ready to have children, or you will never have them. It is only after they are here that you become what you need to be for them.

          1. Oh that is so true, before having any children I was scared to have many and didnt partically like children. But as soon as I had my first baby, I fell in love, with the beauty of it all. I saw the bigger plan, the sweetness of a child really teaches us a lot, to be more patient, more loving, more kind. The more children I had the better I got in loving Jesus, or relying on Him for my strenght, and for wisdom… Yes children are trully the best thing that can happen in a marriage.

  6. Right on, Kelly!

    I here little snippets of conversations like this so often, and they always bring me up short. The wheels in my head start cranking, and I play over and over in my head what I might say if I had the TIME–because you can’t make a snappy comeback to something like this, and you can’t offer a little maxim or one-liner piece of advice. The whole PERSPECTIVE is what’s wrong with this picture, and no tiny little brushstroke on the canvas is going to fix that.

    Thank God for the power of prayer. We’d be lost without it, and I for one would feel entirely helpless in the face of so much brokenness in this world.

  7. Excellent thoughts, as always, Kelly. 🙂

    I’ve caught myself so many times agreeing with those hurtful comments about our children… It’s difficult to make the conscious effort not to when you’re tired and running after them and then someone pops in with the quick “Well, you could have stopped after one!” … Yes, I could have. So which child would I have *not* had? My sweet, helpful oldest boy? My second cuddly cheerful boy? Or perhaps the giggly little girl my husband had been hoping for? What about the two little ones we lost between? It’s sad to fall into the same worldly trap of thinking we would have been better off without children, and I think it’s doubly hard when the other (and older) women around us are so quick with the words and short on the comfort.

    I’ve found that many time the best thing for me to do is smile. I don’t have to agree that I’m exhausted with my little ones. I don’t have to agree that life might possibly have been simpler without them. I don’t even have to agree with another lady’s decision to avoid children medically. But she needs to know that I AM BLESSED. And if I can’t find the strength to say so, I need to show it with a smile. Even if that smile is thru tears. 😉

  8. I was blessed to have a Christian mother-in-law with 9 children. I was blessed to read Mary Pride’s book- The Way Home in 1985(Schoolproof is another good book of hers). The Scripture- This is the day which the Lord hath made;we will rejoice and be glad in it-Psalm 118:24(KJV) is on our refrigerator and one of our family’s favorites. Above Rubies magazine is another encourager. Our society wants to take the stigmas off of everything-divorce,homosexuality,etc. and put a stigma on Christian men and women who know that babies are a gift from God. I believe that in eternity the unseen consequences of birth control will be revealed. It grieves me. Why would someone prefer to work at a bank or a store than be home with the blessings our Creator has given them?

  9. Poking at that sore spot again, are you Kelly?

    Surprised you haven’t got a bunch of angry comments yet, perhaps those are still coming.

    I agree with you though. Such a shame that older generations are encouraging such nasty attitudes about the blessing of children. My grandmother was one. I praise God every day that my mother did not take her mother’s advice.

  10. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t have any more children (I have 3 children in my arms, 3 in Christ’s arms) because “no one will want to babysit that many.”

    My mother worries about having more grandchildren because she and my dad are poor and cannot afford presents for any more.

    A woman in church told me, while I was pregnant with my 3rd(6th) that I, “don’t need any more children” and “the next time your husband gets that look in his eyes, tie him to a tree.” That one floored me!

  11. #6 is coming here…and this is the first time I’ve really been bristling…preparing for *those* comments. So far, they’ve been few…but I think the indifference I’ve faced in some circles is almost more hurtful…
    Wise words.

    1. Children are true blessings, dont listen to the ones who says otherwise. Dont look around for approval from others- you may get blank stares, condesending looks, dissaproving nods, or unchristian counsel. Look up to God for approval from Him alone, for strenght when it gets tough emotionally and physically, find wisdom in his word. I sometimes look at others for my approval of the things I do, and when I dont find it, I get dissapointed and feel lost. But trully in God alone I find the love and care I need.

  12. It is so sad to say that this overheard converstion is the norm pretty much everywhere we go. We are expecting are fourth child and I have commented here (probably too often) about the remarks and beliefs of our relatives that hurt, tear us down and burden us each time we are around them. The thing I have realized lately is that I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself over the way we are treated, balked at, laughed at, etc. That doesn’t matter. What matters and what is revealed, is the heart of these people, be it the stranger in the store, relative or fellow church member. (Matthew 12:34) That should upset and grieve me more than anything, not the sting of the foolish comments. This is something I am having to pray about often and ask God to work in my heart so that my joy over the precious blessings He has given me to raise is not stolen by my feeling sorry for myself. Now every time someone makes a “one of those” comments, I smile, and whisper a prayer that their heart will be changed…to realize that children are a blessing, a gift from the Creator.

    1. Yes, children are a blessings from God above. Your womb is the cradle of that blessing, amazing! Our God is amazing for sure. May God keep you in good health for this baby you are pregnant with. May he give you strength, wisdom, patience and love. Blessing to you!

  13. Dear Kelly,
    Thank you for your thoughts. You ask the question if we can embrace limiting children while still believing they bring joy. I’m really struggling with that very question right now. I have six children whom I KNOW are great gifts, but I am tired of struggling with fatigue, limited finances (my husband is a self-employed handyman/ artist who makes around $24000/yr) and feeling constantly disoriented. I want to be able to give more to the children I already have!

  14. There is a ten year gap between my first born and my most recent born (June 2010). When I began telling people that I was pregnant after such a long time, there were sooooo many negative comments.

    “What were you thinking?”; “Just a couple more years and you would be
    free!”; “That’s real accident, isn’t it?”; “You almost had your life back!”

    Each of these came from women who know I am a Christian, however most of them do not know what that means. At first, I didn’t know what to say – I was thrilled to have been blessed after waiting so many years! Eventually, my confidence in my beliefs took over and I humbly responded to these comments.

    “This may be a surprise, but it’s no accident.”; “Having another baby only improves my life.”; “I would have ten more if God gave them to me.”

    Then it was my comments that left them speechless…I loved it!

    1. I love it! Well said. I need to be more assertive when I am spoken to in ways such as that. Thanks for that boost of encouragement!

  15. We are expecting #5 in April. Our first GIRL! Everyone’s question? “Are you going to stop now that you’ve gotten your girl?” …Argh… I think I am the only Christian on my side of the family. My husband’s family call themselves ‘Christian’ but do not walk it. I love my children, they are such a blessing. But it’s pretty crummy when you find out you are expecting a new bundle of joy & all you can think about are all the negative remarks, stray comments & especially those unspoken thoughts that you just know are running around inside their heads… I actually delayed spreading the news about our newest baby until after I was 3 months pregnant, mainly due to shame over what was going to be said. I love God & I want to follow Him & be pleasing in His sight & I just know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what He’s called me to. Abortion is murder & completely unthinkable. Birth control feels so dirty & wrong, like blatant disobedience. I’ve decided to take it as a form of persecution for the name of our Lord, that at least is encouraging… I’ve heard it said that “If we’re not suffering any persecution that’s a warning sign we might not be His.” Thanks for your blog Kelly, I just found it the other day & it has encouraged me tons already! :o)

  16. Perhaps this couple attends a church similar to one we once did. The *pastor* himself would often mention during a sermon that he and his wife had “three children, one of each: a boy, a girl and an oops”. From the PULPIT he would say that! When we announced our fourth baby to be, he all but volunteered to drive dh to the urologist!

    If this is what many Christians are hearing from their pastors, how we can expect attitudes in the church to change?

    Oh yes, just before that 4th baby was born, the Lord moved us to a new town, where we joined a church full of big families. Our current pastor has 10 children and hoping for another anytime!

    ~mom to 6, praying for more

    1. Rebecka,

      Oh goodness, I have so been there. I have heard some of the otherwise-most-wonderful-Christians I know say exactly the same sorts of things. We’ve got 2 little ones and are hoping the Lord blesses us with a 3rd soon, and I feel so blessed that our new parish is so open to life! And our priest!! Oh, I can’t say enough wonderful things. If he runs into parents with a crying child in the narthex, he always goes up with a smile and tells them what a blessing it is to hear those young voices praising God. I remember once when he told me with a grin, “The future belongs to the fertile.” So true! And, how beautiful it is to know an ordained servant of the Lord who truly has God’s perspective on human life.

      God bless you and your precious ones,

  17. “Is it possible to embrace the idea of preventing children and still think that children bring joy to one’s life, not hindrance?”

    I don’t know about embrace, but accept in certain circumstances. It’s definitely not possible to say “Enjoy life by having no kids!” and also accept God’s words about them.

    You don’t have to be harsh or “meddle” to make a comment, Kelly. Next time you could lean in briefly and say, “I have eight kids, and I’ve never found life so joyful”. Or wait, if you can, and give the younger lady a word of encouragement once the oldsters are gone 😛 It can be fun to be a young whippersnapper.

  18. Oh, how I needed this today – just been crucified by my family (again) for our way of life, embracing children!
    Thank you for being a tool in God’s hand to encourage me!

  19. I heard/read somewhere that for years churches have discouraged missionaries from having many children. We pray for others but it is confusing when it is Christians that are hostile. My inlaws didn’t understand home education until they went to a meeting at their church-then they praised me. Two of my sons’ wives are third children(accidents?) after their parents had a boy and a girl. What a blessing they are. My mother’s mother had my mom in her forties. I remind our family of that all the time. She had 3 boys and the youngest was finishing high school when she found out she was “with child”(KJV). Just thought I would add that this was 1938. I had my babies between 18(married at 18 then conceived a month later) and 38. I wish I would have conceived in my forties. When we had 4 children and no money we went to the beach after church one Sunday. A man walked up to us and gave my husband $100. He was able to put deisel fuel in his truck to make a delivery and we were able to get some food. I remember hearing that the country singer Alan Jackson grew up in a 2-bedroom house. He had older sisters and he slept in the hall. One homeschool family in NYC I read about turned their dining room into their only daughter’s bedroom in their 2-bedroom apartment. PTL.

  20. I was blessed with 3 sons after my first 2 children were already married and having me granchildren~ 19 years later I have been blessed with 3 sons and I am not too old for more babies~ So many people asked me *what if you have a downs baby*~ and I would say WHAT IF~ they’d say you do not need any more children because of my age~ I have a downs baby now 10 years old and he’s the sweetest child this side of heaven~ I praise the Lord for all my blessings and pray that the Father will yet bless us again and again~ I just can’t see me without a child calling for me~ I took those nasty BC pills and I hurt for such a long time in my heart when I realized that I was sinning against my God and Creator~
    Thank you for this post and I am grateful to be an older woman yet a young mother~
    52 and mommiehood is good~

  21. It is especially hard to receive “those” comments in front of my little ones. This past Sunday I went back to my home church for their Christmas program when an old friend walked up to say hello. He asked how many children I had, when I answered seven, he proceeded to shout out, “that’s a curse.” He chuckled and hee-hawed at his ignorant comment but there were my precious children hearing this man “from the church” joke that they are a curse. UGH! Don’t think that one will ever be topped. I continued shuffling everyone for a potty break and was sure to tell him, “oh no! I am blessed!” but…my blessings still heard the mixed message 🙁

  22. Kelly,

    I have a question here.
    Ps 127 says that “like arrows are in the hand of a warrior are the children OF ONE’S YOUTH”.
    And your quote from above encourages YOUNG WOMEN to bear children.
    In very large families, Mother is around 50 when she has her last children. And the father is normally even older.
    Are those children “of one´s youth?”.

    1. Youth is the fertile season of life. When you are in the season of menopause then you are not in your fertile period which means you are unable to bear any more children. But children do bring youth to our hearts. I remember how my grand-pa used to play with little ones, he would sing to them, and tell them stories, and rock them on his knees. A true blessing indeed. (its sad when people stop their fertile season too soon, I wonder if they dont like to be young?)

  23. We have 13 children, 8 natural and 5 adopted. I am 48 and my youngest is 2. I would love more children but realize this isn’t likely. As far as the scripture, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth”, implies that youth is relative and related to the age at which a person can still bear children. Normally, child-bearing ends in a woman’s forties. This is still far away from the average age at which women die.
    It’s a matter of trusting God. If God so chooses to give a woman a child in her fifties, He knows what He is doing. Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him for even more?

  24. Carolina,

    I don’t know…given that people lived longer in those times, I suppose 50 was pretty youthful….

    I have always maintained that as long as our bodies are procreating, it’s the perfect age to bear children. God made a starting and stopping point and so, “it is good”.

    Also, most mothers are not around 50 but more like 43 or so when they bear their last. Still youthful, in my opinion. (And getting more youthful all the time 😉

    The verse I quoted isn’t a mandate about when to stop having children (that’s written in our bodies) it’s a mandate about the importance of married women being open to children, contrary to our culture who tells them to wait.

  25. But, Kelly, that verse does not say that married women should have children right away.
    I got pregnant with our fist child 5 months after my marriage. I have the impression that my husband and I did not have anough time of being just husband and wife, sharing things together, enjoying each other, learning from each other, knowing each other more.
    We became mother and father very soon and the children took away most of our stamina and time. In our specific case, we are not young any more and have virtually no help with the children.
    So, the impression I have is like, I did not have enough of just my husband.
    On the other hand, it was good to have the children right away because of our ages. But for younger couples, I think it can be good to just be husband and wife for a while.

    1. Carolina, you mentioned getting an “impression”, but from where? Is it a Biblical impression? Is there a Scriptural reason husband and wife “need” x-number of childless years? If it is a true *need*, following that logic would take us to a very bad place indeed, pitting a child against a marriage.

      God gave you a baby. Babies don’t stay babies forever, but not matter when you have them, there are going to be a tough couple of years. And then they get bigger, and less needy, and then they grow up and lo and behold, there are you and your husband left at home. 🙂 Having a good, healthy, loving marriage does not require 2-5 childless years of extended post-marriage romantic courtship. Whether there are children, or no children, marriage requires self-sacrifice, love-in-action, and obedience to God.

      1. I had my first baby 39 weeks and 6 days after my wedding, so I know what it’s like going straight from marriage to motherhood.

        It wasn’t *easy*. But it was *good*, and provided my husband and I *many* opportunities to practice those things which contribute to a healthy marriage, and forced us to buckle down and find a solution when we were having marital troubles, because both of us were too stubborn to be the one to shatter our child’s home and life by leaving. I wouldn’t exchange my beautiful 7 year old for extra years without children, or world traveling, or romanic dates. He is an awesome blessing and worth all the hard work.

  26. Maybe the older couple couldn’t have children and she was encouraging the cashier to enjoy her life where she is right now. Infertility is a common problem and it has been throughout history. Maybe the cashier knew she couldn’t have children and that little bit of encouragment from an oder woman was just what she needed to make it through the day.

    I knew from the the 2nd month of marriage that having a baby would be a miracle and wanting nothing more than to have a family it was painful when our mothers expressed a desire for grandchildren. Well meaning strangers constantly expressed surprise that after 8 years of marriage we didn’t want kids. I craved for someone to see the worth in my marriage for what it was, a family of two. Now after 10 years we are having a our first and I wouldn’t trade the last decade being alone with my wonderful husband.

    I think sometimes we have to consider other circumstances before we make the assumption that the older woman hates children.

    1. KJ, Kelly did not assume “that the older woman hates children.” Kelly is pointing out that the older woman is misrepresenting children to the newlywed, and that is not good. Also, it is very important to not judge people’s childlessness, but this girl/newlywed flad out said she did not want children at this time. Totally different situation. Congratulations on the new addition!

      1. Lori, You are right she didn’t say that the older woman hates children. I should worded that differently.

        My point is that we don’t know the circumstances behind either woman. Yes, the cashier said that she didn’t want kids right now, Yes the older lady misrepresneted children to her, but do we know why? No, do we know what pain or hurt or fears that their flippant attitudes were masking?

        I guess my point is taking time to get to know the whys behind peoples attitudes will give us as Christians the chance to show Jesus’s love. We can’t expect the world to have our same thoughts.

        1. You don’t have to know someone to show them love. And coming from a background of hurt doesn’t give you a right to misrepresent God. That’s a very serious problem. Look at it this way. What if that newlywed met w/ the older lady a year down the road. Now she is very unhappy. She doesn’t like her husband anymore. He’s not beating her or abusing her or anything, but they just “aren’t working out.” Is it then ok for an older woman to say “you don’t need to (stay married); you need to enjoy life.” Maybe she says that because she too had a rough marriage, where things just weren’t “working out.” God’s Word cannot be divorced from God (James 1). So misrepresenting God is not “showing them love,” it’s steering them away from God, and that is very unloving, and also very very dangerous.

        2. Lori made a point I had already thought through (when I was accused through a blocked comment of “saying who is ‘godly’ and who is not”)…my comparison was, an older woman who would say to a younger woman, “you know, an affair will add some spice to your marriage” cannot, by definition be called a “godly” woman because she espousing things opposite of God’s Word–truth. Truth must be truth, always.

          Also, you said this: “We can’t expect the world to have our same thoughts.” I did point out that the couple was purchasing on their church’s account which would indicate that they are likely not of “the world”, and are therefore responsible to represent truth accurately, regardless of underlying circumstances.

  27. I am now 40 years old. I have 4 wonderful children 3 typical and 1 special needs child. I would love, love , love more children. My husband on his own and against what I wanted went and got a “V”. I love my husband so much, and do not want you to think that I am speaking ill of him. I pray that God will change his view of the way he sees children and seek a reversal. I have been praying for him for 6 years. So far God has not changed him on this issue. I know that God can and will do anything according to his holy will and wether he changes my husbands mind or not that does not give me the right to not do what the Bible says. I tell my children all of the time that if every one is sinning that does not mean that you can sin also. You have to do and say the right thing even if noone is doing the right thing. I still tell everyone that I know that children are a blessing special needs or typical. I tell my children every day that they are a blessing and a reward from him. Maybe God will not answer my prayers for more children but I am still going to do every thing that I can do to be a blesing to God and to raise up the next generations of parents to see children as a reward and a gift from him. So bring on the children or bring on the grandchildren, I will still love you God!!!

    1. Stephanie, I’m so sorry you and your husband aren’t on the same page with regard to openness to life. I will pray for both of you, for peace on your hearts.

      I admire your willingness to pray specifically (with regard to reversal), so please don’t misunderstand me, but have you prayed for both of you being open to adoption, also? I struggled with a similar circumstance (though we both agreed on the extreme measure we took) and could not put my husband in the position of another surgery. He initially did not “love” the idea of adoption, but now, kind of like when he came to Christ, he is on fire about it. We’re saving money to pursue including more children in our lives, recently contributed to a friends adoption fund, etc. Our decisions can be redeemed in abundance. Sometimes I wonder if I made my bed, I should lie in it, and that all our savings should go to orphan care and to facilitate adoption for childless families, and that would be okay, too! My children aren’t here to satisfy me (though they do, entirely), but to satisfy God! We’re still praying over that, what the expanded pro-life picture really looks like, in the face of our own poor decision, so I’ll just offer you encouragement in what I know can be a struggle. In the meantime, love on your beautiful children, and I’ll love on mine – they are such a gift.

    1. Kylie,

      Have you heard of the Hallelujah Diet?? I had similar issues as you and when I changed my diet and lifestyle, they really did get better!! I would check it out.


  28. I would like to say “what about?” but you said no hypothetical. So, this is my life.

    I had severe depression after my 2nd born. It took too years to find medication that could keep it under control. The medication can cause fetal abnormalities. I homeschool. I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Some time I operate at about 50% of normal others I can manage to load the dishwasher or the washing machine but not both in the one day.

    I would love to have a 3rd child. As a homeschooler I am fairly used to being around larger families, and they are wonderful. I love the idea of letting God control my fertility but I don’t see how I can given my circumstances. I was bedridden for 5 and 6 weeks during my two pregnancies.

    If I got pregnant I would do everything I could to protect my child and I’ve had blood tests just in case so I didn’t have to wait for a urine test.

    I really do struggle. I have the desire for more children but not the health to have them. The CFS and depression prevent me from adopting or fostering.

    1. Kylie,, I responded to you in the wrong place. I put it above your post. Sorry. I was saying that you should look into the Hallelujah Diet by Rev. Malkmus. A diet and lifestyle change can totally heal all kinds of issues.


  29. When I first was married I didn’t want any children but we asked the Lord to be Lord of all areas of our life. I was the oldest of three children and uncomfortable around babies and young children. I didn’t like babysitting and many times asked the neighbors calling to call friends of mine who were the oldest in large families. I thank God I conceived a month after we were married. If we would have waited my first 3 sons wouldn’t exist and neither would my grandchildren. I would never have known this joy and sabotaged/robbed myself. I would have been living that other life/reality portrayed in the movie-It’s a Wonderful Life(BW). Thank God my parents didn’t wait- I and my siblings,etc. wouldn’t exist and my father died when I was 9. I believe that abortion, birth control and waiting are “cousins”. I do have a daughter(20) with Type 1 diabetes and she has a baby so I am realistic- she is praying about what to do and doesn’t want her child to be an only child. I do know someone that only conceived one child and they wanted many children. Nancy Campbell taught why we should say “children” not “kids”(baby goats). That was interesting.

  30. I just want to add that Nancy Campbell (Above Rubies magazine) has a book in Vision Forum catalog-Be Fruitful and Multiply. Thank God for older,Godly woman like her.

  31. I definitely think it is possible to desire more children with all your heart but have to limit, space, or even have to stop childbearing altogether, and my heart goes out to Kylie who is in that group. Although this is not my personal story, here are three real-life examples from friends and past and present church family:

    1) P. has a healthy baby girl with normal vaginal delivery. ~2 years later, P. has healthy baby boy vaginally but along with her son, she “delivers” her female reproductive system and her doctor has to push everything back in place. Her doctor strongly advises that she or her husband (T.) get permanently sterilized because another delivery like that could kill her — and that a delivery like that usually reoccurs the next time around. P. goes on BCP, but forgets pill a couple of times one month and P. soon is pregnant with baby #3. This time her delivery is as difficult as the last time, except that she is also hemorrhaging. Fortunately, their new son is perfectly well-formed and healthy. This time the doctor looks T. in the eye and says, if you love your wife, you will get an appointment for a vasectomy before she and your new baby leaves the hospital, which he does.

    2) C. has mild post-partum depression after the birth of her first son, but she recovers and goes on to love being a SAHM. Given that history, though, they wait a few years before trying to get pregnant again. About 5 years after her first son was born, she and her husband welcome another baby into her home. This time, L.’s post-partum depression is very serious and she can barely nurse her newborn, much less do anything else. Her husband, L., is at his wit’s end, and calls C.’s OB/GYN. The doc recognizes the problem instantly, and after conferring with a psychiatrist selects an antidepressant for C. In time, it works and she’s back in the saddle again. But both C. and L. never want C. and their now 2 children to go through that again, so after much prayer and pastoral counsel, decide that while they would prefer at least one more child, they choose to thank God with the happy, healthy sons He has given them.

    #3) M. has had a problem with major depression since her early 20’s, shortly after she married D., even having a couple of hospitalizations. As they approach their mid-30’s, M.’s depression has stabilized and she is on a much lower dose of her meds than before. After finding about the risks of birth defects in a child born to a mother on her meds, they feel that God has told them to try to get pregnant. M. and D. welcome a healthy baby girl into the world. After a few years, they consider having a second child, but after much prayer and counsel with a current and past minister, they decide to knowingly go into a pregnancy with the risk of birth defects to their unborn child would be putting God to the test and they opt to be a family of 3. (However, if they had had an unplanned pregnancy, they never would have considered aborting.) But no parents that I know have ever loved their children than they have loved their daughter, E.

  32. I recently posted about how God used our fourth pregnancy/child to solidify our belief that children are a blessing, no matter what and the response to that post (both in comments and via email) from the CHRISTIANS was so discouraging to me that I nearly quit blogging completely.

    No one was rude. It’s just the common Christian attitude that says, “Yes, children are a blessing, but….” and then they go onto explain loud and long about why children really aren’t a blessing is terribly discouraging to me. Do Christians believe God or not? In this case it seems that it’s mostly not.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog and taking the time to encourage!

  33. Psalm 1:1(KJV)-” Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…” I was told that I should go on the pill because of my painful periods- I refused it. I was told after 2(not consecutive) miscarriages that we should wait to conceive again and I didn’t wait. My daughter was on an insulin(with her Type 1 diabetes)-Lantus- that had not been tested for pregnancy. She immediately-at 6 weeks “with child”(KJV) was taken off of it. They never should have put her on it-she was 20 and not using birth control. They have a beautiful daughter(10m.). Aliyah(I call her Leah Briana-she was weary then strong) has hearing loss in one ear but it is doubtful that was due to the insulin. She was born a month early-it was a “high risk” pregnancy because of the Type 1 and she was in NICU for a week. They called my last 2 pregnancies “high risk” because I was 35 and 38. They didn’t scare me by calling that pregnancy at 35-high risk- and I had that second high risk pregnancy. Did you hear about model/actress Kathy Ireland- she was told she was having a downs baby and she didn’t. Proverbs 24:6(KJV)-“…in multitude of counsellers there is safety.”

  34. Since I am sitting in the OB’s office and have lots of time on my hands, I would like to respond.

    I have a condition called PCOS. It’s a nasty little disease, that won’t kill you but sure will complicate your life. It’s is part of the reason that we were unable to have children for the first 10 years of our marriage. It is also the reason that I’ve had 2 miscarriages, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and severe edema in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Not pregnant, I struggle with fatigue, headaches, and severe weight fluctuations.

    I was told by two specialists that I would never have children. My husband and I spent many years fasting and praying about this. We found another doctor, a regular OBGYN that was very committed to helping women like me. Two surgeries and 4 years of various treatments later, we had our first little girl. Almost 13 months later, we had our second girl. We truly never thought we would have more than one.

    See, in all those years of struggling to have a family, we only prayed for one child. We never needed to use birth control, so getting pregnant a second time without even trying was a shock to us. We decided that we would let God have control of this area of our lives. Well, we already had done that years before when we didn’t have any children and were told repeatedly by experts to give up! Why then would I NOW tell God -“thanks for my two, but no more!”. We are now expecting our first boy in 8 weeks.

    The miracle, to us, is that after our second child my body started getting healthier. I started have regular monthly cycles for the first time in 15 years! My fatigue was not as bad, my weight was easier to manage, and my headaches went away. Pregnacy has helped my body in ways that amazes me and my doctor.

    My pregnancies are still difficult. I’m a very sickly pregnant person! But I feel so blessed that I cannot express with words how grateful I am for God’s provision in this area of my life. I KNOW God closes wombs, many times through medical reasons. But He opened mine. If I had listened to the medical community early on, I would not have my family. I sought another opinion. My hubby and I prayed and researched and fasted and prayed some more. We both had a peace that God was going to provide us with a family years before anyone gave us any hope. We thought that it may be through adoption but God closed that door for us several times over the years.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that every situation is different. My situationhas taught me more about the nature of God than anything else in my life. If a woman chooses to take medical advice and not have any more children that is between her, her husband and God. If she sought God in her decision then nothing anyone says will ever make her feel “guilty” for her choice. Just like now, no amount of negative or discouraging comments about our not using birthcontrol waivers my belief in the least. I know why I made that choice and it was with God. If God chooses to close my womb at whatever point, I’ll be just fine with that too.

    Just yesterday, a sweet Christian, older lady made the comment about “my hands being full.” She has known me my whole life. My response was simply to smile and say “I would rather have my hands full than empty like they were for so long.” It brought tears to her eyes because she knew I meant it.

  35. A quote for John Piper (Desiring God): just because something is a gift from the Lord does not mean that it is wrong to be a steward of when or whether you will come into possession of it. It is wrong to reason that since A is good and a gift from the Lord, then we must pursue as much of A as possible. God has made this a world in which tradeoffs have to be made and we cannot do everything to the fullest extent. For kingdom purposes, it might be wise not to get married. And for kingdom purposes, it might be wise to regulate the size of one’s family and to regulate when the new additions to the family will likely arrive. As Wayne Grudem has said, ‘it is okay to place less emphasis on some good activities in order to focus on other good activities.'”[29]

    1. Taunya,

      You may be answering someone else’s comment, so correct me if you were. But if you’re responding to the post, your comment is completely irrelevant.

      You said: “It is wrong to reason that since A is good and a gift from the Lord, then we must pursue as much of A as possible.”

      The post wasn’t about “pursuing” children or trying to have as many or whatever. It wasn’t about numbers at all! It was about an attitude toward these gifts being perpetrated by believers that directly opposes that of Scripture. That’s very different and in need of addressing. There’s a tremendously stark contrast between “don’t have children now or your life will be robbed of joy” and “you better try to have as many as you can”.

      The first comment, the one the lady made, needs to be corrected as it is anti-Scriptural, which was the aim of the post.

      I get tired of being accused of championing a “race for number of children” when I never propagate that at all. I’m always addressing attitudes and those who try to sidetrack the issue with unrelated points do harm to the message and the messenger.

  36. First of all Kelli those were not my words they were a quote from John Piper in Desiring God.

    I thought in this quote he spoke to the issue you were raising. He (a godly man) is quoted in his book as saying it is okay for Christian parents to “regulate” when to have children. In other words for a couple to decide to put off children for a while after marriage is acceptable.

    I thought this quote relevant because the woman in your post too was suggesting it would be okay for the cashier to wait and enjoy being just a couple for a time before having children.

    Please read my comment above again closely and you will see clearly that I wrote it was a quote from John Piper a godly man with whom I agree. I do not feel that because John feels this way he is no longer godly as you seem to feel about the woman who gave the cashier this same advice.

    1. Yes, I knew you were quoting Piper, whom I respect as a godly man too, but I felt you were using his quote to make an irrelevant point.

      You are comparing two completely different quotes and conclusions (for the sake of simple opposition, it seems). He says “it’s OK to regulate children” for whatever reason. Fine. That’s debatable.

      It is, however, NOT OK, and I feel certain he would agree, to suggest that “having children will rob your life of joy”. Perhaps you should re-read the woman’s quote…

      Clearly, the two attitudes are very different and it’s harmful to presume them the same, though, as I have pointed out, it seems we have a difficult time grasping both in the same hand. When once we deem it acceptable to prevent children for non-reasons, we seem to consider it preferable. It’s indeed reason to pause when the two positions seem so difficult to hold in one’s hand (preventing and welcoming children).

      But there’s no mistake that when Christians are telling young couples “don’t have children so you can enjoy life” (notice, she didn’t even mention “enjoying your husband”) it is a muddled, incorrect message that is contrary to the one in Scripture. It paints children as burdens to be avoided.

      While I actually disagree with the premise that a couple can’t “enjoy each other” without children, that is nevertheless not the point of the post.

  37. Kelly is it possible that when this woman said “you need to enjoy life” that she meant enjoy the first part of your marriage just getting to know one another? Is it possible it was simply a poor choice of words? Do you think that if this young couple (the cashier and her husband) were to get pregnant a few years later that this older woman would say they were ruining their lives? Do you REALLY think that this woman believes ALL children ruin the lives of their parents. If so she would have to believe that every parent on the planet had a ruined life. Was she stating that children would always ruin this couple’s life or was she advocating for a “settle into marriage” phase before children come?

    I simply don’t think that this woman was saying that children ruin the lives of their parents. I know there is a VERY small minority of people that feel that the human race should cease to exist and therefore no one should reproduce. This number is small and my guess is that this older woman is not part of that group. My guess is she chose her words poorly and meant to say that it would be okay if the young couple decided to delay children for the first few years of marriage and just enjoy being a couple. That statement would be in line with what John Piper is saying and I would agree with her and him. It is very different from saying children ruin the lives of their parents.

    If she TRULY meant that ANYONE who has children at ANY time is ruining their lives I would agree with you that is not only unbiblical but also pretty silly because it would mean that keeping the human species on the planet ruins the lives of the human species. Simply put it makes no sense.

    Do you see what I mean here? I really think you have read more into this than that women meant. I have chosen my words poorly at times especially in rushed situations like grocery shopping. Maybe we should give this woman, our sister in Christ it appears, the benefit of the doubt and assume that she did not mean continuing the human species in the only way possible (bearing children) ruins the lives of the existing humans (parents). Maybe she meant what John Piper, a godly man, said in the above quote it is okay for godly Christian parents do decide to delay or stop bearing children for a time.

    1. Taunya,

      I get the tendency to give her the benefit of the doubt…but I’m a “tedious thinker” if you will, and believe that what we say, careless or not, has huge implications.

      Think…how do heresies evolve? By some blaring erroneous statement? No, through a subtle change of God’s Word or through “almost truth” shaded with a small untruth.

      It matters how we represent the Word of God. And if our misrepresentation is made through a careless Word, then that carelessness of thought/understanding needs to be addressed.

      We are a whole nation of “churched people” who don’t have a clue what the Bible really says or don’t take it seriously. That is no little thing.

      The lady’s comment (and others who make similar ones) was indeed careless, because, at the least, her thinking about truth is careless.

      Would you so easily dismiss a careless comment made about the sacredness of marriage? Even if she didn’t *really* mean what she said? Does that change the seeds of untruth planted in a young woman’s heart?

      The Bible says we will give an account of every word spoken. Can we then stand, when asked why our words didn’t mirror the plain ones of Scripture, and say, “Well, I didn’t really mean that”?

      If you’ve studied parallel lines you know that two lines can appear to be exactly parallel. But if there is even the slightest degree of variation between them, somewhere down the line they will eventually intersect and prove that they are not parallel.

      Just regarding the issue of life, we’ve seen the slippery slope of wrong attitudes toward children. We are now a nation that kills its own offspring. Not only that, there are Christians who fight for a woman’s right to do it. We didn’t get there by blaring lies; we got there by subtle changes to the truth.

      If we are called to represent truth, there are enough issues that are unclear that we can’t seem to agree on. But where the Bible IS clear, we have no business speaking words that contradict it.

      “You don’t need to have children now–you need to enjoy life”. Any honest Christian will admit that this is not biblical language, intentional or not.

      Perhaps it doesn’t bother us much anymore precisely because the gradual lies we’ve come to believe about children have diminished their value.

    2. Taunya, I think Kelly was making a valid point about the attitude IN GENERAL our society has toward our perception that children are somehow edifying to us in our own time, rather than God in His. I guess that yes, we could give the woman she is quoting the benefit of the doubt. Kelly did not name her, call her out in her community, nor make judgments about her personal relationship with Christ – only repeated what she’d heard, and posted on what those words have meant to the face of the Church. Other commenters have offered similar examples in different contexts, and have observed a pattern with regard to children.

      It’s interesting to me, someone who is not of a Calvinist tradition, but who appreciates the studied and informed teaching of Piper, to see how he as the current “it” guy is so often quoted yet so often misunderstood. I cannot imagine an interpretation of his teaching that would be so contrary to his overall message. Have I missed something?

      1. Thank you CC–you emphasized a point I intended to make-namely that the woman represents a “generic” but common attitude that pervades the Christian community, worthy, I think, of commentary. As always, better said.

  38. Kelly what heresy are you referring to? Are you saying that there is a large movement afoot among Christians to stop procreating? Are you saying that you believe this woman was trying to convince this woman that she should not have children ever because having children when ruin her life or make her unhappy?

    I think it is clear that this woman was simply telling the cashier it would be okay to wait a time before having children. I do not think her poor choice of words equate to lying as you stated in this post. She was not saying having children is bad, she is simply saying it is okay for a time to delay child bearing.

    You asked me if I would so easily dismiss a careless comment about the sanctity of marriage, and I would like to answer you. First it is not for me to dismiss or condemn. If a person is covered in the blood of Christ and they (like we all have) choose their words poorly for whatever reason they are forgiven. If they choose their words perfectly and are not covered in the blood of Christ they are not forgiven. It is Christ’s blood who saves, not perfectly chosen words. Christ alone knows what the woman in the store was trying to convey. You are correct we don’t know her name but He does and He alone knows what she was trying to convey to this cashier. She may well be His daughter and He may love her as His own.

    I do not believe this women was a baby-hater who was trying to convince this young bride not to procreate right in the middle of the grocery store while purchasing products for her church. I think she was simply letting the young woman know that it was perfectly acceptable for she and her husband to wait a bit before having children. The same thing John Piper was saying in Desiring God.

    Cottage Child I would love to answer your question but I don’t understand how you feel Piper is misunderstood or why you are calling him the current “it” guy. If he is the “it” guy, that is news to this reformed Christian girl. He and his work have been around forever, I am not aware of some new “it” status. Please enlighten me as I would love to answer your question as I think (?) it was directed at me. Thanks a bunch!

    1. To bring the discussion back around the original point of the post, quoting from the same John Piper article, he says:

      “Any attitude which fails to see that children are a good gift from the Lord is wrong”

      That attitude behind the originally quoted comment (representing a commonly-displayed attitude, not assuming we know the exact intent of this particular lady) is what the post was addressing.

      You seem to enjoy, just now, a dance with words when I think you understand full well the prevailing, wrong attitudes Christians often have towards children, represented in part, by the careless words of this woman.

      I don’t know why it offends you so that I think it’s important to heighten the awareness of the sacredness of life and the gift of children. There’s no question that because of the massive bc movement, we have not treated these gifts as God instructs us to. And with the epidemic of such an incorrect attitude, and it’s damaging implications, yes, I think what older women say to younger women, even in passing is paramount.

      I was speaking of heresies, in general, nothing to do with children. My point was that we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss a “subtle error”, for it is in subtlety that the greatest lies are perpetuated.

      I’m not interested in further wrangling of words and twisting of my original intent to point out our treatment of children as things that hinder.

      As CC clearly said, I’m not judging the personal intents of this woman’s heart, only using her typical comment to help us think about the importance of speaking things of truth.

      No need for the theological lesson on the blood of Christ, either. I full well know what makes a person forgiven; there again, it’s an added attempt at derailing a very simple point.

  39. Well it is clear you are getting angry with me Kelly that is not my intent. I am sorry if my words are somehow upsetting you. I really am not sure what I have done or said to offend. I know we do not agree but are we not still sisters in Christ? Please put away the anger and forgive me if I have said something that hurt you or tell me what it is so that I can clarify that I am not trying to attack you.

    I simply don’t believe that a woman telling another it is okay to wait a bit after marriage before having children equates to an attitude of failing to see children as a gift from God. I used the Piper quote because he was addressing just that. Yes children are a blessing but that does not mean it is wrong to decide prayerfully for a season to delay child bearing.

    No one is stating that children are not a blessing and not a gift. Just because a couple decides to prayerfully wait a year into marriage to focus on something else “good” as Piper says does not mean they don’t appreciate children or consider them a bother. As Piper said God has many different plans for different people.

    I really just think it is wrong to assume that a couple who chooses to delay child bearing, or a godly Christian woman who affirms that choice, somehow don’t appreciate children or consider them a bother. It is so sad to think that you go through life believing that Christians who choose to stop having children after one, two, three, four or five; or couples who choose to wait until they have been married a year or two somehow don’t see children as blessings!! Nothing can be further from the truth!! It must be so hard to think that all the Christians around you who make this choice don’t appreciate children. What stress that must cause!

    Just because a family, John Piper, John McArthur, the lady in the supermarket or any other Christian chooses to delay for a time or chooses to support someone else in that choice does not mean they view children as a burden. Perhaps they feel God calling them to wait for a time for a very good reason. Perhaps because children are such a blessing they prayerfully plan when the best time is and how many children the family can reasonably support at any given time.

    Kelly listen I am not saying there are not SOME who believe children are a burden and therefore choose not to have them. But I think among believers this is VERY rare and yes that is wrong. Most Christian parents however do choose to have children but yes many do prayerfully choose when to have them and when it is best for their family to stop for a time but stopping does not mean they believe children are not a precious gift and a most precious blessing.

    1. “Please put away the anger and forgive me if I have said something that hurt you or tell me what it is so that I can clarify that I am not trying to attack you.”

      *SMILE* You’re right, I was irritated (there are underlying reasons) and had already decided “this is silly” and had already lain aside my anger and I apologize for it.

      I will not be discussing this further, though, as we simply don’t agree and it’s useless to discuss it.

    2. I agree with you Taunya…thank you for your comments. My husband and I have decided to wait a while to have children for various reasons, none of which because we believe children are a burden.

  40. I can respect that Kelly and your apology is accepted. I thought there may be underlying reasons. We will agree to disagree realizing we are both passionate about what we believe. The most important thing though is that we both share our love of Christ. That is what matters right? Have a great night sister!

  41. Hello,

    God’s timing is intersting in this article.

    We were at my husband’s family yesterday for Christmas. It is the usual hodgepodge of suspects: flaming liberals, conservative atheists (don’t ask :P), and wishy-washies. And here we are the “religious wackos”. Fun group!!

    Religion inevitably comes up. In a nutshell, the conversation went into all the times Christians cannot agree with each other. First, shame on us! What example are we setting to the world when we can’t even agree…..or at least agreeably disagree.

    Second, the mixed group cannot grasp how God uses circumstances that push us out of ease and comfort. It boggles their minds.

    As we were loading up our yukon, every seat was full. Our children (6 total) were chatting about how full we were and how they couldn’t wait to for a new baby so we could get our econoline. Right there in front of the children comes the “Well, I hope that doesn’t happen”.

    Talk about breaking my heart. What child would they not like to hold, or kiss, or play with?

    We currently have six. I’ve had morning sickness BAD, severe post partum depression, hard births, easy births, and four losses. Our children were every other year with a set of twins in there too! I will testify that GOD IS SOVEREIGN and I would not choose any path but allowing HIM to bless as HE sees fit. Joy comes if your heart is willing to search for it. God is faithful.

    He uses what confounds us to bring Him the greatest testimony and glory. That is what is so hard for those who think that children (any thing that requires sacrifice of self) cannot grasp. It is bitter to them. However, the LORD knows what will bring us utlimate joy. That is if we are wise enough to accept Him at His word.

  42. Sometimes it is not choosing words poorly- sometimes it is-Matthew 12:34b(KJV)”…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

  43. Well said Taryn. I was pondering this subject all night and I came to same conclusion. What is in our hearts will spill out of our mouths. I need to reread the original post again but I just kept being pestered by this subject.

    It’s the little foxes that spoil the grapes. The little snide comments, the little “innocent” joke, the little jab. I understand the open mouth inset foot syndrome. However, that’s not the jest of this. I ran into a “christian” woman in the parking lot. She’s known my husband for a long time. Her words were “Are you planning on having more?? Well, I think that’s ok, but, you know…….”

    Woman should grow more beautiful as they age. We should see tangible fruit of their labors. God’s ways should permeate everything they say and do.

    Oh, I pray that I don’t just grow old.

  44. I have two children and it is not always joy-filled; it’s a beautiful sacrifice to lay your own plans, education, employment, travel, hobbies, etc. aside to care for young children but it is a sacrifice none-the-less.

    What about women who are suffering with emotional issues such as depression, medical issues, addictions, have been abused and need to experience some healing or are generally lacking in responsibility and discipline? What about Christian women living in poverty or with an abusive husband? Is having children really the loving thing to do in these situations?

    We need to love our brothers and sisters not judge them.

    1. Michelle,

      And as Christians, we need to be careful not to misuse the word “judge”. There is no judgement here, only a reflection about the *general* attitude our society has toward children due to the expectations placed on us by the birth control movement.

      Just because I don’t clarify every hypothetical doesn’t mean I’m judging…that’s a very immature and narrow-minded response.

        1. I have mentioned in multiple places that I do believe there can be a time and situation when a couple prayerfully makes the decision to limit/prevent children. When I address my thoughts about the birth control culture and our general attitudes toward children, it is in the context of what is normal and healthy. Sometimes, due to the fall, a body isn’t normal and healthy and careful considerations may need to be made.

          With that said, I think doctors capitalize on our fears and people default to “poor health” too easily as an excuse for limiting children. It is not uncommon for a woman to have a difficult pregnancy and the doctor tell her she probably shouldn’t have anymore because it will be difficult too, though that fact may be completely unfounded.

          Bottom line, it’s important for us to truly understand and believe in the miracle and gift of life that the Lord wants to give us. Hypotheticals exist, but they shouldn’t be our starting point for formulating how we believe about life.

  45. Good points.

    I would guess that I am much more liberal in my beliefs about raising children. I think some women are called to the vocation of motherhood and some aren’t. If you don’t have it placed on your heart to have children -it’s probably not a good idea to conceive.

    The judgement I feel that is taking place in this context is against women who don’t feel called to have children.

    I have dear friends who are Christian missionaries -married and without children by choice -who don’t feel God is calling on them to put down roots and start their own family. They’ve worked in Africa, Cambodia and Russia doing very beautiful work with the poorest of children. These are their children. This is what they called to do in life.

    I don’t think the older woman was saying that children will make your life miserable, but I’m guessing she meant that having children changes everything and if you’re not ready to make huge sacrifices, then don’t. Live life fully: get an education, travel, volunteer, discover your talents and passions, etc. because when you have children it won’t be about your plans anymore; it will be about caring for your family and self-sacrifice. Which is beautiful and rewarding beyond measure, but shouldn’t be approached lightly.

    1. Michelle,

      The major difference between our beliefs lies in your statement: “women who don’t feel called to have children.”

      Having children is something that happens naturally–as naturally, in fact, as other bodily functions. It’s not a “calling” and I base that belief on Scripture. NO WHERE does the Bible indicate that having children is a calling. (Can you give me a reference from Scripture on where your opinion is based?)

      As ludicrous as it sounds, it’s akin to saying, ‘I don’t feel called to urinate”. (See article below.)

      The fact that we CAN prevent them doesn’t change the way God designed our bodies to function. The medical field can do a lot to prevent our bodies from functioning the way they should, thankfully, since it can fix a lot that is broken and fallen. But preventing children is the only thing we do to medically *break* something meant to function a certain way.

      HE is the one who made our bodies to reproduce, accompanied with the command to reproduce, supported by the truth that HE is the author of life and that children are a heritage from the Lord (not an optional commodity like we treat them). Why we He expect us, in light of what He has created to function one way, to then reject that based on our human wisdom and some sort of “feeling about a calling”?

      If we really understood these basic concepts about life, instead of treating children like a decision equivalent to buying a house or taking a job, it would radically change the way we approach it–that’s my point.

      I expound on that thought a bit more in this post:

  46. I do appreciate your perspective. I too believe that natural childbirth and raising large families have been under some persecution by popular culture. As a mother who labored without medications, practiced extended breast-feeding and used cloth diapers I can definitely say that I’ve experienced the side-ways looks and odd criticism that goes with doing something counter-culturally.

    My fear is that more conservative Christians aren’t just saying, “it’s natural to give birth and have large families” but that “those who choose not to have children/large families are less faithful or not doing God’s will.” See what I mean?

    This disagreement rests on a fundamental difference: how we each view scripture. Many Christians, see the Bible’s messages as being true for all people in all cultures throughout time. But there is also a body of Christians (like myself) who are much more inclined to consider the context.

    We can not expect to find reference in scripture of women feeling “called” to have children or not to have children. Women were the property of their fathers and husbands. Their culture was centered around war, expansion, survival of their tribe. Birth control, family planning, women working outside the home… well, we can’t expect to find answers for these modern day issues by looking to a culture who didn’t even have those questions.

    I’m not trying to deal with hypothetical situations; just facts: Today, over half the world’s children live in poverty. They don’t have access to clean drinking water or adequate food. They probably will never receive an adequate education -or any at all if they are a girl. Millions of children die each year as result of poverty and half the world lives on less than $2.50/day.

    For these women who labor so hard to keep their children alive, can we honestly say that God would see their desire to use birth-control (to prevent AIDS and birthing children they cannot provide for) as a lack of faith in Him? If Jesus appeared in the flesh, to these weary women watching their children die, would his message be the same: “be fruitful and multiply?”

    I personally believe that God is much more wise and compassionate.

    I know that most of us in Western cultures don’t suffer in these ways, but we must remember that we are the minority and if we say that God wants women to not use birth control and have large families… well, we’re saying that applies to every woman! The poverty issue aside, we must also consider the general health of the family: mentally, physically, emotionally.

    And if it doesn’t apply to every women, then how do we know who it does apply to? I suppose we must each examine our heart and listen to God’s voice speaking to us… what he “calls” us to do… So I’m right back where I started.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is I do think it’s beautiful and natural to have large families, but it’s not for everyone and we, as Christians, shouldn’t judge those who choose not to do so as being selfish or unnatural. Just because my body CAN make children doesn’t mean I MUST make babies to please God.

    But again, I think we are looking at this from totally different perspectives. (And I’ve gone deeper into this topic than the original post, but I think that’s where it was leading.) I do appreciate the discussion!

    1. Michelle,

      I understand your perspective and I understand the “bristling” many people feel about this issue.

      If we start discussing poverty and disease, we must invite a whole different category of topics including nations judged because of idol worship, the lack of wisdom applied to government, economics, etc.

      When I consider the command to “be fruitful and multiply”, it’s an assumption that God is speaking to His followers, not just humanity at large.

      In a nutshell, it’s not just about “having babies”. It’s about following God’s Word, every word, from beginning to end.

      Humanity gets itself into a mess and once the snowball starts rolling, you can’t just address peripheral topics–you have to go back to the root. It’s kind of like the welfare system. Ideally, we should do away with welfare, according to Scripture, and approach these problems from a charitable standpoint.

      But the truth is, we haven’t and now we’ve created a system that can’t just be eradicated all at once. It would take years to reverse the system and return to what looks more like a biblical solution.

      Same thing with birth control and many other topics. It’s impossible to take a machete and just “whack” it all down and start over.

      BUT, we still must strive to go back to a Scriptural view of things, because God’s Word itself claims to be timeless and applicable to all life in all cultures and times. So, “be fruitful and multiply” was given to God’s people.

      The problem is not in the command; it’s in our erring in so many other ways.

  47. I see what you are saying. And I don’t think the older woman realized she was saying “children aren’t blessings”. I didn’t realize I was doing that until I let go of my control over my womb. I would have fought until I was blue in the face about how I still think they are blessings (and in a limited way I did). I, too, get frustrated with people who don’t understand this (at this point it seems SO obvious to me), and I often forget I was there very recently.
    I will say, wholeheartedly, that the more I let go of MY freedom, and MY choices and give way to freedom in Christ, the more I love and appreciate and am blessed by my children.
    Thank you for your blog, it’s nice to not be alone.

  48. Why is it that the ones who thoughtlessly throw out their unloving comments have never learned, it seems obvious, the Golden Rule: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us”? If the shoe was on the other foot, how would they like being mocked and belittled? Believe me, they may say they are Christian and attend church…but they are NOT Christian….you shall know them by their fruits….good , or in their case, bad.

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