Generation Cedar

“Are you crazy?”

I’ve actually been asked that a lot. And I’m sure it’s thought more than it’s asked. It doesn’t offend me, except when it is asked in front of my children, who can’t wrap their brains around what it means (“until you become like little children”?). But it does remind me of what illogical thinkers we are and how easy it is to convince the masses of a lie.

Especially as Christians, we must think rightly, regardless of our particular opinions.

Simply put, having babies is a naturally occurring incident. We have developed ways to stop it, but that’s not our bodies default mode. God didn’t create our reproduction system with an “on/off” switch.

So, all debates aside about the right or wrong thing to do, we are still required, as thinking people, to demonstrate logic and acknowledge that having children is natural.

Being “crazy” implies the act of doing something abnormal. Having children isn’t doing something at all. And it certainly isn’t doing something not normal. It’s simply letting. It’s as natural as any other bodily function.

Preventing children is the only doing part. That requires deliberate thought and action against what naturally occurs. If there were an acceptable question allowed by strangers, it should be something like, “Oh, so you decided to shut down your reproductive system…odd, but OK.” (I hope you know this is tongue-in-cheek to prove a point ;-)) It is far more correct than the “you’re crazy” the large family gets.

Whatever you believe about children, at least make sure it is logical and that you don’t let wrong thinking add to the cultural lies that have been fueled by ignorance.

 

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124 Responses

  1. Such a good point, Kelly. It breaks my heart when women who have many children–over even just two children very close together, are looked on as somehow mentally deficient or unstable. Like only brilliant, stable people can possible figure out how to swallow a pill at the same time each day. I feel like saying, “Yes, that’s right! I am actually too stupid to swallow a pill. You found me out.” This is exactly where “planned” parenthood has gotten us. Any child that wasn’t planned is deemed to be the result of parental neglect and incompetence rather than what he or she is: a precious creation of God who deserves to be welcomed with open arms and with joy.

  2. I have 12 children, aged 2-20. People usually tell me they only have one (or two or three) and they think they are going crazy, and they wonder how I can do it. I just say some days I feel pretty crazy too, and wonder what I was thinking when I had all those kids. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world! No regrets here. : )

  3. I agree Kelly. But to play devils advocate couldn’t we say the same thing about epidurals or elective c-sections? And the list could go on and on with the interventions that many people, including christians, endorse. Our bodies were designed by God to birth babies with little or no assistance. There are exceptions to the rule and I thank God for medical personnel that are there when they’re needed. But I don’t understand how many “quiver full” women are so pro-active about keeping their reproductive life au naturale and then go get an epidural to give birth which has so many dangerous and very common side effects to mother and baby?

    1. Brenda–good questions and I’ll give my personal answer.

      First, we’re talking about the difference in preventing pain and preventing a life. That’s pretty big.

      Secondly, since pain was not part of God’s original plan, as life was, and we’ve all agreed on easing man’s part of the curse, I personally don’t have a conviction about preventing pain during childbirth. But I certainly don’t think it’s crazy not to 😉

      1. Keeping reproduction natural just means not preventing birth; there are various ways and people who do that, who also take Advil, accept anesthesia, and epidurals; they don’t all wear long skirts and refuse to cut their hair or have air conditioning 😛

      2. I have a question on this… not to make it a medicated vs natural childbirth debate, but it’s an honest question that I’ve had and you are the only person I know with many of the same convictions as I have but chooses to use epidurals (granted, I used epis with 3 of my 4 children, it was only with my most recent that I even really studied and decided to do things naturally). Anyway… as far as pain management goes, I understand, but what about the unnatural effect that epidurals can and do have on mother and baby? I’m a huge wuss, and if I would have made it to the hospital (I delivered in the ambulance) I may have given into the epi, again (despite all my studying and preparations… labor brain takes over, ha ha!). I am blessed now to know that I CAN do it and that the pain is worth it in comparison to the risk of the medications. That said, I DO believe there are exceptions and these things at times are needed and I am grateful for modern medicine!

          1. Oh how I loved it. All of it and of course, you articulated the truth beautifully. I did not realize you lost your first baby. My heart hurt to read it. I had the same experience with my one natural birth–horrifying pain, complete trauma and the inability to even hold or realize my baby, and even trauma for days afterward. I loved this…”To have vision for that one day…and miss the rest…is a tragic problem with eternal consequences.” Thank you.

          2. I understand, too, Kelly, with my third born, he was shortest and fattest baby. I had a midwife deliver him with no pain meds at all. He wasn’t even crowning and she told me to give her a big push, and I did, and he went from a head circle to all the way out in one push…yeah, they had to bring in the doc to do the fixing…Not pleasant. With baby #4, I wanted to AVOID that from happening again, and my obgyn informed me about perenial stretches…(yes, exactly what it sounds like!), and with him, minor, minimal tearing, and I could actually sit comfortably afterward!(It may have something to do with him being almost 2 lbs lighter, though…)I had epis with 2 of four. We’ll see if God has any more in store!

          3. Like I said, I do believe there are exceptions and am grateful for modern medicine. I’m not here to judge anyone or to say I’m better than anyone because I (now) choose NCB. I’m just befuddled as to the fact that you said that there are more complications in natural child birth? How is that exactly? I, personally, have experienced the bad effects of epidurals and many people close to me have too. These things were caused by epidurals, not wrongly blamed on them. In fact, you can look on medical sites for side effects of epidurals and see all the scary stuff, so I guess I’m just confused by this reaction. Natalie, I can understand why you used it in some of your labors (not that you need my approval), but when most labor and deliveries are not so traumatic, I don’t understand basing a decision off of exceptional experiences. It’s kinda like me saying… “Well, my Grandmothers bladder fell out after having 13 children, so I better not have too many children.” That being said, I don’t compare pain to the blessing of a child, and I do understand the necessity for pain relief, but I think saying there are more complications with natural birth than medicated birth is not true at all. To each his own really, but, for me, I would hate myself if anything truly bad happened to me or my child because of pain relief I didn’t REALLY need (again, not saying that there aren’t situations where it is really needed).

          4. I gave birth vaginally after 24 hours of posterior labor. I was unable to focus well enough to push because of the intense pain I was experiencing. Without an epidural, I have no doubt whatsoever that I would have needed an instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum, if I could hold still while they did it with no pain relief). I had no side effects from the epidural. My situation is far from unusual.

          5. Oops, typo…I meant to say 29 hours. Went into labor at 11:30am one day and had her at 4:42 pm the next.

  4. So, what do you say about a married couple who is choosing to delay having children because at the present time they have a total household income of $850 per month and no health insurance, but who intend on having children right away as soon as they have insurance to care for and enough income to feed children?

    1. Matt,

      I would say breast feeding and a diaper-baby shower would get you the sweetest blessing of your life that costs virtually nothing for a long time. And I would second Polly’s thought…”Why do you worry about what you will eat or what you will wear…” Matt 6:28

      He does work miracles, especially when we walk in blind faith that DOES look insane to the world (his followers always have done radical things that unbelievers didn’t understand). I believe that if He gives you a child and you are a faithful, hard-working family, income will be irrelevant.

      Unless you want to keep up with your neighbors. 😉

      1. What about using NFP (nothing abortifacient of course) while in the process of an adoption that would be stopped (by an agency) if a pregnancy happens? Should we trust God to close my womb during that time, or should be thankful that He designed our bodies in a way that we can generally know when conception would be likely?

    2. Matt,

      If this is your situation..No one can honestly tell you what is best for you to do.I know I’m going to get slammed for this..lol..hopefully not..I would pray hard and ask the Lord for wisdom at this time of your life.I wrote a post farther down that shares how the Lord worked in our lives over this.Yes..children are a tremendous blessing and a tremendous responsibility and I am Not saying that if you were to have one now that he would not provide for you but I do think that your concerns are real..Blessings to you!

      1. Matt,
        To me that is like saying. “The Lord understands we aren’t open to tithing right now because we really can’t afford to do so. We will start tithing as soon as we can afford it though!”
        It is solely a faith and total reliance on God issue.

    3. Matt,
      We have 4 children that we wouldn’t have if we would have based things off of finances (well, maybe we would have been okay with our 3rd). My husband is in seminary now, we live in a 4 room 500ish sq foot cabin, and he makes approximately 600 a month. It is hard and we have and do use some government assistance and are in debt (much of this is because of lack of faith and handling our finances irresponsibly), BUT we are moving forward and in a couple years we will hopefully be much more independent of those things. We may be earthly poor, but have stored up for ourselves 4 treasures in heaven!! I honestly have never been happier and it makes me sick to look back and see how empty my life was before in comparison.

    4. Dear Matt,
      I do not have an opinion on such a personalized situation, and I’m actually not trying to say one way or another except maybe 51-49%. I just wanted to share that my parents raised and homeschooled four children on a monthly income of less than $500 per month for about 15 years… and I am so thankful to be alive. I’m also thankful that they allowed my sister to be born (number 4) eight years after me (the youngest). I can’t imagine life without her!

      I just wanted to bring into perspective the idea of trying to imagine a life you cherish to not exist because someone decided it was inconvenient, really really hard, or completely illogical. Please don’t misunderstand me to be calloused or judgmental, I am not doing that. I understand the hardship, and I’m not saying “suck it up”, I’m only saying to always refocus on the most important things and then make decisions with that in clear view.

      I was watching an interview with Michelle Duggar the other day, and as she said something I really took to heart, (paraphrasing) “Sometimes when we make the easier choice, we miss out on the biggest blessings”

    5. I agree with Erin. While I hesitate to recommend NFP to prevent conception (because so many people default to prevention when God is really calling them to trust Him and be open to conceiving), it is a fabulous means of (a) understanding your body as a woman, and knowledge of God’s creation is always a good thing! and (b) is a natural means of working WITH the fertility cycle that God gave to a woman to prevent conception if absolute necessary while prayerfully seeking His Will and learning to prayerfully sacrifice with your spouse.

      More info here: http://nfpandmore.org/

    6. Matt,
      I can’t answer for what you should do, but I agree with God providing. All 5 times we found out we were expecting and carried to term, my husband got a raise we weren’t expecting at some point thru the pregnancy. 🙂 If we waited until we had ‘enough’ to pay for it, we probably still wouldn’t have any after 22yrs of marraige. For our family, we have seen God provide exactly what we need, when we need it.

  5. Matt–As a Christian, I’d say to them, “Are you sure you know better than God whether you should have children now?” The person of faith trusts that God’s will and timing are perfect, and that what sometimes looks wrong or crazy to us may be exactly what God has planned for us. It isn’t always easy to trust–believe me, I know!–but that is what God wants of us. And He blesses those who trust in him with support you might never have imagined!

  6. I wholeheartedly agree! I am pregnant with our 5th (we have a 4 year old, 2 year old, 1 year old and one in heaven). My in-laws are not excited about this baby, not understanding why we have “so many” children. They think we are being irresponsible, even though we have never asked them for anything and have a wonderful life. I pray that one day they will learn that children are a blessing and not a burden.
    I have a question though. A good friend of mine just told me that she is pregnant. She is getting divorced and is now pregnant by her new boyfriend of a few months. She is not a believer, but told me that this has prompted both her and the new boyfriend to seek out a church to try. I am wondering how you would respond to this news? Children are a blessing from the Lord, and come only in His timing, although this is also a consequence of her poor decision. I told her that I am excited for the baby, and questioned her about plans for the future with this man. I have been praying daily for her conversion for years, as well as her former marriage. What else could/should I say? It’s too late to warn her of the problems as the deed has been done. How do I rejoice in the blessing of a baby that she prayed years to have, but not endorse the sinful behavior of irresponsibility and fornication? Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks! 🙂

    1. I think you handled it beautifully. If she does not have the Holy Spirit guiding her, and does not live by the Bible’s standards, condemning her and judging her will not bring her closer to Christ Jesus. But, you did not excuse or endorse the sin. God has often used babies conceived out of wedlock to bring about change in the parent’s hearts. Try to keep the conversation open. Try to love her and her child in practical ways and point them toward the Savior.

      1. Great advice Joy! I would only add that when concerning the baby specifically, always celebrate the life the same way you would a child conceived in wedlock. It is not this child’s fault that it was not conceived in the bonds of marriage. Celebrate with joy this wonderful life that God has created!! If He saw fit to allow this soul to enter the world in this manner, who are we to question Him?

  7. Matt, I would say that God will provide. When we follow His will He takes care of His children. BC cost money just as children do. The Bible doesn’t saying, be fruitful and multiply once you have an emergency fund, it says trust in Him to provide. Our outlook is that if you aren’t ready to have children you probably shouldn’t be married because one leads to the other.

  8. I think it’s a beautiful thing to have many babies, but I do think that sometimes it’s not a beautiful thing if the parents aren’t able to financially support a large family, or support each of them emotionally–especially if it is a single mom, (either from divorce or the spouse passing away) I believe God also gives us a free will to make the right choice for us, because ultimately, we each have to live with the choices that we make. (Just a few thoughts spoken with love)

  9. I agree whole-heartedly!!

    I could write for ages on this topic… but no time, so I won’t. Thanks for writing out a bit of it for me!

    Just one comment, for Kristy – You write:

    “I think it’s a beautiful thing to have many babies, but I do think that sometimes it’s not a beautiful thing ….. especially if it is a single mom, (either from divorce or the spouse passing away)”

    A single mom (following God’s laws) would not be having babies, unless you are speaking of a child conceived before a death or abandonment by the spouse. In that case, the only way “not to have the baby” is to have an abortion, which is clearly unthinkable (or to randomly toss kids out of the house to reduce headcount). Thus, I am a bit confused by your statement.

    On not being able to afford children –

    http://getalonghome.com/2012/09/large-families-afford-children/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GetAlongHome+%28Get+Along+Home%29

    Two points that come to mind on this subject:

    I think it should alarm us all that the reasons for using birth control are almost identical to those for having an abortion – “My other children would suffer, ” “This isn’t the right time for us to have a baby,” “I couldn’t properly take care of a baby or afford a baby.” The thinking behind birth control is what started us on this slippery slope.

    Secondly, children are BLESSINGS. They are not a curse. In the normal course of human life, babies start at marriage and end at menopause. When we use birth control, we are telling God that we don’t trust Him to provide for the children with which he wants to bless us, and furthermore, telling him that we do not want His blessings. Both of those are rather odd statements for Christians.

    Thanks for writing!!!

  10. Can we say the same for disease? Disease is naturally occurring. (No, I am not comparing children to disease!) But I would argue that most of medicine and medical treatment is not “natural”, yet I don’t think you are advocating that we avoid taking medicine or using modern technology to fight disease. To use this argument against birth control – allowing our bodies to do what is natural – we should also be examining the rest of our lives and questioning if every other area of our lives is natural. I need a stronger argument than this for avoiding birth control.

    1. Jen – I used to use this argument too. But there’s one big difference – disease (and others) are negative things. Children, on the other hand, are referred to in the Bible as blessings and a heritage from the Lord. As I said in my comment above, birth control is a direct statement to God that says, “I don’t want the blessings you would be giving me if I wasn’t using this drug/procedure.” And if God wants to bless us, he will also provide for the blessings he’s giving us. After thinking about this for a couple of years (six years, to be precise) my mind was changed on this subject – but it took a while. Blessings!!!

    2. Jen–that was my argument for a long time too. But it’s so clear–life vs. death, health vs. sickness. Scripture shows us Jesus healing the sick, bringing life to the dead. He is a God of life and was never opposed to healing.

      Medicine that promotes life and prevents life is very different.

      1. Exactly. It’s not about “being natural.” It’s about working in concert with God’s natural law. Very different things. The Bible has nothing to say about drinking Diet Coke (very unnatural), but it has a lot to say about our attitudes toward life and (conversely) disease and death.

  11. In the course of a 30yr.marraige…my husband and I have six children.I often wonder how many more we would have had if we had not used birth control in between. I always knew that my children were a Blessing..but I have to be honest and say when I was much younger I was just trying to be the best mom,and wife I could be and I was completely overwhelmed because I didn’t know how to manage a household and all.I learned a lot from the older ladies around me.That is one of the reasons I have such a burden for young moms today! After our 5th child was born we started getting the “are you done now” comments. My husband shared with me that he thought we should trust the Lord with the size of our family. I thought he was CRAZY!! He didn’t force his opinion on me..just gently shared scriptures and his heart. He Never nagged me about it. It took just a few months before I completely agreed with him. By this time..we were both 35. I had our last child..a boy…when we were both 37yrs.old and went straight into menopause which comes early on my side of the family. I am so Thankful for our last son.Sometimes I am able to share this story with moms who think they have lots of time.We just don’t know. I have an engaged son now. I have often wondered if they will “wait” to have children. I’m not planning on asking..It is their decision..They are both strong Christians and for that I am thankful!
    Personally,I think the best thing we can do with other Christians and young people when this subject comes up is share our testimony.I know I will have an opportunity to share all this with my daughter-in-law to be when the time is right.It is the Lord who opens the eyes and hearts of people..and many times he will use a testimony from someone who was in that situation.
    To the young man Matt..who asked the question in regards to the married couple with a small income and no health insurance..I would say Bless you for being concerned about those things..if this is your situation..and I would pray, seek the Lord..and I will be praying for you..I would also want you to know that through it all that the Lord has always been faithful to my family and I.My husband lost his job almost 3 yrs. ago and now is just mainly self-employed and we have never gone without anything we need..Blessings to you all this weekend!!

  12. I hate to sound negative, because I don’t believe in using birth control, or at least, for now, not that types that mess with the way your body functions. However, saying that you’re not “doing” anything and that it’s perfectly natural can get you in trouble. After all, people that have premarital sex can say, “Hey, I was just having sex, and my body followed its natural course! I didn’t have to be responsible or anything! I couldn’t help it! But now I can make a choice — to abort my baby.” Obviously, that is a wrong way of thinking. However, I think sex and babies involves a lot more choice than any regular naturally occurring incident. Sex is an action, and you know what comes from having sex when you’re fertile. I don’t believe we should try to turn that off, but I also don’t believe our fertility signals were meant to be ignored. Maybe they were ONLY created to make babies and not to avoid conception…or, maybe not. I just don’t know, and really, no one does.

    1. I have always wondered about our bodies’ fertility signals too. God designed our bodies to have a fertile and infertile time each month (so it is kind of like an “on/off” switch). And for most women, I think it’s pretty obvious when the fertile time is. Why would God design our bodies that way unless He wanted to give us some choice in the matter?

      Kelly, I totally agree with you that artificial birth control goes against God’s plan and design for families, I’m just not sure that nfp is wrong (unless the motives are selfish).

      1. Janae,

        I don’t think NFP is always wrong either. I think our focus needs to be more on the way we view “control” over life. Generally, Christians should recognize that God gives life, that children are gifts and that He opens and closes the womb. My personal opinion is that when the body is broken in some way (sickness, etc.), there are considerations the couple may make. Not everyone feels this way, but this is where my husband and I are.

        1. I agree with this. We used NFP after my two miscarriages to not only allow time for my body to heal physically, but to also give time for emotional healing for our children especially. I think there are also long-term situations, like when pregnancy would be dangerous for a mother, or perhaps she needs to be on medications that would be unsafe for an unborn baby, that a couple could use NFP and consider receiving God’s blessing of children through adoption. What matters is where the heart is when making such decisions.

  13. I agree totally in principle, but struggle to always see this played out. A lady I spoke with in a store one day about family size, said that she goes into kidney failure every time she was pregnant, and almost died with both of her children. In a situation like that I could TOTALLY understand her taking steps to not have any more, so she COULD take care of the ones she had. In times before procedures like this, she would have died…Could we assume the Lord allowed her to be born in an era when technology was such that she could be allowed the blessing of life? As a general rule, however, I would say that when it comes to children, God knows best.

    1. Laura, I can see where your heart is. What you’re saying makes sense, but God’s wisdom really is above ours. I am not saying that every woman is meant to have as many children as she possibly can, but that doesn’t mean using artifical means of preventing conception is acceptable in God’s sight. However, He has given women a beautiful CYCLE of fertility that can be utilized in holiness to prevent conception in grave cases, such as the one you described. I would really encourage you to read up about Natural Family Planning (http://nfpandmore.org/). As I said earlier, it’s not about being “natural,” but it IS about working within the holy confines of God’s natural order for our ultimate good.

      Blessings!

      1. I know quite a bit about NFP, in that we spaced our 2nd and 3rd children using that method, and didn’t get pregnant. However, our spacing wasn’t a life/death situation, either. I don’t know about other women, but if I had to endure almost dying from pregnancy complications, marital relations that could lead to pregnancy would terrify me. Even using NFP would seem nail bitingly uncertain…It’s hard enough for many women to respond to their husbands in that way, let alone if you throw something as nerve wracking as that(ie kidney failure due to pregnancy) into the mix… Not to mention that if you consider when you can/can’t conceive and all that, it can put a cramp on your marital life–and if you were say 25 when you decided to follow this to not become pregnant, you could follow it for 20 years…hard thing to stick to for that long, and hard to believe a couple wouldn’t struggle to stick to it…like I said, hard for marital intimacy over the long haul. Sorry if I sounded redundant…

        1. It’s quite alright, Laura, and I truly do understand all your concerns. I can say that I do have friends who practice NFP exclusively who do have life-threatening complications in pregnancy. One of them had a second miracle baby and both mother and child are doing well, the other has gone many years now without conceiving. What you’ve said is all true, and I’m fairly certain that my friends have ridden quite a roller coaster in their years of monitoring their fertility so closely. However, I am also just as certain that these same areas where they have struggled are ones where they and their husbands have successfully grown in grace, hope, faith and charity. The Christian life is not an easy or a “happy” one, but if we are willing to do things God’s way, it will be a holier one. That may not sound encouraging, but ultimately it is. God’s ways are not our ways, because his Way is no the path to comfort and ease or even to physical health always–it is the path to Heaven.

        2. Hi Laura. I have been trying to think of how to respond to your post but all I can think to say is NFP is hard at times. My husband and I were married at 22 and have been practicing NFP since then (9 years now). There are times when we have been avoiding pregnancy for one reason or another and it has been so hard to abstain during the fertile times.

          This is when you have to pray even more! Come together with your husband and ask for God’s strength or ask God to speak to you. Sometimes you have to re-examine why you are abstaining and see if it is a good reason in the eye’s of God. And because NFP is 100% immediately reversible you can re-examine your motives daily.

  14. Another side to the argument: I cannot rightfully sit here and say that God calls all mothers be stay at home moms. I am one and choose not to juggle a career until my kids are in school…even then I may keep doing what I’m doing being at home. I’ve met wonderful female lawyers, doctors, and teachers who have one or two children. It would be very, very difficult for them to have more than that and homeschooling would be next to impossible. I shared this argument with someone and mentioned my close friend who is a doctor (and works part time–she’s home when her kids come home from school). Their response was, “Well is she really following God’s Word?” Which really bothered me! Can you really justify that every single working mom out there who has used birth control and has one or two kids is not following God’s Word?

    1. Though I don’t know all women’s circumstances, don’t forge that we are all deceifully wicked, and none of us are righteous–even before our actions, our motives are as filthy rags. Yes, there are women in different walks of life making different choices. Some are further along in their faith-walk than others. Some women are more desirous of “controlling” their lives than others. Some women may have not given the idea of open fertility any thought at all for a myriad of reasons. As each person comes to Christ, each person must learn about their whole life being an offering of worship to God the Father. This means learning to trust Him. All of who we are, and eventually become, should be two things, a reflection of HIM or worship offered to HIM. This should include both our desire for children(as in our attitude about them–whether you can have them or not) as blessings, and a view that if our role as the child-bearers can glorify God, what are we going to do with that?

      1. I agree with most of what you are saying. But I can’t rightfully think that those that have surrendered their family size to the Lord are in a stronger place spiritually than those who got their tubes tied or are taking birth control pills. I think the person who has two children and chooses to practice birth control still sees their children as a blessing. While the Bible does say to be fruitful and multiply, I don’t believe it says Be as fruitful as you can and have as many children as possible. Of course we need to give 100% of our lives over to Christ and seek Him to meet each and every single need. I don’t believe practicing birth control is “playing God” and not trusting Him. If that be the case, why do we practice the death penalty? Is that not playing God too because we’re ending a life? Or euthanasia? Sorry I know that’s a whole big argument and another huge can of worms, but it’s worth considering.

        1. Amy, you are right in that the death penalty IS another can of worms and I don’t think should be viewed in the same way. Nowadays, very few criminals get the death penalty, actually, compared to other times in history, and there is a huge difference in the state bringing justice upon a violent dangerous member of society compared with a mother and her baby or potential baby. And God actually allows for the state to use the death penalty for certain crimes. And when I say each woman is at a different place in her faith walk, that doesn’t mean that quiver full women are “better” or that they don’t even struggle with fear at times.

        2. Amy, I’ll start of by disclosing that I am Roman Catholic, so my answer my differ greatly from some others you will here. That said, as a Catholic, I am 100% pro-life. I am against euthanasia and the death penalty as well as abortion and the use of contraception. It’s a hard line that many people don’t understand, and I won’t go into all the details now. But I wanted to address the issue you brought up specifically.

          Using contraception does not mean that a parent does not view the children she already has as a blessing–or any that might be “surprise” babies in the future. What it means, however, is that you are divorcing the sexual act from the completeness of holy love, which in its very nature must be free, fruitful, faithful, and total. It is these four pillars that make, for example, Natural Family Planning acceptable in God’s natural order but not condoms or birth control pills. As Christians, we are called never to divorce sex from its life-giving potential. We are called to choose life–always–and to respect the dignity of that life–even potential life–at all times. This doesn’t mean having as many children as you possibly can, but it does mean sacrificing our sexual pleasures for a time rather than mar the sexual act by rendering it unfruitful against God’s Will.

          I know this is a big topic, and I won’t take up any more space here, but here’s a link that may help to explain the principles more fully: http://loveundefiled.blogspot.it/2009/12/love-which-is-free-faithful-total.html

  15. I just followed my sitemeter back here to see where the link came from, and I’m so glad I did! What a nice blog you have here! Great post, too. Putting you in my feed reader.

  16. “Simply put, having babies is a naturally occurring incident. We have developed ways to stop it, but that’s not our bodies default mode. God didn’t create our reproduction system with an “on/off” switch.”
    While I do agree that having babies is natural, I do not agree that childbearing is a woman’s “default mode.”
    First, in most cases, if one is nursing (especially through the night) and co-sleeping, it is highly unlikely that fertility will return immediately. This is called “lactational amenorrhea” and pretty much works like an “on/off switch” for at least 6 months after pregnancy. In our Western mindset full of schedules and control, we often miss the fact that God expertly designed our bodies to space out pregnancies. Thus, women are not designed to be constantly pregnant and to give birth to a child a year. Those that think this is natural are sorely mistaken.

    In addition, this might seem obvious but having babies is only a small part of a woman’s life. The average woman is only fertile from ages 13-45. Before and after this time, there is definitely an “on/off switch.” Plus, most women do not have their first child until the age of 20 or older. So, childbearing is only around 25 years out of an average lifespan of 80, leaving 55 years of infertility. Thus, our default mode is not childbearing. If it were God’s plan for women to have as many children as possible, He would have increased the years of childbearing and fertility.

    1. Ingrid, you have misunderstood me on every point. By “default mode” what I mean is that if we don’t use birth control, we have babies. Nothing too complicated there. You are right and I agree totally about the natural birth control God built in through breast feeding, but that isn’t the point at all. There is nothing about this post that infers a woman should be “trying to have as many babies as possible”. The fertile time of a woman’s life also isn’t relevant to my point. I simply am trying to say that when a woman has babies naturally, (her default mode), there is nothing “crazy” about that.

      1. I used to think that if I didn’t use birth control that I would have babies every year too. However, we quit using birth control four years ago and I only have an 18 month old! My period has also returned within the first three months of having a baby every time. (I have four children.) The return of a period does not always mean the return of fertilty.

    2. I’m sorry, but you’re “sorely mistaken.” My period began 3 months after each of my children were born, meaning I was fertile 2 months after. Had I been having unprotected sex at 6 weeks like the doctor ok’d, I’d have children every 11 months. That’s more often than yearly. I exclusively breastfed each of my four children, with the exception of the premie who had breast milk supplemented with premie formula (added to pumped milk) so she could get enough calories to survive.

      1. I find it so interesting that people just assume they would be having babies like rabbits if they let God be in control of their fertility. There is NOTHING guaranteeing children! Many people who have the mindset of letting God control their fertility only have 1 child, no children, 3 children. My pastor and his wife have been married 25+ years and have lived this way their entire marriage. They have 3 children. Leaving your fertility is God’s hands is soooo much more than having babies! It is trusting the Lord to allow what is best for your life.

  17. So, a question to Ingrid and Word Warrior. I would love to just be au naturel with regards to BC but I breastfeed and then around 7-10 months my babies DO NOT want to BF anymore (they are ready to walk). Does this mean I need to be prepared to be pregnant by then again? (for example). (I know BF doesn’t = BC). I had #4 7 months ago and am getting into shape again so I can actually be fit if I have a #5 (which we would consider an absolute blessing!). It’s the worst being pregnant and out of shape! I don’t think I should be walking around (pregnant) out of breath, not being able to clean my house or take care of my other kids (and baby), right? Or should I be thinking the Lord will provide me a cleaning lady (because my oldest is 6)?

    1. This reminded me of my most recent postpartum. My son was born in December 2010. I didn’t have any practical help outside of my husband, and we works. We were it. I had a prolapsed uterus and heavy bleeding for over six weeks. Every time I would hold my baby, my uterus would prolapse again, no matter how much exercise and laying flat I did to get it back up where it belongs. I did not fully recover (meaning that my uterus remains as high as it should be normally, all the time) until January of this year– 13 months postpartum. During that time, my husband felt very strongly about us naturally avoiding becoming pregnant again. I believe that my husband’s conviction about this was God’s provision. I do believe that there are times when God will give us wisdom through the Holy Spirit to delay the receipt of certain blessings. Though, I do not believe it happens nearly as often as people today are preventing pregnancy and birth.

    2. Ruth, with my children, even though I was breastfeeding exclusively, my fertility has returned at 9 months, 6 months, and now 2 months with my latest baby, yet I did not get pregnant immediately after this. (My oldest two are 22 months apart and my second two are over 3 years apart). After my first was born, we practiced Natural Family Planning for a few more months to let my body heal, then when we felt like God was calling us to conceive again, we used NFP to do so. My second child was extremely high needs and I had a difficult PP recovery, so we waited a full year, again practicing NFP. THEN, it took us another year and a half to conceive!! Turns out I was having anovulatory cycles the whole time. I guess God knew best! With my fertility returning SOOO soon this time, we are praying about whether we need to be practicing NFP, since if I got pregnant now, we’d have a set of Irish twins (babies born within the same year)! But I trust that whatever our choice and whatever happens, God is good. His will be done!

  18. Great thoughts, Kelly!

    I would just add that while our bodies do not have a reproductive on/off switch, deciding to be open about receiving as many children as God would choose to bless us with does not necessarily mean that we will all just keep having babies. Having been through infertility, then 4 babies “in a row” (2 years apart, spaced only by breastfeeding), and now, 2 miscarriages this year, I have come to realize that, maybe, my family won’t be that “large” (although, some might see it as large already). God opens and closes the womb, and we also live in a sinful world full of illness and death. Having babies is the natural “normal”, but we cannot take it for granted. How many couples “wait” to have babies, only to find out later that they cannot?

    1. Yes! That’s an important point to make. Even for “quiverful” people, families like the Duggars are on the extreme end of fertility.

      I always wanted a huge family. We have four. I have no idea if we’ll have more or when. We had the first three “stairstep” boys, exactly two years apart (birthdays in the same week!) and then nearly *5* years until our fourth was born. Three miscarriages during that time, but even so, I didn’t even get pregnant until the 3rd child was over 2 years old. Miscarried that baby and two more the year after.

      No birth control, and no NFP ever in our marriage. It is faulty to assume that to eschew birth control means having a massive family.

      1. Thank you for your stories! I have 4 children 5 and under, and just assume I’ll end up with a Duggar sized family (which I very well could), but I could struggle with fertility before our next child, I don’t really know. It’s just nice to be able to give people examples of the fact that it isn’t normal for people to have that large of a family when people on the outside automatically assume that letting God plan your family will result in that.

  19. Because of fear and lack of trust in God to provide for all of my needs, including financial, I cut off the blessings that He may have given me. I have deprived my children of so much that they might have experienced by not allowing God to bless me with more children. Had I allowed God to bless me with more children some things may have been different in my marriage and my husband’s willingness to lead his family spiritually. I cannot go back and undo what has been done, but for those of you who are younger and have the opportunity to receive all of the blessings God has stored up for you I want to tell you that fear of the unknown future does not change the fact that God is a loving God and He will take care of you and walk with you through any difficulty you face. In America we often think more of trying to make life easier for ourselves than we do of trusting God no matter what. The easiest way is not always the best way. Trust God in all things!

  20. So basically…no matter what the situation may be, I am reading this on your blog:

    Shame on you for not homeschooling.

    Shame on you for choosing to not have anymore children.

    Shame on you for not staying at home and having a career.

    All I read, underneath it all, is just shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

      1. Kelly, you can’t find a post communicating that, because there isn’t one (and I’ve went through your archives over the years and have read every. single. post.). Honestly, I will never understand how readers can misconstrue and twist everything you say. Perhaps their conscience is already telling them or they are already feeling the way they do, before they hurl accusations at you? I just don’t get it! Anyway….

      2. And may I ask a question? WHy does our society assume that shame equals a bad thing? Isn’t it shame that spurs us on to repent, apologize for the bad things we have done? or in many cases to repent of the good we haven’t done? We are ALL sinners and have all endured some sort of shame at some point in our lives and if we live open to God’s leading, will continue to have that from time to time in different situations. I have been reading your blog for over 2 years, and never once have I read anything that sounds like fingerpointing, self righteous garbage. My overall impressions of generation cedar is that you are encouraging us to love God, and to live lives of purpose and obedience to HIM…and if we who claim HIS name and precious salvation DON’T do those things, then SHAME ON ALL OF US…

        1. I agree with what you guys saying about shame. I can see how it does spur people on to make better choices. I have been there. One of the things with some of these “mom blogs” (and I have a mom blog so yes, I am speaking about myself) and trend in reality family TV shows (like the Duggars, Bates etc.) is we do not see the whole picture. We see beautiful families doing wonderful things that look they have everything all together and they are 100% perfect. And everyone who is not following their guidelines and priciples ought to be ashamed. Even though we acknowledge everyone is sinful and no one is perfect, some people have a harder time wrapping their fingers around it. We live in a world where there is sometimes a blurry line between reality and fantasy. And I don’t think it is appropriate to share about the sin and bad mistakes we’ve made in detail on our blogs. In some ways I think we have been way too open and I stopped watching some of these family reality shows because of it.

          With that being said I am not against birth control and I believe the Bible is 100% the inspired Word of God. But I don’t think it is as clear cut on birth control as everyone thinks it is. Yes I am not speaking from feelings–I did my research and talked to people who studied theology in seminary. I’m totally OK if people disagree with me. What I have problem with is if they think I am a less mature Christian or not a solid place in my spiritual walk. I am not accussing anyone on this blog discussion of doing that. We have to remember that is the Lord who judges our hearts.

    1. I think shame is what we feel when God’s word is revealed to us and we can see that we are not in line with it. This often leads to defensiveness which is what we feel when we want to continuing lying to ourselves to live the way we want to live.
      This is coming from someone who struggled in the same way.

  21. Hello,

    Thought I would add some thoughts and my personal story to this discussion:

    I am 33 and am pregnant with my seventh child. Our oldest is almost ten. My husband and I do not believe that God has called every woman to have as many children as she is able to. Calling every form of non-murderous birth prevention (tubal ligation, vasectomy, barrior methods) wrong (or unBiblical) is adding to God’s word which is no small thing to do. (Please know, I am NOT saying you are doing this, Kelly!, but I have come across many in the “Quiverfull” movement that believe so and teach accordingly.) We do not want to miss any of the blessings God has planned for us and, at the same time, remain open to God leading us in any of the above mentioned forms of family planning.

    After our third child was born, we have been led to pray during each subsequent pregnancy for God to lead us as to what we should do following that particular birth. All of my births have been c-sections, and my uterus almost ruptured with baby number 6, so this time around there is definitely more discussion about it between my husband and I. (I absolutely trust that God has written my days, but also believe one of the ways He directs is through the mental faculties He has given us.)

    So far, He has called us to have a baby every other year. I am so thankful for every one of my children, but I also know that having so many is not for everyone! I think of friends of mine who chose for the husband to have a vasectomy due to her prolapsed uterus and then have gone on to take in (and hopefully, adopt) three children out of the foster system. I think about others I know who God has called to spheres of ministry that are really not conducive with raising a large family (frequent short-term mission trips across the globe, intense youth ministry with many troubled teens, etc.) God wants His light shining in every darkened corner of this world and I think it is true to say that there are some places and ministries where it really would be difficult to raise a large family. I am not saying it would be impossible because of course, with God all things are possible!, but I do not question that God leads some couples to prevent having larger families due to their particular callings. Who am I to judge an area that is outside the Black and Whites of Scripture?

    Now, I absolutely know there are many who do not understand surrender and submission to God. I know there are many who have an ungodly view of children and/or do not trust God to provide and seek to prevent having babies apart from His direction. I also know there are those who regret not having more. We absolutely need to be sharing with the world, and particularly the church, that children are indeed a blessing and that some forms of birth prevention are murder. We also need to share with them the Biblical truth that as Christians we are “not our own” and that God is the One Who should be directing our paths. However, we also have to be careful and not let the pendulum swing too far and start saying something is THE right way when the Bible does not say so! Jesus had very strong words for those who “made into law the traditions of men”. Again, I am not accusing you of this Kelly, but feel led to share this here.

    I used to be offended by all of the grocery-store negativity about my many children, but the truth is that apart from God changing me I would probably share the same views. Are babies a blessing? Yes!!! Do I understand what someone (particularly a non-believer) means when they say that two was enough for them? Yes, because as much as my children have brought TREMENDOUS blessing to my life I have also struggled being a mother to so many. It has been HARD for me personally. God calls us to carry our crosses so I am not complaining, but carrying crosses is not easy and is often painful so I’m going to be honest about that aspect of my life, as well! When people ask me about my big family I usually say something like, “I know it is not for everyone, but it is what God has called us to and it is a blessing.” I also often tell people that in all honesty, this is not the life I would have chosen for myself, but that I have found there is no better place to be in the center of His will for my life.

    I think, ultimately, this is the message believers need to hear – that they are not their own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); that they are to trust in the LORD with all of their heart,lean not on their own understanding, in all their ways acknowledge Him and He will direct their path (Proverbs 3:5-6). If a couple is doing that wholeheartedly than I don’t need to worry about whether or not they should be using pregnancy prevention. If God is directing their paths they will have as many children as He has called them to.

    Thanks for letting me add to this conversation.
    All for Jesus,
    Laura

  22. Dear Kelly,

    Having read some of your other posts regarding childbearing, I have some more thoughts to add:

    You seem to be saying (and please forgive me if I misread you) that except for in rare (“extremely rare”) cases women are supposed to have as many children as they can. I respectfully disagree with that belief for three primary reasons:

    First, God has not made any such command in Scripture.

    Second, He very well could lead a couple to choose to prevent pregnancy. The key here is HE COULD LEAD. I am not saying it is right for people to make selfish, fearful decisions regarding their reproduction; rather that there is nothing in Scripture that would lead us to believe He cannot limit the size of a family with medical means. (I am sure it goes without saying that I am speaking about Biblically viable options here…my other post refers to some of them.) I read your challenge to find any other blessings that we are called to not accept. Some examples from the Bible are:

    *Abraham was called to leave the blessing of a home and family to wander in the desert. Of course, forsaking the first blessing paved the way for him to experience God’s greatest blessing which was His will for Abraham and Sarah’s life. God’s will for us is the greatest blessing.

    *Another example from Scripture is the apostle Peter. While presumably married, he left the comfort of home and family for a season to follow Jesus. Was being at home with his family a blessing? Yes, but following the Savior when He called was the greatest blessing because it was God’s will for Peter.

    *Paul gave up the blessing of being provided for financially through the church so as to thwart the accusations of others. In his case, he forsook one blessing for the greater blessing of living above reproach.

    Certainly, God doesn’t call all of us to leave the comfort of home and family and many ministers are called to be financially supported through their congregation. The point I am trying to make here is that God often does lead us to lay aside a blessing in pursuit of His will for us – which is always best! Yes, children are a blessing, but so is moving to the inner city to minister to street kids. Such a calling may not include one having the big family they are capable of having. I absolutely believe that God can and does lead couples to “choose” the size of their family. Some, by His leading, choose to have as many as they can. Others, choose to use various forms of family planning when they feel the size of their family is complete. Ultimately, the key is to let God make the choice for us.

    The third point I would like to make is to challenge the belief that it is only acceptable for women to prevent pregnancy in “extremely rare” situations. Before the advancement of modern medicine, it was not extremely rare for women and/or their infants to die in childbirth. Even now, pregnancy can be very dangerous for women. I disagree with the argument that since childbearing is “natural” it is therefore not something we should interfere with. Childbearing may be God’s natural design for women, but when sin entered the world and brought decay, disease and death, the woman’s reproductive system was affected just like everything else in creation. What was originally completely “good” is now often fraught with complications. Just as it is natural for man to run, many are not able to do it now because of the effects of the fall – asthma, paralysis, hypoglycemia, club feet, cancer, etc. Concerning a woman’s reproductive system, women often struggle with molar and ectopic pregnancies, ovarian and uterine cysts, prolapsed uterus’ and bladders, extremely difficult pregnancies and labors (my first child would have died had we not had an emergency c-sections), genetic diseases (I am aware of one family who had a fatally, genetic disease that affected all but one of their children) and so many other debilitating sicknesses and issues. If pregnancy has become dangerous for a woman, God may close her womb naturally or direct her and her husband to seek medical intervention. Just as it is Biblically acceptable for a woman to have a heart transplant or valve replacement when the natural function of her heart has been affected by disease, so too there is nothing unbiblical about a woman having a tubal ligation, hysterectomy or other procedure done when the natural functions of her reproductive system are suffering the effects of sin.

    If you read my other post, you know that I am all for teaching people that children are a blessing!, that certain forms of birth control cause abortions and that they should seek God’s direction for their family in this regard as in all areas. What I take issue with is taking the stance that it is wrong for a woman to prevent pregnancy except in extremely rare circumstances. This is an opinion; not God’s revealed truth. It is also a platform that can cause disunity in the Body of Christ.

    In His love,
    Laura

    1. Laura,

      I appreciate all your thoughts. However, you may be a little unclear about what I believe.

      You said, “You seem to be saying (and please forgive me if I misread you) that except for in rare (“extremely rare”) cases women are supposed to have as many children as they can.”

      It may just lie in the terminology, but “as many children as they can” sounds like a woman who is actively trying to get pregnant and I do not believe that. That is still “control”. I believe, generally, that we should be open to children when God sends them. Simple as that.

      I also agree with the last part of your comment, and in fact, stated in this thread, that I do not believe natural forms of spacing or preventing children are always wrong. My reason for this are precisely what you said…in cases, due to the fall, where brokenness or sickness present viable considerations for the husband and wife.

      1. Frankly, I think that the “as many children as you can” phraseology is a red herring. Because that is obviously extreme and goes against letting God plan the family. So applying that to you, claiming you believe that, is how they find a basis for their argument against you.

        I’m not sure why simply letting things happen or not happen is such a hard concept to grasp, nor why it’s so hard to disagree with that a red herring is necessary? We can have a logical and rational debate if we’re talking about the same terms and the same definitions, but it breaks down immediately if someone redefines terms or bases their argument against my beliefs by claiming that I believe something I don’t. :/

        1. Margaret,

          Such an excellent point…that has to be the most frustrating part of writing here for me. The slight and subtle twisting of words/meanings is never productive to a healthy debate.

        2. Sisters,
          You are right, I should not have used that phrase “as many children as you can”. It was a poor choice of words and I apologize. What I meant by that was “not seeking to prevent any naturally occurring pregnancies”.
          Hope that clears up any miscommunication.
          Blessings,
          Laura E.

          1. No harm done. I most often see it used in the way I described. But I understand that it’s easy to misspeak (or mis-type). 🙂

  23. I’m genuinely interested what exactly does the phrase “God will provide”, in the context of children, actually mean?

    Do you mean that he will provide food for the children to eat? Shelter for the children? Water for the children? Sometimes, all the time, every so often?

    If the children are eating only one meal a day or every other day–is that an example of God providing for their needs? I’ve traveled overseas where Christian parents watched their children die from starvation, and severe dehydration. Was that part of God providing?

    “God provides” always seems to be a popular phrase that many conservative American Christians like to throw around. What exactly is the definition of it?

    **Please not I’m not making an argument in this post for or against birth control…just a general curiosity of such a popular argument…..

    1. My husband was born in an East African country plagued by war and famine. He distinctly remembers eating tree bark at one point as a child.

      Amazingly, he believes more strongly in the idea of being open to life than I do, and I’m pretty nuts about it by American standards. :p To him, God’s provision is the sustaining of life, for as long as that life is to last. Not that suffering or starvation is good, nor that he would ever starve his children or want to see them hungry. But that he doesn’t see the solution to these obvious ills in our fallen world as a matter of “don’t have children.” He also believes that life has value, whether it is easy or difficult, long or short. He believes that he and his siblings were created by God for a purpose, and are as valuable to him as any only-child living the American Dream.

      1. However, I honestly don’t expect agreement with him because there is simply a fundamental difference in the way these different modes of thought view life, children, and what is of value and in what ways.

    2. LVH,

      “God will provide” means I take God at His Word which says,

      “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

      “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matt. 6:25-34

      1. I get very confused with these verses… For instance, how does that answer LVH’s question. Are the Christians whose children starve to death ‘doing something wrong’? Where is the line between trusting to provide and just a watered down version of the prosperity gospel (b/c we aren’t ‘forcing Him’ to make us rich, but it still seems to me a “I’ll live with this conviction, and You need to do matt 6:25-34 for me”….. I am very confused

    3. LVH–I also agree with Margaret. Mother Theresa, who probably saw more human suffering than any one who ever lived, wisely NEVER advocated that birth control or limiting children was a solution to the problem.

      1. Thank-you for responding. I think I understand your position a bit more.

        There were a couple of posters in this thread who gave their testimony of personal hardships when adding more children, but that God did provide them important things such as food and water.

        I’m just trying to understand that what you’re saying is that people should trust God with their family size, not limit it, even if they’re in extreme hardship or have had prior children die from starvation, illness/disease..ect…

        Like Erin said, “Are the Christians whose children starve to death ‘doing something wrong’? ” Did they not trust God enough or that God’s intention for those children was to die?

        1. No, they are not doing something wrong. I’m pretty sure Kelly doesn’t hold to the “health and wealth” prosperity gospel type stuff. Neither do I.

          Whether you use birth control or not, the fact that we live in a fallen world is something that you have to wrestle with. People who plan their families also lose children. Sometimes life just plain sucks, to be blunt. You can be as “responsible” as you want, produce only 2.1 children, or whatever is the current acceptable number, and lose them all because crap happens. And in the reverse, you could be poverty-stricken evangelists like my inlaws, and have all 9 of the children born survive, and then take in another kid because her having a little bit of food is better than her dying of starvation and neglect. There are no easy answers to the problems humanity faces. Birth control to solve the problem of sickness and starvation is like trying to put a bandaid on a gaping knife wound.

          We do not believe that God wants people to suffer and die. Jesus is part of the whole solution to that issue, the redemption of all things and the ultimate, eternal healing. Our suffering right now is a tiny blip on the timeline of eternity. It still hurts, but from the perspective of eternity, it is a very temporary thing. Knowing all, God allows people to be concieved who will not live very long, maybe not even live until birth. Their existence is valueable no matter how short it was, and impacts eternity in ways that we can’t even fathom with our limited perspectives. I know that the brief existence of the babies that I miscarried impacted my life, and because of that experience I have been able to reach out to others (and thus impact their lives) who have gone through the same thing. Yes I grieved, because those were losses, but they were also valuable, albeit brief, temporal lives whose existence continues on in the eternal even now. I am not glad that they died. That hurt. But I am glad that they lived and continue to live now in the presence of God.

  24. I, too, have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and have a few questions for you. #1-What do you make of Paul saying it’s better not to marry in 1 Corinthians 7:8 “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” God had specific plans for Paul and being married would have hindered his ability to do the work God had called him to. My contention is this, if God tells Paul it’s better for him to not marry and so “deprive himself of the blessing” of a wife, (and therefore obviously children) how can you say a married couple should have however many children the Lord would give them and that it would be wrong for them to “deprive themselves” in the same sense if they felt God was calling them to do something else? If it was better for Paul not to marry, could be be better for some couples not to have children to better serve the Lord with their time and resources? I know that’s a bold statement and most would use selfish reasons for not having children but that was not what Paul did. I trust God enough with the size of my family to know that if He wants to bless me with a child, regardless if I use any form of birth control, He is powerful enough to do so and I would receive said child as a gift and blessing from Him. But that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong for me to use some form of barrier at a time when I do not think God is calling me to add to my family size at any particular point in time. He can still do so if He wishes-He’s God! My other question, and I haven’t read enough of your posts to know about this, but do you believe people that use birth control are sinning in doing so? If that’s the case (as I know some do believe) then there shouldn’t be any exceptions. It’s either a sin for all, or not a sin and a choice that God has allowed us to make to a certain extent. I’m also curious as to what you think of in-vitro or other measures people take to make a child that God didn’t “naturally” bless them with…would that be wrong too? Or only “preventing” them? Either way is a form of controlling your family size. I think God has given us all a brain to think with, the Holy Spirit to guide us, and His word to live by. In my situation, He has called my husband and myself to full time ministry. My husband is currently in seminary studying to be a Pastor and he hasn’t found any Biblical mandate that forbids birth control. We have three young children as well (6, 5 & almost 2) and they are tremendous blessings in our lives, but to add another right now would not be wise considering what God has called us to at this stage in our lives. That’s not to say we won’t have any more because like I said, God could choose to give us another one regardless of any method we use to “prevent” them but in order for my husband to fulfill the training and education God has called him to, neither one of us feel like we would be able to care well for a baby along with the three blessings he has given us, and work on top of that to pay our bills. I personally know people that feel the same way you do and I love their large families and admire their love for their children, but I don’t believe they love theirs anymore than I love mine just because they have more of them (if that makes sense)! And I can’t call something a sin that isn’t expressed in the Bible as one. Verses that talk about children being a blessing are not meant to be taken as “you should have as many as you can in your reproductive years and if you don’t, you’re sinning.” Same thing goes for the “be fruitful and multiply” verses. Those were two very specific instances where God commanded Adam and Noah to repopulate the Earth! We obviously aren’t responsible for that! 😉 I’m all for large families. Both of my grandparents had 6 and 7 children and I love it, but I think family size is something that should be between each couple and the Lord and what His will for each family is. Just like homeschooling, breast feeding, cloth diapering, organic eating, and any other choice you have to make for your family! There aren’t any biblical mandates for any of these issues and therefore legalism becomes an issue when we make it to be a sin where it’s not. Like I said, I don’t know if you feel that way, but a lot of people that are against birth control go so far as to say it’s a sin if someone chooses to use it. 🙂 Just another perspective and I welcome your response! God Bless!

    1. Brandi,

      Wow–there are a lot of questions/statements in that comment, LOL!

      First, no, I do not call the preventing of children a sin. I think it could become a sin in someone’s life, depending on their reasons/heart issues, etc., but in and of itself, I do not believe it is. I describe it more as a “wisdom” issue, with natural blessing and repercussion when we don’t follow God’s prescription (written in both His Word and our bodies).

      You mentioned the “be fruitful and multiply command” being given only to Adam and Noah. The command is actually given to all of mankind, beginning with them, and was never revoked. So, it is a rather serious issue that Christians need to grapple with carefully and prayerfully.

      Regarding the passage in 1 Cor…I have heard many commentaries that explain Paul was speaking to this particular church during a period of tribulation when he made this suggestion. I don’t know. But given the whole counsel of Scripture (which cannot contradict itself), we know that marriage is desirable and that under normal circumstances and unless a person has a specific calling to singleness, it is GOOD that he/she marry and thus be fruitful as a natural marriage generally is. So that verse is a very weak argument in every way against the “approval” of preventing children.

      Your conclusion that God can give you children even if you’re trying to prevent them is also very, very weak, though I speak respectfully to you. He is God. He can do miracles. But that’s not how He usually operates. Would you apply that same logic to other areas? “I am going to eat a steady diet of ice cream. But if God wants me to be healthy and skinny, He can do that–He’s God!”

      Most often, He leaves us to the consequences of our choices without much intervention. So we can’t “rest” in His sovereignty to do the opposite of our actions.

      Preventing for the case of ministry assumes that other ministry is more important than the first ministry of raising your first disciples. And while a couple ultimately has to work that out before the Lord, having a clear, biblical understanding of birth control and God’s sovereignty over life is important in coming to the right conclusions.

  25. Thanks for the reply! I am glad to hear you don’t think it’s a sin to use birth control, however, if it’s not a sin then why is it even a discussion if people choose to or choose not to use it? You imply that if people don’t think the way you do that they aren’t thinking about it at all. I understand that some families want lots of children, but why is it wrong or thought of as denying yourself a blessing if you don’t want 6+ children? To say “repercussion when we don’t follow God’s prescription” what verses would you use to back that up in regards to birth control? If it’s not sin, then why the repercussion? And if people thought that having x amount of kids was a blessing, they probably would keep having them. You can think of children as blessings without wanting to have 10 of them, can you not?

    I’m not sure what “normal” means, but when you say it’s desirable and good to marry, that kind of implies that you’re abnormal if you don’t marry or that it’s bad if you don’t. And I disagree that using Paul as an example is a weak argument. I would even say that the church is going through tough times now and that if God would ever say it’s better for someone not to marry, the argument could just as easily be made against not marrying now or not having a huge family in order to devote yourself to other things God might be asking of you.

    When I say God can give me children “even if I’m trying to prevent them,” that’s not an argument I used to advocate birth control! I’m not talking about miracles in this case although I do believe in those too. I’m saying that if He really wants ME to have another baby, I will have one. I haven’t had a hysterectomy-it really wouldn’t take a miracle for God to intervene with our form of “prevention” to give us another child! 🙂 I do believe that if God wanted us to have another child, He would let us know one way or another, just like He’s done in the past. (Only 2 of our 3 children were “planned.”)

    Interesting that you say “He leaves us to the consequences of our choices without much intervention.” Just for clarification, the consequence to our choice to use birth control would be the depravation of countless blessings? Is that what you’re implying here? And the beautiful outcome of not using it would be then abundant blessings? Again, if it’s not a sin issue, how can there be a “consequence” involved?

    “Preventing for the case of ministry assumes that other ministry is more important than the first ministry of raising your first disciples.”

    This is not the case at all. My priorities are the way they should be. God being #1-Following Him and what He wants me to do. #2 being my husband and the Father of those disciples and supporting Him in what God has called him to. #3 My children. They are not the sole reason for my existence. And they shouldn’t be. There are some people that feel this way and then they don’t know what to do with themselves when their children are raised and leave the nest. There are other reasons God gives us life. And I do believe supporting my husband in full time ministry is one of mine. There are things I am not able to participate in (ministry wise) because my first priority is to my children. It is as it should be for this season of life. Just because my ministry to my family/children is more important than my “other ministry,” doesn’t mean it’s better to have 10 kids though. I think that’s a weak/illogical argument.

    “… having a clear, biblical understanding of birth control” is important in coming to the right conclusions.

    What is a clear, biblical understanding of birth control?? You say you don’t think it’s a sin if people use bc but why would you use words like “consequence” and “repercussion” if it’s not, as well as saying the Bible gives a clear understanding of it and therefore again implying it’s sinful to use it? I’m struggling with the contradiction in this.

    I appreciate the discussion and I wholeheartedly agree with you that it’s an excellent thing to think about, pray about and seek the Lord’s will in, I just can’t see where biblically it’s wrong to use bc and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel condemnation or guilt where there isn’t or shouldn’t be any. There may be some Godly men and women that God has not called to have a large family and they need not feel burdened with mans misinterpretation of the Bible to sway them. It’s so easy to take the Bible out of context and we need to make sure we’re not tempting legalism by making something a biblical mandate when it’s not. If you thought it was a biblical mandate, you would have called it sin. I know I’m being very direct, but I pray that you understand my intentions here. I too respect you and am trying to understand your point of view and pray you see mine. My heart is for the truth and I know other things can seem like truth and there are a lot of things out there the devil uses to divide the Christian community. I pray against that!

    1. Brandi,

      I think it’s good that you are thinking through this topic so carefully…that is my heart’s desire in writing. And to answer specifically “why discuss it if it’s not a sin” along with “how can there be ‘repercussions’ to a non-sin issue”…

      I wouldn’t say it is a sin to borrow money. I do think it can be unwise in many circumstances to do so. I think there are repercussions to it. I think Dave Ramsey’s mission is very important as he seeks to warn Christians to handle money carefully. This issue is much the same to me.

      I don’t know that I can clearly answer all your questions here, simply because there are so many avenues and I don’t have the time in one comment today. I would encourage you to read some of my other articles (there are oodles) where I explain what I believe about all different aspects of this issue and why it is SO very important for us to think clearly about it.

      One misconception you have is that a couple giving God sovereignty over their fertility will have lots of children. This is often not true, and demonstrates further that it is He that is in control, and not us.

      The issue here is not “feeling led to have 10 children” which misses the point entirely. The issue is whether or not we believe God is truly sovereign over life. Does He open and close the womb according to His omniscient power, or does He give us control over the womb? There is no evidence in Scripture that it belongs to us. There is no evidence in our nature that it belongs to us. The command to be fruitful implies just that….that He desires His people to read Scripture like “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.” from Ps. 128 and “get the message”.

      Other repercussions? I believe Christians cutting off the godly seed (“Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15) has had a negative impact on the sheer number of the church. See, we pour ourselves into the ministry of evangelism/mission work,etc., even willing to reject the blessing of children to do so, when our ripest mission field, the place where disciples are most naturally and easily made our in our homes. The family is akin to a “mini-church” in its structure. We pour ourselves into figuring out how to “grow the church” when God’s primary method (not *only* but first) is by His people multiplying and raising disciples within the family. (See http://generationcedar.com/2010/01/the-church-that-turns-visitors-away.html)

      More repercussions? More and more studies are finding (are we surprised that God created things so perfectly?) that birth control and even just less pregnancies, prevented in any form, can increase a woman’s health risk. Conversely, the more babies a woman breastfeeds the lower her chance of breast cancer.

      Not to mention so many spiritual repercussions. As God determines our family size, there are certain things we can and can not do. Certain ministries even, that may need to be delayed to a different season, etc. There is peace in knowing that God helps to orchestrate our steps naturally in this way, instead of our “overriding” if you will, what He designed to happen naturally, and determining our own steps around that. Does that make sense?

      Those are just some random answer that come to mind, but again, I commend you for diving into this subject. I think it’s important for Christians in general to embrace God’s sovereignty over life, but I think it’s especially important for those in ministry to do so, in order to lead the people of God. I have had the most discouragement, the most anti-life statement from people in ministry, than probably any one else. It’s saddens my heart that we have turned the blessing of God into a curse.

  26. Kelly and Brandi,

    I wanted to just share that my husband and I were in our mid-thirties when we felt the conviction to trust the Lord with the size of our family.We had only one more! That was it! I do not think it is a sin to use birth control but so many times we think that we can plan it and it will turn out a certain way. My husband and I actually thought when we turned this over to the Lord that we would have maybe three or four more children.So much for that! One of the things that really bothers me sometimes..(and I do understand those who may have special circumstances going on..such as job loss,school,sickness and I’m sure other things at times..)that when these things have been resolved..we feel comfortable…like so much time has gone by and people think there will be to big of an age difference or we are just so comfortable with our lives that adding another baby is going to mess it up.Yes..its hard and Yes..there are struggles..but Children are a Blessing!! I’m here to tell you that it is so worth it now.My four adult children(still have 2 teens)are able to reach people for the Lord that my husband and I never could.It is amazing..I often try to encourage younger moms who are considering having more children to have them and then share my testimony with them.Just my final thoughts on this.

  27. I haven’t weighed in much on this post, but I want to share how more and more I am seeing the many blessings God gave us when He turned my and my husband’s hearts toward receiving children in His timing. I was 37 and dh was 41 at the time, and we had already had 3 children.

    When I say “seeing the many blessings”, I don’t just mean how many children He gave us (5 more pregnancies, with 2 babies in heaven and 3 more children we are privileged to raise), but all the good things that have come for my husband and me and our children, many more blessings than I could name.

    One week from today, my “baby” turns five. Last Sunday, on my 50th birthday, I watched her skip across the parking lot after church, lighthearted and joyful, and I thought to myself, How many 50-year-old women are so privileged to have a young, carefree child like that to raise for God’s glory?

    It’s in the simple moments of life that the beauty of God’s gifts really shine through. God is so good, and the ways He blesses us through every one of His children are indescribable!

    1. Very sweet :)). I, too, have 3 babies here and two more in heaven. The miscarriages were hard, but definitely taught me about how things work in God’s timing, not ours. I was so naive when I first started “planning” a family! Blessings to you!

    1. Keri — You’re welcome. One of those special little moments in motherhood I like to reminisce on!

      I probably should have added, now that I look over what I wrote, that there weren’t any cars coming and going in the church parking lot right then! We had ducked out the back of the church immediately when the service ended and before anyone had been ushered out, so if anyone here read what I wrote in the above comment and wondered if that little skipping girl was about to be hit by a car, NO, she wasn’t! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have let her skip ahead on her own like that. 🙂

      Just thought I should clarify that — it was indeed a beautiful moment, as you said, Keri, not a scary one! 😉

  28. I agree with you that thinking it through is very important. I still think some of your arguments are illogical and can be flipped on themselves. For example, you bring up the Sovereignty of God when it comes to trusting Him with your family size by not using any form of birth control, but you limit it to that and don’t consider it in any other area like when you say “the more babies a woman breastfeeds the lower her chance of breast cancer.” Can I not trust the in the sovereignty of God when it comes to me getting or not getting breast cancer or do I have 8 kids and breastfeed them all to lower my risks instead of trusting in the Sovereignty of God in this area?

    You say the issue is not “feeling led to have 10 children” but in another post you mentioned to back up your “natural way of things” you say that if “you don’t use birth control, you get pregnant.” And I’d say in our case, that’s pretty much true! So, while I fully believe in the Sovereignty of God, I also believe that in the same way that if I had a steady diet of ice cream that I would “not be skinny or healthy,” If I don’t use any form of birth control I’d better be at least willing to have ten kids if that’s how many the Lord wanted to bless me with, right?!

    “See, we pour ourselves into the ministry of evangelism/mission work, etc., even willing to reject the blessing of children to do so, when our ripest mission field, the place where disciples are most naturally and easily made our in our homes. The family is akin to a “mini-church” in its structure. We pour ourselves into figuring out how to “grow the church” when God’s primary method (not *only* but first) is by His people multiplying and raising disciples within the family.”

    I’m also a little confused about this because then what are we raising our families to do? Raise more families? To then what? Raise more families?? If our primary responsibility in life is to just have kids so they have kids etc…then maybe I could buy this as logic. Our main objective in life is to glorify God and do what He’s called us to do, and while for some that may include having children, (a few or many) for some it may not and for any and all it is most likely not the only thing He is calling most of us to do. There’s also no guarantee that if we raise our children to love the Lord that they will choose to follow Him. I think that’s a misconception as much as any other we’ve discussed.

    Those are just some random answers that come to mind, but again, I commend you for diving into this subject. I think it’s important for Christians in general to embrace God’s sovereignty over life, but I think it’s especially important for those in ministry to do so, in order to lead the people of God. I have had the most discouragement, the most anti-life statement from people in ministry, than probably any one else. It’s saddens my heart that we have turned the blessing of God into a curse.

    Just so we’re clear, I do embrace God’s sovereignty over life and am not anti-life and just because I use BC of some form (not ones that could possibly kill my child should one have been conceived)… Those are not contradictory! I do think children are a blessing and have received mine as such, however if someone does not think of them as a blessing, does not automatically mean they think of them as a curse, but if they do, having more of them is probably not going to change their mind so they should probably not have more. Does that make sense? Some people might think winning the lottery would be a blessing, some might think it’s a curse. Some might think somewhere in between, but the ones that think it’s a curse probably should not be buying lottery tickets!

    I think in this situation among others, if it’s not a matter of a biblical mandate or sin issue, there’s a reason it’s meant to be kept between us (as husband and wife) and the Lord. We have to be careful about feelings of superiority and making what God’s called from each of us personally something higher than that. If God’s called you to have a large family, that’s great! But, I do want to say that for you to say this is just something you want people to think more about, it’s not. You feel like this is the right way and the way everyone should think and I would just caution you in this. What may be right for you and your family (homeschooling, breastfeeding, abstaining from alcohol, not using birth control, cloth diapering, not watching any tv or movies, etc, etc….) are all choices you get to make as a family unit and if asked, by all means, share what God has called you to do or not to do in order to fulfill His purposes through you, but to put those choices on everyone else as though that’s “the way to go,” well, that’s called legalism and I’d just caution you in this as sisters in Christ. (Romans 14, particularly verse 22)

    1. I really appreciate your words, Brandi, and I echo most of what you are saying. I really struggle with labeling the family as “the ripe mission” frield and creating a “mini-church” in the family. I am very “pro-community.” I think God gave us a responsibility to raise our children in the Lord, but a very big part of that is living as lights outward in the World and a very big part of that is making disciples which requires strong & solid authentic relationships with those around of us outside our families. Yes, my house is my mission field. So is my neighborhood. The gym I work out in. Etc. Honestly this is probably the main reason I don’t homeschool beyond preschool–it’s a little to inward focused for me. I don’t think homeschooling is wrong nor do I think it’s the prefered way to educate a child.

      As the same for birth control. I don’t think it’s as black and white as everyone some people think. So many people quote the Old Testament when God opened and closed Rachel or Leah’s wombs. This is stating what God did. It’s not a command saying, “Thou shalt not practice birth control.” If a women has her tubes tied, God could still potentially open her womb…it’s rare I realize…but it still could happen.

      1. Amy,

        The family as a “mini-church” is God’s idea, not ours. All throughout Scripture He gives us that analogy (husband is head just as Christ is…wife is to be fruitful, just as church is…) If we miss that, it drastically changes our worldview (as it obviously has yours) and we miss the very first line of discipleship God has given to us. Your line, “It’s a little to inward focused for me” is one of the saddest I’ve ever read from a Christian. How did we ever get here? To think that a family somehow prevents us from sharing Christ with the world? The family was given to us PRECISELY as a picture of Christ and His church to the world. It is because of a faulty worldview like the one demonstrated in your comment, that the family is crumbling and the world wants nothing of us. Once the family becomes the REAL picture of the church, perhaps the world will take notice and we can accomplish His purposes for us from the beginning.

        It’s time for us to get back in the Word and really live what’s there.

      2. Amy,

        Thinking about your comment, “Thou shalt not practice birth control” I’m amazed at how we come about our theology. Imagine if I didn’t feel “called” (as Brandi put it) to be a woman. Who shall “judge” me? After all, I *can*, medically speaking, reject what God has written into my body (i.e. my gender) and there is no “thou shalt not” for that either. I’m just trying to encourage you to think biblically and consistently about these important matters…nothing more.

      3. Amy,

        If you think homeschooling is “a little to inward focused”, then it’s clear you don’t have a good picture of the way many homeschool families are indeed “living as lights outward in the World”. I will give you two examples how our homeschool family has shown the light of Christ out in the world, not to brag, but to give you some perspective you seem to be lacking.

        First, our oldest daughter, 16 years old at the time, ministered to our unchurched neighbors a few years ago when their youngest son was born extremely prematurely, and the parents moved out of state to be near where he was hospitalized, leaving their school-age children at home with the children’s grandmother. The grandmother was not comfortable driving, so my daughter would drive the children to their activities and the grandmother to wherever she needed to go (grocery store, etc.) for the three months the baby was hospitalized and for another month after he came home as the family was making the transition back to a home routine.

        Why did my daughter do this? Because she loves to serve. She grew up the second of six children, and had had plentiful opportunities for serving her younger siblings for 12 of her 16 years at that point, having been home with them during her homeschool years. When the opportunity came for her to minister outside of our home, it was a natural transition to do just that. She was AVAILABLE and WILLING to serve, and was not caught up in the vast array of the usual self-serving activities many youth are.

        My other example regards my second-oldest daughter, who is 15. She has been volunteering for the last three years with a Christ-centered ministry in our area that serves developmentally disabled adults. She helped out on a limited basis the first two years, when she was in the 7th and 8th grades (all children of our congregation are encouraged to help out with this ministry when they are those ages, and are scheduled for service on specific dates a few times a year). She enjoyed the experience so much that she voluntarily continued serving the ministry last year (a “year” being considered September through May) on a much more regular basis, at least every month, and often multiple times in a month. She is continuing the tradition this year, as well.

        Where did she get this heart for volunteering with this ministry for developmentally disabled adults? From the Lord Himself. My daughter has been homeschooled her whole life, and when she was seven years old, her little brother with developmental delays of his own was born. If she had been going to school, she would not have nearly the amount of time to spend with him that she does, and would probably have difficulty understanding and embracing his challenges, loving him for who he is. There are many children, who spend a lot of time apart from their siblings, who just don’t know or understand much about their sibs, or find them to be little annoying nuisances. They can’t figure out how to relate to them because they’re hardly ever around them. But I digress. My daughter has spent the last eight years of her life faithfully ministering to her younger brother in his needs, and I believe the Lord has turned her heart to extend that kind of love and support to other developmentally challenged individuals. It is a natural thing that she wants to reach out to the disabled community as she has, given her prior extensive experience at home, and, like I said about my oldest daughter, she too is available and willing.

        I’ll say one other thing about my daughters (again, not to brag, as this was none of my doing, but entirely the Lord’s work in them), and that is to remark about how many people who have witnessed their acts of service outside of our home have commented how grown up they seem. When my oldest daughter was taking the neighbor children to their activities, one woman who didn’t know the children very well thought my daughter was the children’s mother! (Never mind that she was only nine years older than the oldest child!) She carries herself with such poise and confidence. Also, someone once thought she was a nurse when (at the age of 17) she came to the scene of an accident wearing her scrubs while returning home from her job at a pet clinic. The person who witnessed the accident left the scene after my daughter arrived and before emergency personnel came, he felt so confident that my daughter, calm and efficient in tending to the two injured people, could handle it on her own!

        And my second-oldest daughter has that same ability to understand people’s needs and spring into action. Last year, when she was 14 and volunteering with the aforementioned ministry, there were some college-aged volunteers who were there on a one-time basis. One of the adult volunteers told me later that the college students seemed to have no idea how they could help. They just sat in the back and watched, never offering to assist in any way or ask how they could be helpful. This was a big contrast, the adult pointed out to me, with how my daughter always seemed to sense just what the individuals served by the ministry needed and would enthusiastically help out without needing direction. Also, my daughter told me that when she was there yesterday, one of the adult volunteers asked her how old she was, and when my daughter answered “Fifteen”, the adult said, “Oh, you’ve been with us so long, I thought you were 20 by now!” Apparently, long-term commitment to ministry by youth who conduct themselves like adults is not too commonplace.

        My apologies that this comment was so long and probably all over the map. I just think you need to see, Amy, that homeschooling does not mean parents or their kids have an inward focus. Serving starts in the home, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Real life happens all around us — people get cancer, have premature babies, get into accidents, or are sometimes born with lifelong disabilities — and many homeschoolers are stepping forward to meet those real-life needs, cooking and delivering meals as a family, offering rides, speaking the love of Christ into the lives of some who have never heard. Many of us who home educate are teaching how to minister, seeing all of life as our curriculum. We are indeed, to use your words, developing “strong & solid authentic relationships with those around of us outside our families.” The needs are many, in and out of the home, and we are there.

    2. Brandi,

      Though it’s doubtful you will see things any differently from this discussion, I still feel responsible to answer for the thousands reading.

      There seems to be a very sad disconnect about the sovereignty of God (few people embrace total sovereignty) rampant through the church evidenced in one of your comments:

      “Our main objective in life is to glorify God and do what He’s called us to do, and while for some that may include having children, (a few or many) for some it may not and for any and all it is most likely not the only thing He is calling most of us to do.”

      Your terminology and theology is missing logic. Humans are not given a “calling” to have children. A calling is something you have to *do*, something outside of your biological prescription. I am no more “called” to be a woman than I am to have babies. Think, for example, about that statement if it had been made before preventing children was acceptable. We never used terminology like that. The era that brought in the wide-spread prevention of children was from a non-biblical worldview that sought to divorce the miracle of life from the marriage act. The very idea was considered heresy by the church for years before it became acceptable.

      So, the idea that one must be “called” to have children is ludicrous and can’t even enter into the discussion. Now, can a couple feel called to prevent children for extenuating hardships or difficult health issues? Maybe. But that’s something altogether different.

      To answer your question, YES, “glorifying God” is to “do what He has called us to do”. That includes many things but the fact that He ordains life, has written in our bodies HIS prescription for life and has commanded us to “be fruitful and multiply” because He “desires godly offspring”, assures us that to receive the children He gives us is part of “glorifying Him”. This is where we have largely lost the vision. Raising disciple for Him IS our primary responsibility and it must begin in our home with our own children. (By the way, whether or not they all follow Christ is completely illogical and has nothing to do with our responsibility to raise them to love Him. He takes care of the rest. That logic, applied to others would say, “Well, I don’t know if anyone I talk to will follow the Lord so why waste my efforts?”)

      I do not talk about this issue (or others) because I am legalistic (that means you believe that you can obtain salvation by doing something). I talk about it because our misunderstanding of God’s desire for us to love children the way He does and to raise a godly generation has had HUGE, negative implications on the Body of Christ. (When birth control became acceptable, it completely shifted the way we think about the gift of children–a good indication that something is not right.) And we are A BODY. That means what the head does effects the hands. We are all connected and our choices affect each other in the most personal way. It matters what we think and how we live.

  29. I like your blog, Kelly! I find it incredibly refreshing to read a blog that looks at God’s Word without having to doctor it up. Thank you!
    I find using birth control (we use condoms because I have sensitive hormone issues) no different than many other forms of medicine. For example, if I discovered I had a heart problem, I could kiss my babies good-bye and wait for my body to do its natural thing….or I could take medicine, have surgery, etc. is that not trusting in God’s Sovereignty? After all, He could have done a miracle and I just snatched that chance away. I have a disease that was triggered by my first pregnancy. I now have two more babies but I feel it would be stupid of me to push my body further. God gave me a reproductive system, but He also gave me a brain. I think He wants me to use that as well. Saying that preventing a baby (not abortive) is a form of worry or not trusting wouldn’t make sense either. What some call blind faith, I call stupidity. Like encouraging people to have babies when they don’t have jobs or health insurance? That is a quick way to accumulate debt,which God does not want us to do. I didn’t wait until I had this perfect financial situation but I did make sure we had the essentials.
    Having said all this, I know that God is in charge. We live in a fallen world and our bodies work differently than originally intended. I love big, Christian families…awesome! Go for it! But don’t say birth control is wrong (your post seemed to imply this when it stated to think rightly and then told what you thought that was). No, of course it isn’t natural, but neither is heart medicine, brain surgery, or Advil. God may not have given my body an on/off switch, but He did give me a brain with which at the very least I could say, not this week, honey! 🙂

    1. Again, Kelly, I hope you don’t find this offensive. I really do love your blog, but just disagree with you here. I probably should have left out the “stupid” comment! 🙂

    2. Mary,

      You may find some of my other posts about bc insightful, as far as this discussion goes. Keep in mind when you are reading and making commentary that it’s important to not to infer things that aren’t said. There is certainly nothing in this post that implied “birth control is wrong.” I said having babies is natural, and that we need to THINK RIGHTLY about that. I said that we need to recognize it is our bodies default mode and not act like someone is strange for reproducing.

      I’ve written in other places about a couple using wisdom, carefully, as they see fit.

      However, to refer to your specific reference about medicine (an argument I once used myself), we must recognize the contrast between promoting health and life (Jesus healed the sick and he is for health) and preventing health and life. (Preventing children also has negative effects on a woman’s health sometimes.)

    3. I could not agree more, Mary! I had high blood pressure and heart issues after our second child was born. The doctor said “I realize I can’t tell you NOT to have another baby, but just be aware that you will be on blood pressure medication for the rest of your life, the pregnancy will be high risk, you will be taking a chance I wouldn’t take both for your sake and the baby’s, and you will be on bed rest the entire pregnancy.” Well, after praying and talking, my husband and I decided it was not worth the risk and he had a vasectomy (cannot take BCP due to the high blood pressure, condoms are risky, IUD’s have even more risks for me, etc.) We would NEVER tell a diabetic to just “trust God to give you more insulin”! No, we would tell them that God has provided the insulin medication. This is no different, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing!

  30. I don’t ever ridicule or questions others choices as far as how many children they have. But in the same vein, you should remember that there are those of us out there who would love to have more than 2 kids but can’t for medical reasons. So just because you have the “socially acceptable” number of kids doesn’t mean it is neccesarily by choice or unnatural sterilization. I believe that sometimes people selfishly go against dosctor’s warnings in the name of doing “what’s natural”. I have seen it in my friends with large families. I believe God gives us the wisdom of good doctors for a reason. My husband and I have two children, and after the birth of our second I had pregnancy induced hypertention and a slew of other health problems for about 3 yrs. Despite our desire for another child, we chose to heed the warnings given by our doctor. My husband had a vasectomy. I am healthy now and able to be here for my 2 kids. Might not have turned out so well for me if I would have let nature take it’s course. I have known others who didn’t follow dr.’s orders. Sometimes it works out fine. Sometimes it doesn’t. I believe God expects us to use wisdom and common sense. But that’s not to say if health is not an issue you should neccesarily limit your number of kids to meet others’ expectations. But keep in mind, those of us with one or two kids are often lucky just to have the kids we have.

  31. I’m from Indonesia..soo it might be very different..but here if you don’t use birth control and you live below minimum wage..you’re subjecting your children to a life with next to no sanitation,nutrition and education..and I don’t think any baby deserves to live like that..not when there are so many others in need..

    I have a son..and planning for another children..but for me..I’d rather have 2-3 children that i can take care of (quite) well rather than a lot but without proper care even for their basic needs..

    Just my two cents..

    1. BTW artificial birth control costs money too.. a good old abstinence is more acceptable. As a male I also agree with your opinion about this issue. I respect people who wishes a large family, and people who are not doing so.

      I’m also from Indonesia.

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