Generation Cedar

Are You Going to Have More Babies?

I love how Jesus urges us, no, insists that we become like little children, especially since I get to constantly witness the minds of children. If you listen closely, they teach things we’re “too smart” to learn.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

“Unless you turn.” Turn from what?

A spontaneous conversation ensued with my 5 year old. She is curious and strong and is my child who just says it like it is; not in a bossy kind of way, but in a matter-of-fact-no-point-beating-around-the-bush kind of way.

I wish I had recorded it. It was so cute and fun as are most conversations with a 5 year old. I’ve tried to remember the conversation as closely to verbatim as possible. Listen in:

Kyla:”Mom, you have lots of babies. Are you going to have more?”

Me: “I don’t know. Do you think I should stop?”

Kyla: “How do you stop?”

Me: “I could take a pill or have a surgery to make my body stop.”

Kyla: (puzzled look) “Take a pill, like medicine?”

Me: “Yep.”

Kyla: “Are you sick?”

Me: “No, but you can take something to make your body not work right so you won’t have any more babies.”

Kyla: Eyebrows furrowed. Then, brighten again. “What if God gives you more?”

Me: “Well that’s the thing. I only know that if I don’t take the pill.”

Kyla: “I’m glad you didn’t take a pill. I would NOT want to live with another family.”

Her lively little face actually turned sad when I explained to her that she would not be living with another family but would, in fact, not be living at all.

And this fact, this looking into my children’s big eyes and trying to imagine life without them is what most propels me to trust in God’s sovereignty over life, even when my flesh fails. Β There is so much He knows that I don’t. About me, about our circumstances and about her and her future.

Just like my daughter counsels women each week who are contemplating abortion, urging them to consider that the life inside them is no mistake and is depending on them to give it a chance to live, even the babies-to-be depend on a mother and father willing to receive them. Babies whom God has known from the foundations.

Kyla understands that. She hasn’t been educated enough to know that people are too expensive and bothersome to raise and thus, easily and flippantly avoided.

Babies are people to her; important people. People who, like her, are glad they get to live with their families.

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35 Responses

  1. Oh Kelly!! This goes along with so much of what I have been pondering lately… I am preggo with baby #5… and on expensive blood thinners again (shots in the stomach πŸ™‚ ). Over the last year or so, I have really really struggled with getting my attitude in line… and giving in to self pity, loneliness, resentment, bitterness etc… And it really has to do with dying to self… And I wonder if the women’s lib movement (of the 60s and 70s) really was a fleshly reaction to the amount of dying to self is necessary to mother a big family(or any family). That many many unregenerate women in their discontent, saw the hardship of raising a family(and it is hard!), the work, the sacrifice, etc. and somehow felt that it was not “fair” for women to have no choice but to be at the mercy of God and their husbands in regards to family size… And because women everywhere have that fleshly nature too, it can FEEL true… It’s easy to feel put upon, to feel like everyone’s slave, to feel like you have no identity of your own outside of dishes and diapers, to have no minute to call your own(all day or all night) and on and on it goes… What I wish I understood more is the HOW of dying to self… Is it that the Lord changes you so much that it is no longer something I have to make myself do, but can’t help doing? Or is it being in those situations (every five minutes all day long), and doing our best to SEE the options and working at CHOOSING the dying to self option… sometimes, even while somewhat despising it, hoping that our actions are our feeble attempts at showing faith, even when we don’t feel it? Or is it both? As our family has grown, and circumstances have changed in ways we didn’t really like or expect, I have really had a hard time continuing to serve at home contentedly… I used to have lots of energy…lots of ambition…lots of get-it-done when it came to the household… And the hard part is, sometimes I feel so rebellious, I just want to say, “I’m tired of caring, I can’t care,I don’t want to care! just leave me alone!!” And trying to prioritize things that ALL seem important… it’s so overwhelming at times (to do well) I just want to quit… and that often brings guilt…which makes you feel worse… And the demands of family life don’t exactly give you an opportunity to spend a week alone with God to hash it all out…

    1. Laura,

      I am sorry you are feeling that way. And you are right; it can be very hard (I wrote a book about it!) to knuckle down. I think too, that you are in one of the hardest seasons (am I right, your children are are very small?)

      BUT…let me encourage you. Next week I’m writing a review of Rachel Jankovic’s new, fabulous book, Fit to Burst. Listen to this excerpt:

      “The feminist agenda was spectacularly effective in persuading women everywhere that this job…is the work of unambitious and boring women. And strangest of all, many women who willingly choose to do the job have believed the bad press. ‘Yep, yep. Job for losers. That’s what I do.’

      Discontent will never change the world. If you want your work to have a lasting impact on the world, define yourself with gratitude. Be thankful over the laundry….for nursing the baby in a carload of hungry children. Be full of gratitude, not only for the cute photo opportunities that will come…but over the accidents and snotty n oses and dirty floors. Give thanks….(she mentions singing hymns to dispel discontent). Gratitude is like that. It transforms. It is such a force that it cannot coexist with selfishness, with discouragement, with discontent. When you are thankful for what God gave you to do, you are fit to do it.”

      I’m learning as a mother that I’m in a battle every day. A battle first, with myself and my selfish nature. A battle with the enemy who uses that nature against me in an effort to destroy the works of my hands.

      But I’m also learning how to fight like a warrior-mother. I’m learning that this job, while it has many wonderful here-in-the-now moments, is much more about the future and that future depends on my faithfulness. I’m learning to literally see the hard jobs–cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes–as a sacrifice of praise to the Father when I offer it to Him in a spirit of gratitude.

      And what I have found is that as I dwell on this incredible privilege of getting to change the world through my home, the hard parts just makes it all the more worthwhile. After all, what good thing isn’t hard?

      But for you, let me encourage you to take a practical look too. And talk to you husband. How can you “have a moment to yourself?” Can you barter with a friend for a few hours a week? Can a relative help out? If you are feeling drowned, it’s OK to take a step away and breathe. In fact, it’s healthy. Can you take the kids to a park and have some quiet time? Can your older ones lead a game outside some each day? I don’t know your circumstance so I’m just throwing things out there, but I believe there has to be some options for you to get a breather here and there. And that is healthy.

      Another thing, technically speaking, there is always more to do in the house. But sometimes you have to make a decision and stop to do something fun with the kids, or to read a book, or even take a nap. Perhaps you are putting higher expectations on yourself than is necessary?

      I’ll pray God helps you see how you can carve out some space to help make your job a delight, even amid its trials.

    2. Hi Laura. Congrats on your pregnancy of baby #5. I’m pregnant with #3 and would love to meet other women who have more children, it’s such an encouragement to know them, to hear a different response. If I get I get one more “You’re hands are going to be full or You’re going to be so busy” I may go crazy. I just wanted to say I just finished reading Three Decades of Fertility and loved it! It was such an encouragement as I understand how you feel at times (I feel bad saying that since I only have a couple but just wanted you to know you’re not alone). That was the first whole book I’ve read through since my last pregnancy and I just devoured it. Thinking of you. Shannon

    3. Dear Laura.
      My heart utterly breaks for you. I am in the same position having 6 children with no support except my wonderful husband. I too think at times that it would be so much easier to go to work. I pray that God will release His mighty peace, comfort and healing upon you and that He would grant you so much strength as in Isaiah 40.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the feminist movement. I have never heard it put so succinctly. I totally see what you mean. I will continue to pray for you today. We are doing the hardest job on earth – but Jesus promises to never leave us nor forsake us through this very challenging time. Many blessings to you xxx

    4. my only point is that blood thinners raise the risk of pregnancy and delivery at what point do the yet to be born have more worth than those already here – who will be there to love care and nurture them if the unthinkable happens. For those who don’t know thinning the blood to stop clotting in the mother and/or the placenta means the risk of the placenta coming away and a stillbirth happening and the risk of clotting or hemorrhaging during birth so much greater – i have gone through these things and i feel that i have to make sure i am around to be a mom – i have an obligation to do whatever is necessary to be here for them and if that means no more kids then that has to be it although i love the idea of more. GOd gave us brains as well as scripture and we should not expect to be cookie cutter versions of each other – so we do need to make decisions in regard to health without other condemning us as spiritually weak. We don’t do that to heart patients and tell them that prayer should be enough same should go for all women’s issues that are always more complicated than lots of us actually admit.

      1. I agree with you completely about having to make decisions sometimes with extreme health conditions. I’ve always said that. This post has nothing to do with that though. It’s a remark against the flippancy at which the culture at large handles the gift of children.

        1. unfortunately some think the decision of everyone with a small family is based on selfish reasons – that lifestyle is more important than blessings. I guess all of us should try not to judge others as we don’t know their journey.

    1. Thank you, Jillian! And to clarify, I’ll be doing the review of Rachel’s book next week–the 17th. It will come with a giveaway too, if I remember correctly.

  2. Dear Kelly,
    Your blog has been such a blessing to me! A few months ago, I responded to a blog explaining the conflict in my heart. I thought that maybe trusting God with my fertility was most God-glorifying path to take. However, I already felt overwhelmed with my 4 sons and did not really want more children. I believe you have some praying women on this blog because the Lord did a miracle in my heart!! I went from not wanting more children, to a joyful willingness to welcome as many as the Lord gives. I really mean it, the Lord has changed my heart! I am in the position on waiting on Him to change my husband’s heart as well. However, I am comforted by the fact that he changed me so dramatically. I have to trust God’s timing…not always easy when the clock is ticking (I am 35) :). The book Three Decades of Fertility was a blessing to me, thank you for recommending. Thank you (and the sisters on this blog) for being willing to speak the truth in love. Look forward to meeting you all in glory someday :). Praise be to God!

    1. Natalie,

      This absolutely gave me chills to read (or is it this big cup of ice I’m munching on? πŸ˜‰ ) Kidding. It truly was a beautiful testimony and I’m so glad you shared it. I love to see miracles that He still does. And I’ll pray for children and your husband’s heart!

      1. Off subject, but why are you chomping on ice, Kelly? The one and only time I’ve ever felt compelled to chomp ice–I would literally go to fast food places and ask for a cup of their tiny little cubes–I was very anemic. Turns out that craving ice is a sign of anemia. Not saying it is in every case…but just consider checking that out if you have any other symptoms (fatigue, cold, feeling faint…)

        1. Marie,

          Yes, I’ve been anemic, on and off, most of my life. But it also is a strong habit too, so hard to tell sometimes πŸ˜‰ I’m taking a lot of vitamins but it’s probably still a little on the low side. Thanks for caring for me <3

  3. Adding my two cents for Laura’s benefit…

    I’m home 24/7 with three kids, two with special needs. We DO have our hands full, but God’s grace is sufficient to get us through what He gives us to do. And most important, Jesus said, “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me.” And although he didn’t mention dirty diapers in the list, I’m pretty sure they count.

    Every single, grubby, hard, thankless task you perform COUNTS in eternity. You are building a mighty inheritance not just for your kids and their kids, but for your own soul.

    Thanks for being such encouragers, all of you!

  4. Thanks all who commented to my rant… I think the hardest thing in today’s culture is the dearth of committed homemakers… Or even those people who see lifes struggles as part of Christ’s plan to make us like Himself… I mean all people have struggles, but if you are someone who doesn’t really believe in God’s sovereignty or divine will, I think the tendency is to try to get out from under those struggles by whatever means possible… or to sarcastically complain on FB… or whatever… rather than knowing other women who are also breathing out prayers trying to put one foot in front of the other, deal with all the demands etc… it seems like the world is filled with women who simply can’t stand to be home and so leave it, OR wallow in misery over it and can’t wait to leave it… or older women who had done it, but are past it and are so full of things now they don’t have time to encourage younger women in their roles… You all know how it is… it’s easy to look around and say, “Is anyone else learning these lessons too? or am I the only one?” So… once again, thank you for those words of encouragement… I think it’s time I sent you the check, kelly, and bought your motherhood book πŸ™‚ . Even though I don’t really know you all, have never met you face to face, it helps to know that there ARE women out there who are learning these lessons too… And who have been there… I’ll just throw this out there… we are in south central PA area, if any of you happen to be nearby!!

    1. Oh, I wished I lived near some other moms with similar thoughts and challenges and blessings. I actually bet I do and just haven’t met them yet. I pray daily for “real life” friends but in the meantime, am thankful for the internet. Anyway, I just wanted to add that I liked the Three Decades book because it was honest. I expected the women to all have known from the beginning they were going to have a bazillion kids and life is easy and great. Um, no… LOL. The ladies in that book seemed very honest and I appreciated it so much. God bless

  5. I think it’s a little bit unfair to only have explained the pill and surgery. Those ways sound awful to me too. What about natural forms of family planning? And a little note on God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty means that he is…well…sovereign. In all things. All of the time. He is in complete control no matter the choices we make. One thing if its sin (which God is still sovereign in), but when it is not sin and not against God’s word, we can rest in our {what we think to be good choices}-knowing how imperfect the conclusion may be on either end of the subject, and rest and trust that God is sovereign in all things. What he has purposed to happen WILL happen. There are biblical reasons a person might decide to delay/stop having children. Just like you have taken biblical principles and applied them to your line of thinking on this subject, other people have taken biblical principles (along with the fact that God doesn’t say anything against family planning) and applied them to their decision making for spacing children or deciding to stop.
    And my 3 1/2 year old daughter thinks its terrible that she is going to die someday. I’m sure she would think it is a bad thing that she won’t be able to bring anything with her to Heaven (lord willing, he saves her) because she doesn’t understand those things so much yet. It’s a different story when they are older… They can understand these things a little easier, just like they may understand why a Christian family may decide to space children or stop having them easier when they are older.
    Why is this the one area of choice christians struggle with so much? We make choices everyday about everything. God has created is to make choices. Why is this an area where people are afraid they are sinning or usurping Gods sovereignty if they make a choice in the matter of children?

    1. Dawn,

      I am not completely against natural forms of spacing and delaying children. I’ve written that many, many times, in other posts here (I just don’t feel like I always need to clarify).

      You asked why this area of choice is where Christians struggle. I don’t think most Christians struggle. I think most choose to stop having babies according to a cultural norm that says “2 or 3 is enough”, with little thought beyond that. I know because I’ve had many conversations that tell me that. I think most don’t even have a full understanding of the purpose of children in our lives, that God has a much bigger plan that just the cuteness and fun that they are.

      We do make choices about a lot of things. But they require us to. Buying a house, getting a job, going to school, getting married–all those thing require action from us. Having children is the one thing that does not. God has supernaturally worked it all out.

      We can’t choose children. We can only choose to stop it. The natural “choice” is written in our bodies. And God never gave us instruction to work against His creation in that way. He simply commanded, “be fruitful and multiply” and that’s what happens naturally, in most cases.

      When you say we can try to prevent children but God will override it if it is His will, that doesn’t make sense to me. Why would we try to prevent children if we trust in His sovereignty? The sensible thing would be to leave it up to Him and let Him choose NOT to give us children if it’s His will. That would be really trusting His sovereignty. And though He can override our decisions, He usually doesn’t. I can charge up credit cards and God could override my choice and send me money to get me out of debt. But I’m not holding my breath. Know what I mean?

  6. Thank you, I appreciate your reply and where you are coming from. I do agree that most families don’t put too much thought into it, I, however, have put an immense amount of thought, prayer, and searching of Gods word into it. I have sought counsel from godly people on both sides of the issue. I think I also got to the point where I have given it too much emphasis and importance than maybe what God meant it to be. I believe it had turned into an idol in my life. I think sometimes we may have the right heart motivation about something in the beginning, but then it can turn into having too much focus on the thing we are doing to please God that we forget the gospel and leave Jesus behind. I think that’s what I did anyway…
    I love children. I love the children God has given me, and we hope to have many. We have a 3 1/2 yr old, 14 month old and one due in January. Praise God for His blessing in our lives! Not just in this area, but many…and we don’t deserve it. We are very serious about raising them for the glory of God-strong men and women that can lift up this broken world. That is our job and by Gods grace he will enable us to do it well.
    I think though, that because we live in a fallen world we can’t have the fullest of everything that God created for good. It is good to have children….good to have many, but there are instances where I believe it may be wise to postpone or stop. Every child I already have is a blessing…I don’t want to forget each individual one because I’m so busy making new ones. I know God will give me the grace I need…but I keep feeling like maybe I’m thinking more into it than God intended us too…or maybe just right, I don’t know πŸ™‚ God has never said anything against non abortive contraception, when interestingly enough, it has been around since ancient times. I did research on birth control methods that were used way before our time (many abortive and wrong) but others that were just natural-for example a half of a lemon with the fruit taken out was used as a cervical cap, and the lemon also worked as a natural spermicide. If it had been around for so long, certainly in “Bible” days, why did God not think it important enough to say anything about? He could have easily told us to have as many as possible and not to meddle in it…but He didn’t. That’s what makes me believe this just isn’t a huge issue in His eyes. The Bible is very clear on His view if children, and we are to love and respect them the way God does. Another thing I have pondered on is when God said “be fruitful and multiply”, again, never giving instructions on how exactly he wants that played out he also said: “fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over it…” “…over every living thing.” I have just wondered if God created us on purpose to be able to have dominion over this area…he created most women with very regular cycles and created women to be able to know their bodies. Maybe this is an area where it is perfectly ok in God’s eyes to “rule” over and steward for His glory. Maybe God expects that…or just doesn’t care! (Hence, not mentioning it…) Maybe I have put too much thought into it and I’m missing the point of life. EVERY good gift is from The Lord. I need to do EVERYTHING I do for the glory of God. It may be good and great to just let babies happen naturally, regularly, without stopping it…it may be equally good to decide to wait or stop. It’s not like I would stop being a mother and working in that area as unto the Lord, I would still be raising them for the rest of their time at home-and continue on being their mother even when they are not in our home. That is a job that will never be completely done. I wouldn’t be rejecting the blessing of children. I would be counting the ones I have as equally of a blessing as it would be to have 10 more. The reasons we ever have to wait or stop would be between my husband, me, and The Lord…and it would be decided very seriously and carefully. Maybe because these are children-one of the greatest blessings God gives, besides Jesus Christ, maybe because of this…it is a decision to make very carefully-if and when to bring more in.
    I also think that too much emphasis is put on biological children. I was adopted at 3 1/2 from a mother who was drug addicted and in prison. I was in foster care-about 5 different families from a small baby until I was adopted. This is another result of a sinful, fallen, and broken world. Yes, it is great to have children, and keep them coming naturally if God allows. What a blessing! But what about the many, many, many children that already exist that have no families, and will never be adopted. The children that will age out of foster care and become homeless and drug addicted (as studies show may likely happen)? All children are a blessing. God didn’t design for children to be born into broken families, or born into no family at all. That wasn’t His plan. But because of sin, we are left with a massive number of children that are in situations such as these. Maybe it would be good to sacrifice one good thing (bearing many children) for another great thing that God loves and advocates through His son. Adoption. Those children are just as precious to Him as our own biological one. I am sure His heart breaks for every one of them and longs to see them in Christ exalting families that will love them as their own. Maybe it can be selfish to continue to procreate when there are so many children HERE. NOW. God made those children too. He deliberately placed them where they are for His ultimate glory.
    The world is so different from what He originally designed it to be. It might make us have to change our game plan sometimes from something good to another, different good thing. What does God say is “true” religion? To look after orphans and widows in their distress…
    Just some thoughts…respectfully πŸ™‚

    1. Dawn,

      I so appreciate your heart. I certainly agree you are NOT among the average person who just goes along with the cultural norm (to which the post was mostly written, by the way). And I have had many of the same thoughts/tug-of-war in my mind too. I have wanted to be clear about the issue, especially since I write and feel I am held accountable for the things I say.

      And to restate, I do NOT hold the position that it is a sin to ever prevent children. I do think a couple, carefully and prayerfully may come to a decision to space children for different reasons. I DO think those are murky waters, though. We couldn’t afford children at all when we first came to decided to let God be sovereign in this area. I mean AT ALL. But we walked ahead, He provided and our lives are different because of it. In a good way, I think.

      And just to throw out a few thoughts related to some things you said…

      “I think I also got to the point where I have given it too much emphasis and importance than maybe what God meant it to be. ”

      What if that’s the part God has taken care of…so we don’t have to over think it. See he made it so that a woman can only conceive one day a month. That’s a natural limitation. He also made it to stop. He puts it into motion, He controls it by limitations, then He closes the womb. Pretty simple πŸ˜‰

      Also, there are debates about what it means exactly, but God did show grave displeasure when Onan purposely prevented conception by natural means. In my opinion, God did speak to it.

      And, a thought about caring for the orphans. Our church (and many of our friends) is very adoption-minded. Out of 23 families, 6 have adopted multiple children and all of us have been a tangible part of that process in one form or another. These families also have their own biological children and don’t limit them. I’m just mentioning that because it doesn’t have to be either or. These aren’t wealthy families at all and depend on the Body of Christ to help care for them.

      Just a few thoughts to offer to the conversation πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your sincere input.

  7. Thanks again πŸ™‚
    Just about Onan though…it’s obvious when reading through that story that he was killed for treating his wife as a-ahem, sorry…but a whore. The whole reason why he was supposed to marry her was to provide children for his brother. Instead he marries her, has sex with her, and spills his seed so she won’t get pregnant-when the whole purpose was to give his brother children through her. He used her for his own pleasure, he was selfish, and God hated what he did.

    And what about John 1:13-15 that says “13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” He is talking about salvation and being born of God, and the difference of natural born children and being born of God when he saves us. Notice he says as he gives the example of the difference “…not of human decision or a husbands will…” distinguishing the difference of when we have our own children and when God makes us his children. To me that just shows that it was probably a very normal thing to choose to have children or not to have children.

    And just because God created us to naturally work this way-we ovulate, have sex, the sperm implants into the egg-does that mean that’s the best route to take? Is the natural way necessarily the best way? Maybe God made us and blessed us to work this way, but maybe God doesn’t expect us to take every one possible just because he has made our bodies to be able to do it that way.

    I live an 18 hour drive away from the rest of my family. My brother was going to be getting married soon and I didn’t want to get pregnant until a certain point so I could make it to his wedding. I wasn’t stopping it from happening but I prayed that God would please wait until a certain point so I could be at his wedding. He is my only brother, and happens to be my only biological relative in our family. My kids were in the wedding too, on top of it. I honestly felt silly praying that and continuing to have sex with my husband without doing anything on my end-not because I didn’t trust God, but because God has given us the knowledge and wisdom as to how our bodies work to know most likely when and if we can get pregnant at the time. I had that knowledge, but still just asked God to prevent it from happening while I went ahead and did exactly what could make me pregnant. I felt like I was almost putting up a “road block” for God in a sense…saying “God, I want your will for my life, I’m really not ready right now for another one, please wait until this time frame, and in the mean time I’m going to go on doing what I know could get me pregnant.” I struggled with this wondering if I was being foolish when God has given us insight in this area. Like I was saying “here God, I’m not ready yet, the timing doesn’t seem wise (I also had a baby about 6 months old at the time) please don’t let it happen, but don’t mind that I’m doing nothing to prevent it knowing full well you created my body to work like this, and just go outside your design anyway and don’t let it happen just yet…” You know? I struggled with that way too.

    I do think we have limitations too. We discern what they are in every other area of life, and try to make wise choices. I think it is wise to do that in this area too. I won’t be able to invest the time into my kids the same or as effectively the more I have. I want to enjoy my family too. I don’t think that’s wrong…

    Anyway….thanks for continuing the conversation even if it has gotten away from your original post!

    1. Good thoughts. I’m still pondering the verse in John. Interesting to think about.

      Back to Onan, the common defense is that Onan was killed because he refused to carry out his Levite promise, that is, to marry and have children so he could continue his brother’s name. Onan, was guilty of this by preventing conception.

      But there is already a punishment for that: Deuteronomy 25:5-10 So I’m prone to lean more to the idea that God hated the act of sex being willfully separated from the possibility of conception.

      I’m thankful to see someone thoughtful and searching in this area. I wish more Christians would take it as seriously and I wish more churches would teach it as a serious matter as well.

      From where I stand, most comments end up being something like, “What?! You’re crazy!” I’ve been told that by 2 different pastors and some others as well. That’s the mentality I try to combat writing about the issue. I’m certainly not talking to people like you when I mention the “flippant avoidance” of having children.

  8. The verses you point out in Deuteronomy aren’t punishments for refusing to give his brother children…that’s what one was to do if he chose not to marry her to fulfill that duty. He wasn’t marrying her in that case and that’s what they were supposed to do if he refused to marry her. Onan did marry her for the purpose to fulfill giving his brother children-then pulled out so he didn’t have to give her any. He wanted to have sex with her but not do what he had promised to do when he married her. You see? He didn’t have to marry her…he could have gone through that whole Old Testament ritual thing, but he didn’t. What he did was terrible-evil in Gods eyes. So he killed him.

    Also, any time we have sex with our husbands when we aren’t ovulating, we are willfully separating it from the possibility of conception…

    Thank you so much for your kind input during our conversation, I appreciate it! πŸ™‚ I do love your blog and you have showed me some good points along the way that I may never have considered before. Even if we aren’t in complete agreement, I appreciate you!

  9. As I wrote previously, I desire to welcome as many little ones as the Lord gives us. However, I heard a John MacArthur sermon on abortion recently that put a new question in my mind. He mentioned how the second that conception takes place, God breaths an eternal soul into the person. I already believed that the fetus will live for eternity, whether or not he/she is ever born. But it made me consider…what happens before conception?? Is the egg coming together with the sperm actually a divine act of God… or is it just a natural biological process he put into law, and once it happens…then he steps in? I had my first child as a 17 year old rebel…did he cause or allow this? I have always believed he caused it, especially since this unplanned pregnancy is actually what brought me to the point of desperation in which I was born again!

    1. Natalie,

      Those are interesting questions to ponder, and I have many times. One thing that always struck me from Scripture was when in Hebrews, Levi is referred to as “still being in the loins of Abraham”, which enforces our belief that God knew us from the foundations. I had an unplanned pregnancy too, and have asked the same questions. I have no doubt God is the author of life, in every situation.

  10. Hi Kelly,

    Just found your blog and enjoy reading all this encouraging blog post. I have three small children. I feel like I really struggle sometimes with disciplining my kids and that I easily stress out. I think sometimes that I am not able to handle anymore children, and that I better focus on quality instead of quantity. My husband lets me know that he loves to have more kids. But I feel that I stand many times alone in the disciplining and spiritual training of our kids and that my husband need to work more on being our spiritual head of the family. I don’t know or it would be reason enough to say, I dont want more kids because I get stressed out and my husband is not helping me out. Any helpful thoughts for me?

    1. Hi Boukje,

      I’m not Kelly, but I thought I’d weigh in on your comment, anyway, hoping to be helpful, but not making any promises. πŸ˜‰

      You have three small children. I’m not sure of their ages, but a few suggestions come to mind.

      First, in this busy season when you might have little to no help, you might consider deciding what is absolutely necessary and doing only those things. Lay aside the “I know I don’t *have* to do this, but I really feel like I should” things; attend to nothing but the truly-necessary-to-life matters.

      If you feel you just can’t pare down that much, then lower your standards on how you address the “not absolutely necessary” things. For example, does every room in the house need to be cleaned every week? How about let one or two room(s) be your “baby” for the week, keeping on top of only that area/those areas without stressing over the rest of the house?

      Another thought: you may have more help than you realize, in the form of your oldest child/ren. You’re afraid you may not be able to handle any more children because you’re stressing out over your lack of help. Even with children close together, often times by the time a fourth or later child is born, the oldest is at least four or five years old. Four- or five-year-olds are often capable of much more than we give them credit for. I’ve often heard that the most challenging time in parenting is when there are three children who are all very young, with no older children to help. For many people who go on to have a fourth child (and more), things get EASIER because the olders start being a help, rather than being completely dependent on the care of others.

      I’ll be blunt: it’s not wise to make a decision that has far-reaching ramifications (deciding to have no more children, in this case) because of present difficulties that likely are only temporary. Do you not believe that God can be trusted to give or withhold children as He sees fit, working His perfect will for us at each stage of our lives?

      Regarding this statement of yours, Boukje: “I think sometimes that I am not able to handle anymore children, and that I better focus on quality instead of quantity.”

      “Quality time” (and the implied lack of it for children who have lots of siblings) is a lie our culture feeds us. That does not come from the Bible. Children are referred to as a blessing, a heritage of the Lord. Read Psalm 127:3-5 and other related verses. No where does the Bible say or imply that more children equals less blessing, or a lower quality of life for them.

      The last thing I want to point out that I think would ease some of your stress is to let go of your expectations for your husband. You are adding stress to your life when you spend time wishing he would be different or better (as your family’s spiritual head, as a man willing to help you out in the ways you desire, etc.). Unfulfilled wishes lead to disappointment.

      Some of the most stressful times in my marriage (and I am still learning this after 27 years) have been when I’ve allowed expectations and disappointments to dominate my thinking toward my husband, instead of being patient with the Holy Spirit’s leading in his life. Taking on what is God’s job just adds unnecessary burden to a woman’s life. Let God change your man. Release that burden into His hands; it is where it belongs.

      On a final, related note, I have to admit that, reading your post and your lament that, in your opinion, your husband “need[s] to work more on being [y]our spiritual head of the family”, the thought occurred to me that maybe he IS being your spiritual head, and you are not recognizing it.

      You said, “My husband lets me know that he loves to have more kids.” Where did that idea come from? I would submit that that blessed thought is from the Lord Himself. The Spirit is leading him to see the blessing of children, I believe, and your husband is, in turn, leading you (which is what a spiritual head does) by his mentioning his love for children to you.

      But you are, in effect, rejecting his spiritual leadership in favor of hanging on to your own opinions and fears concerning more children. What good does it do to wish to have a husband take the spiritual lead when a wife lets her own ideas get in the way of following her spiritual head?

      Consider your role as a wife (Ephesians 5 comes to mind). Show him honor and respect. Pray for him. Pray for yourself, also, that fears, reservations, hesitations, whatever you want to call it, do not cloud your ability to see children — all the children the Lord would desire to give you and your husband — as the enormous blessings they are.

      I will pray for you too, Boukje. God is faithful, and brings all sorts of blessings out of situations that may appear to be daunting. He makes all things beautiful in their time.

      1. Hi 6 arrows πŸ™‚

        Thank you for taking the time to write me back. You certainly nailed it. I realize now that you are right that I should recognize God’s leading in the desire of my husband for more children. But then if I should not want to change my husband but leave that to God, I feel that at least I need to change more, and become a better mother who moves more in the fruit of the Spirit. My kids are 1, 3 en 5 years. Would you advise also non-Christians to have many children? With quality I meant, children who love God with their whole heart. If I am stressed and sinfully handle them then it wont lead them to God. So I am worried about our capability as christian parents.
        I feel my heart is beginning to see a 4th child as an option. Still one more question. Our three kids are girls. Right from child no.1 my husband would dream about having a boy. I totally dislike it for him to favor any gender. I tell him he should want a girl as much as a boy, in case of deciding for another child. (By the way, he lovesssss our girls). In the bible we read a lot about people being blessed with s son, wanting a son. And it was regarded in the culture of Israel at that time, important to have a son. Here in India were we live it is even among Christians regarded special to have a son, who can continue the family and support his parents. But I don’t feel nice about favoring a boy above a girl. What do you think about it?

        1. Hello again, Boukje πŸ™‚

          I was so encouraged to read how you feel your heart is beginning to open to the possibility of receiving another child! That is a real blessing to hear!

          I want you to know that I completely understand when you say, “I feel that at least I need to change more, and become a better mother who moves more in the fruit of the Spirit.” I believe all Christian mothers want that. The Holy Spirit leads us to desire those things…it is a sign of being in Christ that we want to grow in Christ-likeness and exhibit more fruits of the Spirit.

          The enemy, satan, wants to divert our attention from who we are in Christ and keep our minds on our weaknesses and failures, like when we sin in the way we handle our children. I’m sure I’m not telling you what you don’t already know, but please be assured that ALL parents, Christian or not, will have sinned against their children before they are grown!

          Our sinfulness, however, doesn’t mean that we can’t be capable Christian parents. God blesses couples with children as He chooses, knowing full well that we parents are going to make mistakes! God equips us for the tasks to which He calls us. Our sinful humanness doesn’t cancel out His faithfulness as we seek to raise children who love God with all their hearts.

          The other thing I wanted to say before I address your questions, Boukje, regards this statement: “If I am stressed and sinfully handle them then it wont lead them to God.” My thinking on this is that when we sin against our children, we have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. Our children learn more about the virtue of humility when they see their parents humble themselves, apologizing and asking forgiveness. They also gain a greater depth of understanding, I think, of the forgiveness we have in Christ. Rather than thinking our at-times sinful handling of our children will fail to lead them to God, it can actually result in some very teachable moments that reveal more fully Christ’s attributes (like His humility and His forgiveness, as I mentioned; though obviously He is not sinful, like we are). The promise we have in Romans 8:28, also, that all things work for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose, is a comforting thought that is certainly applicable when we’re distressed over our mistakes and sins against our children. God works it for good, even when it looks like we’ve made a huge mess of things πŸ˜‰

          Okay, now for your questions…sorry I’m so long-winded before getting to them πŸ˜‰

          First: “Would you advise also non-Christians to have many children?” What a fascinating question! I had not thought about anything like that very much, but I love pondering new things like that πŸ™‚ I won’t claim to have arrived at a solid answer after only a few hours of chewing on your question, but this is some of what came to mind.

          My short answer to your question is “Yes.” But why?

          Like anything else, we need to first look to the Holy Scriptures for what it has to say on the subject. Children are called a blessing. Do we have any indication that God believes some children are not blessings? Not that I’m aware of.

          Given that God is the author of life, and that He alone causes conception, I believe that His giving children to non-Christians is still a blessing. God wants to draw people to Himself, to populate heaven for eternity, and the more the better! He’s not limiting heaven to only a certain number of people, as some mistakenly believe. He wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). And some who are born to non-Christians (Muslims, for example) do convert and become true believers in Christ.

          Therefore, I think speaking of the blessing of children to unbelievers, as well as praying for and witnessing to them and the children the Lord gives them, is probably a good thing to do.

          As far as your second question, Boukje, regarding my opinion on favoring boys above girls…well, I’ll be honest and say I’m a little uncomfortable answering that πŸ˜‰ Not because I don’t agree with you, but because I DO agree with you!

          I think you are right that boys should not be favored above girls (the opposite is true, too), but that they often are in some cultures. I have two adopted nieces from India, and although one of them has a biological brother who was adopted by another family here in the U.S., the orphanages in India, as you probably know, have virtually all girls; few boys. (At least that was true when my nieces were adopted.)

          But anyway, my concern is in stating my opinion when it conflicts with your husband’s. I don’t want to stand in the way and make it harder for you to be patient as the Holy Spirit works in your husband’s heart. I know for myself that when my husband and I don’t see eye to eye on a matter, I sometimes tend to listen more to people who agree with me than I pray for my husband and try to wait patiently for the Holy Spirit to work in him. Not that you are like me, but it can sometimes be a temptation to be disappointed with our husbands the more we hear about other people who agree with us, biblically correct though we might be on the issue. It can turn into an “us” against “you”, if you know what I mean, which isn’t good in a marriage. It encourages unhelpful comparisons.

          I want to tell you, though, Boukje, in wrapping this up, that I found it so very encouraging to hear of how much your husband loves your girls! I really enjoyed reading your whole reply, and I’m sorry that my second reply is so terribly long! Your “voice” reminds me of my older niece who was adopted from India. She has two young children of her own now, and I could “hear” her voice as I read your comment today, if that makes sense πŸ˜‰

          So nice to have this chat with you from halfway around the world πŸ™‚ God’s blessings to you and your husband and children.

  11. Thanks for your wisdom. I asked my husband forgiveness for being stubborn on not wanting more children, and told him i am willing now to receive more blessings. He was so happy that he cried, what he never does! Still i have my own questions to God of how and when.. But in its time I think God will clear that up also. Thanks again, God bless you too.

    1. Boukje,

      I was SO blessed reading your comment just now. I praise God for the work He is doing in you and your husband! You are right — God will be faithful as He reveals His path for you. The hows and whens are all in His capable, loving hands, and His Spirit will continue to guide you as you walk with the Lord.

      Thank you so much for your update. Continuing in prayer for you and your family. God bless you all. {{{Hugs}}}

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