Generation Cedar

It’s time to revisit this topic…it is such a deep affliction to me when I see the world’s attitude toward children. And not just children, but toward our smug ability to “control” them. (The very word “control” reminding me of using pesticides or something.)

And I think this is why I’m so black and white about birth control. I really don’t mean to be. I really try to stick to the positive side of the issue…and only talk about the blessing of children through God’s eyes.

I know all the side roads…”what about a mother’s health?” and “I have this friend that had as many children as God gave her, and she died with the last one and left her husband with 17 to raise”…and the other 1 in a million such stories. But those stories don’t justify the much worse dilemma: our culture’s hatred of children.

Here’s the crux: when someone calls me in tears expecting her third child, and I ask, “why are you crying” and she tells me of the mistreatment from friends and coworkers and how “out of control” it all feels, and how her world seems upside down, what am I left to conclude about the supposed “neutral” issue of birth control?

I know not every situation is as extreme. But think with me honestly…if birth control is neutral, just an option, why are most women made to feel like they’ve grown two heads if they have more than 2 children? Or if they somehow were so “irresponsible” to let one slip by? WHY???

How can we embrace the right, and the necessity, and the “privilege” of preventing children on one hand, but still be completely delighted for those who would accept more than 2 children from God on the other? Or be thrilled to learn we are expecting, even though we were trying to prevent it? The two seem diametrically opposed.

I know a few people who are not there. I have friends who have personally chosen to stop having children, who, (at least to my face 😉 are so excited for us when we announce we’re expecting. I’m so grateful for those friends.

But that isn’t the reception I’m running into in most places, INCLUDING the church. And it’s not the stories I’m hearing from others.

I just want to stand on the roof and say:

WE DON’T MAKE BABIES!!! WE CAN ONLY PREVENT LIFE. IT IS GOD WHO CREATES LIFE. GOD SAW FIT THAT A WOMAN SHOULD GENERALLY HAVE SEVERAL CHILDREN IN HER LIFETIME. GOD DECIDED THAT SOMEWHERE AROUND THE AGE OF 45 WAS A GOOD TIME TO STOP.”

And here’s where we are…we are SO arrogant that because we CAN prevent children, that because we think we are in complete control of our lives, no one gives God even a smidgen of glory when He overrides our decision and blesses us anyway! We stomp and fuss and say “it’s not fair” about the greatest gift a human can receive.

How did we get here?

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28 Responses

  1. I visit your blog often and this was the perfect post for me. I’m 20 years old and just found out I’m expecting my 2nd child. My daughter is only 8 months old. I am breastfeeding so this was completely unexpected, but I’m happy about it. I loved your comment about we don’t make babies, God does. I dropped out of college when I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. I wanted to be a SAHM. You would be suprised of the “You shouldn’t have quit school.” remarks I got from CHRISTIANS! People are already telling me after this one is born I need to get on birth control. I’m so thankful you are supporting people who want to bear children.

  2. Kelly,
    Is it wrong of me to think it humorous when one who can be so smug as to believe they can actually prevent life, find out they have conceived?
    It is odd that only in recognizing that “accidental” birth do Christians say, “God is in control,” but not while they’re on the pill.

    Right on, sister. 🙂

  3. Wow. I loved this post. We are expecting our fourth baby next month and God has changed our hearts so much in the last year in regards to children. I’m so thankful; not only that God and his words do not change, but that he changes our hearts bit by bit to turn toward him. I so appreciate your candor. Oh, and I loved your post about cedar trees and their correlation to Psalm 92. I printed it out and read it to my husband and we had a nice discussion about this parenting journey that is sometimes hard and makes us short sighted. Thank you, again!

  4. This is so true. I only have three but I sometimes get those looks…

    I think we MUST change our thinking in this area. On another note: I have noticed that the more I think of my children as a blessing… it just changes everything. AND even the way I TREAT THEM MYSELF. And making sure they know this too… “you are my little treasures from Heaven”. “You are my blessings”.

    Keep posting this stuff! You are making a difference!

  5. Stand on that rooftop woman! I’ll stand with you while you scream to God’s glory and maybe I’ll shield you from a few rocks, too. ;0)

  6. I love this blog. Love, love, love. I am 33 with three children. 10 years ago, stupidly, my husband and I chose to get a vasectomy because I was 23 with three babies and I panicked. Now, my children are 12, 11, and 10, and I ache for more children. And unless we can come up with the money for a reversal, it won’t happen. I wonder how many arrows I prevented in my own stupidity.
    Ladies, have your babies. Yes, you’ll be tired, and your house will probably be a mess, and you will have stretch marks, but what is that in comparison to having children for the glory of God?

  7. I find that when I’m w/ my (christian) friends and they are joking about how they HOPE they DON’T have anymore children….I chide in. Not because I feel the same way that they do, but because they all feel that way….it’s just the “normal” way to feel after you have had two and ESPECIALLY three! I have three now and would love to have more, but sadly would be embarassed to tell others.
    this post has encouraged me to proudly express my desire for more children and not be ashamed! thank you 🙂

  8. Sarah,

    We did the same thing. My husband had the reversal last year and we are praying for more!! We went in and talked with the doctor and he made an arrangement with us – it did not cost as much as people had told us. We were told by friends it would be 5,000-10,000 dollars, but, I think it cost around 3000.00and that included the outpatient hospital part. Sometimes, the doctor will work with you and let you pay a little up front and pay the balance over a few months. Anyways, I will pray that this door will be opened for you. God honors when we seek His will. Blessings!!!

  9. Okay, I’m sobbing. This is what I’ve prayed to hear, needed to hear all week long. I’ve been so mentally opressed lately. I’m 12+ weeks and still in the throes of morning sickness. I will have 3 under the age of three come Jan ’09 and everyone thinks we are crazy. I’ve esspecially struggled with thinking that maybe God doesn’t care. Maybe I’m doing this to myself! Maybe spacing them out doesn’t hurt anything . . .

    I forget so many of the factors that have led us here. My excitement over the close spacing of these children begins to dim. I forget how wonderful it is to hold babies in my arms when my fertility is shaky – I know with certainly that I very, very sporadically ovulate. I *know* God has given me these children in spite of my body, despite how amazingly “fertile” it makes us look to have 3 so close together…

    I needed to hear this so badly.

    Thank you.

    Ashley
    http://www.homesteadblogger.com/Jonash2004

  10. I don’t agree, though you make good points. I am, at this time, on birth control. If I were to become pregnant, I would be so scared and excited (what new mother does not share these feelings); I know God is in control of this area of my life, but I did not choose birth control out of arrogance, rather, doctors do not give many options. You want to stand on your roof top and shout? Maybe you should educate on healthier family planning. I do want children, but before that, I wanted to know my husband. As far as you thinking this is terrible, fine. I believe that the Holy Spirit convicts. Right now I am convicted of the hormones controlling my body, not the idea of family planning and I find it very interesting that you get tired of people looking down on your beautiful family, I get tired of people on their soap boxes putting down family planning. Yes, even on birth control, God can control the plan! How ignorant it is to think that your opinion and convictions need to be everyone’s opinions and convictions.

  11. Anon,

    I’ll try not to respond with the same “bite” with which you addressed me..

    However, in addition to the points I’ve made here, I also know that birth control pills (and the shot, etc.) sometimes cause abortions.

    We (Christians) shake our fists all day long at the abortion industry, and do not even take the time to find out we’re killing our own children. Do you think our “ignorance” will be overlooked? Is that something I need to be more gentle about?

    One can argue whether this stance is an opinion or not. I would be glad to succumb to “opinion status” if, like I posted, the two principles could abide each other. (That of “controlling children is OK, and accepting all the children God desires to give us is OK.)

    I’m trying to point out that the two positions are often opposed to one another. And that being the case, can they both then be right?

    We’re so accustomed that the practice of birth control is OK, that we get angry if someone suggests it just may not be. Have you given it deep, prayerful thought?

    What is God’s heart on the issue? If “getting to know my husband” was something that excludes children, why didn’t God build that into our marriage practice? Or give us instruction/permission to cut off the seed for a time? (“And why did he make them one flesh? Because he desires godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15

    We have to be willing to see what Scripture says on the issue and not just clench our fists over what is most convenient for us. (I used to do this too, by the way 😉

  12. Look, I do know that birth control (pills, shot, hormones of this nature) IS NOT GOOD and am researching healthier options. I, however, have no issues with family planning. I do find it interesting that you make your convictions sound as if they are mine too. ie. I am convicted not to drink alcohol but I would not place that conviction on any one else, that is something that the Holy Spirit revealed to me, maybe not you.

  13. Luckily, my salvation does not lie on if I agree with you or not, but in Jesus Christ.
    Please, feel free to pray that the H.S. convicts me of you same things.

  14. I LOVE your posts! They are so well timed, I would think you’ve wrote them just for me=)! My son and daughter are 11 months apart, we got “haven’t you heard of birth control” and “don’t you know what makes babies”. So I loved the comment that God makes babies. What a wonderful, true statement. When I got pregnant with our third, my best friend’s husband actually made the comment “since you’re having so many, there’s a good chance that something’s gonna go wrong.” Boy, it hurt terribly. I’m always the odd one out of all our friends, they all have 1 or 2(and “couldn’t handle another”) and here I am praying for more. Thank you! Thank you!

  15. Anon,

    I think I understand your anger, although I assure you I’m not on this end beating you over the head with furrowed brow.

    The passion of my heart is to speak about things that often never even occur to us, because we’ve been so indoctrinated to think otherwise.

    It is true, we must be convicted by the Holy Spirit on certain topics not addressed specifially in Scripture. (Alcohol is actually addressed plainly in the Bible, though I completely respect someone’s conviction to abstain from it.) Some are left open from Scripture, and some not so open.

    Birth control is one of those tricky issues that people even disagree on as to weather the Bible forbids it or not. I’m challenging you to think about whether the Bible has more to say about it than we like to believe.

    There’s a fine line; it’s REALLY convenient to chalk everything up to “I haven’t been convicted by the Spirit”. I’m NOT saying this is strictly one of those areas, I’m just provoking your thoughts.

    I’m not hear to tell you you’re not a Christian if you practice family planning.

    However, on an issue of abortifacient practices, I will say unashamedly that I believe if a person willingly does something they know can cause the death of another person, that is murder and that isn’t left to any conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    Do you think that God can be pleased if we alter what He created to the point of destroying life simply because we “don’t have a better method?”

    That in itself causes me to REALLY consider…”Maybe He didn’t mean for us to prevent life at all!”

  16. I’ve often heard young married couples, like anon., postpone childbearing because they would like to get to know their spouse better. I didn’t exactly have that in my marriage, (with 1 child for the first 5 years of marriage (no b/c by the way -God is to sovereign over the womb- and then 4 children in the last 5 years)

    What I find interesting in this argument is how incredibly close and bonded I feel to my husband each time we have another baby. Our marriage has vastly improved over the last five years! The challenges that raising children presents and the memories that they provide all contribute to the strengthening of a marriage.

    On another note, my mom likes to make the point that there are women who spend most of their childbearing years on b/c to prevent God creating children, when He never intended to give them any anyway.

  17. Quinn,

    I was about to do a separate post on this very issue…what a lie we’ve been sold!

    To postpone children in the name of “getting to know each other” is to say that children are a hindrance to marital intimacy. How bizarre!

    Children are the RESULT of marital intimacy..again, GOD’S idea, not ours!

  18. Kelly, I agree with you that there is an inherent disdain for children in our culture. And I also agree that the degree to which we go to avoid children is evidence of that fact.

    To Sarah R, I remember being 23 with 3 babies under the age of 18 months (we had twins), and i was overwhelmed and panicked. thankfully, we didn’t do anything permanent but it was more than a decade before I considered having babies again. I now have 2 under 2.

    The thing is, the last 4 of our 6 children I delivered by caesarean after difficult pregnancies. My husband doesn’t like the idea of me having surgical delivery after surgical delivery. So while we’re not sure if we will have anymore natural children (it’s not ruled out), we talk extensively about adoption. We belive that adoption is close to the heart of God. After all, he adopted us! So while I know you grieve that you will not have more natural children, realize that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have any more children. Just a thought.

  19. As far as the argument of wanting to wait so you can get to know your spouse better: we had a honeymoon baby, and we grew closer through the pregnancy experience. And through the whole newborn experience. I think we actually bonded a lot through that time and spent a lot more time together than we might have done if there had been no child.
    What it boils down to is this: is God the Lord, the boss of my life, or not? Can I really, truly trust Him with every area of my life, or are there some things that I know more about than He does?
    We are expecting our fourth and I am a little nervous about people making comments to us, but I’m prepared now to stand up for this blessing that God has chosen to give us at this time.

  20. I love all you ladies.
    To Terry, yes, we’ve talked about adopting and fostering. I’m game, hubby is not. Maybe the Lord will soften his heart someday. Maybe not. He is up for the reversal (which I found shocking, considering what it entails.) We found a great doctor in Tampa area since we live in Florida. It’s not horribly expensive, but I generally don’t have 4 grand laying around the house.
    My husband is trying to sell his semi truck (he’s a driver) and once he does, he says we’ll go ahead and pay for the reversal, and maybe have enough leftover for a 3 day vacation in Tampa. Like Busch Gardens or the aquarium or something. I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years and have never made it over to that area, so that would be fun.

    I understand the hostility from others as well. When I had my third, even members of my own church questioned my fertility. My own mother offered to give me money for an abortion. I refused. Then when my son was 3, he was diagnosed with autism. The smug looks on people’s faces when I mentioned that my third had a disability…”I bet you wish you’d stopped at two!” No, I don’t, and I never will. He is a precious soul who belongs in our family. I cannot imagine what my mother will say if I become pregnant again. I love her dearly but she doesn’t agree with me on how I’m raising my family. But I’m not here to please her or anyone else.

  21. oh, and to Kimberly!
    When people would say to me “Don’t you know what causes that?”
    I would say, with a sweet smile on my face, “Yes I do, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
    The looks on their faces were so priceless!
    (My dear hubby wanted me to change the word “minute” to “hour” but I didn’t want to give him too much credit there! hahaha!)

  22. My husband and I were hoping to wait until June of this year to start trying for a baby, but on Easter morning we found out the amazing news that I was expecting our son! We weren’t TRYING to get pregnant, but we weren’t trying NOT to, either. Every day, as I feel this new life kick inside me, I am so incredibly grateful that God gave us this surprise. It’s done nothing but draw us closer together. Indeed, after seeing what our marriage is like now, I’m a little bummed we didn’t try earlier! Although I can’t be sure that our newfound unity isn’t related to my not having PMS! 😉

    Peace,
    Sara (expecting my first son November 23rd)

  23. You are so right! Just last night I had dinner with old high school girlfriends and they all thought I was crazy having four children. The girls that had two children each said they would shoot themselves if they had anymore – and the rest said they never wanted children. It saddened me so much to see such outright dis-like over the blessing that God can give us.

  24. Amazingly put, Kelly. This is very weird: my mom had three kids, my aunt’s had four. Everyone was overjoyed.

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