Generation Cedar

Lately I’ve been catching myself listening to conversations–many of my own–with different ears, and I am aghast at what I hear.  We are supposed to be in an “economic recession”, and I understand for many the very real difficulties that brings, and yet I keep comparing our lives to those in other countries where owning a computer would seem like winning the lottery to us.

I mean, isn’t it all about perspective?  My dad was recounting a missionary’s biography and the description of a typical family in the area where he lived.  He said,

“To get a picture of how they live, imagine getting rid of every item in your house–everything–even the food out of the pantry.  Then turn off the power and water.  Then move out into the shed in your back yard.  Then get rid of your shoes–none except the head of the house could afford to wear shoes–now you’re close.  There may some left over potatoes starting to ruin for dinner.”

Now even though that is extreme, it is real.  And there is everything in between, with Americans being pretty much on the top of the social scale–the richest in the world, no matter what your current situation.

And I complain daily about something as trivial as the switch on my hair dryer being broken, or my computer being too slow, or my hair being too–whatever my hair is 😉

It’s shameful.  And then I hear someone say “we can’t afford more children”, and it breaks my heart.  It sounds noble to say it, but taking a different look, doesn’t it just reveal the depth of our selfishness?  And my selfishness, when I say “we can’t afford to give”, whatever the need is?

Americans–the richest people in the world.  Could our prosperity possibly have made us the most complaining, the least hardy, and the greediest people in the world?

And to wrap the whole thing up in tragic irony is the idea that somehow our children will be better if we give them more things, more opportunities, more fill in the blank.  We all know deep down that often it is the very thing that makes them worse!  The only thing that makes them “better”–and we’ve seen it proven!–is more of our time, more of Jesus, and more of simple living.

Thinking about taking a mission trip during Christmas…

71 Responses

  1. Amen sister!

    We just bought a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house.

    As you know we have three boys…. You’d be shocked at the criticism, the nit-picking, and the pity we have gotten for not buying a bigger house. Those poor boys…. (Btw… they love sleeping in the same room and are frankly excited about it)… “they might want their OWN room” one person said.

    BTW… I want more children. Think I could squish a few more in that little bedroom? 😉

    P.S. A mission trip will change your life.

  2. Kelly,
    I love this post and it speaks to my heart. As a missionary who has lived in a bustling Latin American city for the past two years, I understand how even a missionary can fall into the “I need more” trap, or sadly “I can’t afford to give” trap. I have seen it and I have done it. My family and I are preparing to move 6 hours outside of the city to a more rural area, a smaller home, and as we downsize our already simple life…I will bring these words with me. Thank you for your wisdom today. And by the way- you can come and visit our family anytime!!!

  3. “Could our prosperity possibly have made us the most complaining, the least hardy, and the greediest people in the world?”

    YES! And the most complacent! As much as I do not like discomfort myself, I think God withholding some of our blessings would be good for us in the long run!

  4. You have some really good points. Unfortunatly, in a country as affluent as the USA, we can be reported to the state and have our children taken from us if we are living in conditions that the government deems is “poverty”. In this country, because it is so affluent, the standard of living is higher and you have to live up to it to a point if you have children. I wish it wasn’t that way though and that the busybodies would keep their noses out of it.

    Our boys share a room and people think that they “need” their own room too. Some people even consider *that* abuse (I’ve even had it said to me).

  5. Well, with the way this country is headed we might all be learning how good we really had it, and our perspectives will be changed for us.

  6. Mrs. W.,

    “Our boys share a room and people think that they “need” their own room too”…

    I have always thought this was the craziest thing, especially that the state would actually threaten to call it abuse if you’re children share a bed (and you’re right, they can…) This was the regulation when my parents kept foster children, and I’m assuming it’s the same for biological ones.

    The “own room” thing was always thrown up to us when we became pregnant even though my children were constantly saying, “I can’t go to bed yet, so-and-so isn’t coming”–they literally will NOT sleep in a room by themselves.

    My dad talks about sleeping sideways in the bed so he and his other 3 siblings would fit 😉 That was life, and they weren’t damaged by it 😉

  7. I was a missionary in Sao Paulo, Brazil for a couple of years and the picture you posted could have been taken in one of their favelas. We are so blessed with so much, and yet, I can relate to the above post about foster children. We would like to adopt more (we have 3 now), but we only have a 3 bedroom house, and the rules say we can have only 1 more. It’s ridiculous! We’ve been waiting over 2 years for another child now.

  8. In the long ago past, I have said we cannot afford to give. Now I know we cannot afford NOT to give. When God moves a heart to give, it is disobedience not to. I cannot afford to be in disobedience, I value His presence too much.
    My daughter is an only child, niece, grand-daughter on one side, great grand daughter on one side. I can easily say she is spoiled. But definitely not rotten. People cannot believe she is an only child. But I cannot take credit. She loves the Lord so much and has an amazing relationship with Him. His daily presence is what keeps her humble (she is sickenly good at almost everything) and grateful (she’s well traveled and has a lot) and generous with her toys, time, and prayer. God/Jesus/Holy Spirit makes all the difference in the world, I’m just here to lead her to Him.
    Beautiful post. BTW, the homeless district or inner city in most cities is a mission field teeming with those who have never heard of Christ Jesus!

  9. I love the new bunk beds for large families. L-shaped, full over full… you name it. They even have the type that are lower to the floor for safety.

    Regarding mission fields: I went just south of the border when I was 15 and the difference was shocking. Though I am sure what I saw there would even be considered rich to the little girl in the picture.

  10. Kelly L/Kim,

    We are thinking local mission, actually. Mexico is hardly an option because of the chaos in the border towns, and flying a family our size is unreasonable when there are so many needs right here.

  11. I actually never thought of myself as “rich” until I took a good look at this picture of the little girl standing in front of a make-shift home.

    Yes, Americans as a whole are greedy (this includes me, shamefully) – greedy for more gadgets, toys, and material goods. As Christians, we should be following the bible’s admission about not yearning for the things of this world and material posessions. But oh, how short we all fall in this regard.

    You are right when you mention that we don’t know how “good” we have it. In reality, we never know how well off we are until the things that we take for granted are suddenly taken away.

    As for a mission, I have never been on one, but I think that it has the potential to be a humble blessing.

  12. What a wonderful post! I went on a mission trip to Mexico when I was in High School and it was a VERY humbling experience. People often do not realize how fortunate they really are.

    I also just wanted to tell you how inspiring and helpful your blog posts – especially the ones about children – are! 🙂

  13. Kelly,

    It seems a LOT of Christians are waking up to the reality that Americans are not only “rich” but we also tend to be “fat” in our illusion that we need nothing or that God has blessed us so we can have a more cushy temporal existence.

    About a year ago, God really got my attention about how worldly-minded I tend to be.

    The past several months have been a roller coaster ride of guilty feelings, humbling insight and soul changing truth.

    Being ever the unbalanced perfectionist (you know, do it ALL the way or don’t bother) types, I have struggled a lot with trying to reconcile our moderately well-off lifestyle with what the Bible (especially Jesus) actually says about wealth, or at least, the love of money.

    This may sound incredibly stupid, but I’ve wrestled most strongly with the concept that “real” Christians must be destitute in order to be truly obedient and trusting in God for our daily care. And I’ve agonized over whether simply having stuff (regardless of how tightly I’m holding it) is a hypocritical stance that shows I don’t really love God.

    I’ve even asked God to take away our stuff if we are sinning by having it. He hasn’t, yet, so I then have wondered if I was being double minded about my request (rather than accepting that perhaps I have not yet been called to give away all my possessions).

    Recently, a huge weight was lifted off of my conscience when I was prompted to read 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    ******Charge the rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, He offering to us richly all things to enjoy,
    that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to share, to be generous,
    laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.******

    At any rate, it hasn’t been a small thing. During this pruning process, I believe God has directed our family to:

    1. Realize that everything we have is God’s. And, we may well have some things that He did not gift us but rather we grabbed for in our discontent with what He provided. We need to be willing to let those things go in whatever way He sees fit.

    2. See that my husband’s (so far) blessed job protection is not meant to help us get “more comfortable”, but rather so that we are in a position to help others.

    3. Look for ways to actively share “our” comparative wealth with others.

    Our family is not likely to be able to do a mission trip, but God has blessed us with the opportunity to share with persecuted Christians via Voice of the Martyrs “Action Pack” program. It is a real gift of necessities for persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters as opposed to just throwing charity money around.

    Also, God has prompted us to be more sensitive to the needs of those whom we contact in person.

    If anyone else is interested in the Voice of the Martyrs project:
    There are three target countries and I am under the impression that good quality secondhand sweaters and jackets are acceptable as are (preferably new) handmade hats, socks and gloves. So, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to share and I think it is a wonderful practical way to heed the instruction given in Luke 3:11 Luk 3:11 ****He answered and said to them, He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. And he who has food, let him do likewise.*****

  14. Heather,

    “See that my husband’s (so far) blessed job protection is not meant to help us get “more comfortable”, but rather so that we are in a position to help others.”

    This is huge–A must-have perspective, I think, for Christians. Thanks!

  15. I’ve traveled all over, and yes, Americans seem to be the unhappiest of people. We have so much but are so discontented. Perhaps it’s because we share the genes of the unhappy discontented ones who immigrated here? The contented ones stayed behind. Anyway, we are very ungrateful. I’m shocked that it is a regulation in some places in this country that children must have their own room. Back in the 50’s and 60’s during the baby boom, a family was considered well-to-do if they had a 3-bedroom 1-bath house for a family with 5 or 6 children. A room for the parents, one for the boys and one for the girls. Nobody complained.

  16. I don’t think the rule regarding foster children having their own bed applies to parents who are not fostering. I served on a QA board of our local DHR several years ago and this rule only applies to foster children and children in the household of the foster parents. As long as I am not a foster parent, this doesn’t apply to me. At least in Alabama. Foster parents are not supposed to spank either, but since I am not a foster parent, this doesn’t apply to me.

  17. I doubt CPS would investigate a case of a family’s children simply sharing a room (whatever lay people would say about it). Most of us and/or our children have shared a room with a sibling at one time or another.

  18. Also, in the area of giving, I have heard that approx. 20% of the Church gives regularly. Can you imagine the impact if we all gave regularly?

  19. Nurse Bee,

    I think the question was sharing “beds” not rooms. I’m not sure, but I think “technically” all your children are supposed to have their own beds.

  20. Jennifer,

    In America, the general family knows nothing of poverty. The word “afford” becomes relative. Can you feed and clothe them? (Or for a Christian, can God feed them?) If so, you can “afford” them.

  21. “Or for a Christian, can God feed them?”

    That sounds like a trick question. While some might afford food and clothes, they may be without the means to afford educations, whether home or public.

  22. Jennifer,

    Technically that’s not a “promised” commodity. And without getting into a debate over schooling, anyone can “afford” to teach his or her child to read, the only required door to an education. Such were the humble beginnings of many of our brilliant men and women of the past, including national leaders and influential figures.

    That’s why “our wisdom” is so tricky. What we think is affordable or wise for children, isn’t usually the case. Often I think it’s an insult to God to say “we can’t afford the blessings He would otherwise give us, because we’re not sure if we can pay for college”. And that’s not far off from many explanations. College is irrelevant to the soul of a human in God’s economy. AND, our God is much bigger than a college tuition; if that is a need, it will be provided at the right time.

  23. Kelly,
    This is another terrific post!

    A few months before our wedding my husband and I went on a church mission trip to Rio Bravo, Mexico. I’ve never thought the same about all the things that Americans “need” and “can’t afford”. The most amazing thing to see was how happy these people are with so little. A concept unheard of here.

    As far as not being able to “afford” more children: If there is room in your heart, then there is room in your home. Also, God promises to supply all our needs. We’ve seen this firsthand…God is SO faithful…we are SO blessed!

  24. Actually, there appeared to be two seperate issues…beds and bedrooms. I suppose CPS could become involved on a case of sharing beds, depending on the age and gender of the involved children.

  25. When we were in the Air Force, base housing was assigned based on your family size (although sometimes if there was excess housing, a small family might get a larger home than they were authorized).

    The rule was that if you had 2 children, one boy and one girl, and they were both under six years of age, they could share a bedroom, and so the family was assigned a 2-bedroom unit.

    If you had 3 or more children, no matter what age or gender, you got a 3- or 4-bedroom unit, depending on how many children.

    If you had 2 children and they were both girls (or both boys), they could share a bedroom, and so you got assigned a 2-bedroom unit.

    If you had 2 children and they were a boy and a girl, and one of them was over six years of age, you got assigned a 3-bedroom unit, because they could no longer share a bedroom.

  26. Funny to read that about siblings having to have their own room and bed. My children do have their own room/beds but have always bunked in together and do not sleep soundly in a room by themselves. One room is basicly a closet and toy room/mom’s sewing room.

    I guess next there will be a law against hand-me-down cloths. EVERYONE MUST HAVE THEIR OWN BRAND NEW DUDS.

    Love the post by the way. We do live high on the hog compared to the rest of the world. Then feel deprived that we don’t have the latest gadget or flat screen. Sometimes, I want to clear out my house of all destractions. Mainly the televisions! Even though I have always tried (my best) to limit TV my children still wake up every morning and flip on the TV. My husband is just as guilty. I can be sitting at the table with my Bible and he comes straight out and turns on sports center full blast. UGH!!! We have a open floor plan home so it’s one big loud room. Off I go to that empty bedroom I was talking about. I am ready to stop paying the bill “oops! I forgot.” Ahhhh, shalom in the home once again.

    IDK why I just vented all that out just now! Love ya’ll.

  27. Being married to someone from the Third World has certainly humbled me in this area. I used to think I was frugal…until I married my dh. lol Then I realized that I was only slightly less spendthrift than the rest of America, and arrogant about it on top of that. :O

    We have never actually had any problem affording our children or affording charitable giving, thanks to my dh. Even when our income was below the national poverty level. Dh has made sure we made the choices that were required in order to survive on a low income. We have owned our own home since just after we married, when he was working a low-income factory job. We just pick old, cheap houses, dh makes them liveable, and we skip all the cosmetic remodels that people think is necessary. Having green carpet and a bathroom clearly decorated in the 70’s won’t actually kill us. lol

    Now, my dh isn’t opposed to being rich. Far from it. 🙂 And when we *truly* can afford good things, and they are either necessary or very beneficial for the family, we don’t have a problem purchasing them. But we have learned that there is a great deal of America’s idea of “need” that isn’t true need at all. It’s want and comfort-seeking, and it can be disasterous when it is misinterpreted. I have no problem with comfortable items or pretty homes, but they are not *necessary* for survival and mixing “want” and “need” is a big part of why so many Americans are both drowning in stuff and drowning in debt.

  28. Oh, and this is how God keeps me from complaining:

    He reminds me of when I first met my mother-in-law. She lives in a mud and grass hut. They struggle to eat. And she pulled out her precious, most beautiful homemade and embroidered linens to make up a couch for me, and fed my fat American belly with expensive meat that she herself rarely gets to eat because most of the time they can barely scrabble together the beans and roots that make up their normal diet.

    When I want to start whining, I think of the way my in-laws have lived all their lives. 🙁

  29. On the “affordability of children” issue…two thoughts:

    1) I am amazed that many churches will “step out in faith” to commit to building million dollar children’s buildings — affirming that God has called them to minister to the next generation of children — but members of that same church (who are committed to extra giving to support the funding of that building) cannot “step out in faith” to have the children to fill that building…

    2) I do, however, recognize, that while many American’s limit family size due to selfish financial reasons (and only God truly can see and judge the hearts of these), there are truly American’s who financially cannot support more children without relying on government support — for just food and clothes. So, I think that sweeping generalizations regarding American’s ability to afford children should be avoided. It is an issue between God and families.

  30. Margaret,

    Wow…and don’t you think most of us, no matter how much we *know* about how others live, can really never reach that place of utter contentment and awareness of how deeply we are blessed, as long as we are immersed in a culture of luxury? Not saying there’s anything to change that, but just an observation. I can talk to my children about the destitute all morning, and by noon I’ve probably said “I wish….” at least 3 times.

  31. Amy Jo,

    I agree with you mostly. I think the problem that needs to be exposed is that many of the people limiting their family size for selfish reasons, don’t think that is what they are doing. It “makes sense” that we need to be able to “afford” our children. But we are not called to do what makes sense, but to obey whether it makes sense or not. That is where faith comes in. we can substitute the word trust for faith and then the importance of it is even more apparent.

  32. I don’t follow how it is selfish not to have more children. Finances are only one part of this picture.

    Perhaps you should not judge lest ye be judged?

  33. ‘I suppose CPS could become involved on a case of sharing beds, depending on the age and gender of the involved children.’

    But, no…they shouldn’t – that is total socialist thinking! The living arrangment inside a family home is not government business. The whole idea behind affluent ‘need’ in North America comes from having government too involved in family life in the first place.

    ‘Perhaps you should not judge lest ye be judged?’

    Actually, we are called to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ – as long as the subject being broached is one that we are judging through God’s wisdom, not our own – in gentleness and love, of course. I always find that is Kelly’s approach.

    Good topic just before Christmas begins!

  34. “We are not called to do what makes sense, but to obey whether it makes sense or not”

    There is no command in the Bible for every couple to have children, Leslie; that’s why this is a debated issue in Christianity. What people do with their fertility is their business.

  35. “We are called to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ – as long as the subject being broached is one that we are judging through God’s wisdom, not our own”

    That sounds like loophole logic, Kim. Besides, again, you are operating by YOUR personal beliefs, not a Biblical command. So it’s your wisdom you speak from.

  36. Jennifer,

    “There is no command in the Bible for every couple to have children…”

    I would say that is debatable. Let’s look at Scripture/Creation from what we DO know…

    1. There is a command about fertility: “Be fruitful and multiply.” It’s not a suggestion, and it was never revoked. Also, God specifically claims his “desire” for man and wife in Malachi: “because He desires godly offspring.”

    2. There’s nothing biologically available for our prevention of children except natural methods. Artificial birth control can’t really be considered from a strictly biblical argument, because it’s man-made. The burden of proof lies in proving from Scripture that it’s OK to alter the way God created us. Logically speaking, it doesn’t seem right at all. To alter something that already works the right way would be absurd in any other part of our anatomy. And then looking at what the Bible does say about the blessing of children, there’s strong argument to suggest artificial birth control is not a “personal choice”, but that Scripture, *by default* speaks against it. (i.e. If someone says “go the end of the road and turn left”, they don’t have to say “don’t turn right” for their instruction to be clear.) So “be fruitful and multiply” by default says, “don’t NOT be fruitful” on purpose. 🙂

    And the only “natural” methods discussed in Scripture aren’t discussed favorably. Paul even says, “only abstain” during times of prayer and fasting.

    And I think THAT is why this is such a debated issue. I think the Bible says more about it than we like to acknowledge.

  37. Thank you for your explanation, Kelly.

    “Logically speaking, it doesn’t seem right at all”

    It could also be argued, though, that blood transfusions, organ donations, X-rays and diet pills aren’t right either because they’re man-made.

    “I would say that is debatable”

    I don’t see it that way. Not all couples have children, so it’s clearly not His plan for everyone. Besides that, the command of being fruitful was given to Adam and Eve, quite different from a world that now has over a billion people. I think it’s beautiful how you’ve been fruitful with your own family. Regardless of one’s personal interpretation, though, what amazes me is how many Christians take license to judge and instruct others in their personal reproduction practices based on their individual interpretations of the Bible.

  38. Jennifer,

    Two things to mention…all other man-made things like you mentioned are “life-giving”, or life-promoting, etc. I used to use the same argument until I realized how completely opposite medicinal, “healing” inventions are from “life-preventing” inventions.

    Also, while I don’t judge others based on their fertility decisions, I do believe it’s part of our command to “instruct the younger women” if we feel something is biblical. So it might help those who disagree to understand that for some of us, it’s not a matter of trying to interfere when we discuss these topics, but of trying to fulfill our Titus 2 mission. Especially when it seems there is such a correlation between societal problems and the turning away of biblical wisdom in the area of family. Does that make sense?

    Also, discussion provokes research, studying and thinking. My whole world view concerning children was changed because someone prompted me by asking questions and making points I’d never thought of.

  39. “All other man-made things like you mentioned are “life-giving”, or life-promoting”

    True, but the argument could still be made. Plus, birth control could be life-saving of the mother.

    Your words do make sense and thank you for your patience. I’ve never had a problem with ladies instructing younger women about Biblical convictions; what bothers me are the sweeping judgements I occasionally see some make about families they don’t even know.

  40. Kelly WW, I have a question, of anyone really since so many here are more studied and learned than I….this might be o/t, sorry.

    I’ve always wondered about “be fruitful and multiply”…is it a singular command as in be fruitful = multiply, or is it really two separate commands? For instance – a person who remains single, in pursuit of ministry, and facilitates lots of folks discovering the Lord, has been fruitful, yes? And has multiplied the flock? Can the “fruitful” and “multiply” exist concentrically and separately, and by more than one means?

    Also (and this may be a technical translation issue – again, I’m just now learning some of the nuance of the original languages) – is there a significance to “fruitful” being first? As in, just physically multiplying isn’t enough, any mope can pop out/adopt babies, you’ve got to have you’re heart in the right place first? (I intend no insensitivity anyone struggling to grow their own family – just trying to clarify the example).

    I really am asking for clarification on exactly what I’ve stated – no sarcasm or trolling for hidden meanings. My position is have babies early and often – well, not TOO early, but definitely often 😉 – , nfp being the only bc I would consider Biblical, in case anyone is wondering.


  41. How about affording children in other ways? Such as being able to spend time with and give attention to them? Obviously you are blessed to be able to do this with a large family. But is everyone?

    Personally, as I work part-time (yes, I realize you disagree with this), I do not plan on having more than 2-3 children, as I want to make sure my husband and I can care for them not only financially, but emotionally, and spiritually as well.

  42. Birth control could be used to save a mother’s life. I agree with that, but that is not really the issue that is being discussed. (And if the bc being used is can cause early abortions, are we then sacrificing children to save ourselves.) We are talking/writing about deciding not to have more children based on our own will rather than God’s or for some medical problem.

    Someone pointed out that not every couple has children, so obviously it is not God’s will for all people to have them. YES! God opens and closes the womb. We should not try to play God.

    And finally it was pointed out that God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He also commanded Noah and his family. He also didn’t say to stop when we thought it was enough children.

    If you want to go NT then Paul wrote to timothy

    I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. Matthew 5:14 They were told to bear children.

    I read this the other day and think it may sum up what this discussion has been about.
    The bible calls children a blessing and debt a curse, but in our culture we apply for curses and reject blessings!

  43. “We should not try to play God”

    Taking a pill concerning OUR bodies (not other Christians’) is hardly playing God, especially if you’re Calvinist and believe that everything which occurs is His will anyway.

  44. “The bible calls children a blessing”

    Not a command to have them. There is not a single passage in the whole Bible commanding all people to have children; if there were, God would give everyone children.

  45. Kelly,
    Romans 14:1-4 says:
    “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does eat judge him who eats, for God has received him. Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for GOD is able to make him stand.
    Romans 14:1-4”

    Kelly I hope you can take my words in the spirit in which I intend. I understand your heart in this matter, truly I do. You and your husband seem, from what I can see on a blog, to be doing a wonderful job in raising your beautiful large family. In fact I do believe that many Christian families are called to do just what you and your family are convicted to do, have as many children as God will bring.

    However I caution you dear sister, in love, that you are going too far to say that there is a biblical command to procreate without ceasing for the duration of your marriage.

    I can see where you may think the Word says this and in fact I agree with you to a point but to state that a command exists is simply to add to the Word of God and that sister, is dangerous.

    You are right that we, as Titus 2 women, are to teach the younger women what is written in the Word. We are not to teach our personal convictions. Also please consider that the Titus 2 admonishment is woman to woman with each getting to know each other and praying specifically for that person in an intimate setting.

    The relationship we have with our Lord is a personal one. It is not one size fits all. He has different callings for each of his children and has uniquely qualified each of us for our callings. Only the Lord knows the plans He has for each of us that is why He puts the COMMAND not to judge another man’s servant in the Word so there is no doubt.

    Kelly, each of these women you are talking to, if they are saved, are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. As such they are guided by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will sanctify as is stated in the Word. Don’t assume you know what God’s plan is for another family or how he wants to bless them. You simply do not and what we as humans think we know and understand is often wrong.

    On the things that the Bible spells out, love your husband, love your children, be good workers at home we should admonish the younger women. On other things we should tread lightly.

    Please remember sister if the Lord wanted to He could have been as specific about not preventing children as he is about not judging another man’s servant. He did not make it that clear therefore we should tread lightly in this area. There is no plainly stated command here.

    The best way to handle your concern over the child bearing practices of other Christians families is to pray for them. Prayer is stronger than any blog post. If they are Christians, and are in fact committing sin by limiting the number of children, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to convict them. If they are not Christians they need the Gospel not instructions to bear more children. God will place that on their hearts just like He did for you once they are saved, if that is His plan for their family.

    Kelly I know you love your lifestyle but please prayerfully consider whether you give this issue more weight than all of the other wonderful things the Bible calls a blessing. I know this is a conviction dear to your heart but is it possible that you have raised this issue to a higher importance than the Bible does? Not the idea of loving children or even having them but the idea of NEVER limiting them.

    The heart is deceitful above all things and it is easy for you and I and all humans to allow that which matters most to us to become a bigger issue than God intended.

    I am not asking you to stop blogging or even to stop blogging about this issue but to prayerfully consider if you may, in your zeal and passion for a calling God has laid on your heart have overstepped a few boundries.

    In Love,


  46. Jennifer,

    But that depends on how you view the creation of life…if you believe God alone has the authority to open and close the womb, then closing it yourself would be an interference of that authority–Calvinist or not 😉 Also there’s the argument of evidence that the pill can cause an abortion. For a Christian, that’s no small thing to dismiss.

  47. Nurse Bee,

    It’s not that I “disagree” with someone working part time. I disagree with the default position of “it doesn’t matter”. My SIL works as a nurse part time. They are working toward eliminating that because they feel it best that she be home. I don’t disagree with their stance as my brother is not yet able to sustain them on his income.

    I realize there are all sorts of personal circumstances that no one else can truly assess but the family it concerns. I just want to encourage women to view their role at home as the ultimate vocation, and not a part-time job. This is, I believe, what the Bible teaches. Often it’s not a matter of “being blessed” enough to stay home, it’s just a sacrifice. I’m not in judgment of anyone. Please understand that. I think it’s just important that Christian women encourage other women to consider home their utmost priority.

  48. Taunya,

    I was hoping to simply cause us to weigh it carefully. That’s why I wrote:

    I would say that is debatable. Let’s look at Scripture/Creation from what we DO know…

  49. Taunya,

    Also, in case I wasn’t clear, I’ve always said that I think a couple should reserve the right to prayerfully weigh out the area of limiting children in special circumstances of health or other reasons. I don’t believe it is ALWAYS wrong to delay or prevent children. I think because the modern day thought about children has been so skewed the other direction (i.e. children are a burden) that I may go that far in the opposite direction in an attempt to bring balance, if that makes sense. It is certainly not my intent to judge! But I think once we are provoked to look very closely at Scripture, it changes how we view birth control.

    Again, it’s about “the default position”. I know I overuse that term, but it’s the best way I know how to describe what I mean. If we have the right starting point, the right mindset, then personal decisions become based better on wisdom. But because the church has adopted such a blase attitude toward children, countless women simply prevent them because they think that’s what they are supposed to do. This is the attitude about children that concerns me, not the micro-circumstances that may cause a family to delay or prevent them. Hope that makes sense.

  50. True Kelly, but it still surprises me how some interpret the usage of birth control.

    “Also there’s the argument of evidence that the pill can cause an abortion.”

    Aren’t there some kinds which don’t?

  51. Jennifer,

    “especially if you’re Calvinist and believe that everything which occurs is His will anyway.”

    If you follow the logic that it doesn’t matter what we do, then why even try. I mean, why be a good parent, or wife, or citizen? Of course our heart matters and our obedience matters. I am probably not where some people are on the bc/no bc spectrum. I don’t think NFP is wrong. I see no problem with waiting a little while between children or even a while if some extraordinary circumstance comes up. God doesn’t give everyone 8 kids. I have a dear friend who left her family size up to God and only had 3 in 6 years and then no more for the last 18 years. God limited her family size, but she left it up to God to close her womb.

    There are pills that don’t cause abortions, but to tell the truth it wasn’t until I came to this blog that I knew ANY of them did. I should have researched more, but since I didn’t take them, I didn’t do the research and missed countless opportunities to tell some of my sisters in Christ who WERE taking them.

    In my comment I said “the bible calls children a blessing” and then Jennifer replied it was not a command. Those words were not God’s, they were mine. I think God does command us to try to have children, which has been gone over countless times here.

    Do I think everyone who has a small family living in sin? NO. BUT, I hear all the time, from leadership in our churches, that 2 was enough because they had what they wanted, a boy and a girl, or that was all they could afford, meanwhile everyone is driving around in a new car, has 3 laptops, every kind of electronic and all the satellite TV they can stand, has boats, and takes lengthy vacations, etc. and worships at the church of necessary college education. It shows a great lack of faith that God will provide and an pervasive materialistic attitude among Christians. I just don’t think we are being loving if we don’t try to instruct people that this is contrary to God’s plan. Which by the way, there are many health risks associated with NOT following God’s plan. I never knew these things either until I came to this blog and some of the posts Kelly made caused me to research more. I think that is the point of these discussions. To hopefully get women to study God’s word and pray about these specific topics.

    Sorry so long!

  52. Leslie,

    “I never knew these things either until I came to this blog and some of the posts Kelly made caused me to research more. I think that is the point of these discussions. To hopefully get women to study God’s word and pray about these specific topics.”

    Thank you for seeing my heart!!!

  53. Kelly,

    I am happy to hear you say that you

    “think a couple should reserve the right to prayerfully weigh out the area of limiting children in special circumstances of health or other reasons. I don’t believe it is ALWAYS wrong to delay or prevent children”

    Also I can agree and understand why you have decided to “go far in the other direction to bring balance.”

    The fact of the matter though is only God can bring true balance to a situation because only He can see the situation clearly. Therefore dear sister it would be wise to make sure when you do this you are VERY CLEAR about where the Word leaves off and your personal convictions and “desire for balance” pick up.

    If not you put yourself in the postion of appearing to add to the Word of God and the Bible clearly warns us not to do that.

    Finally please consider that a gentle answer turns away wrath. You could probably accomplish more by demonstrating the many blessings of a big family.

    I read many blogs of large families who through pictures, recipies, and wonderful stories speak volumes about the blessings of large families. These blogs are free of the disputes, conflicts and strong words that I often find here. Which one Kelly do you think has the power to convince others? A blog full of contentions and controversy or a blog full of love?

    Just some food for thought.

  54. Taunya,

    I hear you clearly. And though I know many posts are controversial, I don’t necessarily intend them to be, nor do I always intend the comment thread to go where it does (as in this post, for example.) Funny, one of my next posts is about the instruction God gave to Isaiah about “speaking truth to a people who will not listen”, and Isaiah wondering, “what’s the point of that?”

    You are right in needing to be very careful where we draw the line between God’s Word and conviction. I will take that to heart!

    But I’m not as affected by “what has the power to convince others”, because as you said yourself, only the Holy Spirit can do that. We are called to speak truth as plainly and lovingly as possible. Sometimes no matter how it’s spoken, it’s controversial (just as it has been for all of history). I’m prone to go so far as to say the church as avoided dispute and conflict to a fault–we’re so “loving” we avoid any truth that might offend. This is not biblical.

    With all that is in me, I try to be loving, compassionate, and gracious. But with all that is in me, I cannot avoid speaking the things I feel have left brokenness or confusion or error in the name of “love”. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  55. “I mean, why be a good parent, or wife, or citizen?”

    Indeed, I think that’s a valid criticism of Calvinism (though I know you didn’t intend it that way). Even if it wasn’t, though, the matter of womb closing and opening is one I would definitely think Reformed Christians would be less uneasy about.

    “It shows a great lack of faith that God will provide and an pervasive materialistic attitude among Christians.”

    See, I don’t believe that at all and it’s a VERY swooping generalization to make. Materialistic, perhaps, but what has that to do with children? How do you know the hearts of these people? Where do you find condemnation in the Bible for folks who choose to have less children and richly enjoy financial security?? Or a Biblical passage declaring that all such people have one selfish heart motive? I have heard careless rich people criticized for many, many things Leslie: vanity, exorbitance, not giving enough to the poor, but not having more children?? That’s a new one and it is THEIR business and their family. It does NOT affect those less fortunate, except perhaps to leave more for them.

    I agree that research is important and it is also what gave me the convictions I have on this matter.

  56. “I think a couple should reserve the right to prayerfully weigh out the area of limiting children in special circumstances of health or other reasons. I don’t believe it is ALWAYS wrong to delay or prevent children”

    I must have missed this comment from you, Kelly. Thank you

  57. Jennifer,

    You asked what having children had to do with materialism. It doesn’t always, but I speaking specifically of people who say they can’t afford to have more children, when really they are choosing material things instead. I don’t think you and I will agree on this. I DO think God has told us to be fruitful and multiply. I don’t judge the reason for or even ask why a family may have 1 or 2 children. However, when it comes out, from them, that the reason was money, it breaks my heart. Jesus said it was easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven. Well why do the Christians in our society pursue something that Jesus says is going to make it hard to get into heaven? Why then, does the pursuit of wealth, to the exclusion of having more children, seem OK? IMO it just isn’t OK and I think scripture supports that view.

    This is my last comment on this subject. Someone else can have the last word. 🙂

  58. Mrs. Kelly,

    I just wanted to encourage you: I love coming to your blog *because* I know I’m going to see intelligent, biblically-based discussion in the comment section. The presence of truth does not mean the absence of disagreement -these are important issues, issues that need to be discussed with grace and boldness. I for one am often blessed and challenged every time I read here.

    As you said, our job is not to convince others of the truth; the Holy Spirit convicts and changes hearts. What we’ve been called to do is to give a defense for the hope that is within us, and to contend earnestly -and lovingly -for the faith. I’m grateful for your Titus 2 example in that area. 😀

  59. I love your blog too, Kelly.

    I know some people who have reached their convictions about birth control after observing or participating in debates. It’s fine and well to see lovely pictures of large families, but many people have *no idea* that there is a Biblical basis for rejecting birth control and joyfully recieving children into the family above and beyond the “normal” size, and they won’t unless someone actually talks about it. This is especially important because there is a strong voice within the Church that insists on “responsible” family planning, waiting x years before having children, having only so many, and defining “provision” and “responsibility” as the world does (meaning it’s too darned expensive to have more than three children if you’re going to do it “properly”). People who grow up hearing this, and are counseled preparing for marriage with this, may never have heard that there is an alternative way, and that alternative has it’s foundation in God’s word.

    Keep talking, Kelly. 🙂

  60. Kelly,

    I am a new poster who has been lurking for a couple of months. I,too, love your blog and your articles which have challenged and convicted me (and encouraged me) many times. Please keep it up!

  61. Kelly,
    It’s rather ironic that I would read this particular blog. My sister and I have been talking on this very topic since she’s given birth to five children and I am unable to have any, at least at the moment. There seems to be much discussion about to whom “Be fruitful and multiply” is meant for. Many of the commands in the Bible are not person specific, but “people group” specific. This may have only been given to one or two different couples, but does that automatically mean that it is only for them? To someone who is finally taking her own ways out of the picture and looking for Gods ways, it seems that this command is meant for the people as a whole. Yes, God has a plan for each of us individually, but he knows the big picture and therefore also gives commands for the people.

  62. Joanne,

    No problem…you made such a wise observation. Voddie Baucham has pointed out how many times we get upset with God because He doesn’t fulfill a promise like “I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you a hope and a future”. He says when things are going bad in our lives, we tend to say God is a liar, even if we don’t say it outright. His point is that yes, God is concerned with us as individuals, but just as you said, He often gives instruction “to a people” and blesses those people or causes them to reap their own curses, based on our obedience. Great point!

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