So…should we limit the number of children we have or not?
My answer: You can, with God’s guidance
This has been my hardest post to write to date. Not tough in an emotional, gut-wrenching way. But the hardest as I kept changing my position on this topic. I’d read one author’s opinion and be in complete agreement – that when it comes to kids, it’s not just more is better, it’s more like more is practically required. Then I’d read another article and be in complete agreement about how God does not mandate that we have large families.
I’ve honestly flip flopped my position a couple of times through my study and prayer. Particularly, as I read more about quiverfull philosophy, I began to see the beauty of it. And it is a beautiful thing – to let God alone dictate the timing and number of children. But, to be honest, I think I was wanting to take that position because I am excited to have kids some day. So, I think I was naturally inclined that way, not convinced through Scripture.
I still think Quiverfull is a beautiful position. But I can’t say that it’s the only right position. I hold these facts to be truth:
- God did tell mankind to populate the earth.
- The command is not to everyone, not even to all married Christians.
- Children are a blessing.
- God is able to guide us in a personal way.
The Christian Life is Personal
What God has a blessing for one person, isn’t always a blessing He has for another. I don’t mean that in a “if God doesn’t have that for you, He’ll naturally limit the number of kids you have” kind of way. I mean it in a “if God doesn’t have that for you, He’ll lead you and give you the freedom to make the right decisions.” At the end of the day, I cling to one fact: each Christian has his or her own relationship with God. What God has called one person to is different than what He has for another person. The goal of each believer is to walk with Him to discern what He would have for you at this time.
As I talked with my husband about this issue, he likened it to full-time vocational ministry. God has called some to be pastors, missionaries, teachers, but to some of us, He has called us to be physicians, programmers, mail carriers, architects, mechanics and factory workers. Being a pastor or a missionary or a teacher is a good, noble thing, but it isn’t for all of us. Being a physician or a programmer or an architect are just as good and noble.
Adding to Scripture
It would be wrong for one person to dictate to another on topics where the Bible is silent. The key is “where the Bible is silent” and I believe the Bible to be silent about the topic on 1) who should have children, 2) how many they should have and 3) how quickly they should have them. I deeply respect people who hold the view that they shouldn’t limit the number of children that they’ll have – I think it’s a great and godly view. I just don’t think it’s the only biblical viewpoint.
Jayme is selfish
Quiverfull is correct though – as people with desperately wicked hearts, we are too often conformed to this world and not to God’s ideals. As a community and as a church even, we’ve often fallen into the trap of just accepting our selfishness. And we feed the selfishness. And that’s wrong too.
I recognized my own selfishness. I recognized that my heart is wicked and doesn’t always want the things of God. I am full of selfishness. All 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches of me. I like:
- The money that two incomes provide.
- The downtime that I have.
- The spontaneity that’s possible without baby carriers and feedings.
- Living in a one-bedroom apartment.
- Being able to say things without wondering if a two-year-old is going to repeat them.
- Knowing that we can take our whole family (of 2!) to Italy or Disney World if we wanted. Each year.
- Being wrapped up in my own little world.
My heart knows what the Bible has told me: I’m one big ball of selfishness.
Parenthood is not completely without fear. And parenthood is not completely without recognizing the things that I am trading in for something else. Ten years from now, I’ll look back on my life in 2011 and still agree with my today self that I have a great life. But I’ll also recognize that I have a great life in 2021. It just might be different. I’ll like:
- Knowing that God still provides financially.
- Going to the zoo and showing my twins (my hope!) the baby monkeys.
- Packing little love notes into lunches.
- My family of 5 greeting Daddy at the door when he comes home.
- Bonding with my baby, even if it’s at 2:00 AM.
- Learning to be happy that this particular diaper change wasn’t a blow out. Maybe.
- Watching Jeff teach our sons how to climb trees.
- Reading the same bedtime story for the 18th time in a row.
Some of these things I like the idea of now. Some will have to grow on me. My decision to follow God means to learn to want the things He wants, especially if they don’t seem good or possible to me. It means that I’m constantly asking: “God, what would you have for me today?”
Each couple’s relationship with God is just that — their relationship with God. Not mine. So I won’t judge when a couple says that they believe God is calling them to something else.
My biggest prayer for others (in this area) is that they would be active. Active in reading what God says. Active in prayer for what God would want for them. Active is discarding what the world says. Active in obedience. Active in trust. After all, that’s what I want for myself.
At the end of the day, I rest on one fact: it’s between me, my husband and God. I live my life in hopes of hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” in all areas of my life – children included.
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