| Home | Our Family |  

July 23, 2008

Why So Many Children *UPDATED*

Just as I was writing this post I came across these interviews
July 7 & July 8 with Holly Elliff called
"Embracing God's Gift of Children"
I really enjoyed these interviews and felt it summed our beliefs quite well on this subject.
A common question we get asked shortly after having a baby is "So, are you done now?"

Mark's favorite answer to this question is, "Well no actually, we are just getting started!" To this response their jaw usually drops to the floor and they don't know how to respond.

Well obviously we are not done, as we are expecting baby #11 around Dec. 29th.

Honestly, I'm not sure I would have the guts to ask this rather personal question unless to someone I know quite well, but some of those we come in contact with seem to think it is an absolutely valid and perfectly normal question one would ask another.

So in light of thinking about this subject, I decided to become a little vulnerable here, and answer some of the questions people have asked (or wanted to) about our family size.

When we got married Mark and I both knew we definitely wanted to have children, but never really talked about how many. So we just took one child at a time, and 'planned' when we would like to add another. All went just well until our 4th, Kerri. She was a particularly hard birth and having 4 little ones, 5 and under was somewhat overwhelming at times. We seriously considered at this time to do something permanent to prevent not having any more children. But by the grace of God and the wisdom of my husband, we decided to wait for a year and see how we felt then. Well a year came around and we realized that even though life was very busy, we were both sure that at some point we would like more children. Thus 3 1/2 yrs. later we welcomed Caleb into our family.

After Caleb was born I really began questioning our cultures view of childbearing and God prompted me to search scripture and see what He had to say about this subject. I found scriptures like Psalm 127 which says children are a heritage and a reward from God. My question was, "If children are a reward and a blessing from God, why do we try to prevent them?" There were also Bible stories which told how God opened and closed woman's wombs as He chose. I quickly realized that what God said in His word and what the world said was quite the opposite.The message of the world was 2.2 children was the average, and any more was a bother and infringement on your life and one would be crazy, even irresponsible to even consider not using any means of birth control.

So as Mark and I talked about this, we wondered if we really could trust God to plan our family size and if so, what would it look like? In the midst of all this heart searching God confirmed to us many ways through books other people had written, testimonies of people we knew and articles we came across. It was a relief and a confirmation for me to know that others had went the same road and I was encouraged to know that there were others out there who had surrendered their wombs to God. Some people had large families, some people were still having children and some people had for no medical reason (but by God's design) were no longer conceiving.

Well, I wish I could say that after I read God's word and heard other testimonies I was convinced but I struggled for awhile. I could not stop thinking about myself and how this would affect my life. I was sure I would be pregnant or nursing a baby forever. I would never fit into my pre-first child clothes ever again! I would always be training a toddler, I would always be potty training, I would never again sleep through the night, I would never have time to myself, I...I....I....I....I! Then God began to change my heart. It seemed like a forever process, but by the time we had our 7th child, I was ready to surrender my womb to God and say, "God, however many children you want to give us, we will take them. If you choose not to give us any more, we accept that as your plan. And I guess I could say the rest is history, but every day is just the beginning.

So do I ever struggle with some of the thoughts I had previous to this heart change? You bet I do! But then I look around at my amazing "blessings" and I think, which one would I not want to have. I grieve to think that we might have decided on our own that one of these children were not necessary to our family. I am glad now that I do not have to make that choice. Leaving it in God's hands has been very challenging to my meism many times, but also very freeing in knowing that He knows how many children we need in our family, how far apart, and if they should be a boy or girl.

Every day is a gift, every child is a gift, every breath is a gift.
We know God gives, we know He takes away.
We know He these are His children that He has given to us to train up to bring honor and glory to His name.
We know it it not in our hands.
We know God is God.

Many people say to me, "Oh but you are strong, you must have a lot of patience." I say to them, it is only by God's strength. In my weaknesses He is strong. Every day He is working to further develop the fruits of the spirit in my life. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, kindness, self-control. Some days I do alright, some days I fail miserably.

Do I ever feel overwhelmed.
You bet I do, but I have learned that in those moments to look to God to be my strength.
I know I cannot do this on my own, and if I try to, I will fail miserably.
There are many challenges in life. And if it weren't for challenges and trials I would never grow.
Having 10 children has definitely been a growing time for me and I would never trade it for anything. Looking back I can see how God has changed me through raising the gifts He has given.

So I share this not to be judgemental, or to point fingers.
But just to challenge you to search the scripture and ask God to give you His heart for children.

I think too many times as Christians we get influenced so much by the world that we don't even consider that God may have a different way to look at things.

So today, maybe God has been tugging at your heart about this or something else.
Search His Word, see what He has to say, and trust and follow Him.


Laura said...

I loved it! I too for many days have been thinking about what to write on the same subject, and where our view came from....much the same as yours. I have felt the need to speak out more on OUR beliefs and what God has done for us, we are blessed. Maybe not by the worlds standards, but very much by GODS. What a blessing this story was, we know very few that have this same belief.

The Pauls' said...

I look forward to reading about your journey :)
Yes, we are very blessed.

Dianna said...

It also does say int he Bible to be fruitful and multiply.
BTW do you or are you into the magazines "Above Rubies" If you don't know them let me know I'll send you the link where you can order them online for free. They are very useful and Christian based literature that really speaks to me.

The Pauls' said...

Thanks Dianna, I do receive the Above Rubies magazine and I too find it very encouraging in my journey of becoming a Godly wife and mother. Even my teenage girls love to read them over and over again.

Stacey said...

Thanks for sharing :)