Monday, September 15, 2008

My Views on My Children and the Size of My Family

Okay, I have been doing some deep soul searching and praying and discussing with my husband and now I would like to articulate my feelings on family size/number of children. My dearest friend has a "quiverfull" view of her family size and our discussion on the matter made me step back and think about what I truly believe and why I believe it. I truly admire her for her convictions on this matter and how she sticks to those convictions unashamedly in a world that doesn't share this position. Girl, our discussion really made me nail down what I believe and why and, you're so right about there being an enormous freedom in that. I will also put a disclaimer on this that these are MY thoughts and I think each family is unique. God's plan for me is not the same plan He has for everyone, so please don't think any of this is meant to be preachy or judgemental. This is just where I stand.

Okay, so I have friends who have two children who say their family is complete and they just knew their family was complete after two children. I have other friends who say the same thing after four children. Then I know people who are my mom's age who say they wish they had had more than two children, but that's just what everyone else did, so they did too. I really would like not to look back with regret when I have grown children and some grandchildren. I know I might have some regrets, but I am trying to avoid as many as possible.

Anyway, I have never felt that "my family is complete" feeling. I don't know what it feels like. I have heard it's kind of like how you knew who to marry. You just know. Okay, so I don't have that feeling. I seem to waffle between wanting another child and not really ever wanting to think about having another child. Admittedly, these moods tend to be dictated by the behavior of my four little ones, but anyway.

So, after this discussion with my friend, I began praying about this and reading the Bible trying to decide what my feelings are on this issue. I prayed that my decision would not be swayed by fear or what other people might think or anything other than what God's plan is for MY life. So here it is...

I think that children are blessings from God. He has blessed me with four precious and special children and I am grateful every day for them. (Maybe not every moment of everyday, like right now as I am arguing with my fourth grader about whether her homework answer is correct) And, three of those four times, I was not asking him for those blessings! He knew exactly what I needed and when I needed it, no matter what I had planned. There is no way for me to articulate the joy these four little ones have given me. The little things - the unprompted "I love you"s, the funny things they say, the feeling I get when I teach them something new. All of those things have intrinsic value that simply cannot be measured. I am so thankful for them and I know that God has entrusted them to me when they are still His and He is still in complete control.

I do believe in birth control. Not all forms of birth control, mind you. I am firmly against anything that causes the abortion of a fertilized egg. I believe that life begins at conception, the moment the sperm enters the egg. If I am to actually take a stand on this issue, I have already ruled out the most popular forms of birth control - pills and IUD. I realize that birth control pills have medical purposes too, so please know that I am still talking about me. There's also the little thing that two of my children came about while I was on birth control pills (this is before I knew what they did - I thought they only prevented ovulation) so I also have a teensy bit of distrust for them.

I also think that my family can be complete without any type of surgical procedure. In my small section of the world, vasectomies and tubal ligations seem to be the norm. Where is the rule that in order to be "done" having children, I have to let a doctor physically and permanently alter me or my husband? I'm not completely against these procedures or anything, but I don't understand the rush to have these done. I'm not saying I will never have one of these procedures done, but I am still very young, I think. I know someone who opted to have a hysterectomy simply because she was tired of having periods - she was 31 years old at the time! I don't understand.

I do trust God about the size of my family, but prevention does not mean that I don't trust Him. I trust Him with my life too, but I still take precautions against illness and other things that could impact my family. And right now, another baby would negatively impact my family. Right now, I am trusting God and using my practical side (which is also in His image) and deciding not to increase my family size. For me, there is such a peace with that. I am doing my part with this decision and if He decides to bless us with another baby, then He will provide everything we need. I also think that one day I will want another child. But, for now, I am resting in His promises to provide all my needs and that He always has my best at heart.

Again, I am not posting this to offend anyone in anyway. God makes families in all sizes and shapes and colors and He does this according to His will. He is such a good and merciful God and I am just trying to discern His will so I can always be right in the center of it.


Christine said...

Wow, very well written! Of everything you wrote I glad that you and Adam prayed and are in agreement.
I respect your stand as well. :)
I on the other hand can't wait to hold a new baby in my arms, smeeling his hair,snuggling his neck and letting you help me bring him into this world! It has been 8 years since I have had a baby boy and I am ready for the craziness again!

Triathamom said...

Great post!! We are in the middle of a class now that is dealing with the issue of "Biblical Convictions". I;ve been reminded that if you realize the definition of Biblical convictions, you also realize that very few of us have BIBLICAL convictions. We have strong opinions based on some Biblical teaching, but to fully develop a Biblical CONVICTION you must examine ALL that the scripture has to say about the subject. Much like a jury needs to hear both sides of the case before reaching a verdict. And to examine all the evidence without drawing conclusions until we've examined it all. (That's hard to turn off the internal filter!) And finally doing it all in light of Romans 14 -- being fully convinced in his OWN mind. (I always find it's easier to apply my strong opinions to others! Ha!) I remember trying to embark on forming a Biblical conviction in regards to children back when the Gibsons were on staff at Brainerd. I think gave up on the evidence gathering phase out of laziness, because the Bible has alot to say about children! All that said, my personal opinion is very close to yours. Thanks for sharing! Your a super example for young couples to follow!!!

Mrs. Tara said...

This is one of those hard issues for me- being on a totally opposite end of the spectrum from most people. Which is truly desiring for God to bless us with children but for some reason God in His Sovereignty decides this is not the route for your family. As I still walk through the medically dictated hysterectomy my doctor found necessary for me - I can tell you how earth shattering not having that opportunity is- even when you knew having biological children would be a miracle. I applaud you for realizing the ability to give birth to children is indeed a blessing and should not be taken for granted or lightly.
I really respect you searching this out - not everyone gives it much thought or even realize your family size matters to God. I respect you for sharing openly and honestly.
I have enjoyed reading your blog- and can I tell you I can not believe your little girl is a 4th grader. Sometime back you talked about her being special- I just know God has big things in store for her- I can't wait either to see what those things are!