Friday, April 16, 2010

Lie No. 27: It's Up To Us To Determine The Size of Our Family

So, here's the thing... I've been putting off writing this post for a while now, and there are a couple different reasons. One, while Luke and I have come a loooooong way in this area in a very short amount of time, it is still a very new and challenging concept to me, and one that I know without a doubt will have many people up in arms. Two, I feel like I can't possibly put into words the devastating extent to which we as a society, particularly Christians, are guilty of butchering this area of our lives. It really is overwhelming to even begin to try to verbally communicate the complexity and depth of this problem in the Christian family. In this area of my life, I have honestly felt like God has miraculously healed my blindness, and I went from seeing nothing to seeing everything practically overnight, and it's a little overpowering. I could probably write a book on the subject, but since there are already lots of books out there, I'll try to keep this as brief as possible, knowing that I can't possibly touch on every aspect of this crisis. (Can you tell that my current greatest struggle is in feeling like it's my responsibility to change the world? Trust me, I'm painfully aware.) For the purpose of this blog post, and as a check system for myself so I don't end up writing a novel, let's lay out two main ideas to talk about, and I promise I'll do my best to stick to them: 1. controlling our own lives vs. giving control to God; 2. how we view children.

Ok, so number one: Controlling our own lives. We as Christians talk about giving control over to God, but let's stop lying to ourselves. We are a society bent on control. We are all a bunch of control freaks. Let's just admit that. Everyone together now: "I LIKE BEING IN CONTROL." We do! We can't stand not knowing what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, and how it's going to happen. We like making plans. We call it organization, preparedness, RESPONSIBILITY (ugh, that's a big one when it comes to "family planning"). And ultimately, we want what makes us happy and comfortable. I find it so sickening that we are bombarded with temporary and permanent birth control commercials that promise we no longer have to be burdened with the hassle of children, that we can have the life WE WANT, that we can CONTROL every possible outcome, and make our lives the perfect little picture that we always imagined it would be. I'm sorry, but since when was it part of God's plan for us to be the ones making plans. Last time I checked, God had a perfect plan for all of us. Do you really believe that? It's like I mentioned in a post a while back, we have to be honest about our true intentions as we're making these "plans." Ok, so you've decided that you're going to have three kids. Why? Why three? Why not two? Why not four? Why three? What if God told you, I want you to have nine children. Would you be ok with that? It's ok to be a little freaked out by the prospect, but the point is, are you truly willing to take WHATEVER He gives you? Will you give up control of your life and say, your will be done, Lord, not mine. Can you say, God, I want what you want, even if that means I'm going to have eleven horribly ill pregnancies, even if that means I never get to have the career I thought I wanted so badly, even if that means my husband and I don't get to travel for the first five years of our marriage like we planned, even if that means my four kids are each only spaced 12 months apart and then you close my womb and I never have another one again, even if... I could go on and on endlessly. There are so many "horrible" scenarios that I'm sure we could all argue, but it doesn't change the fact that if that is God's will for your life, it is a GOOD thing, no matter how painful or difficult it may be in this life. Like I said in an earlier post, we are not all at the same place in our spiritual lives, and we are probably not all at a place where we can just take this leap, but if it's not something you're willing to do, then I ask you why? I ask you to talk to the Lord and seek his heart and ask him to help you get to that place. I'm really not even that concerned with the outcome. I am most concerned with the heart attitude. God knows your heart, even when you have convinced yourself that you believe otherwise, He knows your real reasons for making the plans you make. So do yourself a favor and be really really honest with yourself about WHY you make the choices you do, and how much you really trust God to work out HIS plan in your life.

Here are a few verses that speak to the heart of God concerning the family and his role in shaping it:

"But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? AND WHY ONE? HE SEEKS GODLY OFFSPRING." Malachi 2:15 (emphasis added)

"...but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless SHE WILL BE SAVED IN CHILDBEARING if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." 1 Timothy 2:14-15 (emphasis added)

"When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, HE OPENED HER WOMB; BUT RACHEL WAS BARREN." Genesis 29:31 (emphasis added)

"And Jacob's anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, 'AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD, WHO HAS WITHHELD FROM YOU THE FRUIT OF THE WOMB.'" Genesis 30:2 (emphasis added)

"Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb." Genesis 30:22

"And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you." Deuteronomy 7:13

There are countless verses that speak of God's divine hand in opening and closing the womb. If we truly believe this, then we have no fear in giving up our methods of "control" and simply allowing God to create new life as he sees fit, when he sees fit, as often as he sees fit.

Ok, moving on... How do we view children? Let's be honest, we view them as a commodity. They are another thing to add to our lives when the rest of our friends are moving on to that stage in their lives. We need the successful husband, the house, the car, the dog, and the two and half kids. But more than anything, we view them as a burden. Back to the birth control commercials, I was practically in tears watching one of the newest ones that shows a mom with her three kids who are spilling things, making noise, running mom in circles, and she looks longingly at the camera and says in dismay how she cannot possibly handle another one. Cue narrator to the rescue with permanent birth control, so you never have to worry about that pesky problem again. Whew. She has her life back. No more sacrifices for her. I understand the rest of the world buying into this garbage, but what on earth happened to the church to make us think this was even close to ok? Please, someone, I dare you, show me one verse in the Bible that refers to a child as a burden, a hassle, an imposition, an unwanted responsibility. I completely get the extreme difficulty of being a parent. Trust me, being pregnant and taking care of a 10-month-old, I get it. I really do. But Christ never said that our lives had anything at all to do with making ourselves happy and comfortable. We are called to suffer for him, and sometimes, being a mom feels like suffering. God never said that we had to walk around with a June Cleaver grin on our face like it's frozen that way. He simply said that we need to surrender all that we are and become willing servants, placing others, our husband and children primarily, ahead of ourselves. Is this really so difficult to understand?

Here are a couple verses that may help us get a better picture of how God views children, and if we truly want to be more like him, then we need to have this exact same attitude towards children, towards any and all children that he may want to give us, not just the two that we were planning for:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5

"Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'" Matthew 19:13-14

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the immense depth involved in this issue. There are so many more angles to this problem that would take pages to talk about, but as with every other topic we've discussed, it all comes down to defining your life in LITERAL biblical terms. I think one of the biggest concerns couples seem to pose over having kids is not being financially ready, but what makes you financially ready in God's eyes. Does he care if your kids' college education is paid for by you or even that they go to college? If they grow to honor and glorify the Lord, does it matter if they do it with a college education? If a college education is part of the picture for that child, then God will work it out. There are soooo many issues like this that we use as excuses to control our lives and plan them out the way we want instead of relying on God to work out his perfect plan. Get in the habit of asking yourself "Why?". Open up your Bible, and honestly ask yourself, "Do my reasons line up with God's reasons?". If they don't, or you can't find one good verse backing up why you think they do, then maybe you should rethink your reasoning. Choose to honor God in all that you do and stop trying to make your life into what you think it should be.


  1. My first question as it relates to family planning is what actually constitutes birth control? If a woman is familiar enough with her body signs to know when she is fertile, is avoiding intercourse during this time considered birth control and going against God's will?

  2. Hi Michelle,

    The question I think I would ask in response to your question is "Why are you avoiding intercourse, and thereby avoiding pregnancy?" I'm not going to tell you that what you're doing outrightly goes against God's will. I don't know his plan for your life. I will say, though, that I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself about why you don't want to get pregnant at a specific time. Are you afraid you don't have enough money? Do you feel overwhelmed by the kids you already have? Are there other things in your life that you might have to give up if you got pregnant? While those are all valid concerns, they are not beyond God's ability to provide for you and your family. If He desires you to have another child, He will provide all that you NEED, not necessarily all you want or think you need, but you will absolutely be cared for.

    So, I guess the answer is, what are your true motives in avoiding intercourse? Seek God's heart about the issue and see where He leads you.

    Hope that helps :)


  3. Hi Tarrah! Tough issue to tackle! :) I know a lot of Christian couples who have this view going into marriage and are very proud of it and after 3 or 4 kids in a row they rethink it and change there minds, haha! As Jon Courson and many other men of God put it, "Even God stopped creating and rested". I agree with your last statement, seek God's heart about the issue and see where He leads you. Isaac and I are strongly leaning towards adoption. I'm looking forward to being a mom one day and I don't think that I'll alter Gods sovereign plan by waiting to have kids. Good post though, it would be good study.