Quiverfull clarifications

My post about self-consciously letting God determine our family size stirred up some wonderful thought-provoking comments on both sides of the issue.

Let me clear up a couple of possible misunderstandings:

  • We don’t generally use the Quiverfull label because we feel that this way of life represents a clear Biblical pattern. We don’t think of ourselves as part of a movement; rather we are striving to apply God’s Word to every area of life, including childbearing. I used the label in my post for the same reason that I call myself a Calvinist: I am not a follower of John Calvin, but I do think that he did a good job of summarizing the teachings of Scripture in certain areas.
  • We fully understand that God does not give everyone a large family – even among those who never practice birth control. Although all of us are prone to judge a book by its cover, we have many friends who have small families through no choice of their own, and we strive to avoid jumping to conclusions about where people might stand on the issue. Ann’Re mentioned this in her comment, as did KMC, Hilary and others.
  • We have many friends who disagree with us on this issue. We have many friends who don’t know how we feel about it, and we don’t know where many of our friends stand. This is an issue that often stays between a couple and God, but there is still a right and a wrong answer, and every Christian must strive to apply God’s Word to this (and every) area of life.
  • Yesterday’s comments varied wildly in how they interpreted my post. Some called it kind, sweet, and thoughtful; others said it was merciless, harsh, prideful and judgmental. I tried to speak forthrightly, letting the gospel offend, but I am imperfect. If I was merciless, harsh, prideful or judgmental, please forgive me. If I am wrong, please forgive me; examine the Scriptures and obey them. But if the message offended you and you can’t condemn it from the Scriptures, then you have only 2 choices: obey God or your own will.
  • Caroline mentioned Amy’s chocolate ice cream post, where Amy explains why generalizations don’t always apply to every situation, but Caroline rightly assumes that my post is not meant to be a chocolate ice cream post. If you disagree with my stand on birth control, I think that you are wrong. That’s alright – I still consider you a Christian sister or brother, and you are probably convinced that I am wrong. I’m OK with that. Give your Biblical defense, and I will consider it Biblically. We each must serve God according to the best of our ability and conscience, and God will forgive each of us for our imperfect service to Him.
  • For those with medical conditions that make pregnancy dangerous, let me just reiterate what I said in the first post: If your doctor advised you not to have more children, I understand that yours was a hard decision – but it was a decision nonetheless. You had a choice and you made it. Not everyone obeys their doctor’s advice; not every doctor offers the same advice, and not everyone who goes against the advice of a doctor winds up regretting it. I’m not saying that you should have decided differently. Only that you did, indeed, have and make a choice.
  • We haven’t traveled an entirely smooth path – we lost a daughter to stillbirth, probably due to gestational diabetes. I conceived just a few weeks later and miscarried at 10 weeks. I have piriformis syndrome, which can be crippling in third trimester. We have gone through some dark and difficult times due to other sins in our lives – times in which we were sorely tempted to stop having children. We are unspeakably thankful that God blocked that path from us.

My intention was not to point fingers at those who disagree with us, but to encourage each of us to examine our decisions and convictions in light of Scripture rather than resting upon the standard lines of reasoning. Sometimes our own desires and fears can masquerade as convictions. We are all guilty of adopting the values of the society around us, but we are called to be different. We need to be ever mindful that we are held to God’s perfect and unchanging standard, and often that means conforming our own will to His.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12: 1-2

If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10

Comments

  1. Hey Ladies I could really use prayer. We have three kids 3 and under and have only been married what will be six years in May. We always thought “we wanted” 3-5 kids but didnt think it would happen this close or this fast. I cried when I got the third positive pregnancy test because I felt so inadequate to handle another a child and we had just finished paying off our second child’s birth. After the birth of my third, which was supposed to be a homebirth that ended in a c-section which left us in a lot of debt, God really changed my heart. I Love all my children so much and have really been praying and feel that God would want us to give my years of fertility over to him. My husband is a bi-vocational pastor and we live in New JErsey on less than $50,000 a year, so yes this thought to him is scary. He now has raised the bar to wanting 6 kids lol, but I am just praying that GOd will change his heart to allowing him to determine our family size. I am already trying to have a large family mentality, thrift shopping, cooking from scratch and buying bulk(but I still seem to spend too much money), researching homeschooling that can be done with large families. I am really appreciative of blogs like this and would love prayer that God would align me and my husband’s heart.

  2. I have a lot of respect for those who allow God to decide how many children they have. I have done so too, just not in the way that many of the commenters here have. I used birth control for the first 7 years of my marriage between my two beautiful daughters. Over the last year, my bldy couldnt handle it anymore. I had to go off of it. It nearly tore me apart. Now I had to face the decision, more or no more? My husband and I felt very differently about the Lord’s will on the subject. I felt trike it was the end of the world. It wasn’t.
    We waited until the Lord told us when to have our children. We prayed about it. When I got pregnant with each of my girls we had no idea how we would make ends meet, but, when they arrived we ALWAYS had everything that we needed. My husband works very hard and I did everything I could to run our household frugally and responsibly and we have always been blessed and comfortable. I have always wanted a big family. I come from a family of ten kids and so does my husband. I wanted a third. Over the last couple years we have prayed about it. Even tried a few times. I finally got the answers to my prayers, and it wasn’t the answer that I thought it would be. It has taken me so long just to get to the point where I can say out loud, we are not having anymore. I often get a ‘why’? Because God says our family is complete. I don’t now why. I would love to have more. But I believe that such things a up to Him so my answer is, I am blessed with two and I am grateful for what I have. So, for any one out there, follow what the Lord tells you to do. No matter whether it is 20 or 1, God has a pan for you and can see the bigger picture. We just have to trust Him and know His will is best.
    Don’t judge the others mothers you come across, because her path is not yours, and who knows where the Lord will take her? She may have 0, or 1 or 8. It doesn’t matter. We must uplift each other and give each other strength because no matter what our path, we all have struggles and trials that tear us apart inside. We are here to give each other strength and to lift each other up.

  3. For us the conviction to let God control our family planning is not only difficult but stressful. We have had to deal with people who hate us not only for our Christianity, but ESPECIALLY because of this. I won’t even list some of the things I have been called and accused of. People have called CPS on us and had us investigated and others have threatened to do so. Every time CPS comes they find NOTHING wrong and see that we are good parents, but does that stop them from investigating it the next time someone slanders us and asking us hours and hours of questions and scaring us to the thought that we might lose the kids we love so very much?? There is so much gossip going around about us that even some our close friends are doubting what to believe. Satan has persecuted us and persecuted us hard!! I have lived through so much turmoil in the past few years that if I had known it beforehand I would’ve run away screaming. I have gained 25 lbs of stress to add on to the weight I was already carrying from the pregnancies, and only had 2 months between pregnancies to try to lose it. Do not think for one second that this lifestyle brings peace to everyone. BUT we are pressed but not crushed, we are not destroyed. We believe that God is FOR US not against us and HE will uphold us when the world tries to tear us apart.

  4. I think things are changing and before long it won’t be so odd to have a large family. The people with only a few kids will be the minority and this topic won’t even matter. I agree with others that God is using you to convict, and guide, and demonstrate what to do. Keep up the good work! 😀

  5. I’ll pose a question to you. It’s not meant to be rhetorical, so answer if you can…

    I saw a 2 year old girl on the news who is looking at a kidney transplant before her teen years because of a bout with e coli caused by spinach. The anti-rejection drugs that she will have to take for the rest of her life will prove too toxic for any hope of a healthy child, though she will not be sterile. What say the Scriptures about this? Shall she never marry? Shall she never have relations? Shall she throw this wisdom to the wind and flippantly bring painfully deformed children into the world? Shall she refuse the anti-rejection drugs and risk her life?

  6. You say: My intention was not to point fingers at those who disagree with us, but to encourage each of us to examine our decisions and convictions in light of Scripture rather than resting upon the standard lines of reasoning.

    Honestly, sorry to be very blunt, I do not see anywhere in God’s scriptures where he tells us that we are WRONG if we do not have a quiver full of children.

    It is NOT a sin to NOT have children. Nowhere does God say “Do not use any means of birth control at any point in your life.” or “A quiver full of children you must have to be pleasing in my sight.” or “The marriage bed is undefiled if it produces many children.” (Rather, doesn’t Matthew say there, “Marriage is honorable among all” which would mean that marriage is always to be honored, regardless of the number of children it produces, for whatever reason, since he puts in no caveat about the number of children there.)

    Well, anyway, my point, I guess, is perhaps it would be more helpful if you showed which scriptures you refer to in order to get your conclusion that there is no excuse not to have a quiver full of children… Rather than using this “standard line of reasoning”, which has become popular in the last few years.

    I absolutely agree with your point about it being a personal decision, which to me, means it’s not a matter of sinning (or being WRONG) any more than a person’s being a vegetarian rather than carnivorous is a matter of sinning! (Romans 14)

    Thank you for your posts. I like it when I am made to think, and appreciate being able to say my say sometimes! 🙂

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