Four Moms: How Did You Know You Wanted or Could Handle a Large Family?

The Four Moms: Life in a Shoe, Smockity Frocks, Raising Olives and Me

In just about every area of life, quite a bit depends on what sort of foundational ideas you choose to accept or reject.  In connection with our ideas about family size and fertility, here are some of the foundational ideas  we’ve accepted or rejected.  Oh, and this list is not intended to be comprehensive. I wrote this post in about hours in the middle of the night before starting off on a road trip.

What we accepted

There is a Creator. He desires to be known. He created us and has certain expectations for us. He’s omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.  He has made known to His creation His desires for us.

The Bible is the inspired word of God.  It is complete.  2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:21

God promises never to give us more than we can handle- providing the ‘we’ in that equation is God working through me, because I sure can’t do anything good on my own. . 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:31 and a whole host of others  Therefore, while  I didn’t know, I trusted.

God’s word says that children are a blessing.   It also says that children are at least one of the purposes of marriage, Malachi 2:15

God’s word says that children are a heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Psalms 127

God’s word says that God opens and closes the womb, so we decided to leave Him to do that as best He pleased.

Mark 9:27 has a lot to do with why we adopted, and why we are so open to the two little boys who spend so much time with us.

God’s word never says that children are a burden, a curse, or something to be rejected.

God promises to provide.

What we accepted, we believe, is God’s viewpoint of children rather than the world’s.

Parenting isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being sanctified. I am a deeply flawed human being.  I am not naturally sweet, patient, kind, gentle or organized.  I fail all the time.   But I am actually better in all of these areas than I was when I had just two kids.



What we rejected:

The myth of overpopulation

Any chemical method of birth control; any birth control that has a back up system designed to cause the death of a child- that is, the demise of a conceived embryo. That means the birth control pill and any hormal birth control method. Any birth control device designed to kill, chemical or otherwise. That means, the IUD.

In short, our entire public school indoctrination on any topic connected to family size.

Complacency about sin in our lives or accommodation for sinful character in our lives.  This is a ticklish one.  It’s one thing to know our weaknesses.  It’s another to use our weaknesses to excuse ourselves from obedience.  Here is where our starting ideas are, again, so important.  Once we accepted the premise that God was in charge of how many children we have, that God considered children a blessing and not a curse, and that we wanted to view children as God did, not as the world did, then we saw the previous statements we’d made about them as complacent or accommodation for sin.

Suppose somebody said, “Well, I know God said not to use his name in vain, but I’m just loose with my lips and lack self control in this area and have very bad habits.”  Is the response, “Oh, okay, then you can continue to blaspheme?”

No.  So, given our foundational premise that children are a blessing to which God desired us to be open, it was no longer acceptable to say, “Well, children are nice, but I am an impatient person.”  No- it became imperative instead to work all the harder on putting off  the impatience.  Many of the reasons we’ve heard (and some we uttered ourselves) for rejecting God’s blessing of children are inherently selfish (not all of them, but definitely man of them)- they are about us and the fun and freedom we want to have.

We also rejected a premise that is kind of assumed by the question.  We rejected the idea that the goal is a large family.  It’s not.  We made that mistake ourselves- I first thought I was trusting God when I was really only giving Him ‘permission’ to give me the large family I’d always wanted.  Then I lost a baby at 16 weeks and discovered I had no idea what trusting God truly meant.  I thought I figured it out and then I had six more years of infertility and realized I’d still not really learned what trusting God meant.

The goal is to glorify God and to trust Him, in our case, with both fertility and family size.  That means you may have no children or one, or ten.  Or twenty.  That means you may have multiple miscarriages. That means you might adopt one, two, a dozen, or some other number.  It might mean secondary infertility, late term miscarriages, and years of no babies when you are so baby hungry every monthly cycle or phone call from a newly expectant friend might end with you huddled in a corner of the bathroom sobbing over your empty arms.  It has meant  all of those things at some point in our lives.

These are our convictions for our family.  Obviously, we think they are good, right, and true, or we would not hold these convictions.

However, we are not in the habit of counting other people’s children and coming to a conclusion about whether they had or have enough or whether they trust God or not.


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