Monday, May 2, 2011

Letting God Plan Our Family


Olivia Pearl - our youngest daughter


When young people get married, the common trend these days is to wait several years before they think about having children. They build up their careers, make sure they have a nice house, and all the other material accoutrements that modern day Americans supposedly need, and then think about possibly bringing a child into the world. All that time, the couple is careful to religiously use the method of birth control they have chosen to ensure that an "accident" does not happen.

My husband and I have been married for eight years, and have four children seven and under. Obviously we have not adhered to this trend for newly married couples. We married young - I was 19 and my husband was 21. About a month before getting married we attended Natural Family Planning Classes which were being offered at a local hospital, thinking that to be the morally acceptable way to control the number of children we had. We kept attending the classes after we were married, trying to faithfully follow the method they taught us. About a month after we were married, we sat down and had a long talk. We asked ourselves why we were trying to prevent children? I was already staying at home, we both wanted a large family, so what why were we trying to prevent? Most importantly, we asked ourselves if there were any scriptural principles which would support a decision for child prevention. There were and are none to be found. After praying and discussing it some more, we decided to stop any form of birth control, and to entrust the "planning" of our family to the Lord. He graciously scheduled our first arrival a few months later!

Since that time, our conviction in this has been tested. My health has not always been the best, and at times my struggles with my adrenal glands have been quite severe. I very nearly miscarried my second child at 13 weeks, and was put on bed rest for a week as I lay there bleeding. I cried out to God many times, begging Him to save the life of my baby. Miraculously, the miscarriage stopped, and after that I thought all would be well. However, I went into pre-term labour with him at 32 weeks. Again, by God's grace, it was not until 37 weeks that he was born healthy and at home.

I struggle with terrible morning sickness while pregnant, being worn out, fatigued, discouraged because of my own failures in keeping my home, etc. My husband has to sacrifice having his wife to himself as I go through periods of morning sickness, giving birth and healing from that, fatigue while pregnant, and fatigue while being up all night nursing.

So why do we continue in not using birth control?

Simply because we feel that children are a blessing from God and that we have no place in meddling with his design in this thing.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Psalms 127: 3-5


In spite of all the difficulties and discomforts that happen while pregnant, as soon as the baby is born and I gaze into it's eyes and at that moment I know it is all worth it. After my birth with our third child, (which was a fantastic birth) I exclaimed minutes after "I can do this again!" The Lord gives me strength when I need it.

I always nurse for at least a year after giving birth, and so far that has prevented me from getting pregnant before our baby is a year. The shortest space of time between two of our children in order is 21 months. The longest is 29 months. The Lord seems to know when I'm ready for another baby. Many times I make comments while my baby is still little about really hoping I don't get pregnant again soon. Then my baby hits a year old, and I'm longing for another one!

Many of the questions we have been asked are, "how can you afford it," "how do you handle so many children," "how do you have the time?" And the list goes on and on.

My answer to these questions sounds trite, but it's true.

The Lord provides.

We have never know starvation, our children know that we love them, and we have time for our children because we make the time. Right now, the only activities we are involved in take place at our church. We are not involved in very many outside activities. My husband comes home from work and spends time wrestling with the boys, reading to them (right now they are reading "Swiss Family Robinson"together), talking with our three year old daughter, and holding our 16 month old daughter. He does not have hobbies (though he will admit to really liking Apple products!), rather he sacrifices his time and interests to raise his children. Also, we home school, so I'm at home with the children all day.

Is it a sacrifice? You bet it is.

Is it worth it? Ever so much.

At the end of my life I'm excited that I will be surrounded by children and grandchildren, not merely achievements and wealth to show for my life. My legacy will be passed on into that of my children, and our family name will be continued, and I pray it will be passed on to the glory of God.

Admittedly, there are lots of questions and what ifs when you choose to trust God with your family. I don't have all the answers. This is something you have to agree on and receive conviction in as husband and wife. The current climate in our society, in large part, is anything but friendly towards having and raising a large family. Be prepared to receive derogatory comments from nearly everyone - strangers, friends (including many church friends) and yes, family.

Here are some resources that my family has been encouraged from.


Babies, Adoption, and Large Family Logistics - While we don't agree with every philosophy in this set, many of the thoughts presented are convicting and encouraging. I especially loved the panel talks that were given for ladies on the logistics of handling a large family! You can purchase it cheaper from Amazon right now, or you can purchase the MP3 version at Vision Forum.






Start Your Family: Inspiration For Having Babies - This book encourages young couples to not wait once they get married to have babies. They address all the common questions presented to young people. I highly recommend this book!


Be Fruitful And Multiply - Written by Nancy Campbell, this book presents many scriptures to back up the concept of letting God plan your family.




Pregnancy Test Strips - I know many ladies who have large families use lots of pregnancy test strips! It can be quite expensive if you use the ones at the store. These strips are very affordable, and work great!


This post is linked up at:


Labels:

23 Comments:

At May 2, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Blogger Christine said...

I love this post! I love so many of the resources you referred to! Start Your Family and Be Fruitful and Multiply are amazing resources. A friend from church let me borrow the Baby Conference cds and they were such a blessing for me to hear. Blessings!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 9:27 AM , Blogger The Tucker's said...

Thanks so much for this post! It means a lot to know that we are not alone in our choices. My husband and myself feel it is a calling from God to leave our fertility up to God and he has done nothing but wonderful things for my family since making this decision!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 9:29 AM , Blogger Megan Kaiser said...

Great post! I just got married last December, I am 19, my husband was 24 now 25. By God's grace both of us were raised with a mother with your mindset and beliefs with allowing God to plan the order and spacing of their children- so we're are also trusting this in God's hands. :D Me and my husband await whenever God allows us to have our first blessing, if in His will. :D

 
At May 2, 2011 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I are the opposite, we want children so very much. But the Lord is leading us through a trial, my husband just had a surgery to help with infertility, and we are hoping and praying that it works!!!! Children are a blessing to the Lord and I will never take for granted any that He may give me.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with letting God plan your family, but when my husband and I got married, we literally DIDN'T have enough money for a baby to come right away. We were finishing up college and neither one of us had jobs. If we had conceived right away, we would have had to quit college and move in with our parents to be supported by them. People need to know there is a method of delaying childbearing for a while without hurting or changing your body or having to abstain from lovemaking. We found a method of "birth control" that didn't use hormones to control your body or mess with the woman's body. It's called the contraceptive diaphragm. It can be used with or without spermicide and is not 100%, but we have never had a "pregnancy scare." It is a barrier method that the woman wears inside the vagina which blocks sperm from getting to the cervix, but it CANNOT be felt by the husband, allowing full skin-to-skin contact. (sorry if that is is TMI, but a young woman needs to know things like that, even if it embarrasses her.) Here's the most important thing, though. We paid our tithing, even when we were dirt poor. We knew that the Lord would honor his word when it comes to providing money when you need it if you diligently pay your tithing. We told the Lord that we were going to use this diaphragm to try prevent having a baby right away, but if he allowed sperm to get past the barrier, then he was telling us that now really was the time he wanted us to conceive and that he would provide all the money we needed. We still felt like we were leaving the matter of children up to the Lord because we were in no way preventing it 100%, and we would have rejoiced if the Lord had different plans for us.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 10:45 AM , Blogger mosey said...

I really enjoyed this post! Our kids are 9, 8, 6, 5, and 18mos...

I've had to learn also how to trust God with our family size when He says no more. It's been a real struggle, but we are not physically able to have anymore children. Our youngest daughter is adopted and it is the MOST amazing thing in the world to experience, and also the hardest. The adoption journey teaches SO much about Who God is and how HE adopts us. It makes it so tangible.

Anyhow, I like that you included the vision forum's baby conference, I haven't heard it yet (Am REALLY wanting to!) I am thrilled that they are endorsing and encouraging adoption.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM , Blogger Miranda said...

I commend you for your descison. I was 18 and hubby 20 when we got married in 2008. I was also taught that birth control is wrong. We conceived the month we got married. I'm almost 21 and I have a 2 year old. We used birth control until this last month. My hubby just wasn't ready. And in that perspective I think it wouldve be wrong to not have any birth control. I need to submit to my hubby. We are now hoping to get pregnant (me more than him; I'm sure). I hope to breastfeed my second. Hopefully we can naturally plan our family this next time.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 12:21 PM , Anonymous Tiffany said...

I so agree with you Caroline!! That's why I have a 10 month old and am due in 2 months with another one. :) LOL We also have a 6 year old and a 2 year old. God knows exactly when and how many we can handle. The only reason we would ever stop is if it became an extreme health problem for me. As it is now we deal with tons of back pain and I can hardly walk by the end of the pregnancy but God is good!!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 1:20 PM , Blogger Colleen said...

This is an excellent post and as a Roman Catholic, I agree with everything you have said here. These are many of the reasons why we are not supposed to use birth control and it is wonderful to see this idea and belief being promoted elsewhere.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about those of us whose husbands aren't "on the same page"? Like Miranda, my husband "isn't ready" right now and will rattle off a list of "reasons" why now isn't a good time to have a baby. The answer to all of them is "If God blesses us with a baby, He will provide for it," but he isn't willing to "be irresponsible" like that. I too suffer during pregnancy (severe morning sickness) but despite that I strongly believe that God *will* provide--we have never gone hungry or shelterless (even when it meant living with my parents for a time). I also strongly believe that if He makes babies come when the time is right, He keeps them away when the time is not right.

But--and sorry to be blunt--I cannot control where my husband "finishes" our intimate encounters. So I am in a position that I would have to refuse to be intimate with him because we do not use any other form of birth control and he has chosen to "control pregnancy risk" in that way. Given the way it makes me feel (used physically) I am inclined to do that anyhow.

So do I deny my husband intimacy to follow my God-conviction? Or do I submit to my husband and just pray that eventually he "gets it" too?

 
At May 2, 2011 at 1:54 PM , Blogger Erin J said...

Thanks so much with for the encouragement. We are pregnant 30 weeks with our 4th. Of course just like with the last pregnancy people are so overly concerned with when I'm going to stop my uterus. lol! But my husband and I just trust that God knows when it is time. Its even harder cause in the community I grew up in(African American) we are only expected to stop once you get your boy and girl. I got boy and girl with the first two so they thought we lost our minds to keep going. I havent even had the easiest pregnancies just like you but I love my children, my job as a mother and wife and homeschooler. Basically all things of the homelife I have grown to enjoy and gain much pleasure and excitement from learning more new ways to run the house. I have many friends with fancy careers who think that I have settled. And I just smile cause they just dont understand the joy that I have found right here as a wife and mother. No job could do that for me and I truly feel it is the beauty of God's design for the family. If we follow his plan it leads to abundant joy.

 
At May 2, 2011 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Caroline said...

@ Anyonymous,

I would never try to hold to this belief if both the husband and wife were not in total agreement on it. This is something where if your husband does not share the same conviction, as hard as it is I would not counsel a wife to hold it over his head, and refuse to act as his wife until he shared the same conviction. I have heard amazing testimonies of how the Lord has changed husband's hearts, and on the way to getting a final "fix" where they can't have anymore babies, the Lord convicts the husband that it is wrong. Just keep praying, and loving your husband! :)

 
At May 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

Thank you for posting this! My husband and I started discussing leaving our family planning (we currently have a 15 month old daughter) up to God a few weeks ago, and the day we started praying about it and almost every other day since then it seems I have come upon a new post from someone who is writing about how they did just that! :) Thank you so very much for your blog and for writing about things that aren't currently socially acceptable but that other Godly women definitely need to hear!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 8:29 PM , Blogger HappilyDomestic said...

I am here to testify that God can (and will)change a husband's heart. My husband and I had our first 2 children young (ages 21 and 23). My husband expressed very strongly from the beginning that he only ever wanted 2 kids. He was excited when he had his vasectomy because that meant no more condoms (we didn't use birth control pills as we knew it could cause a baby to abort). He was happy about his new found freedom! I on the other hand was unsure. I cried when it happened, but convinced myself this was best because of our financial situation, I could be a better mom with only 2, etc. However...God had different plans for our lives. Three years after my husband's vasectomy I was hit with the worst bought of the baby bug that ever was!!! I mourned for our loss of fertility! It was hard to even go out in public and see pregnant woman walking around. I deeply cried out to God to allow me to conceive miraculously. I discussed my feelings with my husband who thought it to be a "phase" as our 2 children were getting older. He ensured me it would pass. I then started to pray for God to change his mind on the matter. I knew my calling in life was to be a wife and mother, I did not want that to end at age 40 when my kids would be grown!
One day we heard that the Romanian Orphan Choir would be at a local church. We went to hear the children sing but what we received was more than that...my husband left there knowing his life would not be fulfilled if we did not adopt! Well, we didn't adopt. We did look into it..got our passports, etc. But what did happen is we met a family that the husband had a successful vasectomy reversal! At first my husband was unsure. He didn't want to back away from adoption, but he also knew what it meant to me to carry another baby in my womb and experience that once again. So, 5 years out from the vasectomy he had it reversed as it worked!!! We now have 2 beautiful boys as a result and my husband....well, he wants a LOT more! lol We also plan to adopt whenever the Lord opens the door for that. I must admit, it isn't always easy to trust God with our family size. I have had 4 c-sections. I get worried about having more because of this. I know it could get to the place where it is no longer safe, but I don't want to come to the place where having to choose permanent sterilization is an option. I guess this is where I learn to trust.
Anyway, didn't mean to write a book here, but I wanted to tell our story and hope this has helped those of you with husbands who are resistant to more children. :-) There is hope yet!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 8:32 PM , Blogger Caroline said...

Thank you so much for sharing! That is a wonderful testimony!

 
At May 2, 2011 at 9:37 PM , Blogger Eve said...

Thank you for this well-thought out post. It really helps to 'hear' that the decision has been tested for you, too. I think that is quite validating as choosing to follow God's plan is not always easy for any of us. You and your husband's decision to be faithful is such an encouragement to me. It's just so refreshing to see other families who love, honor and welcome LIFE!

 
At May 3, 2011 at 7:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of those wives whose husband is NOT on the same page. We have always struggled to get, and stay pregnant. We have three biological and one adopted. My youngest is 3 months, and my pregnancy with him was fought with complications, even in the delivery room. I want to trust the Lord in our family planning...my husband is scared he'll lose me (a real possibility) should I become pregnant again. It's a hard place to be, but God will intervene. My husband is a tender-hearted man, long-suffering, and will certainly yield to the Lord. He'll hear the Lord's conviction at some point and obey. Ladies, those of you who are not on the same page as your husband, pray for them. Prayer always works.

 
At May 4, 2011 at 10:42 AM , Blogger April said...

Wonderful post! I wrote a similar one if you are interested:
http://countrymomto4.blogspot.com/2011/02/are-we-done-yet.html
Can you answer a question for me? You can email me if you'd rather at: april.myabundantlife@gmail.com. You said that breastfeeding for a year has prevented pregnancy during that time. Did you have your period at all during that year? I'm a little distressed that I haven't been able to get pregnant yet since my last one was born, because that's never been an issue for me, but he is still nursing quite a bit at one year old (at night also). But, I've been having my period regularly since he was three months old. I'm wondering if nursing is preventing pregnancy. I'd love to hear your experience! Thank you!

 
At May 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Emily said...

We too married young - I was 19 and my husband 22. At first we just assumed of COURSE we would wait a few years, isn't that just what everyone does? And, in ignorance of how it worked, we used the pill as our method of birth control, again just because that's what everyone else did. We had been married three months when we listened to Pastor Mark Driscoll's sermon on Birth Control online. God convicted us that our only reason for not having children right away was that we were selfish. We weren't rich, but we had the space and knew God would provide. Pastor Mark also presented further information on how the pill works. My husband walked into our bedroom and tossed the rest of my pills in the garbage, halfway through a pack! Two weeks later I was pregnant with our first. Now, just over two years from that day, our second is due any day. It's been such a blessing to let God plan our lives and I look forward to as many more children as he chooses to give us. I'm so thankful my husband is totally on board with this as well. All that being said, I would never pass judgement on someone using a non-abortive method of birth control as long as they felt they were within God's will. Since the Bible never forbids it, I will not make a law where God didn't (that's what the Pharisees did, Jesus wasn't too pleased with them!). Yes, children are a blessing, and I do think that many, many people are denying themselves that blessing and living outside of God's will. But there are exceptions and seasons of life where having another child would not be wise, and I think God honours the intent of our hearts.

 
At May 6, 2011 at 4:42 PM , Blogger Audrey said...

Great post!! My husband and I got married young too (18 and 20), and decided we wanted to have a baby right away. I wanted to be done at one, but my husband wanted a second. He prayed for me to change my heart, and I did! I got major baby fever, and we conceived again right away. Unfortunately, we miscarried. We were absolutely devastated, and decided NO MORE. We were going to grieve and then look into our permanent options (hubby was getting a vasectomy). We were so stubborn, and I told God "The only way we will have more children is if it's an accident, but that better not happen." Well, I didn't even have a full cycle in between the miscarriage and conception! That baby changed my life. Not just the circumstances of the pregnancy, but also her birth (she was my VBAC--her name means "Victorious"), and now her life. Then a year ago, God started working on my heart. I knew we planned for me to be home and homeschool our children, but we were going to stop at two. Then God started giving me HIS heart for children, and convicting me. Suddenly I wanted more.... a lot more! I knew I wouldn't have any more without my husband being on board so I prayed and asked God to change either my heart or his heart. He finally agreed to have one more baby--in 5 or 6 years. I kept praying and reading my Bible, and as God revealed things to me, I would discuss them with my husband. Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back was one of Mark Driscoll's sermons... that convicted my husband. Suddenly he wanted another baby soon--and he wanted more after that! Now I'm 17 weeks pregnant with our third (the one that is a result of our major heart change!), and we are so happy about it. Our family was upset because we are not very well off financially (we get by, but we have a lot of hard times), plus my mom (who was a single mom herself) thinks that my husband will leave me someday. She was extremely angry when she found out we were expecting again. But we know that God provides, and that children are a blessing! Not to mention--our "intimacy" has been so much better-so much more free! It's like chains are loosed. There is freedom in trusting God, and in ways you would never expect!

 
At May 16, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Anonymous l'astucieuse said...

This was a lovely blog, but it doesn't take into account what another young woman said. It is financially irresponsible to bear children when neither of you have the means to support yourselves and pay off student loans, let alone another young, vulnerable life that is solely dependent upon you for food and shelter.
This also assumes the luxury of mothers being able to stay home and take care of her little ones. Unfortunately, not all of us are thusly blessed.

 
At June 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Reagan said...

AWESOME!!! Very few people take that approach (we too are one of the few) God blessed us 6 years after the birth of our first daughter with another bundle of joy, disclosing the new member a week after the doctors told me I would have no more! God is so glorious in His planning for us! Can't imagine my life without her!

 
At January 10, 2012 at 6:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like Emily, my husband and I also stopped using birth control when we heard the Mark Driscoll preaching on birth control. Eight months after stopping, I was pregnant with our first. He is now 8 months old :) I am exclusively breast feeding my son and have not gotten my period back so I assume it will be a while until I am pregnant again. To be honest, my husband is traveling all over the US right now working so it would be very hard to have another one so soon but if I think of the reasons why I don't want another yet- they are selfish reasons. Reasons like I don't want to get less sleep, I don't have time, too much work, too much money... But we are set financially and I feel god won't give me anything I can't handle!!

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home