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!
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