I guess I’ve never really written on my blog how I feel about whether people should use birth control or use natural family planning or let God decide how many people to put in their family. It is a controversial topic. But since I have used the theme of “sharing our journey”, I will now describe my journey to the understanding and reasoning that I have now about limiting or not limiting family size.
When my husband and I first got married, we were naive about everything but thought we knew everything, like most young newlyweds probably are. We talked about children before we got married, of course. I said that I wanted at least 3 children, since that was what my family had, and I figured that worked out pretty well. Gary said he would like to have an even number (for whatever reason), so we said, ok, we’ll have 4. And that was what I was shooting for. Sort of.
It was never a real concrete decision that I thought I would never change my mind about. It was just a nebulous idea of how our future might go. After all, I knew that I couldn’t predict the future or control it.
I have a tendency to let God lead, and I follow. That means my ideas and opinions have changed about a lot of things. And I have learned about things that I believe the Lord led me to, when I wasn’t even interested at first and had no clue that there was an issue. Many things that our society as a whole accepts, I was led to reject and do the opposite.
The number of children our family was to include was one of those things. I didn’t know that God really cared one way or another about this issue until I started really seeking Him about it after I had Patrick, our third child, and he had some birth defects. I was devastated, of course, but the Lord helped me through the guilt and confusion and fear as I pressed into Him and trusted Him to take care of Patrick and to give us a good quality of life in spite of his “limitations”. I have told Patrick’s story in the posts under the category Patrick’s Testimony.
One of the big questions I took to the Lord was, “Should I have another baby?” We went through some genetic counseling, and the doctor told us that it was probably just a fluke, and the chances of us having another baby with arthrogryposis were very slim.
I still needed to hear something more definite from the Lord about it. So I kept praying. I felt like He told me to talk to a slightly older woman at church who had 5 children, and she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, and she knew about things that I didn’t know about living a more natural, healthy lifestyle. So I went to her house and asked her how she felt about birth control and the matter of limiting the number of children, etc.
She shared with me about natural family planning. Her husband actually kept a chart of her ovulation, so that they were both involved in making the decision of whether to have another child and when. I highly respect their wisdom and their partnership in praying together and discussing these things and communicating so intimately with each other. They were both open to having another child at the time I talked to them. He was as accepting of the idea as she was.
I took these ideas and meditated on them and ordered a book from Focus on the Family about how to keep track of my fertility. I read the book and learned enough to be able to tell pretty well when I was fertile. I kept praying for God to show me His heart about this whole issue of how many children I was to have.
Soon after I had Patrick and started his therapies and surgeries, etc., I found out I was pregnant with number 4! Patrick was 10 months old when I got pregnant again. I learned some things about the birth control pill that I found troubling. I also learned about the history of birth control and Margaret Sanger and found out that her reasons for pushing birth control were mainly about getting rid of black people. I prayed about birth control. I believe that God revealed to me that it is not His will for His people to use these forms of birth control. Most of them actually destroy an egg that has already been fertilized or keep it from being able to implant after being fertilized. In reality, it is aborting a pregnancy that has already been started. I believe that God causes that life to happen and we don’t have the right to destroy human life, even at that stage.
As I prayed about it more, the Lord led me to the line of reasoning that goes like this. Who makes people? God, of course. Who knows what people should be in each family? God, of course. Who knows how many people should be in each family? Yep, we all know the answer to that. Who should decide how many children we have and which children would be in our family? I came to the conclusion that it was God’s place to decide all of these things, not mine. He knows the future. He has the spirits of new people in heaven that He intends to send to earth, and He knows which of these spirits are supposed to be in my family that He wants to put in my and my husband’s care. He knows these things. My husband and I don’t. When it comes right down to it, number doesn’t matter. The heart of the matter is letting God have His way in our lives.
So what we basically ended up doing is letting God lead this area of our lives, just as we let God lead every other area of our lives.
I believe that God gave us just the right children and that He is pleased with our acceptance of His will for our lives. I could not be happier. I am so glad to have each and every one of my children. I am happy to still have young children side by side with my older children. My older children have learned so many good lessons from helping with their younger siblings. The younger children are so happy to have their older brothers and sisters to play with and learn from. We are proud of our big, happy family. We are close-knit and each of them loves all of their brothers and sisters. Of course we are not perfect. But I believe we have a higher level of family satisfaction than many other families that I have observed.
As I said before, it’s not the number that matters. What matters is obeying God.
God gave me ten children. I feel exceedingly and abundantly blessed to have such a full quiver.
That’s my journey.
I praise the Lord for my full quiver.