Friday, September 18, 2009

My Journey to becoming Quiverfull Part I: What is Quiverfull?

First of all, for those of you who think I’ve taken up archery, or worse yet that I’m talking about some pathophysiological process that involves bodily tremors, let me define “quiverfull”.

Quiverfull is a fairly recently coined term that is sometimes used as an adjective, as in we are a quiverfull family or we practice quiverfull family planning, and sometimes used as a noun, as in the recent Quiverfull movement. The word is derived from Ps 127:3-5 that talks about how children are a reward, and likening them to arrows in the hand of a warrior declares the man that has his “quiver full” of them to be happy or blessed. The full extent of the meaning and practice of quiverfull, varies almost as widely as the people who refer to themselves as such, but it always carries with it the idea that children are a blessing from God and that the command to be fruitful and multiply (given initially in Genesis 1:28 then again in Genesis 9:1) is never rescinded. Therefore, quiverfull families tend to be larger than average. Some, quite larger.

Quiverfull as an ideology extends beyond just giving up contraception, though. It includes the acceptance, no embracing of God’s Word and His sovereign control over every aspect of our family life. To some this means accepting a closed womb and doing nothing to enhance fertility. To others this means being open to adoption as a means of practicing “true religion”. To some this means trying to have as many children as possible. And to others this means not “trying” to do or not do anything in regards to family planning, but to let God determine the number of children they will have.

Since this is the tale of my journey, I’ll further define what quiverfull is to me. I believe God is absolutely sovereign over every aspect of our lives, whether we choose to “give” Him that control or not. In that sense being quiverfull tends to lend to my husband and me more power than I believe we have in determining the size of our family. I am under no illusion that I can change God’s will. So, quiverfull to me is about obedience to the Word of God in this area of my life. It’s about accepting and embracing the role I play in life for the brief time I’m on the planet. It’s about welcoming children as the blessing God says they are and training them so that they will be like arrows, fiery missives to spread the gospel far beyond where I will ever tread. Arrows, like God’s Word, the Sword of Truth, an offensive weapon used to combat the worldliness of our culture. And as a weapon is to a soldier, my security in the battle that is life. It’s amazing when you think about it this way. What soldier would go into battle without a weapon, or with as few as possible? And which of us would choose NOT to receive a reward from the very hand of God?

The problem is we are no longer in agreement with God about what constitutes a reward. I bet we can all agree that a surprise $1 million inheritance from a distant relative would come as a welcome reward. Well, what if you had to jump through a few hoops to claim it? I know I would bend over backwards to accommodate the giver of this gift. I’d be willing to travel around the world to pick it up if need be, charter a plane or boat, whatever it took. I would put my life on hold to obtain this reward. It would be unthinkable to say to my magnanimous relative that we weren’t interested in the hassle of claiming our million. It doesn’t make sense. No one would be that short-sighted. But it appears we have been. We’ve thumbed our noses at a reward from God (that carries over into eternity) in order to have our momentary conveniences.

Being quiverfull to me means that I agree with God that children are what He says they are: a gift, a reward, a blessing, an inheritance, not what the culture says they are: a drain to society, a pollutant to Mother Earth, an inconvenience.

What is quiverfull to you?


  1. I agree with your last paragraph. However, I don't know of any Christian that wouldn't at least verbally agree that children are a gift, reward, blessing, and inheritance. BUT, they don't necessarily live it out. ("Our hands are full with the (2) we have...", "We need to devote ourselves to 'the ministry', so we're done...", etc. You've heard the excuses, for what I would consider simply a lack of trust in the One who alone is the Author of life.)
    A friend on the MOMYS digest put it well, and I hope you don't mind my sharing what she said:

    "I just had some thoughts on being "quiverfull" . For me it is not at all about being under the old testament law of being fruitful and multiplying. It is more about having the mind of God which says that children are a blessing and a reward and that the man who has his quiver full is blessed.

    "It is about understanding that the gift of sex in marriage is not only about creating a bond of oneness and intimacy but is also for procreation. Of course as our bodies die (read age) we lose the ability to procreate, but until that time it doesn't seem natural to separate the gift from the design for the gift. I try to remember that while God graciously allows us to participate in creation the He and He alone is the creator of life.

    "Knowing this it is simply trusting that He has a plan, far better than any plan I could come up with, for our family and the children that will be born.

    "It is also about presenting my body as a living sacrifice to His will by bearing the children He would create, all the while remembering that I will be saved (not salvation) through childbirth. And what better sanctifying grounds than a house full of children to lay down my life for."

    Anyway, this probably just reiterates what you've said. Sorry to take so much space!
    Blessings to you!
    Mama to five here, two with Jesus, a new one coming in November!
    (found you through Life in a Shoe, and, always being fascinated by the "quiverfull" topic, I had to comment!) :)

  2. very good post! i agree with you...qf to me is accepting God's will in my life, whether He bless me with more children or not. there was a time not too long ago when i'd thought we were done, that God wasn't giving us anymore blessings...then He surprised me with our baby due any day now! and i look forward to the gift she will be...assuming she decides to come out!

  3. I agree with you! I did a couple posts on Qf awhile back. I thought we were done at 2 but God put it on my heart the more I read the Word! We now have 5 (so far) The world thinks we are crazy, but I'm over it now haha! I myself think it's pretty clear what the Word says, but yet feel so alone in my thinking around other Christians. I'm glad I don't feel alone in the "blog world" I know their are other Christian women out there who are seeking God's will! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh WHAT A GREAT POST!!!!! Quiverfull to me is accepting that children are a blessing from the Lo! Accepting as many children as he will give us, even if that means no more! it is a reliance in the thought that HE is in control! i love what Sheila said about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice! Would you mind if I wrote a follow up to this on my blog and linked your post???

  5. So this is Part I? I assume that means we (your blog audience) will hear more on this and I am looking forward to it. Anyway, I started to read about this topic the other day especially after seeing all the buzz on FB when the Duggars announced their latest pregnancy. Wiki has taken a quote from Piper's Desiring God Ministries and I'd love to know if you agree or disagree with this quote.

  6. I have 3 more parts already written in which I cover my journey starting with the book America Alone by Mark Steyn and dealing with the themes of legacy and patriarchy. I will post them over the next few days.
    I'd love for you to get in on this on your own blogs and link to this one, too, if you'd like. I realize many of you have already covered this on your blogs, but I have a lot of friends for whom this is a new concept. Plus, I love writing about it. Thanks for all the thought-provoking comments!

  7. Girlfriend, as if we could find more things in
    Quiverfull to me, has saved my heart. I say that because God has taught me how to truly love through becoming "Quiverfull". He has opened my eyes to my children (and all children for that matter) in a way I never would have seen on my own. I was so selfish and truly looked at my children as if they were such an inconvenience. I loved them dearly but didn't want any more of them. What a sad kind of love is that. But since the Lord began to work in me (and my husband) about His purpose for children and His love for them, I began to see it differently. Now I say, at least everyday, "He is so cute, I wish we had ten more just like him!" or "She is such a sweetie, I wish we had ten more like her". I raise my children differently now also. So Quiverfull to me was a life change. A new understanding. A "new heart of flesh" to replace my "heart of stone". God is so good.

  8. This is a beautiful and thought provoking post. thank you!

    I think you and I are in agreement about what quiverfull means....

  9. Great post. I'll definitely link this up on my blog.

  10. Just last night I was at a Revival and I told the Pastor's wife, 'I pray the good Lord would bless us with another." Her mouth dropped to the floor(okay for all you QF's...we only have 3 and would LOOOOVE more)By her reaction you would have thought we had ten or something. It's been about two years since I have been QF minded. Since then I have been pregnant and miscarried. So painful but lesson learned: God is in Control during the good and bad times. I turn 40 at the end of the year, I pray it's not to late in my child bearing years but know God can do anything. With this I am learning to be content with what I am BLESSED with and enjoy the sweet fruits I have been given by our Creator!
    I love my church and the people but really looking at the make-up of families, none of them have over 4 children. So sad...we need a revival in our Churches on QF movement!!! We need the support!

    Well, blessings to all and my advise to all you in child bearing age...Pray for more arrows!

    Thanks for the post!

  11. Oh, the looks we received as we walked into the grocery store when we were still in the process of adopting Faith! 5 children, the oldest one was black, the younger ones all little white clones of each other calling out to their big sister...... We got many comments, like, wasn't 4 enough, as well dirty looks because we were not black or because she was not white. They just didn't understand the love in our heart for our children, our growing family and our God.

    Thank you for your encouraging posts!

  12. Well defined and well stated! That is exactly where we stand and it did not happen overnight. It has been a long process. It is amazing to see how the Lord works in each of our lives to bring us to Himself and reveal to us His intended will.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.