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and that the command to be fruitful and multiply (given initially in Genesis 1:28 then again in Genesis 9:1) is never rescinded.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?
- 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.