Saturday, August 21, 2010

Still Quiverfull?

I hate to admit it, but I'm obviously advancing in age.  This pregnancy more than any other has brought on questions from our family and friends.  Sometimes these questions are couched in emphatic statements, such as:  "Surely you're finished NOW!"  or "This HAS to be the last one!" or "When is enough enough already?"

My doctor is very sweet and doesn't pry into my belief system.  She knows I'll decline prenatal testing since we wouldn't abort our baby regardless.  She knows by now not to expect me to use birth control despite her mandatory speech after each baby.  And she knows I know about the increased risk of genetic problems with my advanced maternal age.

So, is this our last one?  Will this be it?  The answer is, I don't know.  Only the Lord knows that. 

Being quiverfull is new for me, though I'm not a new Christian.  I'm reading the Bible in 90 days for the second time this year, but it's not the first year I've read through God's Word, or the first time I've studied it.  I've spent years in Bible study- Precept, BSF, CBS.  I've read MacArthur, Sproul, Piper, and Bridges for years.  Why do I mention this?  Because during all those years of loving God, reading His Word, and reading books about His Word I wasn't quiverfull.  Have you ever not seen something that was right under your nose the whole time?  That's what it was like. 

Have you ever walked into a room or closet looking for something, only to forget what it is you're looking for once you open the door?  If you're like me, you stand there just looking, hoping it will pop out at you.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.  Being quiverfull didn't pop out of the pages of the Bible for me.  I took a different route to becoming quiverfull, but now that I am, it does jump off the pages of God's Word.

I want to share a few references with you that I jotted in the front of my Bible while reading it through this time.  These all have to do with God's view of children as a blessing.  Some of the verses command having children while others show fertility as a blessing or infertility as a curse.  They were there all the time in black and white and I never saw them.  I thought God told Adam and Eve and Noah's sons and daughters-in-law to have children because the earth was barren.  I never considered or even noticed all these other passages.

So, I share them with you in case you're like I was, and have never really thought about it or noticed these verses.

Genesis 1:28- God commands Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and govern it.
Genesis 9:1- God tells Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth.
Genesis 21:6&7- God opens Sara's womb and after having Isaac she says God has brought her laughter.
Genesis 30:22- God opens Rachael's womb and she responds with thanksgiving that God has removed her disgrace.
Genesis 38:8-10- Onan struck dead by God for separating the act of sex from the possibility of conception (spilling his seed.)
Exodus 23:26- Miscarriage and infertility as national curses (in contrast to blessing and protection).
Leviticus 20:20- Childlessness as a curse.
Leviticus 26:9- Fertility and multiplication of people as favor from the Lord.
Leviticus 26:22- Dwindling numbers given as a curse.
Numbers 5:21- Infertility and shriveled womb as a curse from God.
Deuteronomy 6:3-Having many children equated with all going well with the nation (as a result of obedience.)
Deuteronomy 7:13&14- God's giving of many children as a result of His love and blessing (national level).
Deuteronomy 23:1- A man with crushed testicles or his penis cut off was denied access to the assembly of the Lord. (And we think having a vasectomy is a matter of stewardship?)
Deuteronomy 25:12- A woman who grabs the testicles of a man even in order to help her husband in a fight must have her hand cut off in punishment.  (Kind of makes you think God takes this whole seed thing seriously.)
Deuteronomy 30:9- God's gift of many children as a part of His giving success to His people.
2 Samuel 6:23- Michal, David's wife, made childless as a punishment from God for her contempt of David. (Remember just like on occasion God sends sickness as a punishment, it is not the norm.  Usually we see infertility as a curse on the nation, as a result of the nation's disobedience.  This is the one instance I saw childlessness as an individual curse.)
2 Kings 4:16- Gift of a son to the woman of Shunem as a reward for her hospitality.
1 Chronicles 4:27- Having lots of children results in the tribe growing as opposed to not having a large family resulting in a smaller tribe.  (This is in the context of listing the descendants of Judah and it is obvious from the context that having a large tribe is a blessing.)
Psalm 127:3- Children are a gift from God, a reward from Him.
Plsam 128:3- A fruitful wife and vigorous young children seen as blessings from God.
Isaiah 29:23- Many children seen as a blessing (national level).
Jeremiah 31:27- Greatly increasing the population of His people as a future promise of blessing.
Hosea 9:11- Children not being born, growing in the womb, or even being conceived describes the glory of Israel "flying away like a bird" upon being cursed by God for disobedience. 
Malachi 2:15- God says He desires godly children from the marriage union.  This is given as the primary reason in this passage that God hates divorce and being unfaithful to one's spouse.

Quite a list, is it not?  Not comprehensive for sure, but just the ones that jumped out at me as I was reading.  Feel free to add verses in the comments section that I've skipped over.  But, these passages are all from the Old Testament you might argue, the old things have passed away and only the New Testament applies to us, right?  Wrong.

Jesus said that He came not to abolish, but to fulfill all the law and prophets.  In other words, the Old Testament still counts.  Is there a gift of celibacy?  Yes, the Lord has gifted some people with the ability to remain single for His purposes.  But I challenge you to find a verse in Scripture- Old or New- that condones a married couple choosing to not have a child.  God desires married Christians to rear godly children.

So am I still quiverfull despite being in my late 30's?  Am I still quiverfull despite suffering from varicose veins?  Am I still quiverfull on those days that I'm overwhelmed by training the children I already have?  Am I still quiverfull when confronted with the statistics of birthing a "defective" baby?

The answer is a resounding YES.  My confidence does not rest in my ability to take care of all these children- to give them the love and training and home education they deserve.  My confidence does not rest in my husband's ability to provide for them.  My confidence rests in the Lord.  He says having many children is a blessing.  God's blessing seldom looks like what man calls blessing.  God does not condone laziness or self-indulgence, materialism or "me time".  I don't think anyone regards having more children as being easier than having a few children, but God isn't about setting the bar low.  Our standard is holiness and it is only upon striving for His perfect standard that we can fully appreciate His grace and mercy. 

And finally, let me add a caveat about serious health problems and other methods of being quiverfull in heart.

Some (like Rick and Jan Hess) argue that if you're well enough to have sex,  you're well enough to bear children.  I can tell you right now that if multiple doctors told my husband that my getting pregnant could kill me, he wouldn't allow me to get pregnant under any circumstances.  Some men may not feel this way.  My husband does.  He's the leader of our home and that would be the end of our having biological children.  But, the Lord has given us a heart for the orphan and many Christian couples are adding to their families through adoption.  These families are agreeing with God that children are a blessing and are depending on the Lord to meet the needs of their growing families.  I do believe that the declining birth rate in our country and the upcoming resulting decline in the work force of our nation, are a direct curse from God (and a natural result of our lack of respect for marriage and life).  However, I know precious Christian couples who have struggled with infertility and I don't see infertility as a curse on an individual basis as much as on a national scale.  My personal conviction is that God has made certain godly couples infertile so that they will reach out to the orphans of the world that God has compassion on, but most people are blind to.  Children are a blessing, no matter how the Lord adds them to your family!  And in the case of adoption, you also have the privilege of being used as God's instrument of compassion to the fatherless.

Ever heard the expression:  "When you don't know, you don't know that you don't know."?  Ignorance is never an excuse when it comes to God's Word, but more to the point, once you do know something, it becomes a matter of whether you're willing to submit and obey.  Now that I am convinced of the importance God places on godly children within marriage, and convinced that many children are a blessing from God, and even convinced that a separation of the act of sex from the possibilty of conception is condemned by God, I cannot in good faith respond in any other way than by handing over this are of my life to the sovereignty of God.  That doesn't mean I think my responsibility is to be passive and just let whatever happens happen.  My husband and I are not supposed to deprive one another as a rule, but only as an exception to the rule.  Not only that, but there are many orphans in the world, little blessings-in-waiting.  God still calls them blessings- remember children are God's gift to a nation (not just to a family)- even as they sit in orphanages.  Even those children that are never adopted are God's precious blessings and I have so much admiration and respect for the many Christians around the world dedicating their lives to teaching and equipping the orphan.  If you want a fresh burden for the orphan, I suggest you pick up a copy of One Million Arrows and read it.  God will accomplish His purposes with or without us, but isn't the goal of the Christian life to know God and to be used by Him to bring glory to His name?  I think the heart of all believers is to be used by the Lord to accomplish His purposes.  Let's not only be merely willing, but eager to be used by Him.


  1. Just to offer you a little encouragement: My last baby was born when I was 44 with no problems during pregnancy or delivery. I just turned 46 a couple of weeks ago and after recently doing an interview with Doug Phillips and Geoff Botkin, my dh thinks we need to have another baby...that we are not really living out our convictions. Just so happened to have my yearly checkup with my OB/GYN and he did not attempt to dissuade us. He is a Christian and has never encouraged me to have tests done and has always been very supportive. On the other hand, most days I am overwhelmed with the responsibilities involved in teaching, leading, training, feeding and caring for my large family. We have so many stages (did you know we will have our third grandchild in the same month that our youngest child turns two?) going on at the same time that it is physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. I don't know anyone who lives like we do and it becomes very hard to "fit in". My fellowship with local moms has dwindled in the last couple of years, not just because of having another baby but because of lifestyle changes that we have made as well.

    Anyway....I have gone on with my tale when I just wanted to encourage you that you are not too old to have more children! Now, back to my little one!

  2. I love this post Celee.

    Brian and I have finally given this area completely over to God too. (After a few years of "maybe we are, maybe we aren't...quiverfull)

    It's a little funny though:

    I recently mentioned to Brian how my pregnancy with Judah was not so "easy peasy" like the first six. And maybe a number eight wasn't such a good idea. And the words felt gross as they came out of my mouth. And I knew I didn't really mean it.

    And then, Brian mentioned that maybe number eight shouldn't come, until he's finished with his masters, and actually in the Chaplaincy program...and I said, "so what do we do about that?" ... to which he responded (laughing), "Nothing."

    You are so right. Once you have really studied the Bible, and what it has to say on this subject, and again, you're so right, IT SAYS A LOT, you can't turn back.

    We are Quiverfull. Maybe I will even start waving a flag. Maybe. I should probably visit Raising Arrows now, so she can happily (lovingly) tell me she told me so. :)

    I like too, how you mention that ALL children are a blessing. Not just our own. Even in the Christian Community, I think that is sometimes forgotten.

    Have a Restful Sunday!

  3. Well Congrats too you, your 5 now are pretty darn cute i must say.. Good For you, i have 3 and i have even gotten the jokes of what number am i on now- and many others... (silly)..
    That will be so so awesome for your kids, to have a lot of siblings..
    A new followr ill check back with you and your crew..

  4. I love how brave you are Celee to lay this all out. It was an EXCELLENT post and I greatly enjoyed reading the encouragement from it. It keeps my heart in check.
    P.S I think we will be heading your way September 3rd and maybe staying the evening and night?? If you already have plans or will be busy, we can drive on. It's not a big deal. But we would never pass up the chance to stay with your sweet family again. Let me know!

  5. This was such a lovely post!! I'm glad I rolled down to see the rest of your blog. We have 10 children (yes, I had them all, LOL!). Some of my pregnancies have been "rough"...and I'm asked constantly if I'm done yet. God is so good...I try and explain that my children and my home bring me joy!



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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.