Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Their 5th Birthday...Why We Have Chosen to Let God Be Our Birth Control-er

DISCLAIMER - I am not speaking here to the "general public" but to people who profess Christ and the authority of the Bible in their lives. I have already received one very rude comment from a non-Christian, but I am not addressing non-Christians here or expecting them to act Biblically in the area of fertility. I am also not trying to tell anyone what to do, but am trying to encourage fellow believers to seek Christ in this area of their life rather than mainstream culture (or even mainstream Christian culture which I believe has been heavily influenced by our secular culture in this area). My husband and I have been heavily convicted by Christ in this area of our lives, and I am simply trying to share our story and convictions with a genuine heart. It took someone else stepping out boldly and sharing this with me to send me searching through the scriptures, and I hope to do the same for someone else.***

Five years ago today I was lying in a hospital. Three tiny babies had just entered the world 13 weeks early and each weighing about the same as a 2lb sack of sugar. For the first two years of our marriage, my husband and I had used the birth control pill to prevent pregnancy. Actually, I had run to the nurses station on campus practically the minute Robert proposed to me between my first and second year of grad school. I didn't even think about it. I was getting married! It was time to go on the pill! For two years I took it faithfully. Never really even thinking about not taking it. That's just what you do, right? You prevent babies for a few years so you can have fun, "enjoy" each other, make money, buy a house. And the world (and most Christians and family members) encourage this pursuit. It's rare to have a mother/brother/aunt/cousin encouraging the opposite. I don't think I had ever heard ANYONE wish a pair of newlyweds "May you be blessed with many children!" or "Good luck conceiving on your honeymoon!" I bought into the whole scene. I thought it was good for us to be "alone" for a few years, but is that in any way Biblical? God's command to Adam and Eve was to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28), not "focus on yourselves for a few years. Do what you want. Make lots of money, and when you're ready, have 1.3 children and call it good so you minimize parenting time and can get back to having fun much sooner!" It sounds ridiculous coming from why do we accept it coming from the world?!

Two years later we felt "ready" to have children. I stopped taking the pill and was just sure I'd be pregnant in no time! A month went by. Then another. Then a few more. Then it had been half a year. 9 months. When the one year mark of not taking the pill came and went, I got worried. Not to mention I was super sad and it felt like everyone around me was getting pregnant with more and more pregnancy announcements being made practically each week. Oh, the irony. I had taken a pill for two years to prevent the very thing I was now so desperate for. So again, without consulting God, we took charge and headed to the doctor's office to "get me pregnant". I begged my family medicine doctor to write me a prescription for Clomid. I had been charting my temperatures and monitoring my cycles, and I knew that since going off of birth control a year prior, my body had never resumed ovulation. I needed a drug to kickstart those ovaries. And kickstart it did! I took ONE dose of Clomid (a pill you take by mouth for 3 days in a row) and BAM. Not only pregnant...but what did my wonderful new OB see there on the ultrasound screen? Several tiny black amniotic sacs. "Um, it may just be the way I'm looking at this..." he began nervously "or you might be pregnant with twins." I sat up on my elbows, and squinted my eyes trying to look even more closely at the grey grainy image. Then I saw not two...but three. "What's that third thing?" I asked. We'd know a few months later...that was Grace:)

The first few years of having triplets was a blur. I never went back on the pill (yuck. I don't want something messing up my cycles like that ever again!) but I had read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, and I knew when to "avoid relations" so to speak to prevent pregnancy naturally. But around the time the triplets were two years old, God started putting people, blogs, and books on my path that all pointed me in a different direction. In His direction. It was radical (well, only in the sense that it was totally different than everything everyone else was doing!). But it made sense. It made so much sense and suddenly it felt like scales had fallen off my eyes and I could see things in a whole new (beautiful) way. God says children are a blessing. God blessed so many people throughout the Bible by giving them children or by promising them innumerable descendants. But even deeper than that: What about trusting God? Why do we feel this need to (try to) control our fertility? Didn't the creator of the universe create our bodies? We trust Him (or should trust Him) with our finances, our health, our safety, our children (already born), so why would we deviate suddenly and withhold our trust in the area of our fertility? Did God make a mistake? Did He not design our bodies "properly" and needs our help??? I think the biggest myth out there is that if we trust God with our fertility, we'll all end up with 20 children. That just isn't true. First of all, a women's fertility is limited. It begins around 12 years old (give or take) and ends around 50 (again, give or take). That's, on average, 38 years that a woman can conceive - it's not like she'll keep having babies forever. Take into account exclusive breastfeeding (I breastfed Abigail exclusively and did not resume a monthly cycle until she was 18 months old!) and a woman would, on average, have a child every 2-3 years (that seems like pretty gracious "spacing" to me, especially since I started with three at once!). Yes, some women like Michelle Duggar who got married very young and has had several sets of twins, do have almost 20 children. But I know women who have given this area to God who ended up with only 9. Or 7. Or who currently have four and would give anything for another sweet baby but year after year no baby comes. I know women who have miscarried child after child. I know women who have looked to God with open arms but a first baby never comes. Trusting God with your fertility does NOT guarantee 20 children. In fact it doesn't guarantee ANY children. It means you trust Him whether he gives you 20, 5, 1, or 0. But you let HIM decide. You stop trying to control it. You stop thinking you know better than God. 

As Christians, God has commanded that we "be fruitful and multiply", that we "fill the earth and subdue it." The best way to do this is by having children and raising them for Christ. The church exerts so much effort and money trying to gain followers or "grow the church" by adding newcomers, but have we missed the most obvious growth tool? Have children! If believers took God at his word and were fruitful and actually "multiplied" the church would be growing exponentially from the inside out! Our nation is in a state of serious moral decline and has strayed so far from what our Christian forefathers intended for this "One nation, under God" and yet, have we done it to ourselves? When we stopped obeying God and started cutting off his blessings (preventing children or reducing family size), Christians became a minority. You know how we can change this nation and stir up a revival that leads people back to Christ? We can have children. We can see them as the true blessings that they are and we can welcome them into our homes and our churches! 

Did you know that if a couple has 2 children and each of their children continues to have 2 children for the next 10 generations, that produces 1024 descendants. But if that same couple had 4 children, and each of their children had 4 children, in that same amount of time (10 generations), that number would be 1,048,576. Yes, you read that right...over a MILLION. The number doesn't grow linearly, it grows EXPONENTIALLY. If Christians heeded God's word and were fruitful, and multiplied, we could make a HUGE difference in our culture in just a few generations' time. Imagine what a couple having 6 children would produce...or 8...or 10! And if we truly believe God's word, those children would not only bless our world, they would bless US. The sacrifices and the hard work of raising them would be completely and totally worth it. And who knows, we might just find ourselves actually enjoying having all those little people running about, making us laugh, bringing joy to our families, our churches, our communities. In fact, most of the women I know or whose testimonies I have read after they have given this area of life back to Christ actually seem to start desiring the birth of a new child more and more after each blessing is born! And I don't think I know anyone who at the end of their life wishes they would have had LESS children! It's something to at least think about, anyway. Pray about it. Don't just do what everyone else is doing because it's "common" or "easy" or "less work". God is never about those things. He has bigger plans. His word says so. 

If this concept seems totally new, radical, or mind-blowing to you (like it was to me just a couple of years ago!), there are a few books that go way more into depth on this issue. Most of these books even have a question and answer section devoted to the common questions and concerns that arise when people are first starting to think about this topic. My two favorites that I've read several times are:

Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell

A Full Quiver  by Rick and Jan Hess

Any of the Duggar's books are really good resources as well. They are a very Godly family and are very intentional and loving parents with some great tips for families of any size! And of course, the Bible. Both of the books listed above do a great job of walking you through God's plan for families and fertility through the Old and New Testaments with tons of scripture references that you can later look up on your own. 

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the childrena of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!"
Psalm 127: 3-5


  1. I am blessed to be married to such an amazing woman. A model of true femininity. Thank God he has opened our eyes and hearts to the truths and blessings of big families. I look forward to baby #5.

  2. From a mama that has made the same decisions as you: thank you! I needed this today to feel a little less alone! :) Very well said!

    1. You are not alone, sweet friend! Even if you were the ONLY woman trusting God in this area, you would be pleasing Him and as a sweet aroma to Him in a world reeking of disobedience and selfishness. But I am so glad this was a blessing to you...thank you for taking the time to say hello!

  3. Yes, the lies are out there...and, yes, they are harmful. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord. And, you are right...I don't think anyone ever wishes they had LESS children!! I certainly don't! How precious it is to know that the Lord knows and makes no mistakes. Every single child is a gift directly from His hand. You have voiced so beautifully these things and are a blessing. May the Lord use your words to be an encouragement to others in the high calling of wife and mother. He is glorified when we proclaim His truth. Many Blessings, Camille

    1. Oh thank you, Camille! That is my true goal and intent with these posts and with the decisions I make as a wife and encourage others and to please Him! "He is glorified when we proclaim His truth"...may it be so!

  4. Something I'm praying about as well. I'm pregnant with my third at the moment, I went through the same evolution of "birth control" that you did. I was charting (to avoid, not to conceive) when I got pregnant with this one and I suddenly realized, God controls this - not me. I'm simply observing it!! I'm working on my husband, though, who thinks that 3 is enough :)

    1. Oh, Kristen! That sweet baby is going to be such a blessing! You are going to marvel at how perfectly God timed his/her conception and how scary the thought that had you had "your way" you may have never known that precious child! Our 4th baby came at a very stressful time in our live. Others would have NEVER counseled us to have a child in the midst of everything we were dealing with. But God knew better! And her birth and sweet presence ended up being exactly what we needed right at that very moment! She was such a saving grace and gift!

  5. I love hearing your testimony! We have had a very tough journey, and folks often see our 8 children and just assume ... well, they assume a lot. :-) Let's just say that God grew our family His way, in His timing, through His grace. My husband and I pray daily for more blessings, but if God's plan is that we're done, we're ok with that, too.