Divine Appointment: Babies are a Part of the Gospel Picture

I had such a sweet opportunity to share with a woman about children and their role in demonstrating the gospel to the world.  I realize more and more the simple lack of connection that so many people have, and so I’m more eager these days to just drop a seed and let God water it.

I was alone, sitting in the waiting room.  The lady beside me began talking and eventually asked me if this was my first baby.  “Glad you’re sitting down”, I joked.  When I told her it was my ninth, she was truly shocked.  And the questions began.

There was no hint of disdain in her voice,  just sheer curiosity.  She was open. She truly wanted answers about this “bizarre” reality.  And she appeared to be a Christian.

So I answered:

“We just believe that children are a heritage from the Lord.  And along with that, they help paint the true picture of Christ the Groom and His bride, the Church.”

“How do you mean?” She asked.

“Well, God established marriage to be a physical picture of Christ and the church.  In short, it’s a “mini-church” meant to reflect, in every aspect, the relationship between Christ and His bride.

And what is the one thing most churches desire?

To grow.  To increase in numbers. They recruit new members, they evangelize, they advertise, they do everything they can to grow the church–both their local body and the greater body.

How can we expect the Lord to bless our efforts there if we refuse to allow Him to grow the family as He sees fit, in order to demonstrate this parallel in a physical sense?

Isn’t it hypocritical to refuse new members into the family but beg for them in the church?  To turn away “visitors”, potential disciples, from our marriage union?  Would we want to be known as “the church that turns away visitors?

If we don’t allow the evidence of consummation in our marriages, aren’t we leaving out part of the gospel as we are called to paint the picture, as Christ will consummate His marriage with us, His Bride, on the last day, and the “fruit” of that consummation will be revealed to all?”

The woman stared at me.  I was hoping she wasn’t mad, hoping that I spoke gently and without accusation in my voice.

“I have been a Christian for 19 years and I have NEVER heard of that or thought of that in my life, and it makes so much sense”, she said slowly.

Praise God for Divine Appointments.

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71 Responses to “Divine Appointment: Babies are a Part of the Gospel Picture”

  1. Lori says:

    Yay! What a great story! Hope it truly takes root in her heart!

  2. Gayle says:

    I was *just* having the conversation with my husband this morning about “things we’ve never heard after all the years that we’ve been Christians that make so much sense now”. God has opened up my eyes SO much in the last year or so, and while I’m thrilled beyond belief over it, I am also deeply grieved by how far our Christian culture has gone from Biblical precepts.

  3. Mrs. S says:

    Praise God! What a great appointment!

  4. Teresa says:

    What a wonderful divine appointment! I am deeply grieved that our culture has treated children and those who choose to “be fruitful and multiply” so poorly…with an almost hatred. Unfortunately for me, this message was too late…I felt pressured so much by my own mother and doctor to have a tubal ligation after my third child that I did it 1 hour after giving birth!!! The reasons I was given were: I had such difficult pregnancies with weeks of bed rest, I have 3 healthy children, why risk it and have a child with special needs, it wouldn’t be fair to other children, and the like…I am regretful and sad that I cannot have anymore children (a reversal is not possible due to now having a complete hysterectomy). I have sought forgiveness and pray that maybe God would bless me with adoption. And I don’t even know why I decided to spill my heart out on your blog…sorry…maybe this will help others to let God be in control…then you will have no regrets!

    • Smiles says:

      We too stopped ourselves from having children – mine was for reasons of Christian feminism – if those two words can go together! – But we did. I wanted two – I had two, a boy and a girl so that was perfect and I wanted to maintain my “career”, part time of course :). We thought we could have it all. . . God, kids, great marriage, etc. We had never been taught to be fruitful and multiply. When we heard these Scriptures taught – our hearts broke . . . 20 years married, two children (one 9 and one 12) and now we are seeking to do it HIS WAY. While we saught repentance, we grieved a long time.

      At times we do still grieve. But we are seeking adoption now – saving up our pennies to grow our family. The hard part is waiting for the little pennies to come in.

      Praying more families see this is about God’s Ways getting passed on and that many more don’t do what we did. Children are a blessing and a heritage. AND WE WANT MORE OF THEM!!!

      more of our little story as the Lord continues to reveal HIS WAYS to us: http://goodnessandgraceblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/starting-to-see-whole-picture.html

  5. Mrs. Santos says:

    “Well, God established marriage to be a physical picture of Christ and the church. In short, it’s a “mini-church” meant to reflect, in every aspect, the relationships between Christ and His bride.”

    This really hit home with me. My family a “mini-church?” The implications are enormous.

  6. Quinn says:

    And praise God for ladies such as yourself who can articulate their beliefs so clearly! Hope you pregnancy is going well. 🙂

  7. Kim M says:

    That is awesome, Kelly. I wish I could be so eloquent. By the way.. that picture… is disgusting. I am sure you agree! 🙂

  8. Linnie Lues says:

    Wow Kelly, what a beautiful picture! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Charity says:

    Sadly, I wouldn’t have been that vocal. You are an inspiration to us all Kelly. I pray the seed you planted will grow.

  10. LucyT says:

    WELL DONE KELLY!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Beautiful. Just beautiful. I’m going to commit this to memory. 😉 So I’m ready.

  12. Jennifer says:

    What a blessing! That picture – cracked. me. up!!!

  13. Ashley B says:

    Kelly,
    You’re a genius! What an amazing metaphor, and I never thought of it that way!
    Ashley

  14. Jennifer says:

    “If we don’t allow the evidence of consummation in our marriages, aren’t we leaving out part of the gospel as we are called to paint the picture, as Christ will consummate His marriage with us, His Bride, on the last day, and the “fruit” of that consummation will be revealed to all?”

    Eh, no. I love your words, but I think that’s tying to the analogy of Christ and church too closely, and it’s not really the same. The fruit of a marriage would be a joyfully altered and strenghtened man and woman.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Jennifer,

      “I think that’s tying to the analogy of Christ and church too closely”

      Perhaps. But my point was that our earthly marriages are consummated and generally, the fruit of a marital union produces growth. If marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, we need to present a complete picture. If we choose barrenness in our marriages, it misrepresents our marital consummation and therefore speaks untruthfully of Christ and His Bride.

      • Jennifer says:

        Thanks for the reply 🙂

      • Khaliah says:

        You can bear fruit in your marriage even if no children are present. If you have the husband and wife come together, learn about each other, and grow so strong that you can SENSE that they love each other deeply, is that not evidence of being fruitful? If they are true to each other for the entirety of their marriage, still flirting and holding hands even in their twilight years, is that not evidence of being fruitful?

        Children are a blessing, yes, but the most imperative thing before children arrive is the compatability and actual love between the husband and wife.

  15. I enjoyed reading this blog. My husband and I just had a conversation about it tonight. He is an amazing Christian man and it is so easy to follow his lead because He is always seeking after the Lord! Not too long ago we were challenged with the concept of birth control. Although I had thought about this some, for the most part we never really thought about not being on birth control. Our plan was to pay off our student loans and then start having kids. We decided this would be best since we have agreed it is pertinent that I raise our kids at home. Although we would probably start trying for kids (or at least stop not trying) if we weren’t in debt, we saw this as part of “being a slave to the lender”. We felt (my husband especially being the provider) that it would be responsible to pay off our loans first. We have talked about it, and prayed about it. Right now, we just are not sure that we should go off birth control. Although I would love to have babies and stay home with them, I know that my husband makes an excellent point (plus he is usually the more logical one). I want to trust God, but I realize that I am under my husbands authority, and I know he is seeking God so I can trust him in that. We are considering going off birth control next summer possibly because financially it may work out for me to work one more year while being pregnant (it is kinda complicated with my loans – if I teach 5 years I get one of them reimbersed). I realize that it could just come down to trusting God – if we go off birth control and it wasn’t time to have a baby, He simply wouldn’t allow it. If we did have a baby he would definitely provide financially for us. I know this is a long story, but it hits so close to home. As I said, we have both been seeking God on this, but it seems like there is more than one aspect to look at. What are your thoughts on this. Please be sensitive. I do not claim to have all the answers. Any insight you can offer would be great! Ultimately I will support my husband in his decision knowing he has sought the Lord with all his heart.

  16. Cathy says:

    Kelly,

    I have ten kids, and I believe that God has established the size of our family. So, obviously, I have no issue w/big families. Candidly, though, I think this is a stretch. Jesus said that He would build the Church, so the idea that we’re recruiting, evangelizing, etc., seems to run contrary to what the Bible says.

    Perhaps I would even disagree w/your stated role of the church. I do not believe the church was established for unbelievers, and while we have a mandate to share the Gospel w/the lost, the church was established so that believers could gather for encouragement and worship. In “Why I Love the Church,” John MacArthur states that “the Church is the earthly expression of the heavenly Kingdom.”

    Would you mind sharing biblical evidence, in terms of equating the family to the Church? I’m just not seeing it. I assure you that I am not being antagonistic.

    Cathy

    PS I appreciate that you weren’t dismissive of the woman who began to ask you questions about the size of your family. I know that when I was pregnant, and people would ask how many other kids that I had, I would ge defensive thinking that they were bagging on me. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that most people are merely curious, and often have an admiration for you, particularly if your kids act halfway decent while out in public.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Cathy,

      We actually agree. This statement: “I do not believe the church was established for unbelievers,” is absolutely correct, from Scripture. The reason I discussed “evangelizing and growing the church” though is to make the point that most Christians view this as a worthy and necessary function while ignoring the natural building of their own families. (And more simply, we should all agree that God desires to “grow” His church universal, so marriage should mirror that proliferation.

      “Would you mind sharing biblical evidence, in terms of equating the family to the Church?”

      Rats! I thought I was being clear, but I may need to change/add/clarify?

      It’s the simple analogy that the Bible itself uses–marriage between a man and a woman is compared to Christ and His bride. It’s interesting that you ask me where “family” is compared to the church…marriage IS the family, with children as a natural extension of marriage in most cases (and actually even in barren marriages we are instructed to care for children). Because children can be divorced from the marriage, we have a hard time equating “marriage” with family.

      My entire point was that if marriage is to be a picture of Christ and the church (which I believe Scripture expressly teaches), then divorcing the “fruitful and multiply” part from marriage gives a distorted picture of the gospel.

    • Lori says:

      “Perhaps I would even disagree w/your stated role of the church..the church was established so that believers could gather for encouragement and worship.”

      -Well, as a matter of fact, the Church was established w/ those things in mind. But according to Jesus, the *primary* function of the Church is to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18-20)

      According to Jesus, the Church’s *primary* function has little to do with gathering worship in the modern conventional sense. We are commanded first and foremost to “Go and make disciples..baptizing them..teaching them to observe all (Christ) has commanded.” His commands would be His Laws. Like in Deut 6:7 “You shall teach them (God’s Laws) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

      This is your Scriptural support for the comparison of the family to the Church. What must the Church do? Disciple the nations – teach them God’s Laws, nurture, chastize when necessary. What must the parents do? Disciple their children – teach them God’s Laws, nurture, chastize when necessary. This is why, in order to be a leader in the *Church,* a man must be a good leader over his his own household and children first (1 Tim 3:4).

      You see, for people like Kelly and me, we understand our life service – the bulk of our *worship* – to be so very tied up in the Great Commission, Dominion. THIS is dominion. Not taking up swords or squashing our opponents. It’s about discipling people and honoring God’s Law. And it begins in the home. We gather, we teach, we disciple, we forgive and learn to live in peace, we learn to honor authority, we worship in the home first. “In short, it’s a ‘mini-church’ meant to reflect, in every aspect, the relationship between Christ and His bride.”

      • Ginger says:

        Thank you for the scripture references. I assume that’s what Cathy was asking for.
        It’s so sad and self-centered that we should think church is only for believers to gather together and worship. Church is for equipping the saints to preach the gospel and thus fulfull the Great Commission. It’s not about us. It’s about God’s glory.

      • Word Warrior says:

        Lori,

        Thank you–very well said.

        • Cathy says:

          YIKES! I understand that the Church isn’t about us. To presuppose that one is “self-centered” to think that the Church is for the saints to gather and worship is to miss the point. I understand the Ephesians passage, but my point is that I do not see a connection with growing your family (in number) and the picture of Christ and the Church.

          Kelly’s post wasn’t about the Church necessarily, but, rather about having lots of kids. And, that is where the argument (for me) breaks down. I don’t believe that it is wrong (or sin) not to want a big family, and not to have a big family. “Be fruitful and multiply” doesn’t mean that anything less than having dozen kids is unacceptable. This is hyperbole, so, please, take it in that spirit.

          I think that is where we differ, and I am happy to let it go, and move on. We probably won’t agree, but that doesn’t mean that I love Jesus any more (or less) than you, my fellow sisters in Christ. It does mean that w/in the body of Christ there are differing viewpoints, and that since we will be experiencing Heaven together, we can still enjoy fellowship because of the greatness of God. And, to parrot Ginger, “It’s not about us. It’s about God’s glory.”

          Before I close, I would like to pose this question: Since I am not an advocate of “Dominion theology” or only homeschooling (my husband and daughter teach in a public school, but I also homeschooled all my kids for many years, before most of them went to traditional school) or of stay-at-home daughters, would you still want to have lunch (this is a hypothetical lunch since time and space wouldn’t permit it) w/me, based on the fact that we are joint heirs of Christ? I view these issues as negotiable ones, while you view some/all of them as Biblically-based, and ones on which you won’t compromise. Is that a deal-breaker? This is an honest question, so if you choose to answer it, no snarkiness allowed (if I knew how to insert a smiley face, I would, but I don’t see that option).

          Enjoy your Saturday. It’s raining the Bay Area of No CA. Ah, bliss.

          Cathy

          • Word Warrior says:

            “would you still want to have lunch…is this a deal-breaker?”

            LOL! Are you really serious? Me thinks you’ve been tainted by the “anti-us” camp 😉 (You can make a winky smiley by typing a semi-colon, dash and close parentheses.)

            I not only WOULD have lunch with you, and love you, but I already have lunch with and love many friends who don’t necessarily have the same theological viewpoint as I do. Though I know you don’t mean it, I get really irritated at this presumption that “we” are so close-minded that we aren’t friends with “people who aren’t like us”. That’s preposterous.

            And may I address another hint of your misunderstanding…you said, “Kelly’s post was about having lots of kids”

            Oh no it wasn’t. Not at all. (This is how the rumors get started 😉

            My post was about “welcoming” disciples of Christ into a family where the natural fruit of a marital union can be seen and mirror the same welcoming attitude we should have about the body of Christ. It’s was about ATTITUDE not numbers. There are unions who never have babies. There are unions who only have one.

            Why is it so hard for me to get my point across that if we “disdain” children, and yes, a large percentage of Christians do that, though they would never admit it, we do not speak well of the God who gives them to us? If we “cut off the godly seed” on purpose for our own indulgence, we ignore God’s Words in Malachi…”Why has he made them (husband and wife) one?”

            If we are to represent a picture of Christ and the church within our marriages, how is it not a misrepresentation to purposely avoid “building” our homes just as we expect to build our churches?

            Why does God speak about the “blessing” of a fruitful wife and many children and the “curse” of barrenness? (This isn’t meant to hurt those whose wombs the Lord has closed for His purpose, but to point out the pattern of Scripture and how we think of our fertility)?

            I understand the position of “what works for you is OK and what works for me is OK, even if they’re different…but it’s prudent that we discern whether or not there are issues that Scripture provides enough wisdom for us to emphatically say, “this should/shouldn’t be so among His followers”. We don’t even have to be dogmatic, just wise enough to uphold the general principle of fruitfulness that is so clear from Scripture. (And consider what NOT doing so has resulted in and the snowball effect it has had on how we value life?)

            Repeat: I’m not about numbers. It matters not the size of one’s family, only the heart of receiving what God has called “a heritage from the Lord”, recognizing that HE creates life and thus has earned the privilege of giving it or taking it as He sees fit.

            • Cathy says:

              Kelly, this will print twice. I intended to reply under your last reply, but failed to do so. Feel free to remove the last one in your comment section, unless, of course, you believe that it’s worthy of being twice! Hardly.

              OK, Kelly, so I really DO have other things to do today, but I will make an exception to write this quickly. I’m so noble, don’t ya think?

              I was about to write earlier (in my second missive, but it got too lengthy) that I beleive that having kids and using birth control are matters of the heart. That is, that if I use birth control and grit my teeth, loudly declaring that I don’t want any more children, under any circumstances…well, I think that is the wrong heart attitude. I used to fear having another baby, so FOR ME, fear isn’t a reason to use birth control, because that isn’t trusting God. The Holy Spirit will work w/each one individually, so that isn’t for me to “help” Him out by hammering on other believers who aren’t like-minded. In the old days, I was the battering ram of truth (as I saw it, anyway).

              I understand that your post wasn’t exactly about having large families, but, obviously, when you write of allowing (I have grown to hate using that word–as if I could “allow” God to do anything…I’m starting to sound pedantic, but that certainly isn’t my intention) God to bless families “as He sees fit,” that MAY involve lots of babies. And, when you speak of numbers in the Church, and draw an analogy, then a logical conclusion MAY (again) be that having a large family is for what we should aim.

              I like you too, Kelly, because as followers of Christ, His blood is coarsing through our veins (before anyone comments, I do NOT believe in transubstantiation–I know that my analogy isn’t akin transubstantiation, but I want to clear that up before letters come flying into my head), and because of that fact, we can enjoy and speak of the glories of Christ.

              I konw people who don’t believe that women should wear pants, who believe the KJV is the “only, true Word of God (and that is a direct quote),” and while I may think that they’re nuts (said fondly)–and that their beliefs have no basis in Scripture, I love them in Christ. I pray for them, they pray for me, and as Barney would say, “We’re a happy fam-i-ly.” And, for the record, I am not a fan of Barney, but that’s a good quote.

              I told my husband that I am leaving in ten minutes. He needs my car to be out of the garage so he can change the oil on another car, so I must depart…which is far better, to quote a famous apostle! My man has been patiently waiting on me…I love him so. Have I mentioned lately that he’s a stud?

              NOW, I’m leaving.

              Cathy

            • Michelle says:

              Good response Kelly.That should leave no question,very clear!
              Another thing that I would like to see touched upon is those who believe in the dominion mandate and yet struggle so hard while obeying it.Struggle in the sense that they are wiped out from back to back babies and trying to homeschool,be a wife,and housekeeper, and all they seem to be able to do is sleep,from exhaustion and wonder if they are still doing what is right.I know a few people who feel that way,myself included.I know for myself,I’ve had back to back babies twice,the second time was more recently and now I’m pregnant again with #7 and was just finding my energy and strength from the last two…I find myself questioning at times if I’m doing this the “right” way or if this is the only way and how on earth do I get schooling done if I am too tired to do it???I know a clean house can wait,laundry can pile up etc…but to me,school cannot wait. I know this is the direction God wants us to go in,but struggle nonetheless.Is there just a handful of us out there that just do not have the energy during pregnancy and after babies or are the rest of the women taking some secret energy powder that keeps them going like the energizer bunny and the schooling and everything else gets done???Or is their homeschooling lacking,alongside the housework?It seems as though all I can do sometimes is make sure everyone is fed and clean,with my daughters pitching in with diapers,meals and laundry.ugh…slow motion with the days passing quickly.

              Michelle

              • Lori says:

                Michelle, I am one who holds to Dominion Theology. One of the first things to know is that that idea is fairly broad. For our purposes here, you should know that some of us hold to “open womb,” and some of us do not believe that open womb is the only way to understand the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.” I am of those latter people. I tend to agree w/ Rev. Douglas Wilson who wrote (I believe in his book _Reforming Marriage_ a fab-u-lous book btw) that what the Bible does not clearly prohibit we must be very, very careful about prohibiting – or remaing silent (I don’t have it handy, please understand this is my paraphrase).

                I think if you have looked at your schooling and feel there’s nothing more you can cut back on to a more core routine, or nothing more you can delegate out (through a co-op class or something), then you could first, ask for help. Let your friends and family know you could use some help, just so you can rest and recoup. Be honest. After that, I would say that after much prayer, then go ahead and rest for a while. Again, to say that you want to have a rest time for a few extra months, or a lot more, before your next child, that is not an abandonment of your duty to be fruitful. That’s taking a rest. The point is to be prayerful and honest, and in the Scripture. Douglas Wilson also once wrote, “if another couple know that children are a blessing, and they use birth control in order to “space” their seven children, I would be hard pressed to say that this was an example of some kind of compromise. A man can have a high view of apple trees and still not plant them a foot and a half apart in his orchard.”

                A lot of times people who are open womb say it’s faith-based, meaning you embrace by faith all your trials, even pregnancy, as they come. Because children are a blessing. But we also know that persecution for the Lord is blessing, and yet the Apostles also sometimes (not often, but sometimes), made an effort to avoid persecution. It’s about bringing glory to the Lord, and spreading His kingdom. Sometimes that means marching forward in the face of great trial, most often. But sometimes it means resting, or laying low. Jesus took rests. He didn’t always perform miracles, or heal people, or preach to the public. Sometimes he just slept, or let others minister to Him. And He was the most tireless and selfless servant of eternity.

                Idleness and aversion to work is not of God. But rest is.

                • Michelle says:

                  I see your point.I guess my main question is…Is resting between babies ok?Because,in order to rest,one would have to use some sort of birth control.So,how would you rest/”space out”,biblicly,between children? I’m having a hard time understanding that.
                  As far as having any type of help,that is a luxury that I do not have,no co-op classes,no family,no friends.We moved 1,600+ miles away from family and friends 3 years ago and even the church that we go to is SMALL.Three couples, out of the 15 or so families,live in town.So,it’s been hard in that respect.I’ve just been trusting that God has us in this place during this season in our lives for a reason.

                  • Lori says:

                    Michelle – oh dear, I can certainly understand your plight. My husband and I were in a very similar situations a few years ago, but with way less than 7 children, and it was hard enough! As for your other concern, I think anything that is quickly reversable (so you can follow God’s leading) and doesn’t harm a baby is safe – so no hormonal birth control. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong w/ using one of the other methods of birth control in the context of what we’ve discussed so far. If you would like to discuss this more, you’re more than free to e-mail me via my blog e-mail, which is public.

              • Heather says:

                Hi Michelle, Not sure if you breastfeed, and if you do, how often or until your babies are how old but… I would suggest to you “ecological breastfeeding.” I first heard about it from Nancy Campbell from Above Rubies. You can google it and get a good understanding about it w/out reading the many books written about it. The average return of ovulation is when baby is (I think) 14.6 months.
                I believe that is God’s natural spacing and that nothing else is necessary. And in God’s sovereignty, if He does allow you to have close pregnancies despite that, then He has wonderful plans through it.
                I KNOW how hard it is to have them so close, and how terrible it is to be so sick and horrible feeling. Our first 2 were 13 months apart and I had severe morning (all-day) sickness. I had difficulty nursing so I barely nursed at all so I got my period back very quickly. After that were 2 miscarriages (one with severe sickness, one without) and then another healthy live birth all within 2 years.
                It has been very trying for us in ways and we definitely just go into “survival” mode when I am pregnant which is sounds like you are in too.
                As for the homeschooling, I don’t know if you read Kelly’s post a couple weeks ago about a book by RC Sproul, Jr. called “When I Rise Up” but it is an awesome read. It is very encouraging and I think it might help you to pare down to the most important parts of homeschooling– talking and instilling the Word in them. And with your bigger girls helping you, it is wonderful for them imo b/c it gives them practical ways to learn.
                I will be praying for you. God bless you!

                • Michelle says:

                  Hi Heather,
                  Thanks for the book suggestions.”When I Rise Up” has been on my wish list for some time now.I will for sure look into both of them.
                  As far as breastfeeding,I have breastfed my babies from anywhere between 10 months to 1 1/2 yrs. and I normally will ovulate around 5-6 months postpartum,on average.I’ve never had a period return any later.With baby #5 I had my period 2 months postpartum and conceived baby #6 when he was 5 months old.He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 12 months old,two months later I’m back to a no sleep schedule.When she was 4 months old she was sleeping through the night until she hit 6 months and then back to a every 4 hour schedule!Finally at 11 months(this past June) she started sleeping again through the night.I realized that within a 24 month period I only got 4 months of a normal 8 hour sleep night,2 months one year and then 2 months the next.Of course since June my body has just been enjoying this sleep and it seems as if I need 10 hours a night now,it’s like my body is playing catch up.Children #2 and #3 are 16 months apart and #5 and #6 are 14 months apart.I had a miscarriage in June and then conceived again in July.This next baby will be about 20-21 months apart and I believe,had I not been so exhausted from the last two,I would have conceived a lot earlier.I usually have severe morning sickness as well,I have been hospitalized with most of my babies because it gets so bad.God has spared me with the last baby and with this baby and I’ve had just the typical nausea/queasiness,that I only heard about in fairy tales,lol,that has just been on and off throughout the day.Trust me,I am very thankful for this type of nausea and I really feel that God has given me a little break with that.We really don’t believe in using any type of birth control now.Although,we have in the past used birth control.We both have been convicted in this area.After baby #4,I had a tubal ligation and after our convictions,had a reversal in 2007.Even after the reversal we thought that if it didn’t involve using drugs then it was okay.But,more recently we have just come to realize that we are still not allowing God to have control if we are the ones controlling when and how far apart we should have our children.Anyway,my issue is just more of the schooling of our children and I want to make sure that I don’t fail them and want to find a way around this,I guess,getting the teaching and learning done within my day,somehow and someway.I am so thankful for the encouraging responses.It’s given me some light at the end of the tunnel to focus on.Thank you for your prayers!

                  • Heather says:

                    From my personal experience, I have found the best (and only, lol) way to get good sleep at night with the baby is co-sleeping. That kind of goes along with the ecological breastfeeding. From what I understand, the hormones that speed up return of ovulation occur more at night and breastfeeding through the night suppresses them. Our baby sleeps with us at night and nurses on and off through the night while I am (mostly) sleeping. My husband and I NEVER thought we would like this arrangement but it is the most normal and natural thing now. I enjoy nursing and comforting her through the night as she needs it and I don’t have to get out of bed to do it!
                    We’re not as far as deciding at what point to have her sleep on her own (or wean) but for now I wake up refreshed after a good night of sleep and happily don’t have a returned period yet. We don’t want to nurse ONLY to prevent ovulation but because it is still really healthy for baby even as they get a little older and it is nice to have a break on my body after close pregnancies.
                    I am SO happy for you that you have the “fairy tale” nausea this time, lol. I just prayed for you now and will continue to. God will lead you in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Your treasure is in heaven as you’re obedient to Him, even if it is hard at times. God bless you!

      • Kelly L says:

        Whene you said, “It is not taking up swords and squashing opponents,” I think you are mistaken. By equipping our children to serve God with their heart, mind and soul, we are indeed taking up swords and squashing the enemy! We are creating warriors in Christ (with God), as we are warriors in Christ. Each person’s ministy looks different, but God uses us all to glorify Him!!!
        (Not trying to argue, just pointing out the truth, which many moms forget).

  17. Kelly L says:

    Awesome job, Kelly!!!

  18. rejoicealways says:

    Kelly, you are so bold. Very encouraging, thanks.
    I do always have questions about this when people have terribly difficult pregnancies and health issues. I don’t know what I would say (my pregnancies are not exactly a walk in the park) about it b/c I can sympathize with them. When I am not pregnant I can look back and think that it is all Kingdom work (building up the Church – or the ‘mini-church’) but WOW, during pregnancy I think much differently as every day is very, very difficult. In fact a few weeks ago I happened to feel sickly and all these thoughts came back to me (yes, I had madly forgotten months of sickness). Sometimes am just unsure how to deal with it b/c there are so many opinions coming from so many different people how I should deal with it, including family and church members… so here I am just curious what your thoughts are. I assume they are the same as mine but it is hard when people think I am crazy ‘for getting pregnant again as it is totally my own fault’. I think you get my point. What would you say in response? Since you are so articulate… 🙂

    • Word Warrior says:

      Rejoice,

      I feel for you with difficult pregnancies. I have several thoughts regarding your question…

      The first is, I hope you (and the other readers) know that when I address these issues I am discussing a general, broad attitude toward children. I’m addressing the common notion that it’s “normal” for Christians to permanently end their child-bearing after two children without any thought to the implications. I am not, as some have accused me, trying to make people “feel bad” for deciding to delay or stop having children because they thought they were going to die. There is an important theological debate there regarding the sovereignty of God, but still these posts aren’t meant to cover each and every hypothetical circumstance.

      Secondly, I’ve written before about the hardship of pregnancy and compared it to any other thing in the Christian life. Christians are often called to suffer. We don’t look for it, or subject ourselves to it unnecessarily, but we obey and accept the hardship along the way without using it as a gauge for God’s will in our lives.

      I use the extreme example of someone called to foreign missions. Despite what friends and family think or say, one who has been called and believes it is God’s will for him, faces whatever comes, even death. Sickness, persecution, suffering–saints of Christ have battled these things for all ages. The difference with motherhood is that now we CAN “prevent the hardship” and are made to feel silly if we don’t.

      Find where you stand and stand firmly there. That’s the best advice I have 😉

  19. Shelly says:

    Thanks for posting this. We are in the recovery stage of a miscarriage, it was our fourth child. My husband and I have been on opposite sides of this “argument” about an open womb for quite some time, and this fourth pregnancy was an answer to prayers to align our hearts about the issue. In the wake of the sadness, I find myself wavering about the decision to obey the Lord’s command in that area and go on having more children. It’s good to hear once again why we should press on. Thank you! By the way, I thought the picture was absolutely hilarious and caught the joke right away!!! 🙂

    • Margaret says:

      (((Shelly)))

      Although we have never considered preventing pregnancy, I lost two babies last year and I empathize with the feelings of trepidation about getting pregnant again. Once you’ve gone through that and know the pain, it’s hard to step confidently ahead.

      That’s the best time to lean on the Lord. 🙂

  20. Those are excellent thoughts Kelly ….I’ll be repeating them I’m sure! I think it’s sad how families and even churches now seem to not realize the actual goal should be to reproduce ourselves! Thanks for the post.

  21. “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word.” …without any babies the illustration sort of falls flat doesn’t it?

  22. Cathy says:

    OK, Kelly, so I really DO have other things to do today, but I will make an exception to write this quickly. I’m so noble, don’t ya think?

    I was about to write earlier (in my second missive, but it got too lengthy) that I beleive that having kids and using birth control are matters of the heart. That is, that if I use birth control and grit my teeth, loudly declaring that I don’t want any more children, under any circumstances…well, I think that is the wrong heart attitude. I used to fear having another baby, so FOR ME, fear isn’t a reason to use birth control, because that isn’t trusting God. The Holy Spirit will work w/each one individually, so that isn’t for me to “help” Him out by hammering on other believers who aren’t like-minded. In the old days, I was the battering ram of truth (as I saw it, anyway).

    I understand that your post wasn’t exactly about having large families, but, obviously, when you write of allowing (I have grown to hate using that word–as if I could “allow” God to do anything…I’m starting to sound pedantic, but that certainly isn’t my intention) God to bless families “as He sees fit,” that MAY involve lots of babies. And, when you speak of numbers in the Church, and draw an analogy, then a logical conclusion MAY (again) be that having a large family is for what we should aim.

    I like you too, Kelly, because as followers of Christ, His blood is coarsing through our veins (before anyone comments, I do NOT believe in transubstantiation–I know that my analogy isn’t akin transubstantiation, but I want to clear that up before letters come flying into my head), and because of that fact, we can enjoy and speak of the glories of Christ.

    I konw people who don’t believe that women should wear pants, who believe the KJV is the “only, true Word of God (and that is a direct quote),” and while I may think that they’re nuts (said fondly)–and that their beliefs have no basis in Scripture, I love them in Christ. I pray for them, they pray for me, and as Barney would say, “We’re a happy fam-i-ly.” And, for the record, I am not a fan of Barney, but that’s a good quote.

    I told my husband that I am leaving in ten minutes. He needs my car to be out of the garage so he can change the oil on another car, so I must depart…which is far better, to quote a famous apostle! My man has been patiently waiting on me…I love him so. Have I mentioned lately that he’s a stud?

    NOW, I’m leaving.

    Cathy

    • Word Warrior says:

      Cathy,

      You’re a riot. (I mean that fondly ;-))

    • Anonymous says:

      As a young mother who chooses to wear skirts instead of pants, let me share why. I am not KJV-only, and I grew up in a community church in Southern CA. As a teenager, I wore tight jeans and clingy shirts, skirts well above the knee, etc. After I got married, God started convicting me that I was a stumbling block to the men around me. It is not acting in love to my brothers in Christ who are striving for mental purity to have to interact with a sister in Christ who is showing off her curves. Pants, by nature of the way that they’re cut, emphasize a woman’s backside and crotch. They’re kinda guy-ish, too. My husband agrees. No one told me to dress this way, but I have discovered that I get so much respect from both women and men by covering up and not showing off every curve. Skirts are more feminine, too. Feminism has done way more harm than good to our society. I think wearing a skirt says, “I am a woman of God. I accept the role God has given me as a wife, mother, homemaker. I will not provoke men to lust or women to jealousy or anger by drawing attention to my body.” There is a huge network of other women on the internet that are not KJV-only that choose skirts/dresses only based on these principles. It does not make me a better person and I am not trying to earn God’s love. He has spoken to my conscience and a child of God will try to obey where God is leading. Thanks.

  23. Sylvia says:

    Lot of my questions about birth control are answered in many comments. Personally, we have limited our family for reasons ranging feom difficult pregnancies, miscarriages and to be very honest economic ones as well. I think as long as people are able to feed and clothe their children, it does not matter what the size of their family is, ‘large’ or ‘small’. But not everyone is blessed that way. Extreme poverty I have seen leads people to be vulnerable to things like child labor where children work in cramped, dangerous conditions, even in cases being sold.

    I honestly do not know what the solution is. But I am glad for birth control. For I have seen abortion used as a means of birth control which is heart breaking.

  24. jen in AL says:

    Haven’t read all the comments but i just wanted to tell you, Kelly, how beautiful you said all that! Praising the Lord for the time He gave you with that lady. A wonderful answer for the hope that is within us that I plan on duplicating next time I am asked! ((hugs)) blessings, Jen in al

  25. Misty Smith says:

    I used to turn away “visitors”. Never, NEVER again. Great post, Kelly!!

  26. Susan says:

    Hi Kelly, Thank you for your excellent post concerning welcoming children in marriage. I am on the opposite side looking in as one who has had long periods of a closed womb and then finally, scarring that will no longer allow a pregnancy. My medical history is long and boring, but clearly God has given us all that He will and the disappointment in having to accept God’s plan for no more children is very hard. He has given us more children through adoption which we are very grateful for, but I miss pregnancy and new babies. Fertility does end, you won’t go on having babies forever.
    I hope that Christians will begin to further appreciate the miracle of children in their marriages.

    Susan

  27. rejoicealways says:

    Thanks, Kelly for your response. I know your article was meant to address the general attitude towards children and sorry for bringing it a little off topic there!
    I totally agree with your point about suffering and I do ‘rejoice in my suffering’ as hard as that is (with some complaints I’ll admit). At the same time I also know that God will be the judge of the motives that are in our hearts. We want to train our children in the ways of the Lord and if my head is constantly above the toilet, I cannot do that. That’s sort of what we (my husband and I) have concluded in our situation…

  28. Taryn says:

    Hi there – I saw this post through another link. While I would love to have dozens of children for many noble and godly reasons (and for the fact that I am just plain broody) my husband does not (for some equally noble and godly reasons). We’ve discussed this issue ad nauseam and just cannot find a biblical mandate to specifically not use any form of birth control. While I would love to read great biblical arguments that encourage families to have loads of kids, I can’t.

    This argument of yours sounds so plausible and makes sense at first reading, but when reading the scriptures you use, it becomes clear that one cannot use those scriptures in that context. I asked my brother, a bible based pastor, to explain further – here is his exposition of the passages you are eluding to:

    “I don’t think there is any validity in this interpretation because the contexts of the passages alluded to have not been properly taken into account. The Ephesians 5 context is actually about behaviour – Paul is calling for godly behaviour from believers and looks at a whole lot of realms in which there might have been ungodliness – one of them is the question of submission in various realms where there is authority. In many ways Ephesians is a letter saying that Christians must align their behaviour with who they are in Christ i.e. new creations. People often say the letter is about “be who you are”. The part on marriage is all about the relationship between husband and wife – i.e. their behaviour toward one another. It does not go further than that to bring in the question of how many children people should have. The relationship between Christ and the church is to be seen in the relationship between husband and wife – there is no more than that.

    Then, the 1 Timothy and Titus passages about the home being a mini-church are all about management. It is saying that men who do not have control over the behaviour of their households are not fit to be leaders in God’s household.

    I think the woman in the story has certainly stretched the passages to the point that she has taken an area of freedom and made it a law by making Bible passages say things they are not. This is sadly so common today because people don’t know how to read the Bible. It’s the curse of post modernism that has people interpreting the Bible according to the response it evokes in them instead of interpreting it in line with the context. They read it combined with their own ideas and come out with something skewed.

    Going along her argument about the evangelistic drive that the church is meant to have, if God did expect families to parallel these commands then we would have to apply it to all Christians. That same passion for evangelism would mean that families would be required to have as many children as possible. They should “obey” God by making sure that they conceive as much as possible – just like couples who are struggling to have kids have ensure that sex happens at most fertile times. To be casual about sex and just have kids as they happen would be to lack that evangelistic drive God expects in his church. Now if “good” Christian families operate like this then it would be reasonable to expect families of 15 kids or more. Most people couldn’t afford that by a long shot. [is it]ungodly to let money come in the way? … [are we to] give lots of money to help such families? That is unreasonable because the reality is that only a small percentage of Christians in the world can afford this – the majority would need help from other believers. There would not be enough money to go around. And of course the money needed to support mission and evangelism would be diverted into helping brothers and sisters with their huge financial burdens. Giving in this area could be hugely improved as it is. If we keep thinking about the practical implications we find that the complications her position arouses are many – and many amount to impossible scenarios. It’s like she has “fiddled” with one cell in “excel” and not given a thought to how the rest of the linked cells will be affected.

    So, there is a long answer after saying I’d give a short one. At the end of the day I think we have a Christian from the wealthy west making two mistakes. One is biblical misinterpretation and the other is pragmatic misinterpretation. [Because this applies nicely to a wealthy first world context, but is barely affordable in our 3rd world context]”

    Therefore, it cannot be mandated biblically.

    I believe it is worthwhile to encourage Christians to choose to have larger families. I believe that (esp Western first world, wealthy-in-comparison) Christians should prayerfully consider the motivations behind their decision on birth control – too many choose to use birth control for their own selfish purposes. There is a LOT of good coming from having bigger families. And a lot of blessings. But, to mandate it as a biblical imperative? Aside from it not being supported as an issue of “sinning if you don’t” in the Bible, mandating it as a biblical imperative will require many families to disobey God in other arenas.

    Thank you for being willing to take on dissenting comments and for the opportunity to discuss this issue. My prayer is for us all to be willing to submit ourselves to God in all we do. And to share in these sort of discussions in a godly, loving manner. 🙂 Please note that my tone of voice in this email is meant to be gentle and loving 🙂 My brother, too.

    In Him
    Taryn

    • Word Warrior says:

      Taryn,

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments very much and I, too, am particularly concerned with “dividing the word of truth” so I do think these things should be discussed thoroughly.

      I’ve probably lost some of the references you mentioned in your comment since this post is several days old, so I’m just going on some of the points you made.

      I wanted to submit several thoughts…

      And first let me say, this post (nor any of my others) doesn’t claim that to “avoid use of any birth control is sin”. I’ve written extensively on the issue (and you will likely find some of the very things you wrote discussed in other posts) and my “final analysis” for Christians is simply that God didn’t intend for us to control birth and it is unwise, in normal cases, to do so. I’ve always left room for extreme circumstances such as health issues, etc., although I’ve seen God work miracles in those places too, so I don’t make any emphatic statements.

      You said, “This is sadly so common today because people don’t know how to read the Bible. It’s the curse of post modernism that has people interpreting the Bible according to the response it evokes in them instead of interpreting it in line with the context. They read it combined with their own ideas and come out with something skewed.”

      I agree wholeheartedly. Which is one of the reasons I address this and other issues.

      Stepping away from the analogy I used in the post, we ask the question, “What DOES the Bible say about birth control?” Frankly, it mentions actual practices twice, I think. In both cases, God was displeased and condemned it.

      Having said that, there are many issues we deal with in our 21st century life that the Bible doesn’t/can’t address. Television, movies, music, etc. aren’t mentioned, yet we must find principles from Scripture to guide our behavior in this area. It’s not just a free-for-all.

      How much more then, in the area of life.

      Though there are many angles to the issue, I like to consider the simplest one which is the positive commands of Scripture. Everywhere children/reproduction is mentioned, the Bible speaks of “fruitfulness”, “many children”, and gives the clear command to Christians, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The command is never revoked, so as we would take the command to “go to the end of the road and turn right” to mean, “don’t turn left”, I think the Bible speaks clearly.

      Also, you mentioned the “complications” if all Christians became fruitful. Might I suggest to you that in Bible times, all Christians WERE fruitful and dealt with whatever came. In fact, consider the Israelites while they were oppressed and in bondage (and no doubt dirt poor). What did God say to them? “Increase!” It was always His answer for prosperity.

      So I think once we rest in knowing that it IS God who opens and closes the womb (there is another thing the Bible clearly teaches that we don’t believe), we don’t have to “have as many children as we can”, but simply enjoy the marriage bed, and know that He provides for His own.

      Looking a bit closer at Scripture, I have found quite a few positive commands about bearing children that reasonably oppose the idea of us being in control.

      And again, this isn’t about the hypotheticals or “what about my circumstance”. I believe in the general principle; the overall attitude Christians are to have toward “God’s heritage”, believing in Malachi 2:15, believing that He ordains life, and believing that He is sovereign over all, including our children.

  29. Karen says:

    But not all churches want to grow. I’ve been to many “small” churches that are content with spiritual growth, not physical numbers growing. So, what if church members don’t want the church to grow? What if family members don’t want the family to grow, particularly older children who are given many responsibilities? I think the metaphor falls apart…

    And as far as I know, birth control was not a part of the Gospel story! This is so disturbing to me! I am not trying to be disagreeable, but there has to be better logic or explanation of quiverful philosophy than this.

    Many thanks for the perspective, I just wish I could understand it! 🙂

    Karen

    • Word Warrior says:

      Karen,

      You said, “But not all churches want to grow.” We aren’t really talking about specific churches (though I threw in the point that we struggle to get them to grow), just as the analogy between husband and wife is not parallel to a specific church, but “the church universal”, and whether or not it “wants” to grow, it is commanded to grow!

      You said, “And as far as I know, birth control was not a part of the Gospel story! This is so disturbing to me! I am not trying to be disagreeable, but there has to be better logic or explanation of quiverful philosophy than this.”

      Perhaps it is because you have limited your definition of “the gospel story”. I think this is where so many Christians lose sight.

      The gospel story is the Bible, in its entirety, from Gen. to Rev. You can’t get the complete picture unless you embrace the whole story.

      Having children shouldn’t be “disturbing” or hard to understand. God is the author of life. He has always praised and encouraged His people to increase–in every way, numbers included. He has written extensively about how he views children and our very bodies tell us the story…our reproductive processes (if healthy) work as He created them to work. He didn’t include instructions for us to “halt” or break or resist this natural function. Given that biological fact along with the positive commands of Scripture to be fruitful, it really isn’t that hard to understand 😉

      This post was simply an expression of how He *naturally* created things…that husband and wife would reflect Christ and the church. What have husbands and wives done for centuries until we decided we were smart enough to prevent children? They’ve had fairly prolific marriages, and I think that does speak of His desire for the “Kingdom” church (not just an individual church as you mentioned) to grow. Generally speaking, as individuals welcome and raise “godly seed”, His church does grow and the family becomes a mini-portrait of the universal church.

      That’s as logical as it gets.

  30. Dear Kelly,

    I agree with you that the church should grow both biologically and not-biologically.
    I also believe that large families are beautiful, but I have a concern here.
    I have realized that in very large families like Duggarts or Wissmans, the ones who de facto are taking care of the little ones are not the parents but the older siblings, including the schooling part. The parents are too busy because of having such a large family.
    So, what is the point of having so many children if you cannot take care of them personally and have to put them in the hands of others -even if they are the siblings-?
    In some large families, the older daughters grew so weary of caring for little children that they did not want to have children of their own later. I know that this is not the case in many other families, but it has happened in some.

    Thank-you for your attention.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Carolina,

      You ask a very good/common/important question. So much so, that the more I think about the many different aspects of this issue that must be addressed to answer properly, the more I think it deserves its own post 😉 So, look for your comment and my reply in an upcoming post.

  31. […] following comment on the post, “Divine Appointment:  Babies are a Part of the Gospel Picture” is a common concern and one I thought deserved its own post to accurately handle the different […]

  32. Jeanette says:

    Kelly,
    I want to thank you for all of these great posts on pregnancy and birth control. Ever since the birth of our girls last year, my husband and I have been amazed at what a blessing our children are. We have been praying about the birth control issue for 8 months now, and have been encouraged by your blog. The reasons you put forth on this post were new to us, (we had only heard the aspect of letting God control our wombs.) but they make so much sense. We pray that you will continue to bless women and families around you as you teach Gods plan for families.

  33. Kristen says:

    Your blog has blessed me beyond belief!! This has been a subject that my husband and I have “debated” for quite some time now. He wanted to leave our family size up to the Lord and I wanted to leave it up to the Lord while I quivered with fear with the thought of having a large family (although some consider us a large family with 4 kids)with closely spaced children. I never want to step out of submission of God so I continually pray on it asking him to change my fearfulness if his desire was to expand our family. I do believe he has finally done that completely now through your blog post. Leading up to this post I felt the conversion beginning and I stood faithfully waiting to see where and how he was going to move in this and our family and I could have never guessed that he would use a blog from someone I’ve never met before. So, I, being a 1st time reader thanks you so much for you honest, submissive, and loving heart. I love how you were so eloquently and perfectly able to put just what a blessing it is to be able to do God’s work even with in our own womb. You, Kelly, are a beautiful blessing. God bless you and your family!
    Kristen

  34. […] following comment on the post, “Divine Appointment:  Babies are a Part of the Gospel Picture” is a common concern and one I thought deserved its own post to accurately handle the different […]

  35. Chung Pocius says:

    It could be fantastic to determine that we’re nevertheless reading by means of one one more. Appreciate your listing myself ! Regards

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