Last week I interviewed Heather about being quiverful and her journey to understanding God's best for her family.
Today I have an opposing viewpoint from Heather's good friend Marcy. I've known Marcy for some years. I knew her when she wanted to be a mom but was waiting for God's best for her to start her family. Now they have have two sweet little ones...and she's doing an amazing job. It's hard work though.
I think most of us have a hard time imagining being quiverful and having eight or nine children. So Marcy's views will be easier for most of us to understand.
Is “quiverfull” truly biblical?
Before you click that little “x” in the corner in order to stop reading this, please let me explain what I mean by posing that question. The term quiverfull has become very popular among Christians. And depending on who you ask, you may get a few different answers as to its definition. As Christians, I think we can all agree that one of the main parts of the definition is leaving our family size in the Lord’s hands. Joyously welcoming however many children he gives us. But it is the next part of that definition where we have a little trouble, and that is the part that says in order to be “truly” quiverfull, you do not use any form of birth control, even natural family planning. So lets take a look at the verse of scripture where the term quiverfull is taken from.
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:3-5)
This passage tells us that children are a gift from the Lord, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Is there anything in this verse to indicate that we are not to use family planning? Does anything in this verse indicate how many children are considered a quiverfull? No, and no. Even if we look at Genesis 1:28 where God said “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”, there is no number given as to how many children a couple should have, or that they may not use family planning. In fact, there are no scriptures in the bible that condemn using natural family planning, nor any that tell us how many children we “should” be having. These things have been “added” in order to fit into some people’s definition of quiverfull. And that is the part I have a problem with, which I why I posed the above question as the title of my article.
All we have to do is look around us and we will see many different sizes of quivers among our Christian friends and family. And some are even quiver-less, they have no children at all. Does this mean that a couple that has no children, or only one or two children, are living in disobedience, or being punished by God? Certainly not! God is the One who opens and closes the womb, God is the One who creates life at conception. He is sovereign, He is the Creator and Author of life. If a woman is barren, it is not because she has disobeyed God and is being punished for it. God may have other plans for that woman, for that couple, and to look down at them in judgement is wrong.
We do not know each couples story. Their trials, struggles, heartache. Some may have been trying to conceive for years without success, others may find that parenting more than a certain number of children is more than they can bear financially, emotionally, or physically. These are all things I have been learning since I became a mom two years ago.
My husband Ron and I are leaving it in the Lord’s hands when it comes to our children, however, we do use natural family planning. After learning about the risks involved with hormonal birth control, I stopped taking that several years ago, and will never take it again. We also feel strongly about not having any kind of surgery to make either of us sterile, so that is not an option for us. But we do believe in using wisdom and judgement on our part when it comes to trying to conceive. Obviously the Lord is the one who creates life, so even our best intentions to not conceive is not really in our control. And that is where we would welcome a baby if God deems to give us one even if we were not purposely trying.
But so far in our marriage, we have seen the Lord bless our efforts to use natural family planning. I was off the birth control pill for 1 1/2 years and charting my cycles so I could find my body’s natural rhythm. I was amazed at how much I learned about my body in the process. I was working a full time job and we were paying off debt as our goal was to be debt free so that I could quit my job to stay home and raise our children. The Lord honored our efforts to be good stewards with our money, and to desire for me to be home to raise them. I got pregnant the first month we tried to conceive, my husband was offered a higher paying position at his work just months before our baby was due, and we paid our debt off just two months before my due date. God is good!!! Then, we decided to wait to try to conceive after our son had at least turned one. My cycles returned when he was 10 months old, and I conceived again when he was 14 months old. Our daughter is now 10 weeks old, and our little quiver is growing.
Will we stop at two children? No, we would like more. How many you ask? We don’t know that yet. But I am sure we will get to a point where we may feel that a certain number of children is enough for our quiver. And coming to a decision like that is going to be different for every couple, for every family. But one thing is for certain, even if we do think we are “done” with our quiver, God may not be. And if He chooses to bring us children beyond that, we will joyously welcome them into our family. To me, that is what quiverfull means. But to go beyond that and say a couple cannot plan their family as they feel God has led them is just not biblical. If anyone has scripture verses that they feel says otherwise, please feel free to share them with me. In preparation for this article I have read about quiverfull and what it means by those who first came up with the term, I have read scripture verses like the ones I shared, I have consulted my pastor about this subject, and I prayed before, and while writing this.
My friend Heather wrote the article last Friday about her family and the tough decisions they’ve been forced to deal with. I believe it is wise to take a closer look at how many children to have when you deal with a genetic disorder like they do. God gives us that wisdom, and we need to use it. I pray for Heather and her family almost every day.
Elise sleeping with Daddy
Now I'd like to open the floor up for comments and questions. Please do not hesitate to disagree with Marcy. I know that she would love to discuss this with you. Feel free to come with scriptures and/or books to "back" you up.
While we both look forward to a discussion on this topic let's remember to be respectful and polite. Leave your mean words in your pocket.