Friday, July 24, 2009

Interview with: A Quiverful Family

I asked a friend if she would share her story about her family being quiverful. I was so excited when she agreed. I've known Heather for a really long time and she has a wonderful testimony and a beautiful family. What I didn't expect is how her journey from quiverful has changed due to her circumstances. I enjoyed reading this as much as you will.

Basically quiverful just means that you let God decide the size of your family. The Duggars do this. While the Duggars are a huge family in the spotlight, being quiverful doesn't necessarily mean you'll have 18 children, as you will see when you read Heather's story. To read more about her family be sure to visit her blog at Making Milburn's.


Quiverful. To be or not to be. That is the question.

Well let me start with a brief synopsis of my family and tell you how we got to be. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 18 and he was 22. We had our first child shortly thereafter (lets just say I had to buy my dress a few sizes too big).

After 13 years together, and 9 years of marriage to Jerry, and 5 beautiful children later (and one with the Lord), we have been shaped and molded by God into such wonderfully different people. Even before we truly knew God, we wanted MANY children. It wasn't until after our second, Sierra, that Jerry and I gave my womb fully to the Lord and asked him to do as HE willed for our family (secretly hoping that would mean lots of little people). So we became “quiverful”.

Our children are as follows Taylor (female) 9, Sierra 6, Jeremiah 3, (we lost one at this time named Traci Greyson), Titus 20 months and Sara Beth 2 weeks old. They are all so wonderfully and beautifully diverse and unique in their own ways, and bless us tremendously. But, we also have come to find out what “high needs” means.

It started when Jeremiah was about 20 months old. He had a grand mal seizure one day...quite severe actually, and this after many months of unexplained debilitating pain. We also knew our Sierra was complaining of lots of ailments but we didn't know what to do for her or what was wrong, and her pediatrician wasn't of any help either. I mean we aren't talking aches and pains, we are talking inability to play, run, do ANYTHING active and the kind of pain that has you SCREAMING for hours on end until you have no voice to be heard.

Long story short, after many years, months, tears, doctors, testing (and more to come, mind you), waiting and praying we have found they have what is called mitochondrial disease. We were, and are, very thankful for a diagnosis and the ability to help them, but were tragically upset to find there's nothing we can do except treat the symptoms (seizures with anti convulsants, ect.) and that this disease is degenerative and the results are lifelong pain, seizures and eventually deterioration of their heart, lungs, brain, muscles... basically everything in the body, since this disease affects the mitochondria, or the cell's power plant. Any movement or exercise causes lactic acid to build up in the muscles, only degenerating them faster.

It's also genetic and all of our children are affected to a degree. Which answers A LOT of uncertain questions we had concerning our children's learning abilities ( I should insert here, that we home school) and life long battles with pain and other strange symptoms. But what this now meant was this pain would never go away and would only be manageable to a degree. Much like the seizures. This isn't epilepsy by any means...the seizures are due to the deterioration of the mitochondria in the brain.

In light of this new information, you can imagine my husband and I panicked. Pregnant with number five, finding this all out, my first thought was “I can't create more people that will suffer such pain constantly until it causes their demise, if nothing else does first”. (I should mention here that we believe God CAN heal them/ us /anybody/ anything and have prayed diligently everyday for this. But we also believe that just because He CAN does not mean He always WILL. He may have a bigger better purpose here in all of this.)

But I can honestly say, we still laid at Jesus' feet begging for answers, peace, guidance...

And what was revealed to us first was what we expected. That God knew they would have this, that regardless of disease, or any special need for that matter, a person is not less human because of it. We are ALL imperfect in some way, shape or form. We also had always felt we didn't want to keep any humans from being created. How unique and individual each of our children are...who might the world miss out on...who DOES the world miss out on when we try to control our womb outside of Gods will???

So we thought this was our answer for several more months. To remain quiverful and to keep my womb as a sacrifice at the alter, so to speak.

But then a new day...a new answer.

God had chosen to let us OFFER our sacrifice at the alter JUST as Abraham did with Isaac. We offered up my womb, though all logic (and the world mostly) told us to stop producing “broken children” (insert huge eye roll here). We kept on believing He was the Alpha and Omega...that HE knew best and so we would keep my womb at His feet until He said otherwise.

Well, though we least expected it, He said otherwise. I had always hoped for a large family but knew God knew best. When I prayed I would even pray...“I'll take as many or as few as you want me to have Lord.” (Which is why I have to laugh when people ask how many we want...its NOT about what WE want!!! It's about God's plan and purpose for our family!!! And willingness to do as HE so deems for our family WHATEVER that may be.)

Right now Jerry and I are in deep, fervent prayer about this since we are no longer led to be quiverful and are seeking the Lord in how we are supposed to not be quiverful, as this is a new concept to us. But we also know that God can and often does change things over time. So we will continue to stay in Him and seek Him in all we do and know that this decision does not mean permanency.

Either way, my family is truly blessed and I am the proud mother of 5 children and my womb has carried 6 little lives. WHAT AN HONOR!!!! Who knows the future God has for us all??? Not one of us. But we can count on a blessed one (though not without trials) if we follow Him and His will for our lives no matter what that may be. We cannot go into things thinking we know His will for us from now until forever, because we cannot and do not know this.

A lesson learned the hard way by this faithful family.

I thank the good Lord for these blessed humans that make up our household. I feel our quiver is full regardless of what happens next. But, there's always room for more.

Heather Milburn
Servant to the Almighty Yahweh
Wife Jerry
Mama to Taylor, Sierra, Jeremiah, Traci Greyson, Titus and Sara Beth.


Now I'd like to open up the floor to questions and comments. Please ask Heather anything you've wondered about being quiverful or about her family. Also, feel free to comment, whether you agree or disagree. We are very interested in getting a discussion going. I also ask that you remember that she is a real person, with real feelings. While it's perfectly okay to disagree with her (and I encourage it!!!) let's play nice and use our big girl words. Okay??? So be sweet, like I always tell my kids. I'm going to badger Heather, so please join me. She'll love it. She'll be answering questions and comments as we go today.

Thank you Heather for sharing your story. I loved it.

Next week I'll have my, and Heather's, VERY good friend giving us the opposite viewpoint. You won't want to miss next weeks Interview with...

Oh, and if you wondered where I got my awesome Interview With button, go here: Jenieshell

She's using her talents to help a family bring a baby home.


Michelle said...

Were there times that you hoped/wanted/prayed for a break between children?

and alternatively, were there times when you tried to get pregnant RIGHT THEN?

Michelle said...

What does your family say? Have you told them that you have this many kids because God controls your womb?

Milburns' said...

Good questions Michelle.

The only time we/ I prayed for a break was after this one... and then God was merciful in hearing my prayers and is either allowing a break... or shutting my womb. ( I have some female issues that may have/ will shut my womb eventually anyways.)

But We haven't ever "tried" for a baby and before now, hadn't ever prayed for a break.

As for family. Mine is lost. But they get it has something to do with God... but they don't know the exacts, let's say. They also still think and wonder if I am "keeping this one" as in abortion/ accidental pregnancy (which is an oxymoron IMO.

As for Jerry's side, they ask when will we be done or how many we want. And again we answer with, "its not about what WE want. But what God wants to do in and through us."

And some members of his family know we are "quiverful" though we had to explain the definition...LOL

We used to get a lot of flack for it. But I think people/ family have learned our stance and know it's no use to talk us out of anything since God is our authority. :-)

Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing your story Heather! I have never heard of "quiverful" but I love the idea of it. My only fear is that what if God decides the size of my family will just be two- me and my Husband. I was pregnant before and love it so much. I never though I wanted children until I got pregnant, and then wanted a HUGE family. I know it's all up to God what happens next, I just hope he hears me!

jill said...

Sweet Heather~
it is so obvious to this "outsider" that God is totally directing you right now,
where you are at

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

May God bless this beautiful family.

Many times I have had to be very quiet to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.

God has given us free will as well as scientific knowledge on how to prevent pregnancy. I do believe that there are situations where perhaps we ought to be quiet and still and listen to what God is specifically trying to tell us.

All children, no matter what the number, are a blessing. Let us praise Him.

I am slowly making my way around to all the blogs that visited me when I was featured on SITS to say "Thank you".
Be blessed!

Yara said...

Praise God you have finally gotten some answers on the childrens health!

question: is there a minimum number to define 'quiverful'?

Milburns' said...


I don't think there is a minimum number persay. I think God can make one family's quiver "full" with one... even zero! :-) I knew a family who had a heart for children but she had several miscarriages and they were not led to adopt. But many of their friends involved them in the parenting of their children. And so this "childless" family actually had a very full quiver as they ministered to so many children over the years that they treated as their own.

I think "full" quiver is a relative term as so deemed by God for each individual family. Thats just my take on it. :-)

Milburns' said...

Thanks to all of you for such kind comments. :-)