Before I get into the post for today, I wanted to introduce “Let’s Talk About”, a new segment here at Home in the Trenches. This is where we can openly talk about topics which aren’t normally talked about. If you have a topic that you would like us to address in a “Let’s Talk About” segment please let me know.
Here’s a question that doesn’t usually come up in small talk: How do you decide how many children you will have? Answer: I don’t have one answer to this question and it is one that I have wrestled with for many years now (and still wrestle). What I want to do is to get us thinking about this important topic and to open the lines of discussion.
I think it is all too easy to allow today’s society to decide for us how many children we will have. I also know that American society has limited the average family to 2.3 children. In China, they are limited to one child by the government. But who are we as people to decide how many children someone has?
We have 5 children. We have noticed people physically counting our children as we walk by them in a restaurant. We have also had many a stranger make comments about our family size. It is obvious that the American society at large thinks our family is too large, and they are quick to let us know (this goes for many within the church as well).
What I want us to do is to think about this from another perspective. As Christians we need to ask this question in light of God and Scripture. How do we decide how many children we have? Or is it up to us to decide?
What I do know is that children are a blessing from God and that we are to seek God’s will in all decisions that we make. (See Psalm 127:3-5) This decision should not be limited by: the culture we live in (you will find out that our family goes against the culture in a variety of areas), our finances, our feelings and dare I say our selfishness.
The culture that we live in would love for us to do all kinds of things that do not necessarily align with the will of God. Consumerism, the quest for Money, Me first mentality, allowing our children to watch all kinds of crazy content in TV shows, oh, and should I mention hooking up with whoever, whenever.
I know that many people give the reason for not having more children based on not having more money. “We can’t afford any more…” I know that logically, by human reasoning, that this makes sense. The problem is that the Bible says something different than what makes sense to us. Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
You would not believe how many times have I heard “there is no way I could have that many kids.” Yes, having lots of kids is hard and there are days I am really tired. The thing is that I would NEVER trade it for anything in the world.
I don’t think people truly believe, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) Or at least it is only quoted when we are going through trials. We don’t use this verse to remind us that God will help us through what He wants for us. That includes how many children we have, if we homeschool, where he wants us to live, work etc. I have heard it said, “Oh, I could never be a missionary” etc. Reality is, if God wants us to do something He will help us do it….He will strengthen us.
The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. The key in this verse for me is LEAN NOT ON MY UNDERSTANDING. My understanding of things can fail me,. There is no way that I can see the big picture of things. Only God can see the big picture and His ways make our way straight.
I think that many times we look at things from our perspective. Our lifetime. What about looking at a child from an eternal persective? What kind of impact can a child’s life have on a future generation? Who will they come in contact with that we never will?
Looking throughout Scripture I have found instances in which God is in control of the womb. Jacob had children with Leah and Rachel and at times God chose to open and close their wombs. (See Genesis 29:31-35) God closed every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah (Genesis 20:18).
What I do not want to do is argue every individual’s point of why their circumstance has them needing to choose a certain viewpoint. I know that there are complicated issues out there. To be quite honest, I am glad that I don’t have to wrestle with some of them on an individual basis.
I would really like to challenge you (and myself) to seek God in all of our decisions we make. What is it that He wants? Are we aligning our will with God’s? If we are saying God is controlling my life, what does that really mean? What does that really look like?
This post is written for me as much as for you. I know that there are areas in my life that I would like to think God is completely in control of, but in reality I still am holding on to some of that control. To allow God to have complete control means that I am not in control and quite honestly that can be a scary place to be. However, it is the place that God wants us and can use us most for His glory.