“Do you mind me asking how many children you have?!” she leaned over to ask me at the park.
“Just 3” I replied."
Just 3?!” she guffawed, shaking her head, incredulous. I simply smiled. I hear it all the time, and for me, 3 seems a little small. I know lots of families with 4, 5, even 9 kids a piece. People in stores stop me every single time I am out with my 3 young sons. They say things like, “Three boys? Wow you have your hands full” to which I reply, “Happily full, it’s what I always wanted.”
The next question is more of a statement, “You aren’t going to have any more are you?”
They are all sending a message: that having more than 1 or 2 children is a mistake, a crazy thing to do, too difficult to handle. Expensive. When I have conversations about having children, the two most common concerns come up:
Provision: How can we provide for all these kids?
Convenience: I like having one or two kids because it’s more manageable and much easier than having more.
As a believer, there are a few big problems with this way of thinking.
First of all, God tells us repeatedly that children are a gift and a blessing. Why would I want to limit the blessings and gifts of God? He also tells us that we are to be anxious for nothing, that He provides for all (not some of) our needs and that we are called to persevere even in difficult circumstances. Deep faith is required to trust that when we make decisions that go against the flow, God will not let us down. If my goal is to have a comfortable life where I can afford to own a house, buy a new car for each child, and send them to college free and clear, then I guess I would make different choices about having kids.
But that’s not the focus of our family.
We are called to set our minds on things above, to store up riches in heaven. We are called to not worry about tomorrow, much less how I will afford college tuition 18 years from now. We may not even see another week in this life, much less 18 years. And the joy of a house full of little blessings? Priceless, truly.
It’s the hardest job in the world, staying home and raising these boys to become Godly men, keeping on top of endless household tasks, and being a wife and mom who honors my Biblical role. But it is good. Very good.
I often fail, but just because something is hard, or inconvenient, does not mean that it is something to be avoided. Our culture values ease and comfort and material good, but we, as Christ followers are encouraged to pursue a life that is counter to our culture. Some days, I think I can’t make it through to the evening but that is about my own refinement, depending again and again on God to grant me the patience and grace to begin anew.
I’m thankful that I have an endless resource in Christ to fulfill all my personal, spiritual, and material needs and desires. We either believe what God says, or we don’t. Children are a blessing. Life will not be easy. But when we take Him at His word, we discover that joy is found in the unexpected, and in the faces of our children who reflect the best gifts we could ever receive on this earth.
I’m not saying that every family has to have many children to be in God’s will, but I’m wondering, how many of us have short-changed our own lives by allowing the influence of our culture to make such enormous decisions for us instead of carefully and prayerfully committing the size of our families to God?
It’s probably the biggest leap of faith I have ever made, but when I look in my rearview mirror and see those youthful heads, those 3 sets of gorgeous eyes, I can’t imagine viewing them as a burden in any way. They are a challenge, yes, and we must be responsible in taking care of them because to whom much is given, much will be required. But in a day where the life of a family is often under attack, I’m counting on the truth of God’s Word to restore His ideals for the home and to change our hearts.
YOUR TURN! What do you think? Has our culture influenced the Christian Church to think that faith for family planning is a mistake? Have we begun to shirk the idea that God really does provide for all our needs-both financially and spiritually, so that we indeed are equipped to handle as many kids as God would bless us with?
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