Can We Trust God? Our Journey to Many Children

Before our marriage Mark and I decided to  trust God with planning our family.  We would allow Him to bless us with children when and how He wished.

However, after the very difficult birth that we experienced with Matthew,  Mark and I began to doubt.  God had blessed us with 3 children in two and a half years.  With each pregnancy I experienced significant morning sickness well past the traditional first 12-14 week range.  Now I was still recovering from a difficult birth and I was tired and overwhelmed with our houseful of toddlers.  We certainly couldn’t handle another child as close together as the first three had been.

We had allowed God to plan our family thus far, but now in this place, in the midst of this situation, it didn’t seem as if He knew what He was doing.

Of course that is not how we expressed it.  Our thoughts and feelings were couched in much more acceptable terms:

  1. “God has given us the intelligence to know how much we can handle and He has given us the means to space our children.”
  2. “God wants us to be responsible and risking another pregnancy soon after such a difficult birth wouldn’t be healthy and our kids need a healthy mom.”
  3. “God has called me to be a mom to 3 young children, I can’t possibly do that well if I’m struggling with morning sickness.”

We convinced ourselves that we were simply trying to obey God by being good stewards, preserving life and health and doing a good job with what He had already entrusted to us.  We had excellent reasons for not trusting God, we were being responsible.

We were still open to the blessing of children, we just wanted more space between them.  By the time Matthew was three weeks old, we realized we were making a mistake.

Not allowing God to control the spacing of our children flew in the face of what we said we believed.

We believe in the sovereignty of God  and we believe that He says that children are His blessing.  If God is in control of all things AND if children are His blessing, then there was no reason to purposely avoid having children.  God is not surprised at any of our circumstances and He is not going to accidentally give us more than we can handle.

The only reason that we wished to take back this control is that, when push came to shove, it was  hard to be obedient.

  1. Our desired action said we didn’t believe that God is sovereign. Perhaps He didn’t foresee our specific situation.  He didn’t understand what we could handle, didn’t care about my health or perhaps He just didn’t know how hard pregnancy and child birth would be.
  2. Our desired action said we didn’t believe God when He says that children are a blessing.   We had accepted the notion that accepting the life that God SOVEREIGNLY and miraculously creates in the womb is only a ‘good idea’ if it doesn’t interfere with our ‘good life’. We accepted the idea that life is only a blessing if  we have the energy, desire and means that we think it will require.

By the time Matthew was 3 weeks old we realized that we simply could not reconcile our beliefs with the action that we wanted to take and so we relinquished our perceived control and turned our family size back over to our sovereign God.

Lord we believe, help Thou our unbelief.  Sometimes believing feels like stepping off a cliff.

I thought that I couldn’t handle another child so close together, I thought that I couldn’t manage our three young children with morning sickness and I thought that my body needed a rest from pregnancy.

And God laughed at my thoughts.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~Is. 55:8-9

His way was more wonderful,  more marvelous and more amazing than anything we had considered.

His plan was Alyssa.

Alyssa was born 14 months after Matthew, our smallest gap between children.

His plan included a pregnancy with NO morning sickness.  (The only pregnancy out of 10 that I wasn’t sick.)  His plan included an uncomplicated, easy birth after three very difficult births.  His plan included a happy, easy-going baby and friends and resources that enabled me to thrive with four children 3 and younger whereas I had struggled with three children.

After Alyssa was born, we realized our pride and arrogance.  We thought that we knew better than God.  Alyssa was God’s kind and gracious message to us that He does know, He is good and He can be trusted.

Mark and I did not know what the future held and yet, based on our small and incomplete understanding of what we thought would happen, we wanted to take things into our own hands.  We wanted to create our idea of a perfect life rather than being willing to accept the life that God had for us.

We are desperately grateful that God did not allow us to “lean on our own understanding”.  We call Alyssa our sunshine and if you’ve ever met her, you understand.  Alyssa brings so much light and joy into our home and yet, if we had had our way, if we had made the choice that we wanted to make, she would not be.

People often ask if we have ever struggled with our decision to allow God to plan our family.  Yes, we’ve struggled, but Alyssa is our living, breathing testimony to the fact that God is good, that He knows what is best and that we can safely and confidently trust in Him.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but every one’s life has trials and struggles and we are blessed with ours.

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144 Responses to Can We Trust God? Our Journey to Many Children
  1. Gen
    August 31, 2010 | 8:00 am

    Thanks for being so honest. My dh is where you guys were…and our children aren’t that young. 😉 I just keep praying…
    Gen

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  2. Anita Chamblee
    August 31, 2010 | 8:25 am

    I am there now! Dh thinks we should have another baby, but I am feel worn out!! I am always in pain somewhere and since having my gall bladder removed some days, I am afraid to leave the house due to horrible IBS symptoms. I am now 46, still nursing a 22 month old who has horrible food allergies and is up almost all night long. Trying to help one child finish up with his homeschooling, starting up another and all the ones in between..and the older ones who are either married and having their own babies or struggling with waiting for God’s timing in bringing a husband. I just don’t handle the stress very well. Dh has a full-time job (some days more than full -time) and a home business that takes up about 20 hours per week. He is not able to help out with a baby. He does lead family worship most every night and makes time to work with the children around the house on the weekends. And now he also wants to start up a family business as well. In my heart, I know the answer, but my head is speaking louder!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Praying for you Anita!

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  3. Kathi
    August 31, 2010 | 8:34 am

    I need to get the day going, but how I would LOVE to go on and on in this comment to let you know what your words mean to me. Maybe later today (?).

    Please know this spoke directly to my heart. This is a wonderful, timely, beautiful, wise post Kimberly. Thank You.

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  4. bunny
    August 31, 2010 | 8:39 am

    I love Alyssa, thank you for giving her to us!

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  5. Rebecca
    August 31, 2010 | 9:35 am

    Thank you for that article!
    I have felt comfort in the trusting God for children mindset for quite sometime. My husband has just recently been convicted this way.
    After our last little one (age 17 months now), I’ve been struggling. He was born with so many health issues (brain cancer, hydrocephaly, trouble with eating and walking, etc). On top of that, my husband was laid off for 9 months last year resulting in messy finances. I’ve found myself struggling to get things running in the right direction again-struggling with meal planning, cleaning, child training, etc.
    BUT you are so right. God does know. He is in control. He does have great plans. Thanks for the reminder!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    May the Lord bless you as you walk this particularly difficult path to which He has called you.

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  6. Emmy
    August 31, 2010 | 9:57 am

    We started our marriage with the desire to trust God with our family size, but after the first one was a very difficult baby and we had NO support from family or friends, we went our own way. Our first two are 27 months apart and they were overwelming to me. Our third was born 4 years after the second and we decided we were done. For years I wrestled with God over this and finally my heart was turned back to Him. We had our 4th 7 years after our third and are now expecting our fifth, 2.5 years after the last one. We have huge age gaps and I always wonder who is missing? And with 3 girls and 1 son, how many sons did we selfishly give up? Only He knows, but I am thankful that I repented with a few childbearing years left. Thank you for posting. Hopefully it will help some young women to stay the course, even when it is difficult.
    Emily

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you for your comment Emmy. The beautiful thing about believing in a sovereign God is that He uses each and every one of our decisions for our good and His glory. Your family is perfect and is precisely as He intended it.

    Don’t ask me how it all works together, that’s just what we believe. Don’t look back, just faithfully follow Him starting today.

    May the Lord bless you and your family!

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  7. Elizabeth
    August 31, 2010 | 10:02 am

    Thank you for this post! We have 7 kids and one 1 on the way…My oldest is 9. It is so easy to be consumed with the chaos and start to just think of what you can and can’t handle, forgetting God has it all under control. When I was pregnant with #2 I thought the world was coming to an end! haha Now as God has continued to bless us we see how wonderful our childeren are and will openly have as many blessings as God gives us.
    Thanks for the reminder. This was what I needed to hear this morning.

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  8. chantelle
    August 31, 2010 | 10:11 am

    Thank you for your words and your wisdom, you have no idea how much they mean to me. 🙂

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  9. Sue
    August 31, 2010 | 10:33 am

    We have been pondering whether or not to give God the control over our fertility. We have 8 children, ages 14 yrs to 5 months. What holds me back is fear. Fear of extreme morning sickness, difficult deliveries and babies very close together. Also, we have a house that is about 1600 square feet and we are running out of space. We do not have the finances to move. My husband works nights and sleeps during the day, so every day I am trying to keep the children quiet so they do not wake up dad. I have been wanting to ask a quiverfull minded mom questions, but do not personally know of any (other than on the internet) Thanks so much for this timely post.
    I did do some research last night on morning sickness, and it seems that women who are low on iron tend to have it more. I took iron (from a natural supplement called Floradix) in my last trimester, and my energy improved greatly. But, I never took it in the 1st & 2nd trimesters. It would be interesting to see if it makes a difference with the sickness.

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    Elizabeth Reply:

    I found ginger works wonders on morning sickness. I don’t really like ginger because it’s so strong but I found it in pill form and my morning sickness almost completely went away. Good luck!

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    Deirdre Reply:

    I read here on Kimberly’s blog about a “bean cure” on another mom of many’s blog. Search this blog on for morning sickness article and I think you will find the link. I am expecting another blessing in the spring and eating beans works very well almost instantly on the nausea.

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  10. Conversatio in Caelis
    August 31, 2010 | 10:52 am

    Thank you so much!
    I think, I’ll translate your post to German and read it to my husband some day. We’ve got eight kids (the four oldest boys are my stepkids) and our youngest is seven months old. I feel, I’m not “done” yet (I’m 31 now) – but dh thinks otherwise. I don’t know what God has prepared for us in the future, I just pray for my family to trust the Lord concerning everything!
    Greetings from Germany!

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  11. Bri
    August 31, 2010 | 11:17 am

    My husband and I are struggling with this issue right now as well. I am nearing the end of my second pregnancy (due end of October) and we just celebrated our son’s first birthday (2 weeks ago). Our boys will be 14 months apart and my husband is concerned with having another close pregnancy.

    Our last pregnancy didn’t go well, he was born via c-section at 35 weeks gestation. We are struggle to achieve a VBAC this time and even stretching to pray for a homebirth. This pregnancy has been much better, but I still find myself incredibly overwhelmed much of the time at the thought of two babies needing all of my attention.

    When my husband came to me and said that he felt we should wait before trying for another, it pains me to admit that I was slightly relieved. The thought of going through another pregnancy (though they aren’t generally difficult for me) while raising two very small boys is very overwhelming. But the other side of me says that we made this commitment to God to trust in Him and I feel that this decision is being made out of fear and confusion. We haven’t decided what we’ll do after this birth as I can’t be on birth control pills (and neither of us want to go that route).

    We’re thinking of trying to wait at least one year from the birth of this baby to start trying again. I suppose we will just have to wait and see how God is leading us. I’m still praying for my feelings and strength to tackle the road ahead. Also I’m praying that God will speak to my husband regarding this issue and we can find a solution that we truly feel comfortable with.

    Thanks so much for your encouraging words!

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  12. ali @ an ordinary mom
    August 31, 2010 | 11:24 am

    Well written! We too have struggled with those “God has given us the intelligence to space things out” kind of thoughts, and you’re so right, He knows our every circumstance and we really can trust Him because He is trustworthy!

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  13. Christy Lewis
    August 31, 2010 | 11:53 am

    Thank you for this post…I really needed to hear this from our God. Thank you for speaking the truth, and please, continue to do so.

    I feel as if I am walking through the “Valley of the Shadow”–I have 3 babies (3.5yo, 2yo and 7.5mo). Your words of truth and trial are of great importance in lifting my head to look upon the One who is with me at this very time. God IS sovereign and full of grace and love–what a mighty God we serve.

    Thank you, again. Please know that I am praying for you and your blessings.

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  14. Bonnie Mark
    August 31, 2010 | 12:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this post!! God’s timing is AMAZING!!! Last night we received a definite positieve pregnancy test result. This will be number six for us…The Lord covicted us to allow Him to sovreignly control the size and spacing of our children after sinfully trying to have that control after our first 3 children. All of our other children are 2-3 1/2 years apart and now our youngest just turned 9 months! This will be the closest spacing yet! Filled with every emotion from fear to joy and everything in between, I was up all night wrestling with and crying out to God, for His peace and strength! I know He is in control and He knows what is best for us…I just struggle with accepting that in my weakness HE IS STRONG! I must TRUST HIM! Thank you for your blog…I do not know of any families near to us who have this conviction and are living it out with the joy of the Lord, as your family is doing. Your family’s story and your godly wisdom and advice through this blog, sometimes feels like a life line that the Lord has thrown out to me, for encouragement to run and finish the race He has marked out for me. Thank you for your ministry to this mama of 5 soon to be six(by His grace)!

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  15. Susan
    August 31, 2010 | 12:55 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog : ) LOVE that you wrote about trusting God – He’s been working on us about this exact same topic. Thanks!

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  16. Stacy
    August 31, 2010 | 1:20 pm

    I have recently been convicted of this as well! I am completely ready to let God plan my family but my DH is not quite there. This has been tough but I am praying through it. I do have a question for you…I have had 4 c-sections and just waiting for the docs to say I cant have any more due to medical reasons. So, if I am told I should not have any more babies because it could harm me or the baby…what would you do in that case? I do trust God but I think there is a “fine line” where it is also about being responsible. This is such a tough subject! Your post was wonderful, thank you!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This is an excellent question Stacy and one that I can’t answer for you. It’s a decision that God will give you wisdom to make when and if you face it.

    I know that God is sovereign and I know that He says children are a blessing. I don’t know how that works out in a specific individual’s life.

    May God bless you with a healthy quiverfull.

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    Sue Reply:

    Stacy,

    If for some reason, you are not able to have more biological children ( or even if you are able), you can always consider building your family through adoption. We have 8 children, two of them are adopted from Africa. WE had 5 biological children and then adopted our son from Ethiopia and 1 yr later our daughter from Ghana. We went on to have another baby (biological), who is 5 months old now. There are an estimated 147 million orphans in the world today. I am so glad God opened our hearts to the blessing of adoption!

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  17. Laurie T.
    August 31, 2010 | 1:26 pm

    THANK YOU for posting about your struggles. It’s so wonderful to hear the path God has brought others in their struggle to give family planning to Him. It was 20 years ago that we went through that same struggle. And now our house is full of blessings. I can’t imagine how empty life would have been if we’d had only what we thought we could handle.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I can’t imagine how empty life would have been if we’d had only what we thought we could handle.

    Amen!

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  18. aeljot
    August 31, 2010 | 1:41 pm

    I really admire your faith and trust that you have to God’s plans. I would like to have such strength and trust.
    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts.

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  19. Laurie
    August 31, 2010 | 1:41 pm

    Wow! Love that verse in Isaiah, but sometimes choose to not apply it to my own situations! I sometimes pick and choose where to trust God and where to make my own decisions. This post really gives me something to think about.

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  20. jaqui
    August 31, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    I love my Savior. I am so thankful that he has used your post to minister to me this afternoon.It takes so much courage to surrender all….including the womb. I am asking Him for courage to fully obey.I am a mother of 4 amazing children, the youngest about the same age as your new little one. #3 was a surprise but we have kept control over the other conceptions.We are already considered a bit radical by our family, friends & some in our church. Being conservative, homeschooling and a already larger family size than most. I am finding that I need courage that only Christ can give to surrender my womb to him. I want to but I honestly say I’m not completely there yet.

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  21. Janelle Knutson
    August 31, 2010 | 6:54 pm

    Just what I needed to hear today!
    Thank you.

    [Reply]

  22. Jen
    August 31, 2010 | 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I am currently pregnant with our 6 child, our youngest just turned one. Some days the morning sickness is just about unbearable. But, this is Gods plan in action and we are humbled to be a part of it.

    [Reply]

  23. Holly
    August 31, 2010 | 9:24 pm

    Sue, I too have a very small home (950 sq. ft.) and 5 children. I feel your pain 😉 I also deal with pretty rough morning sickness. I did a little reading and found some interesting recommendations on Shonda Parker’s site. Have you tried Milk Thistle? She recommends a couple different things and I’m going to try some of them this next time. Anything is worth a try, right? 🙂 I’ll try and put a link in, but if it doesn’t work it’s on her site under Ask Shonda FAQ under the Pregnancy subtitle and you have to scroll WAAAAY down!

    http://www.naturallyhealthy.org/askshonda2.php

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Thanks, Holly. I will check it out!
    With my last pregnancy, I threw up every day until I was 5 months. It seems to get worse the older I get (38 at the time) I feel like a terrible mom and wife during that time because no matter how much I pray or how much I tell myself I will be cheerful, I just can’t get through it well.

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  24. Holly
    August 31, 2010 | 9:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! What an encouragement!

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  25. Jama
    August 31, 2010 | 10:12 pm

    Love that statement!

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    Jama Reply:

    I was trying to agee with LaurieT’s statement about life being empty if we only had what we thought we could handle. I must have hit the wrong “reply” button.

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  26. karen
    September 1, 2010 | 12:16 am

    More interesting than anything are all of these comments! Such struggles each family has! Our family is not exempt from these…the questions and challenges of faith are many. After much prayer, complete bedrest during all pregnancies, and a baby buried, we have complete PEACE in having my tubes tied.

    Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, even for those of us who do not ascribe to the same quiverfull philosophy.

    Many blessings to you for your willingness to speak on a difficult topic. Thank you for doing it in a way that seemed so gentle.

    Resting in Christ Alone,
    Karen

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Karen. I’m glad that you understood what I’m trying to say and that is that God is sovereign and that He says children are a blessing.

    The post above chronicles how that worked itself out in our family. I do not claim to know how it will look in other families. I do know that if we ask Him for guidance and if we obey what He has revealed to us in His Word and not our feelings, fears or desires that He will bless us and use us for His honor and for His glory.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and may the Lord bless you and your family.

    [Reply]

  27. Deirdre
    September 1, 2010 | 12:33 am

    Thank you for the article, Kimberly. AMEN, SISTER! We have been convicted in this way since our wedding 14 yrs ago and we have “only”…..2 birth kids (13 and 11), 2 adopted kids (3 and 6), three babies in heaven and ….. a birth baby in my tummy due in April! My pt being that GOD is sovereign. Not all families who put their fertility in God’s perfect hands end up w/ families like the Duggars. Actually few do. I don’t know “why” we have longed for babies and been unable to birth one in 11 1/2 yr and even conceive in 7 1/2 yrs, BUT I do know that ONE: GOD is in control, TWO: We would have never gotten to be the parents of our two adopted kids if we hadn’t suffered the pain of infertility and child loss and we love those two little adopted ones dearly.

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  28. Sue
    September 1, 2010 | 2:58 am

    God is so faithful! The story of your family is such a blessing to me. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

    I’m so glad that you joined the Hip Homeschool Hop today.

    Blessings,
    Sue
    The Homeschool Chick

    [Reply]

  29. Nicole
    September 1, 2010 | 4:28 am

    Thank you for your blog posting. It was something that I needed to hear. My husband and I have struggled with this on many different occasions. It seems that when I have settled in my heart to let God have His way in this area of my life my husband is not on board. When he is ready to let God have control…I am the one who struggles. We have four daughters, the oldest being almost 13 and I recently miscarried our fifth. At this time, my husband is on board and I am the one struggling. We are in the military and with moves almost every 2 years, deployments, and training that takes my husband away from home for extended periods of time…I am not sure I can handle more. But that is the selfish me talking. I need to continue to trust God with this area of my life, just as I trust Him with all the other areas.

    [Reply]

  30. Jessica
    September 1, 2010 | 5:42 am

    My son just turned 8 (woops baby) and my daughter is 16 months (planned baby). I’m ready for another baby now just like I was when my son was small. I want more children but my husband thinks we’re good just like this. I have healthy pregnancies, easy babies, and our finances are a blessing from the Lord. We have no excuse not to have more children except for my husband’s choice.

    Whenever I mention more children (or “letting the Lord decide”) it causes tension. I keep reminding myself to keep it between me and God. God knows my hearts desires and He is more capable of turning my husband’s heart than I am. But sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

    Please pray that my faith in the Lord will bring me peace. Right now I can only believe that when it’s time for us to have another baby that God will open my husband’s heart to it. (That’s the only explanation for why we had the most recent child).

    Thank you for sharing your faith building experience with us.

    [Reply]

    Meagan Reply:

    I am with you on this one. I too have to constantly remind myself that it is out of my hands and I can’t change my husband’s heart. I too haven’t found my peace about it all either.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Jessica,

    I believe that you are right, when/if God wants you to have another child, he will place that on your husband’s heart. God is sovereign and good in this also.

    May the Lord grant you peace and joy as you rest in His good providence as He leads you through your husband.

    [Reply]

  31. Kari
    September 1, 2010 | 8:38 am

    Thank you for this post. My husband and I have been here for the past few month. We have 5, I had 4 in a previous marriage and 1 with my husband now. Our 1 was a preemie, born at 25 wks and God has allowed us to keep her, she’s 2 now and doing well. At times we’ve talked about having another, but fear having another preemie or fear my health~my placenta ruptured because of hbp and that’s why I went into labor at 25wks. I have never had problems conceiving 2 of my kids are 13 mo apart, so that’s our fear if we just “leave it up to God.” How horrible this all sounds, lots of fear and lots of not trusting God. I want to trust God in this area, but my husband isn’t sure about more children. So I just need to pray that God would open our eyes to His sovereign plan that doesn’t include our fear.

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  32. Grateful for Grace
    September 1, 2010 | 9:42 am

    I see your stance. Really, I do. I am so glad you are walking in your convictions. To not do so, would be sin, I think (based on Romans 14).

    This issue is one we are faced with, but have chosen a different route. Our beliefs about children are Biblical. Our belief about His Sovereignty too.

    My husband still believes it is not wise for me to become pregnant again. After six c-sections, he believes the AMA’s stance on multiple c-sections (please don’t speak to me about how they could/are wrong, it won’t change his mind) and therefore wants to avoid me becoming pregnant. We don’t believe in altering our bodies as God designed them in this area simply to avoid a pregnancy. We use NFP to do so.

    I hesitate sharing on lots of blogs with large families and of the QF mindset because of the judging and lack of mercy I often face.

    I think the heart attitude is what God focuses on first and is very important and don’t think that avoiding pregnancy always means it isn’t.

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  33. Angela
    September 1, 2010 | 11:29 am

    Thank you for this post. The question of how many children we’ve had is something my husband and I have considered a lot in the past year or so. We have 4 so far, and the issue of birth control methods has been a journey for us. We have not been convicted about using absolutely no form of birth control, but definitely don’t want to use any of the hormonal methods because of their possible abortifacient effect. That has led us to consider NFP. What are your thoughts about that?

    I am an RN, and I have to tell you that the more I learn about science and the way our bodies are made, the more evidence I see of God’s glory through His creativity and amazing design. This is an honest question (not rhetorical): What do you think was the purpose of Him giving women predictable cycles of fertility (generally speaking, though that is not always the case), if not to give us some clue as to when we might conceive? With NFP, a couple is still trusting God, as even women with very consistent cycles can have unexpected variations in when they ovulate (and then there are women who have very irregular cycles, with very little, if any, predictability).

    I have much love and respect for large families, and I fully support you in living out your conviction. I’m just not sure that the total absence of planning is the only way to really trust God. Like I said, it’s still an area of consideration and prayer for my husband and me…so, I’m open to your thoughts. Just wanted to ask some questions. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Angela Reply:

    Hee hee…just realized I said “The question of how many children we’ve had” instead of “how many children WE’LL HAVE”. I can tell you, with certainty, that we’ve had four. 😛

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Angela,

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment.

    I honestly did not want to get into this type of discussion for a number of reasons, the main one being that this is a personal decision between you, your husband and God. My pregnancy with Alyssa was one of the ways that God has shown us in our life that He is faithful. We wanted to share that and not get into a discussion about BC.

    However, after praying about this, I will try to clarify a few of our thoughts and ideas on this topic. I’m doing this because you asked and you seem to be genuine in your question. Please know that we believe that God graciously leads and guides us as He sees fit and that your only responsibility is to God. If at the end of the day we disagree, that is all it is a disagreement. We are not being judgmental or condemning those who do not agree with us.

    Here are some reasons that we chose not to use NFP:

    The purpose

    When we read Scripture we see that nearly every time God speaks of children, and fruitfulness it is terms of His blessing and His gift to those whom He loves.

    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 ~Psalm127:3-5.

    Also, Gen.9:1-2, 17:15-17, 17:20, 22:17-18, 24:60, 28:1-3, 48:3-4, 49:25, Lev. 26:3-9, Deut. 1:10-11, 7:12-16, 13:17, 33:24, 28:63, 1 Chron. 26:4-5, Job 42:12-15, Ps. 107:38, 115:12-15, 128, Is. 51:2, etc. You get the idea.

    As Mark and I read through these passages (and others) we are struck not only with the idea that children are God’s gift, but that God blesses His people with increase and multiplication.

    He blesses them also, so that they are multiplied greatly.

    The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you.

    They blessed Rebeckah, and said unto her, be thou the mother of thousands of millions.

    Mark and I do not see any portion of Scripture where many children are declared to be anything but an amazing and abundant blessing from God. (There is one passage where the circumstances are so bad that God emphasizes this by stating that cursed will be those who are pregnant or nursing. We do not believe that we are living during those times.)

    Mark and I often pray that we will be more like God, that we would love what He loves and hate what He hates. Our only reason for using NFP would be to limit or avoid what God says He loves and to refuse what He says is a blessing.

    We do not believe that it matters how many children a couple has, the point is that our desire should be to accept whatever gift the Lord is willing to give and not try to limit them or accept them only on our terms or in our timing.

    The method

    I admit that we haven’t gotten very far beyond that first point. However, after Matthew was born and we were considering these things, we decided that we would not use NFP as a means of BC because of this passage.

    The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Cor. 7:4-5 (emphasis mine)

    It seemed to us that God presents only one valid reason for withholding ourselves from each other (and that only with mutual consent), and that is for the purpose of fasting and prayer.

    You asked why I think God gave women predictable cycles. Our God is a God of order, the seasons, tides, plant, animal and human lives (and much more) all play out in predictable cycles for a variety of reasons. We learn much about God through His natural revelation. However, it is not designed to be the rule for our lives. That standard is reserved for God’s Word. We do not see any indication in God’s Word that we should try to avoid having children by using our knowledge of a woman’s cycle.

    I hope that perhaps these thoughts may be helpful to you and pray that God will bless you with wisdom.

    [Reply]

  34. Christie
    September 1, 2010 | 12:14 pm

    I have the same questions as Angela…we do NFP also. My biggest question is – Is it really “trusting God” to make love and then get pregnant, or is it just a natural consequence of an action? He designed our bodies a certain way, and I don’t think he would stop the natural process from happening. So, to me, it’s not really trusting God but just allowing nature to take its course. To me, trusting God would look more like being in tune with His Spirit and allowing Him to guide us in our actions – whether to abstain or to go ahead. That’s quite different than using your intelligence to space your children – it’s letting God space your children however he sees fit. If that means your children are close together, great! If they’re far apart, great! Whatever God wants for your family. Of course, the trouble is separating your thoughts from God’s, and not letting your preconceived ideas be mistaken for His leading, but I think that’s the only way to truly trust God in this situation. The analogy that comes to me is jumping off of a cliff. You can either jump off of the cliff and ask God to save you, or you can ask Him first if it’s something you should do and then jump. You have to have the faith to know what He will and won’t do. I guess it all comes down to the question of, how much does God interfere with natural processes? I think He will interfere, but I don’t think He does every time, and I don’t think it wise to expect Him to.

    That’s where I’m at right now, but I’m open to thinking differently about it. I just want to know God’s mind on it, and I’m in complete agreement with you about being able to “disagree in love,” so please let me know what you think!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Christie,

    It seems clear by your comment that you and I do not have the same view of God’s sovereignty neither do we have the same view of the blessing of children. So obviously we will come to different conclusions.

    You say, that conception is

    just a natural consequence of an action(.) He designed our bodies a certain way, and I don’t think he would stop the natural process from happening.

    Our family does not believe that God put the universe in motion with ‘natural processes’ and then lets it go, only intervening occasionally. We believe that He is actively involved in every detail of His world.

    Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. ~Matthew 10:29-30

    We do not believe that any of our children are simply here because God did not stop the natural process from happening. We believe that each and every one of them was uniquely created by God as eternal beings and each of their births, lives and deaths have been ordained before the world was made.

    Your idea also opens up a huge can of worms when you consider couples who experience unexplained infertility.

    Please look at my comment to Angela for our understanding of children as a blessing.

    Your use of the jumping off a cliff illustration is interesting. Result of jumping off a cliff = injury and death. Result of taking part in the blessing of the marriage relationship = children. (God does not command us to jump off a cliff. However, throughout Scripture He commands people to be fruitful and multiply, and commands marriage and the relationship that comes with that.) Throughout your use of this example (and the rest of your comment) it seems that you view children as something to be avoided. We believe that children are a gift from God.

    We simply have different understandings on these issues and that’s fine. I don’t think that we should be surprised when we arrive at different conclusions. 🙂

    May the Lord bless you and your family!

    [Reply]

  35. Mercy
    September 1, 2010 | 3:18 pm

    I can hardly imagine having that many children in a house and trying to keep it quiet… you must be such a strong person to be able to handle all that.

    I had extreme nausea with my current pregnancy (vomiting 5+ times a day, not to mention the NEVER ending sick feeling.) Lots of people would give me “helpful” advice that did absolutely nothing. I finally got some relief when my midwife prescribed me Zofran, which is extremely expensive unless you buy the generic brand. (we have no health insurance, so cost is big factor :D) My vomiting dropped instantly to 1-2 times a day, and I had brief spells in the afternoon where I felt semi-well enough to get a little housework in. I was very blessed to have a lot of family and friends who generously helped out during those first few months as well.

    This is my second pregnancy and I’ve becoming anemic again. I take Floradix, although during 1st pregnancy despite taking double doses for months, I was very anemic up until about a month before delivery. I’m not sure how well Floradix would help with nausea, but I know from experience being anemic while pregnant is VERY exhausting and can even leave you feeling sort of sickly. I honestly never felt so better during my entire 1st pregnancy than I did that final month!

    [Reply]

    Mercy Reply:

    Ooops.. my comment was meant to be directed to “Sue”, above. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Yes, it is very difficult tryin to keep the children quiet.

    Do they know is Zofran is safe?

    [Reply]

    Aimee Reply:

    Hi Sue – I’m not a doctor but have been assured by doctors and nurses alike that Zofran is an incredibly safe drug during pregnancy. I have gestational diabetes during pregnancy (every time) and was vomiting so much that it was negatively affecting my blood sugar. My OB prescribed Zofran and I honestly felt like a new person (along with normal blood sugar). I wish I’d been willing to take it during the first pregnancy as well. One note if you do decide to ask your doctor about it…I highly recommend the ones that dissolve under your tongue. The ones you swallow are hit or miss since you’re already vomiting so much.

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Thanks for your reply. I can see how the sublingual pills (under the tongue) would work best.

    My doctor had mentioned there was medicine he could prescribe, but he was very relctant about it, he wanted me to avoid it. I will do some research on it.

    [Reply]

  36. Michelle
    September 1, 2010 | 9:34 pm

    I think I’m with Angela…up there. I believe I have questions. AND…I’m where you were. My daughter will be 3 next week, I have a 16 month old son, and I’m 11 weeks pregnant. I’ve been sick and my husband and I both are like…”This. Is. It.” Number one reason, I can’t be the mommy I need to be if I feel this bad all the time. It’s not just the nausea, it’s being so tired, too. I understand everything you just said above…but I think something we are wrestling with…if we chose to not have any more children, is God not still sovereign? We believe in His sovereignty in all things. Which means we believe He knows right now how many children we will or won’t have and by which methods we will or won’t have those children. I don’t believe that my “decision” to not have a child at a certain time somehow thwarts the will of God or stops a life that is supposed to be here. (In none of this am I referring to abortifacient drugs, BTW.) So, that’s what we are dealing with. I LOVE the idea of a large family. I would take 100 babies today if someone would give them to me and I didn’t have to be pregnant. And I know that may sound selfish, but my husband agrees…I thrive in my sacrifice to others when I am NOT pregnant. I’m just like lazy, slug when I’m pregnant and I just can’t manage to muster up what I need to be there. I do have faith that His grace is sufficient, however. I do know that it isn’t what I’m doing on a day to day basis but what He is doing…OK…I’ll stop babbling now because it seems I keep going. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Michelle,

    Yes, God is always sovereign. He works for our good and His glory in our obedience and our disobedience, we can never thwart His perfect plan.

    However, He does use means. If I had had my tubes tied after Matthew I don’t believe that we would have had 7 more children. Certainly God could have given them to us, but I believe that He has blessed us with the children that we have because we chose to be open to them. Of course I also believe that we chose to be open to them because He wished to bless us with them. 🙂

    I suppose the bottom line on our belief about children and family planning is that we believe that God says that children are a blessing, that they are His good gift to His beloved people. We believe that our attitude toward God’s gifts and blessings should be one of acceptance, not one of refusal. We do not believe that we have a right to call what God declares ‘good’ anything but good.

    There have been many times when we’ve said ‘enough’, ‘it’s too much’, ‘we can’t do this’. But as Mark and I spoke about our children over lunch yesterday we asked ourselves the question, ‘Which one of our children wasn’t worth it?’ I would give my life for any of my children, how ironic would it be for me to refuse to be sick and tired for them?

    I don’t claim to know what is right for any other family, but I do believe that at the end of our lives, Mark and I will not wish that we had chosen energy, lack of nausea and fewer diapers in lieu of any of these precious souls that God chose to bless us with.

    I pray that God will bless you with grace, strength and His peace.

    [Reply]

  37. Alisha
    September 1, 2010 | 11:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! It really speaks to me. I have 4 children. My oldest is 7 and it’s a real struggle most days to homeschool the older 2 and manage the younger 2 babies. My husband is ready to let God be in control but I’m not sure I am. I’m trying to get there, but I feel very overwhelmed most days. My baby is 7 months old and I VERY much want a 3-4 year age gap before we have another one, but I’m not sure that that’s God’s plan and I’m struggling to let go. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement!

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Alisha,

    My first 4 children are very close in age. When my oldest was 4, I had a 2 yr old and newborn twins. So, when the twins were born I put my 4 yr old in preschool.Then I put my twins in preschool when they were 4, so I could work with my 2 older children. It was a good thing and helped a lot. They were never in school past preschool, they were all homeschooled after that. They enjoyed preschool and it was harmless.

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Also, before you know it you will have older children who can help with the younger ones. It is easier having 8 children now then when I had 4 children, all 4 yrs and younger.

    [Reply]

  38. Amy @ Raising Arrows
    September 3, 2010 | 12:05 am

    Isn’t that just like God? 🙂

    God doesn’t always call us to easy things, but He always equips us for the things He calls us to. Allowing Him to plan our family has quite a ride!

    Many blessings to you and yours!

    [Reply]

  39. Renata
    September 3, 2010 | 12:29 am

    Hi Kimberley
    Thanks for this post. It certainly has caused a lot of discussion. It is a topic on our minds lately – God has convicted us that Dave should get a vasectomy reversal. We made a very stupid decision after the twins because everyone around was saying what a handful 4 children under 4 were & it was what everyone does up in brisbane for bc. We have regretted that decision since about 3 months after it happened, but God has finally allowed us to have enough cash to get it done. (Over here they are very expensive). I guess if God decides to allow us to have any more children the question then is – how many cesareans should we have (I’ve had 3 previously) – also we know that you should wait a year after a c-section before getting pregnant (we didn’t between our first 2 & my scar hadn’t healed properly – praise God I kept my uterus).
    We do know that we would love all the children God would chose to send, so I guess our thoughts are going back & forth along the lines of what you wrote & then the world (& my medical training) jumps in & I think maybe we should use a natural bc between children.
    Anyway great topic & thanks for the post – I found it very encouraging.
    God bless
    Renata:)

    [Reply]

  40. Alisha
    September 3, 2010 | 12:10 pm

    It’s nice to have a reminder that preschool is okay. My toddler will only be 3 in November, so she’s just too young to be in preschool yet (by my standards) but perhaps next year I’ll let her go for a year. I can see how that would be a big help. Specially when my older ones are still so young and still need so much help with their school work.

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    My children enjoyed preschool and have fond memories of it. It really was helpful during that time of my life when I had nobody else helping me and when I needed it the most.

    [Reply]

  41. Kendra
    September 7, 2010 | 4:56 pm

    I want to start out by saying that I am new to you site and so far I am loving it. You are truely a blessed woman, as am I. I have six kids ages 11 years- 18 months. My husband and I would also like to adopt sometime in the future. Also, I don’t want you to think that I believe you to be wrong about family planning as I am still trying to figure that all out myself. I would appreciate it if you would read this article and let me know what you think about it. Thanks. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2006/1440_Does_the_Bible_permit_birth_control/

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Kendra,

    Thank you for your comment and link. I wish that I had time to fully respond with Scripture references to that article, but I don’t. I do hope to make a couple of observations.

    In regard to the author’s point that the Bible calls wives a blessing, but also teaches that we shouldn’t necessarily take a wife and then applies that concept to children:

    Clearly, the Biblical teaching about the blessing of a wife can not be compared to the teaching about the blessing of children. While a good wife is called a blessing, God does not promise the blessing of wives for covenant faithfulness. Whereas throughout Scripture He promises many children as a reward for obedience. Also, while God says that He gives some the gift of singleness and reveals that it is sometimes a desirable condition, bareness in the Bible is always a reproach, a curse or an undesirable state.

    The verse noted in the article says, “He who FINDS a wife”. This implies that he is looking for one, that finding a wife is at least partially his responsibility. In addition to this we have many commands in Scripture regarding our responsibility in choosing a wife. In contrast, God clearly teaches that He is the author and creator of life and that each child formed in his mother’s womb is His particular creation.

    Did Adam have the right (or responsibility) to refuse Eve, the woman that God created specifically for Him? This is the scenario that we have when we speak of children. God particularly and specifically creates each child for a particular man and woman and brings them into their lives in His particular timing. We see no place in Scripture where God gives the responsibility for deciding the timing or spacing of children to the parents.

    The author of the article says,

    God is just as much in control of whether you have children when you use birth control as when you don’t. The hands of the almighty are not tied by birth control! A couple will have children precisely at the time God wants, whether they use birth control or not. Either way, then, God is ultimately in control of the size of one’s family.

    We completely agree with this statement. Now the question is, based on God’s revealed Word, what should our attitude toward children be? Should we consider them to be good gifts from God and accept them as such or should our basic attitude be one of refusal and avoidance?

    Although at the beginning of the article the author states that he believes that children are a blessing from God, the rest of the article and his arguments seem to deny that fact.

    In each example (farmers letting wind plant their crops, families going to the grocery store) the author expects Christians to actively pursue God’s good gifts except when it comes to children. With children the author argues that Christians should try to limit, space and/or avoid God’s gifts.

    The author goes on to state that things like finishing graduate school or giving to missions might be better for God’s kingdom than a child, as if God might, if we aren’t careful and responsible, create a child that would hinder the work of His kingdom.

    He concludes his arguments:

    Without regulating the size of their family, many couples would end up having more children than they can reasonably support financially.

    Are children a blessing or a burden?

    [Reply]

  42. AllieZirkle
    September 7, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    I love this post!

    [Reply]

  43. Nikki
    September 7, 2010 | 7:54 pm

    Beautiful, well-written post. I agree with you 100%. 🙂

    [Reply]

  44. Amanda
    September 8, 2010 | 10:32 pm

    Kimberly, I just wanted to let you know how encouraging this post was. My husband and I too struggle on a day to day basis with this issue. We have agreed that God will be in control, however, with our prenatal history it is so hard to just hand it over to him and not the ob! But as you posted, I have my own Alyssa!! My first, 5 yrs old, I had with HELLP syndrome and my husband almost had to choose between me or him, then our second, 3 yrs old, I had to return to the hospital with an infected uterus. My grandmother had to take care of the baby for a few days while I was in the hospital, it was horrible! Our third child, Hannah, passed away 2 years ago tomorrow after being in the NICU for 3 1/2 months with Turner’s Syndrome. After she passed away, my husband was done! My heart just ached though, so I somehow convinced him to have another and we had our 4th, Leah, who is 7 months old now and has be absolutely been my saving grace! She was the easiest pregnacy and easiest and smoothest delivery. But I too still struggle with the idea of more c-sections and how many my body actually can handle. We are currently not using any form of bc and are trusting the Lord, but, it really is a day to day struggle. Satan really messes with me on if I am truly doing the right thing! Thank you again, Kimberly, you truly are a blessing to me everday!! I thank God that there are other women out there with hearts that struggle just like mine and remind me that I am not alone.

    [Reply]

  45. Christina
    September 15, 2010 | 8:35 pm

    Thank you for this post! We have 3 children- 4, 2 1/2 and 8 months. We are completely open to life and do not believe in prevention, but I still struggle with the thought of getting pregnant again any time soon. My biggest fear is dealing with the morning sickness and fatigue with 3 other children. You post has reenforced the fact that I need to open my heart to God’s will again. It also gives me hope that maybe #4 won’t bring the morning sickness again 🙂

    [Reply]

  46. Harmony
    September 23, 2010 | 9:21 am

    What is it about this subject that makes women feel compelled to comment? 🙂

    We have been married 4 years and have a 15-month-old. Before I got pregnant with her, I had two miscarriages followed by a long period of infertility (I was actually going to make an appointment to discuss my infertility options with a GYN – mostly just seeing if I had a condition like thyroid troubles or endometriosis, certainly not going for IVF or anything).

    I am not pregnant yet, so there will at least 2 years between the first two. And I can see the providence of God in that. Our darling daughter is a handful and a half. She nurses constantly during the day(still), she wakes up every 1-2 hours at night (even though she doesn’t nurse at night anymore), she has a will of iron – she is willing to die on *every* hill – and she is too smart for her own good. 😉

    Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces. But I am worn out with her right now. I have wondered how I would manage with another. And in response, God has made it clear that now is NOT the right time for another baby. I don’t mean that he has “put it on my heart” to wait, I mean that we have never used birth control, and so we can know conclusively that God wants me to devote my time and energy right now to Pearl. If He felt differently, I would be pregnant now. There is a lot of peace that comes with that. God sees my need and he meets it.

    And if I get pregnant this month, I will know that He has decided I can handle another. And, again, there is peace that comes with that, too.

    [Reply]

  47. […] gives us is children.   As I learned in the responses (both comments and emails) to my post about having many children, even though many people say that children are a blessing, many only want those […]

  48. Janelle
    October 10, 2010 | 1:17 pm

    I too am struggling with this. We didn’t leave the Lord in control of our first 4 children…we basically said, “we’ll try when we’re ready”. Thankfully He has blessed us so much with our 4 gifts, but after #4 (who is currently almost 4 months old), we decided that we weren’t going to try to prevent pregnancy. I am breastfeeding and figured it’d buy me a bit of time. I was wrong. I’m 6 weeks pregnant with #5, nursing #4 and homeschooling my others. It’s a wonderful life, I’m blessed beyond belief, HOWEVER, I have SPD–a painful condition in my pubic bone that makes pregnancy very difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, my pregnancies are quite wonderful…not much sickness, no other real complaints, but I’m overweight and still having pain from my LAST pregnancy…and here I am again, starting out in pain, starting at my heaviest weight for a pregnancy, questioning God’s wisdom. I’m THRILLED to be having another baby, it’s my body I’m concerned about though. Thank you for this post because I do tend to forget that God knows EVERYTHING I’m faced with…and His grace is sufficient.

    [Reply]

    Lindsey Reply:

    Janelle,
    I totally feel your pain! I, too, have SPD and know just how painful it is/can be. My third baby is just now 2 months old and I am still having problems from it and my midwife didn’t really take me seriously. In all my research I’ve discovered not many docs do. Anyway, we say we are letting God be in control but then I find myself struggling with such a “gray area” in the Bible. One that can be so cut-and-dry to one and not-so-much to another Christian. My point is, your story definitely resonates with me as I am still suffering from SPD, at my heaviest ever also, and giving our fertility to God (but also nursing like you) and wondering what He has in store for us.

    [Reply]

  49. Beyond All That We Ask | Raising Olives
    November 23, 2010 | 7:25 am

    […] God however, had plans for the child He has already used to teach us so much. […]

  50. DeLynn
    December 6, 2010 | 12:02 am

    I have been sitting in my bed nursing my 6 wk old and could not stop reading all of the posts. I am a mother of nine children and being a mother has been challenging and rewarding. Now that I am 42 years old, I am ready to be done. However my husband and I surrendered our reproductive systems to God and God prepared us for our children. Now I am ready to be done. But I don’t know if God is done. I have been blessed to have all vag births and only one pregnancy with high blood pressure. God has truly been good to us. We have come close to permanent bc at least three times but just didn’t feel totally comfortable. Now we have been talking about NFP. I am getting older so my childbearing years may be coming to an end. Truthfully I’m totally full with 9. May God give me the strength if there are more to come. To be honest I would be happy if we are done. I struggle daily with the thought of another baby and then wonder what blessing I will forfeit if we make a permanent bc decision.

    [Reply]

  51. Taryn
    December 19, 2010 | 5:30 pm

    My granddaughter(2) is in daycare/preschool and she has completely changed. She has become aggressive and when my son picks her up she is more than ready to leave. And it is suppose to be a good preschool-in a home-teaching them Spanish,etc. Then I watch her in the late afternoon. My beautiful daughter-in-law thinks this is a good thing. Hannah is constantly sick and then the baby cousins get sick from her. Someone we know put her son in preschool then she became sick from him just before she was due to give birth. She was worried about the newborn baby. Little ones need to be home with their mothers all day/every day where God intended them to be not in a socialist preschool. Nancy Cambell(author of Be Fruitful and Multiply) did a comparison of sheep(lambs)mothers and goat mothers(kids)-it was interesting.

    [Reply]

  52. Taryn
    December 19, 2010 | 6:05 pm

    I recommend the book The Way Home by Mary Pride and its sequel. Let us NOT be lukewarm Christians-Revelation 3:16. My husband and his sister are “Irish twins”-they are 10 months apart-for one month every year they are the same age. They were bottle-fed. My brother and I are 13 months apart(bottle-fed). I was just telling my son how when I was young I enjoyed visiting my Catholic school friends that had big families-here on Long Island.

    [Reply]

  53. Sheila
    December 21, 2010 | 8:17 am

    I’m turning 40 this Sunday, I’ve got six wonderful children, the youngest of whom is 13 months old (oldest is almost 13 years old), and I hope and pray I’ll even be able to have more children. I would’ve loved to have my children spaced closer together. We experienced 2 miscarriages before our youngest, too. My point is, God doesn’t always operate the way we THINK He “should”, or even the way He has in the past, even in our own families. He could send 4 children very close together, then close your womb. We do not know the plans He has for us, but He does, and HE CAN ALWAYS BE TRUSTED.

    [Reply]

    Jehn Reply:

    Hi Sheila,

    I am 41 and pregnant with #5. My oldest children are 15 and 11, while my youngest are 2.5 and 15 months. The “gap” has proved to be such a blessing as I have the help and confidence of my two older daughters. While I try not to place too much responsibility for their younger siblings on them, the older ones tend to just jump in graciously. Nice to meet you : )

    [Reply]

    Sheila, Mom to Seven Reply:

    Hi, Jehn. Now 41 and seventh child is 3 months old. 🙂 Living for Jesus is such an adventure!
    Blessings to you.
    Sheila

    [Reply]

  54. Taryn
    December 21, 2010 | 10:09 am

    That happened to us.We had 4 children then 7 years went by. I had a dream that I would have a girl then a boy-and told everyone the names I had chosen-Angela and Michael. Isn’t that called secondary infertility? I didn’t conceive in my forties. I conceived between 18 and 38-breastfeeding until they were around 2 years-all 6 children. My last two are three years apart-both born in April. We do as the Duggars do(page 41)-Lev.12-abstaining for 40 days after a boy and 80 days after a girl. We had 4 sons.

    [Reply]

  55. Serene in Singapore
    March 10, 2011 | 10:57 am

    You know I should print this out or bookmark it and re-read it whenever my “clever” reasonings surfaces 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder again that He knows best!

    [Reply]

  56. Popsiclesontheporch
    March 12, 2011 | 2:09 am

    Wow! Thank you for sharing your journey. I am really struggling with this. When my husband and I first got married we only wanted to 2 kids.I hate even saying it like that, but that’s where I was. It was all about ME and MY plans. However, as I grew in my faith, I realized that I was not allowing God to have complete authority of every area of my life. He broke my heart, convinced me of my pride and now I am a homeschooling mommy to 4 children all under the age of six and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    I love big families (though very small compared to yours), but now I find myself at the same crossroads. I ended up getting back on birth control (which I have also wrestled with for various reasons, but have never really taken the time to fully explore). However, I am not sure that we are convinced that we are done.

    I have always wanted to foster or adopt even before we had children of our own. It has been a huge burden on my heart so that is something weighing heavy on me too. If we add to our family from fostering or adopting and then have additional children of our own how will we be good stewards of those blessings~how can we appropriately and realistically provide for them?

    I am just so confused at where God’s sovereignty is and the ability to take advantage of modern medicine? I am assuming you wouldn’t agree with natural family planning either? I wrestle with how far this goes i.e. does this mean that I wouldn’t allow my child meds either should they need it, because God is sovereign and can heal?”

    My husband and I are praying through and seeking the Lord’s direction about all of this right now. As I type this my eyes are filling up with tears and I don’t even know why!! Uggh!! I am really wrestling with all of this and I guess ultimately at the root of it all is a heart that is filled with fear. Fear and confusion. Sorry if I rambled. If you have any recommendations on any material I can read, please feel free to share. I am open to exploring and always willing to allow God to work out the “me” corners of my heart.
    Mel

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This is a big issue that each couple must work through on their own.

    I will make one comment about using medicine to combat disease or illness. Throughout Scripture children are described as God’s blessing, whereas illness is clearly part of God’s judgment on a fallen and sinful world. Jesus welcomed the little children, while He and His disciples spent much of their time combating and healing physical ailments.

    Christians are commanded to be fruitful and multiply and to preserve and improve life. So where using medicine to cure illness is in line with what the Bible requires of Christians, using medicine to prevent conception is not.

    We think that medicine should be used to help our bodies function as they were designed by our almighty creator, not to prevent their proper functioning.

    [Reply]

  57. Popsiclesontheporch
    March 12, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. This is definitely a good point you bring up and probably the very reason why I have struggled with birth control in the first place. I’ve just never really had to explore it up until now. As we continue to seek His heart, we’re confident God will lead us as He always has.

    Look forward to keeping up with you blog! ; )
    Mel

    [Reply]

  58. Jonnie Bernier
    March 22, 2011 | 1:49 am

    I have 6 children from 9 years old to 10 months. I was pregnant and feeling burnt out, and my husband and I decided he would have a vasectomy while I was pregnant, as soon as our 6th child was born, we both had regret for that decision.
    We have both prayed that god will give us more children, and have seriously discussed getting a vasectomy reversal.

    I know this sounds so wishy washy, but we both love children. Does the Bible say anything about our predicament, any advice?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    First remember that our God is gracious and that He works everything together for our good and His glory. Next trust your husband and follow his leadership.

    I think that this is one of those situations where God calls different people to different courses of action. We have a number of friends who have had reversals, some God has blessed with more children and others He has not. We also have friends who have been unable to have a reversal for a variety of reasons. I believe that God will give you the wisdom to make this decision that He has placed in front of you.

    May He grant you His peace.

    Blessings.

    [Reply]

    Jonnie Bernier Reply:

    Kim-

    first of all thank you for your blog, you are a wonderful writer, and I am sure an inspiration to many. You should seriously consider writing a book, in your spare time of course, ha ha!

    I just wanted to let you know that my husband decided to have a reversal and left this evening to fly to Oklahoma. He went by himself, and I hope all goes well. I am a little nervous about continueing to have children as I am almost 38, but I pray the lord will allow us to have 2 more.

    thank you for being an insiration to many.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Jonnie,

    Thank you for taking the time to give me an update. I pray the surgery went well and that God will see fit to bless you with more children.

    Blessings,

    [Reply]

    Jonnie Bernier Reply:

    Kim- I am so excited, I just found out two nights ago we are pregnant. Thank you for your prayers.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Congratulations. May God bless you with a healthy pregnancy and baby! 🙂

  59. Jennifer
    April 12, 2011 | 12:22 pm

    I have been studying the bible, and I have come to believe we can trust God with this decision. I’m in a bit of a different situation though. I take medicine for a medical condition, and it causes birth defects and miscarriages. Through prayer, I felt that God was leading us to have another child, so we stopped the medicine to do that. I would love to not go back on the medicine and just let God decide. That would mean letting my disease take over my body, and I would not be very good at functioning as a homeschool mom. I believe if we are seeking Him prayerfully, he will tell us when we should have more.

    I just wondered what your thoughts are on that, as well as for families who have little to no income.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Jennifer,

    I believe that God gives each family wisdom to face the choices that He puts in front of them and know that God has and will continue to give you and your husband guidance as you walk the path He has laid in front of you.

    When it comes to families with little to no income, we’ve been there. Our family would be much smaller if we had chosen to wait until we had an “adequate income”.

    Matt. 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

    Wealth is all a matter of perspective 1 Tim. 6:8 “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content”

    If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84% of the world. If your family income is $50,000 or more a year, you make more than 99% of the world.

    Throughout Scripture God assures us of His provision for our physical needs. Start at the above passage in Matthew and read the whole context, Ps. 37:25 and many, many more.

    [Reply]

  60. Jennifer
    April 19, 2011 | 11:44 am

    I completely agree. I’ve seen God provide firsthand. I was thinking more about, say government assistance. Are we bad witnesses to non-christians to continue to have children while accepting assistance? That is what I have struggled with. We don’t abuse the system, but I also can’t imagine giving it all up as then we would have no insurance. So I’ve been seeking Godly guidance on the subject. Thank you for your thoughts.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Jennifer,

    I absolutely agree that we are a bad witness to unbelievers if we take government assistance. Period. No matter whether we have more children while doing it or not. For some of the same reasons that I mention in my post about public schools, (theft and constitutionality) our family does not believe that it is biblical for Christians to take money from the federal government.

    We believe that Scripture clearly teaches where provisions should come from and places the responsibility for caring for physical needs of the family first on the immediate family, then the extended family and lastly on the church. 1 Tim. 5 speaks of this(note verse 8 ) and then as I mentioned in my last comment, chapter 6 tells us what is necessary, food and clothing.

    [Reply]

    Chelsey Reply:

    I was wondering what you do for insurance? We are a young couple and my husband is a freelance traveling evangelist, and I stay home with the boy we have guardianship over. So neither of us are offered insurance through work. We are young enough where my husband is still covered under his parent’s plan but my parents do not have insurance either. We are avoiding getting pregnant partial because I have no insurance for a pregnancy. We are considering a program called MinnesotaCare, what are your thoughts on that sort of situation?

    [Reply]

    Chelsey Reply:

    I found other comments from you about this subject. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Where did you find the comments on this insurance issue? Thanks.

    [Reply]

  61. Blair
    May 17, 2011 | 8:39 am

    I know this is an old post but God is really dealing with me in this area. I am 3 months post-partum with my 4th child, of which has some medical needs. While I believe children are a blessing and I will not tell him “no more” I am really struggling with how I can say that and then in the next breath tell him “no more right now Lord”. Either I trust Him or I don’t, right?

    [Reply]

  62. Rochelle
    June 26, 2011 | 3:28 pm

    I’m so very curious….I have 3 children, 2 in the kitchen and one in heaven (MC this Spring) and they would have all been just under 4 years when the baby was due (Nov)…roughly all 21-23 months apart. My question is regarding BF…do you get pregnant so soon, even while nursing? I’ve gotten pregnant as soon as I could each time…so I guess my question is how does nursing fit into your story? Thanks!

    Also, I hope to have many more children and I’m really enjoying your blog; very inspiring! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, I’ve gotten pregnant while nursing.

    With most of our children I’ve gotten pregnant while nursing, before starting any solids or supplements of any kind and still getting up several times during the night to nurse the baby. As a matter of fact, other than my first pregnancy I’ve never gotten pregnant when I wasn’t breastfeeding.

    God is in control. My experience will not be like your experience, will not be like my neighbors experience because we are all different parts of God’s body. When I conceive and when you conceive is not purely a result of human action and biology, but rather the hand of a sovereign God who works all things together for good.

    [Reply]

    Rochelle Reply:

    Kimberly,

    Thank you so much for your gracious response and the wise reminded of God’s sovereignty It’s so hard to remember, but vital, whether the struggle is understanding why, or why not. 🙂 We’ve had a hard year (infant death in the family, my miscarriage) and it’s a struggle to understand why God would take a child to himself when loving parents are open to life….the challenge is to be OPEN to life, not grasping for it.

    After I posted my original comment I found your post about BF and found that fascinating. I’ve also nursed while pregnant twice, but never got pregnant before the baby was 12-14 months….some of this seemed to be related to genes as my mom was the same way…always pregnant by the time her baby was 2, never before they were one (nursing or not). God uses even our genes for His good plans.

    [Reply]

    Rochelle Reply:

    Since this post we’ve been blessed with another sweet baby (5/12). So grateful for her precious life which has brought such joy!! Definitely has been a rainbow through the rain.

    [Reply]

  63. Kara Sarbacker
    June 29, 2011 | 12:38 pm

    I know this is an old post, but wanted to ask what you all tell people when they ask how many kids you “plan” to have… we get this question all the time from believers and non-believers… my usual answer is “we’ll see how many God will bless us with!”… do you have a different response?

    [Reply]

  64. Danielle
    July 30, 2011 | 11:05 am

    I realize that this is an old post, but I’ve just now come across your blog. We have four children, the oldest of which just turned 4, so I COMPLETELY relate to your struggle in trusting God with this. I have to admit I am still wavering, but I appreciate your post as it increases my faith in a God who is truly more than worthy of it. Reading your story helps me to realize that we are not alone in our experience of having kids so close in age. Having lots of children seems manageable when the older ones can help out with the younger, but when they’re all so young and needy, it can be so overwhelming and stressful! So thank you for your post..it’s still encouraging people like me.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Danielle,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please allow me to encourage you further by saying how blessed I am now that my ‘little’ kids are so much bigger. I LOVE having these big kids, so close together in age. It is an amazing blessing and watching them interact with each other brings me more pleasure than I can express.

    [Reply]

  65. Jessica Rockwell
    August 3, 2011 | 4:43 pm

    I love this post! It was the same with my 4th. No morning sickness but terrible morning sickness with my first 3. Thanks for posting this!

    [Reply]

  66. Kim
    August 9, 2011 | 11:07 pm

    I just wanted to comment that I really love your blog and felt encouraged by it. My husband and I have 2 children that we adopted 2 years ago, they are 4 and 6. It was very clear when we were trying to create a family that God was asking us to stop and adopt. We have been trying for the past year to get pregnant and had thought He may be calling us to adopt again and we were completely shocked to find out that I am now 6 weeks pregnant. I have become so paranoid with worry that we would miscarry and spending my time reading baby discussion boards that do not help. Tonight I realize I was leaning on my own understanding and putting my trust in myself.

    I am so thankful for the blessings He has given us and have a huge road ahead when it comes to trusting. When we adopted our children I was (and still am) the main breadwinner and the month we fell pregnant I began to feel God is going to call me out of my job to be home with the kids which is such a huge change of heart, but I know my kids really need me home. It was very clear that God called me to the job I am in and it is hard to understand that He would so easily call me out and change my heart to make it something I want so much. My husband feels he is being called to something that seems impossible (song writer) that would make this all possible for our family, so I sure am glad I have a God that shows us nothing is impossible if we have Him.

    [Reply]

  67. The Momma@The Straightened Path
    August 10, 2011 | 7:24 am

    Kim, your comment really spoke to me about being on discussion boards and “relying on my own understanding.” My “life verse” is Proverbs 3:5-6 yet when I am over on Babycenter that is exactly what I am doing. Also I think it is wonderful the Lord is calling you to stay at home with your children. I think you will find lots of encouragement at http://www.aboverubies.org!

    [Reply]

  68. Kim
    September 4, 2011 | 10:55 pm

    I’ve just recently found your blog and have really enjoyed reading your inspiring posts regarding childrearing and the like. However, I do feel compelled to respond to this question by Jennifer and response from you.

    I am a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a homeschooling mom. Because my husband is the only person on staff at our church there are not any HMO’s, etc… Therefore, a LARGE chunk of our income was going to health insurance provided by a well known insurance company. We were having a really hard time making ends meet even without a house payment or car payment…as we are debt free and do live frugally. Based on this, we decided it was financially best to switch to state health care, which has freed up a significant portion of our income that was previously going to our former health insurance plan.

    I don’t understand how this could not be “good stewardship” under our circumstances. My husband works diligently as a pastor in addition to two other side jobs to provide for our family. I do not feel it would be wise to leave the home for a job (for insurance benefits) as my children are my number one priority. We pay our taxes and always have.

    I am not trying to be spiteful, but rather I am ignorant, so to speak, as to what you would suggest in this situation?

    In Him,

    Kim

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Kim,

    The question isn’t merely one of ‘good stewardship’, the question is what does God require, because ‘good stewardship’ must be defined by God’s law.

    The Scriptures are full of ways that God provides for His people and many exhortations to trust God, but we are not aware of any passages allow or command Christ followers to turn to an ungodly government for provision. (A godly government would not be involved in this type of welfare system.) That role, biblically, is reserved for God, family and church.

    Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6

    Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
    A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
    The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
    They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
    I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

    1 Timothy 5 lays out hierarchy of biblical provision and then in verse 8 we get a glimpse of what God thinks about Christians failing to care for each other

    But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

    .

    Our family has faced this exact situation with insurance. Because we believe that the Bible applies to all of life, even health insurance, turning to the government was not an option for us. Instead we chose to follow the principles set out in God’s Word and we turned to God’s people. We are members of Samaritan Ministries, a biblical alternative to health insurance. Christians covenant together with other Christians to pray for each other and share medical expenses.

    My parents have been part of this program for nearly 15 years and have had a couple significant claims ($100,000+) that have been shared by Samaritan. Mark and I moved to Samaritan when we were priced out of traditional health insurance.

    Certainly we are called to be good stewards, but ‘good stewardship’ must be defined by the Scriptures. It must be grounded in obedience. If it does not have the principles of Scripture as its foundation, then we are simply doing whatever seems right in our own eyes and labeling it ‘good stewardship’.

    [Reply]

  69. Harmony
    September 5, 2011 | 10:06 am

    Kimberly, with all due respect, I’m going to disagree with you. 🙂

    Certainly Samaritan Ministry is a wonderful thing, as is receiving support from the body of believers, but I think you go just a little bit too far. We have Biblical examples of godly men who accepted help from the wicked.

    The spies sought help from Rahab, who was a prostitute and a Canaanite. David sought refuge with the King of Gath when he was pursued by Saul (1 Sam 27). And in the New Testament, we see Paul appealing to his Roman citizenship in both Acts 16 and Acts 22. He could certainly have said to himself that the Roman government was wicked and that it was a joy to suffer for the sake of Christ, and then taken his flogging just like the other Apostles. But he didn’t. He claimed his right as a Roman citizen.

    Those are just the first three examples that came to my mind. There may be others, too.

    I don’t want to be mistaken here. I don’t think government help should be accepted lightly. It shouldn’t be abused, it shouldn’t be seen as a long-term solution except in the most serious situations, and there are other – better! – options. But I also don’t think that based on what we see in Scripture that we should say that it’s wrong to accept help from the wicked in every circumstance.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Harmony,

    Disagreeing is fine, that’s what helps us all to grow further in our understanding. 🙂

    I obviously did not make myself clear. I’m not saying that Christians should never accept help from the wicked (a Christian may presumably turn to ungodly parents for help without violating the Biblical pattern laid out in Timothy), but that we should not turn for help to those whom God has given no authority for that type of help.
    The role of the government, as presented in the Bible, is limited (as are the roles of church and family). The government is to protect the innocent and punish the wicked by using the sword.

    There is a huge difference between an ungodly government doing what God has called them to do (as in the cases of Paul and David that you mention) and that same body usurping authority that is not theirs at all.

    It is the usurpation of authority that is also the basis for my belief that parents of murdered children may not track down the murderer and kill him. It’s simply not the role that God has given them. The punishment of the wicked is reserved for the government (whether or not they fulfill their responsibility) and the physical care of the family is reserved for the family and, with significant restrictions, the church.

    As for your example of Rahab, it doesn’t apply in this situation. Rahab was an individual (the responsibilities of an individual are very different from those of a government because an individual is, presumably, not taking by force the property of another when they are charitable, a government produces nothing and therefore for them to be ‘charitable’ they must take the property of another), not a government. Additionally she was part of the line of Christ, and one of the elect, despite her background.

    Thanks for your input.

    [Reply]

  70. Jennifer
    September 6, 2011 | 2:02 pm

    I appreciate the comments on this subject. We are still prayerfully considering what to do. I have medicines that range in the thousands monthly. So whether it be going off of them, dropping our current insurance, etc. I’m willing to do what is biblical and what God wants. I’m just praying that he shows me the path to get there. The medicines themselves cost more than my husband even makes, lol. Thank you for your insights.

    [Reply]

  71. Jennifer
    November 25, 2011 | 7:57 pm

    This topic has always confused me. I have some questions because I’ve never understood the mindset of “letting God plan your family” as far as it meaning to never take any control over your fertility.

    First of all, my husband and I do not use artificial birth control. We have been married 10 years and are currently pregnant with our 5th child. We also homeschool. I understand that there are real arguments against the use of birth control, especially chemical/hormonal birth control (abortifacient, etc.)

    However, we are also familiar with the biological processes of our bodies and are aware of when the conception of a child is a distinct possibility.

    Every night, every married couple makes a choice. This choice is made based on a variety of factors, desire or lack thereof, fatigue, hunger, sickness, etc. Unless you are “witholding yourself” from your spouse, these choices are generally considered legitimate. I don’t know many Christians who would argue that we are commanded to have intercourse every day.

    Why then, is it considered an illegitimate choice to abstain because the wife is fertile and the couple, with prayer, has decided that God has led them not to conceive that month?

    Thank you for your honest opinion. I hope you do not think I am being critical. That is not my intention.

    [Reply]

    The Momma@The Straightened Path Reply:

    I will be interested to see other responses but this is what came to mind for me when reading your comment.

    The Bible is full of instances where God opened and closed the womb for various purposes. I just watched a Holocaust video the other day and the woman survivor said she doesn’t know of anyone who had their period while in the camps. They all assumed it was divine intervention.

    Even if a couple is fertile and times intercourse perfectly there is still only a 25% chance of getting pregnant. One reason I choose to trust God even during my fertile time because that is when I have the most desire for my husband and I think God can certainly control that 25%. Basically, I think it just boils down to a matter of the heart. Trusting God even to that degree brings such freedom and trust that I had not experienced until I surrendered complete control of this area of my life to Him. (My husband and I used NFP to prevent for 5 years until coming to the point of letting God control. Neither of us have ever enjoyed our physically intimacy as much as we do now after surrendering. We weren’t expecting that!)

    I think it’s also worth mentioning that just because we let God control this area doesn’t mean we will have more children. Many people have this mind set with only 2 children. Then there are the Duggars. It just shows how divine God really is.

    I wish you well on your journey to really figure out where you officially stand on this and understanding why others feel the way they do. I think things like this are what the verse is referring to about us each working out our own salvation.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jennifer,

    First, I do not think that you’re being critical. And your question makes sense.

    Second, I think that this issue really boils down to a heart attitude. Do we desire to have the mind of Christ on this issue?

    There are two simple truths that explain our personal position on birth control.

    1. God is sovereign. – Everything that happens, good or bad, happens at His decree. He works ALL things together for good for those who love Him and He has ordained everything from the beginning of time.

    He specifically declares His sovereignty in opening and closing the womb at His good pleasure. This means that it is impossible for God to ‘accidentally’ create a child. So, for us to try to prevent conception (by whatever means we choose) is trying prevent the life of a child that God has sovereignly ordained to create.

    2. God says throughout the entirety of Scripture that children are a blessing.

    So, the only reason that a couple could possibly have for using birth control would be to try to prevent God from creating a life that He unequivocally, throughout Scripture declares is a good gift, a blessing to His people.

    As you mentioned, there are a variety of reasons that a couple may choose not to be intimate at any given time. Your question is,

    Why then, is it considered an illegitimate choice to abstain because the wife is fertile and the couple, with prayer, has decided that God has led them not to conceive that month?

    I would first ask what in the Bible would lead you to the conclusion that God wishes for you not to conceive? Throughout Scripture we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply and children are repeatedly and unequivocally described as blessings and bareness is a curse. In other words, God’s blessing is fruitfulness and bareness is a curse. So we believe that to have the mind of Christ, Christians should desire fruitfulness and not work toward bareness.

    Secondly, if indeed God has determined that you should not have any more children, He won’t accidentally create one if you and your husband aren’t diligent to prevent it. If you conceive another child it is obviously 1) a blessing and 2) God’s perfect will for you, your husband, your newest child and the whole world.

    It’s a heart issue. Do you believe God when He says that children are blessings? Do you believe that God will create a child that is not a blessing? Do you believe that God does not have the power to determine when and whether He will give His blessing? Are you willing or unwilling to receive a blessing from the hand of God?

    [Reply]

    DeLynn Reply:

    I truly want to thank you for your post. It is a huge encouragement to me right now. My husband and I just found out that we are pregnant with our ninth child. I would have never imagined that we would have a large family. But we committed our reproduction to God at the beginning of our marriage. And I have had to constantly say to the Lord that I trust HIm with opening and closing the womb. I struggle sometimes with trusting God. But I realize that he has a plan for us and the children. So we have not yet told the children or anyone one else in the family that we’re expecting. I am just in the process of preparing myself for the comments, especially the jokes and the negative ones. Please keep us in prayer as we prepare for this little one. And thank you so much for your blog.

    [Reply]

  72. Faith
    January 4, 2012 | 10:12 am

    This is a MAJOR struggle for my husband and I right now. We have an 8 month old son and I am convicted that God has called us to fully trust Him with our fertility and with our family size. My husband does not agree with me, but, thankfully, gave his blessing for me to no longer take hormonal birth control. This blessing from my husband came after we conceived our son the night of wedding after I had been taking the pill for a few months in preparation for our wedding night. That experience alone was enough to change my heart attitude regarding trusting God with this area of our life. I do not enjoy sex any longer because my husband insists on using condoms, which (pardon the adult content) interrupt the flow of the moment, at least for me. My heart aches because I truly feel like I am being disobedient to God by not allowing Him to guide our family size. Am I to take a stand against my husband? Where does submission come into play in this situation?

    [Reply]

    The Momma@The Straightened Path Reply:

    You are NOT being disobedient by using condoms against your will. Your husband is. You should not take a stand against him but rather let God work on his heart in this area.

    [Reply]

    Dana Reply:

    Dear Momma, May I respectfully challenge the statement that Faith’s husband is disobeying God by using condoms? There is no command in scripture against using birth control. However, it IS a very clear command to wives to submit to their husbands. I am afraid that you are placing a heavy yoke of legalism on this young wife.

    Dear Faith, we must be so careful to have a clear understanding of the difference between sin issues (defined in the Bible as sin) and freedom issues (in which we may exercise our freedom in Christ). It is legalism for someone to tell you that you must practice this or that lifestyle when it is not commanded in scripture! You said “I feel like I am being disobedient to God by not allowing Him to guide our family size.” Disobedience to God is not a feeling. It is based on the word of God.

    Yes, children are a blessing from the Lord. Yes, we must trust Him with all our hearts because He is good and loves His children. This does not preclude the wise use of available birth control methods. And it certainly does not nullify the need to fully submit to our husband’s leadership. As your sister in Christ, I would hope that you will reject the legalism and learn to enjoy sex again, even with the condoms.

    Kimberly, thank you for allowing the open discussion of this subject. You are a precious sister in Christ. I am only concerned about the elevation of a freedom issue into the realm of a sin issue, and that is a pit waiting for people to fall into. I am not that wise, but I try to lean on God’s word alone, and I am open to further conversation on this topic. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Faith,

    Remember God is in control of everything, even your husband’s heart. 1 Peter 2:18-3:2 tells us that wives are supposed to be subject to their husbands, not just when they (the husbands) are fair and just, but even when they are unjust.

    I do not believe that you should submit if your husband is asking you to sin against God, but in this case he is not asking you to sin. He is choosing to use condoms.

    In God’s sovereignty and providence, this exact situation has been ordained for your good and His glory. Seek to be a faithful, submissive help-meet, pray for your husband to be a wise leader and trust that God is truly in control, even when you don’t like what’s happening.

    Praying for peace for you and for the blessing of more children in His perfect timing!

    [Reply]

  73. Laura
    January 9, 2012 | 6:59 pm

    I just stumbled across this post today and was struck my the similarities in our stories. We currently have 7 kids, and I am pregnant with #8. After #3, we were convicted to trust God with our family size (long story) and #4 was born 14 months later. She was also my most easy-going baby and my easist pregnancy, easiest delivery, with very little morning sickness, not typical for me. She was such a blessing! Thank you for sharing your story.

    In Christ, Laura

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sorry for the typos! 😉

    [Reply]

  74. Kim
    January 12, 2012 | 9:55 pm

    Another good reason to skip medicinal birth control is because it does NOT always prevent conception. When it fails to prevent conception it does what it can (this includes also & especially the IUDs) to make the lining of the uterus as unwelcoming & uninhabitable as possible. Which means a fertilized egg is essentially flushed out of your system.

    My husband and I were just not okay with that once we discovered it. So we choose NFP in lieu of birth control.

    [Reply]

  75. Emilee
    January 16, 2012 | 7:26 pm

    Wow! I am actully somewhat surprised to find someone in the world who is smart enough to understand these things! God ALWAYS knows what you and your body need. Before even you do. He sees all and knows all. Just because you think you can’t handle something doesn’t mean you can’t. He knows what you can and can’t handle. He will never give you more than you can handle.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    God does give us more than we can handle, but they are opportunities for sanctification and growth and times to press deeper and deeper into Christ and his strength. We have three kids three and under; my husband is gone 70 hours a week, this is more than I can handle, but by the Grace of God I am filled with Joy as I turn to him in prayer.

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  76. Sheila, Mom to Seven
    January 17, 2012 | 9:30 am

    God can always be trusted. And, He is the only One who can create life. Those two facts are the reason we believe what we do about conception. 🙂
    I’m newly 41, and just had our seventh child on earth 3 months ago. (We had our first at 27, having used b/c before that :() I know she could be our last. Or, we could have a few more. Only God knows, and we can rest in His sovereignty, knowing He has all of our best interests in His more-than-capable hands. (Oh, and having babies at my “age” definitely keeps me young!)

    [Reply]

  77. Nikki, missionary mom two three and 1/2
    January 18, 2012 | 11:23 am

    Hello Kimberly,
    I am writing to you for wisdom. I stumbled upon your website during my time of meditation, prayer and seeking the Lord. I just found out that I am pregnant again. Eight years ago I followed my husband to Italy as full-time missionaries. God surprised us with our first pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage just a few months after our arrival. The very next month I got pregnant with Siena Grace. Two years later we conceived Sammy and then another two years later with Asher. It has been rough! I am here in a foreign country with no help.
    I always only wanted two kids, three at the most. In September of 2010 I found out that we were pregnant again (exactly two years distance once again). I was in the throws of a very deep depression because of having three kids and being in Italy. Life was hard and I had totally lost myself along the way. The demands of life, three kids 4 and under and ministry were more than I could handle. Almost 11 weeks into the pregnancy though, I lost the baby. It was really rough!
    I swore after that experience that I never wanted to go through that again. I prayed about it, but with my heart already set on not having anymore children. Although my husband always felt like God had put four kids on his heart, he prayed and trusted God, relenting to my desires. We decided to close the chapter of babies and move on.
    Last night I took another pregnancy test and it was positive. I just shook! We were so careful! We used protection decisively. Now I sit here feeling like God is playing some kind of joke on me. I know what the Word says…that children are a blessing and a gift. I know what I am supposed to believe, but I don’t feel it. I was SO looking forward to finally get Asher into pre-school in September and at least have a few precious hours in the morning to myself to actually get stuff done. Guess what! The baby will be due in September. I really feel like God is laughing. He is NOT funny right now. But, in my heart I am laughing too! This is crazy.
    My first instinct is to cry and tell God that I just want to go home. How can I possibly raise four kids overseas? I am already maxed out and feel like I have no more to give. I lose my patience much too often and feel like a terrible mother. God promises that His grace is sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in weakness. Well, I guess it is time for God to start showing up big time. I throw my arms in the air and give up! I am choosing right now to give God the control and to let my husband lead me. I don’t have it in me to make decisions about our future. This is all so overwhelming! I know what my family is going to say too, “Oh, Nikki, no! Why didn’t Anthony get fixed? Oh no! You poor thing. Your husband is just not for you. He should have taken care of things.”
    Do you have any encouragement or advice? I just need a loving word from someone who’s been there. Thanks!
    Because He first loved me,
    Nikki Testa

    [Reply]

    DeLynn Reply:

    Your story has really tugged at my heart. I don’t believe that it was a mistake that you came across this blog. When I found this blog, I was in a place of sadness because of the fact that I did not understand what God was doing with my husband and I. See, I am 43 years old and pregnant with my 10th child. Yes I said 10th. I never thought that I would have such a large family and my husband was the only child of a single mother. I get overwhelmed many days. But many women tell me all the time that they grow up fast and that they don’t remain babies forever. And that is evident when I see my 21 year old son attending college right now. I do want to say that God does not play games with us. HE does have a plan for your family and most times we are not willing to cooperate with the plan. And remember that the fruit of the womb is HIS reward, according to Psalms 127:3. His ways are higher than out ways, Is 55:9. He always knows what is best for us. The greatest peace that I have had is when I get in agreement with God and allow Him to be Lord over my life. He is Lord of all, EVEN the womb. In biblical times, a lack of children was considered negative. But in our times, having children is considered negative. God calls them a reward in Psalms 127:3. So in my head I want to go with society, yet in my heart I lean on God. He knows your future and he knows the plans that He has for each child. Family members may be negative as long as you are negative. If you need support and friends, I suggest praying for God to send the right people in your life to be the support system that you need. I hope and pray that you will follow the leading of the Lord in you childbearing years and beyond. God Bless You

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Nikki,

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! Yes, this sweet precious baby is a blessing from God. Just keep believing that, even when you don’t feel it.

    You are in a difficult place right now, but you know what to do and you know who to turn to, praise God. You’re right, it is time for God to show up and He will. He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

    My heart goes out to you as you travel this difficult, lonely road, but remember you are not alone. May the God of peace bless you and your family and give you grace, strength and joy in the journey.

    [Reply]

  78. Stacey
    February 17, 2012 | 12:52 am

    I have to witness about my awesome experience the other day. We have 4 boys ages 19 mos. to 8 years. I am feeling called to have another baby, but my husband (an accountant) is not on board. He is a Christian, but his Biblical faith is weak. He actually said that parts of the Bible don’t apply to today’s world. I quickly moved away from him so I wouldn’t get struck by lightening! He’s just not in the same place spiritually as I am. He’s starting to “wake up” as I call it. So many people, especially men in their 30’s it seems are walking around as “zombies” and my dh is/was one of them. Anyway, we’ve been going back and forth about this baby. He says he has a panic attack just thinking about having another baby and I have a panic attack thinking about NOT having another baby. So, I am trying to trust God. I know that if we’re supposed to have another baby, that we will no matter what “obstacles” are put in His way. But, it’s REALLY hard! My heart and head are in constant battle for control (heart being to trust God). We’ll I was feeling especially panicky about the situation one day and while in the shower (my only alone time) I broke down and wept and begged God to help me to trust Him. That I REALLY wanted to and was REALLY trying! Well, for the first time in my life, I actually HEARD Him! It was like He wrapped his arms around me, held my heart in His hands, and said, “Don’t worry about the baby right now. You’ve got some other stuff you need to work on in the next couple of months. Get everything in order and ready. I’ve got David’s heart.” I immediately stopped crying and said,”You’re sure?” (I know I actually questioned God!) He graciously said, “I’m sure.” So, I called my dh later and apologized for fighting with him about this. I told him what happened and I think it scared and intrigued him. Things are changing. I’m not sure if he’s even aware of it. I have a totally renewed spirit and though the devil still tries to creep into my head and cause me doubt and fear, I consiously push him back out. I love my husband and I’m celebrating all of his littlest steps toward a true relationship with God and pray that he will be able to lead our family spiritually soon. He does a good job with the rest, but he definitely needs to work on the trusting God to provide part. He thinks he has to do it all and he struggles WAY more than he has to.

    Thanks for the site! I love it! And, thanks for “letting” me share! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    Stacey, Thank you so much for your story. I feel like I could have wrote this myself. My husband who is also a Christian but has a hard time “leaning on God and feels all burdens are on his shoulders as far as providing for the family and financially speaking”. While I am currently pregnant with our sixth child and we refuse to get “snipped” or use medical birth control, or even condoms for that matter we do use natural family planning. We have gotten pregnant using that method and have always considered it a praise but my husband is more than done having babies. I pray constantly he will have a changed heart and let God lead our family size. I know we will get a lot of grief from those around us as we already do. I have been praying for 7-8 years that God would bring my husband to the decision to allow me to homeschool. He never thought I could handle it and for whatever reason FINALLY he thinks it a good idea. I am so happy to see God is changing his heart. I will start homeschooling this summer (so we can have our “summer” when the baby is born in August) and pray it goes smoothly and that he will see the benefits. All I can do for our family size at this point is to keep praying God would change his heart on that. He has on other things so I see him working, it just takes time! Love to you.
    Katie

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  79. Jehn
    February 17, 2012 | 1:53 pm

    I have a little testimony to share. As I’d mentioned, I have 4 kids that includes 2 teens, and 2 toddlers. I truly believe God is sovereign.
    We have been having many challenges lately—financial, along with both teen and toddler stresses where I have truly felt to be stretched to the limits of my sanity.
    My last pregnancy resulted in a severe prolapse which would essentially preclude me from having any more children safely, if I were to conceive at all.
    Well in January, I found out I was pregnant with baby 5. Although I was already overwhelmed, my family welcomed the pregnancy.
    While grateful to God, I felt an incredible trial approaching that I genuinely feared. We were struggling just to care for the 4 we had, and we were stretched to the limit. Medically, I anticipated a high-risk pregnancy with bedrest by the second trimester. With the baby due when I would be 42, I struggled wih the reality of ever catching up financially while having three children 3 and under, with 2 teenagers’ social lives. It may seem petty, but it’s reality. We live in a suburb of Orlando.
    In any case, I still felt blessed as I only had morning sicknes in the evening after the babies had gone to bed. I have a friend who still had baby gear when I have given mine away. But thoughts of reliquishing this baby for adoption were actually on my heart, which I shared with my husband. He thought I was out of my mind.
    Yesterday, supposedly at 11 weeks, I went for an initial sonogram. I told the doctor that nothing would surprise me because something about this pregnancy didn’t seem right. At nearly 3 months, besides nausea, I was not feeling especially pregnant. I had not gained a pound and my appetite was gone. Still, the screen could have shown twins and I wouldn’t have blinked.
    I feel that God took mercy on me to let me truly breathe and appreciate the bounty I already have. There was a large sac, a yolk sac—but no embryo to be found. There appeared to be no evidence that life had truly commenced. While I am sad that for the first time in my life, I am anticipating a miscarriage that is apparently inevitable, more than ever, I trust God does everything for my good. I never once complained or questioned his judgment to give us another child when I knew we were already in over our heads. I knew He’d give us grace. Even in this moment, there’s still a chance this baby could miraculously materialize, and I would still be thankful. However, in my heart of hearts, I knew God wanted us to take this long walk off of a short pier just because we needed to know He could be trusted. God does not make mistakes.

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  80. Thyme
    March 13, 2012 | 12:16 am

    When we were first married we used birth control and became pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl, and we decided to let God plan our family the rest of the way.

    Following her birth we found out that I am infertile. My eggs do not mature on their own. With the help of a medication they mature and then release and I become pregnant instantly. (My husband refers to me as the most fertile infertile woman ever.)

    We have “planned” our 2nd and 3rd children after a lot of prayer and a lot of thought and have been blessed immensely. #3 should be born any day now, we are just waiting for him to choose his birthday 🙂

    So my question is, what are your feelings on infertility? I do nothing to prevent children from coming into my family, and we welcome them whole heartily, but is using fertility medicine wrong? I personally don’t believe that if my children were not part of God’s plan they would be here. God doesn’t make mistakes, but sometimes he likes to challenge us.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Keeping in mind that we’ve never personally faced this dilemma, here are some of our thoughts:

    If something was wrong with my body (or Mark’s) so that we were unable to conceive, we would strive to correct the problem. Just as we would try to correct any problem or fight any illness in our body.

    If we were infertile for unknown reasons, we would choose to adopt. Without further study, we would not choose to take fertility drugs, participate in an in-vitro process or any other more aggressive type of fertility treatment.

    And as I stated, those are just our opinions. We believe that God closes the womb just as certainly as we believe He opens it.

    May the Lord bless you and your family.

    [Reply]

  81. mandy
    August 24, 2012 | 1:32 pm

    Encouraging to read your post! We are expecting our 3rd and like you will have 3 in 1 2 1/2 years (despite breastfeeding). All this after waiting 1 1/2 years to conceive. It is so hard at times to want to stay obedient because it is so overwhelming and hard at times! Especially since we are the only ones convicted in this way despite being a part of a solid bible believing church.

    [Reply]

  82. Jennifer
    August 26, 2012 | 11:57 am

    I just thought I’d leave a follow up comment to our situation. After praying about it, we have decided to give up our state insurance. We just decided not to reapply. It runs out this month, and that means in 6 days we will no longer be covered. I have been off of my medicine for almost a year now. I’m pregnant and due in a couple of months. We are trusting God to take care of this situation. I will let you guys know how He works it out! We don’t have the money to join a christian co-op at this point, but we are hoping to be able to in the future. We’ve had a domino effect of other life changing decisions in regards to the first one God was calling us to (letting Him decide our family size). We’ve been implementing many changes over the last year. What an exciting journey, so I have faith He will work this all out somehow.

    [Reply]

    Lindsey Reply:

    I would like to know how this turned out for your family.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    So far, so good! 🙂 We do have previous debt that we are still trying to pay off and get back from. We have been without insurance with no issues and God providing a way to get the needed medical care and medicines for our son. Our newest addition also made his arrival at our birth center with no issues. 🙂 I feel like I was really pushing for an answer, when the answer was to just be still and wait. After taking the time to figure out the costs, we would pay more in the co-op than we do now (yearly). When we have the means or God shows us it’s time, we will join a Christian co-op. I’m really very glad to have taken this step.

    [Reply]

    Alma Mater Reply:

    How are you and your family doing?

    [Reply]

  83. Julie Ann Filter
    October 4, 2015 | 7:34 am

    We, too, have control of our womb up to the Lord years ago. We have six beautiful children, who keep me quite active, and our newest is on the way. Our struggle right now is simply that my husband has been unemployed for over 19 months after separating from the military. We are trying to be wise and good stewards of our limited finances, but it feels so hopeless. Right now we are using our combined GI Bills (going to grad school) simply to make money, but they will run out soon. I don’t know if we should take government assistance or not. The struggle I am feeling is that trusting God means that we keep using the last finances we have and wait on Him for the job. My husband has been applying to everything that fits his career profiles and where he can be useful. He tried to get work in other industries in this past few years but was laughed at because of being “overly qualified.” It is a very frustrating position for us. We just want to have a simple life (even off grid if we can), but getting to that hope takes money we don’t have. Please pray for us. Thank you.

    [Reply]

  84. Cassie
    August 9, 2016 | 7:44 am

    Thank you for this article! It helped us make the decision to have a reversal, which we did 2 months ago. My husband and I read the article together and really appreciated your transparency and insight.

    [Reply]

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