Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Friday, December 10, 2010

It started out like this.

I was here at my local, friendly quiverfull family's website, (I do happen to love and respect this family by the way. They are expecting their 16th child.) reading something they had written in response to an accusation that their message on reproduction may be critical toward the infertile. It was then that I saw a comment from a reader saying that she felt personally called to a focus on ministry - one that does not involve children. The rebuttal to her remark by other readers was largely that singlehood is the call for the childless, and there is no Biblical premise for a childless marriage by choice. In fact, many of them suggested that there is no freedom for couples to restrict child bearing at all, it should be in the Lord's hands. Period.

That didn't seem exactly fair or necessarily right straight across the board to me. I know a myriad of examples of folks in ministry who could not do what they do if they had a dozen children in tow! So, I replied with this:

“Some couples are called by God into a ministry that does not permit time, finances, or energy for many, if any, children. There are people, (even married people, not just singles) doing AMAZING, priceless, intense work on the front lines for God here in the US and overseas that they absolutely could not do if they were welcoming children every year or 2.”
Which, happened to bring me plenty of what she got. Lots of comments to the contrary.☺

(In that same comment, I also said something about the families facing extreme medical/emotional/physical special needs with their children and that meeting the unique needs of their little ones may keep their hands and hearts very full, and perhaps their pocket books rather empty. In that case, continual reproduction might not be a wise option, nor what God has called them to do.)

The family then wrote another blog post  in which they quoted both she and I, to make an argument that this was an unreasonable line of thinking.

Okay, I thought. Well, there are other angles that are possibly oppositional to the assertion that all couples should be open to welcoming as many children as they physically possibly can. So I left another comment. ☺

This time I asked about 2 other points - adoption and infertility treatment.

I noted that if a family is already large, and they feel led toward caring for the orphan through adoption, they may need to restrict child bearing, (at least temporarily) while in process due to country or county standards for maximum # of children in the home, or the country or agency regulations about pregnancy while adopting.
So I asked, are they only for adoption if a couple is either a) beyond reproductive age or b) infertile.
(In El Paso county for example, the maximum # of children under the age of 18 in the home must be 8 or fewer for a foster child to be placed with a family.)

Secondly, if we, as married couples, are to leave family planning solely up to God, then if he "closes the womb" so to speak, wouldn't fertility treatments be a violation of the "no medical intervention" standard just as birth control would be? To say it's not seems inconsistent.

Here was the family's reply:
Keep trying to understand, Tisha. You’re getting there.

Adoption: We know many people who have gone through the process. Voluntarily restrict pregnancy in order to adopt? This is a false dilemma. I don’t think adoptive parents struggle with this concept at all.

Come to think of it, Alicia and Alissa’s {His wife's children from before they were married} adoptions went through when Cynthia was born. Restrict pregnancy? Wasn’t even close to being on our minds.

Artificial means? Again, “go for it!” Medical help to gain the blessing of children is great. Medical help to AVOID the blessing of children, now that–in our mind–is odd.

Well now. ☺
A false dilemma? No. I think not. Adoptive parents don't struggle with this concept at all? So completely not true. They do. We have. If you have been reading long, you know we have. And I know we are not alone.

So, this is the background to the question I posed. I was really trying to get honest feedback from people I know are genuinely seeking His will for their lives and living it out to the best of their ability. The Jeub's commenters are primarily people with views like their own, and I was curious about whether or not that was an accurate representation of the God believing population.

Thank you for your responses here, on facebook and by e mail. I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer this question! I have been mulling this over in my mind a lot over the past few days, and years as our personal journey has been one where we have found ourselves holding several different opinions over our nearly 12 years of wedded bliss.

Incidently, (if you are still reading...are you? Hello? Wow! Awesome. Thank you! You are so kind.) I have very strong, natural 'quiverfull tendencies' myself and have NO desire to restrict child bearing. The arrival of my *monthly cycle* is met with great sadness and mourning each month since the reversal of my husband's vasectomy in June. Which makes this whole conversation quite funny, right?

I'm just not convinced the Bible makes this subject explicitly clear in a way that any of us can make blanket statements that should absolutely apply to every couple.

I may share more of our personal story which led me to this place soon. If you care to hear. ☺


HollyMarie said...

Hey Tisha, I would have a tendency the same as yours if it was possible... if my husband was on board and we weren't dealing with male factor infertility. Alas, there is not much I can do about it.

I want to say too, that sometimes people need to be incredibly passionate about something and cling to something as universal TRUTH, even when it's not, because it helps them feel an order and a rightness to their days. I don't say this to judge but because I CAME from a place like that. I was sincere in my beliefs and I was passionate about them, oh SO passionate. It didn't make them right. I don't think the Bible is clear on this issue. I think there are some who want it desperately to be clear so THEY MAKE it clear, and it gives them a sense of righteousness and safety... but they do not have any more of a direct line to what the Word means than any other God-fearing Christian who is desperately seeking to follow after Him. There are some who need the Bible to be concrete in all areas, and there are others who are more able to take the grey and say HEY, I don't understand it all, and that's okay. I'm okay with the texts that even seem to contradict each other. People can go round in circles for hours over all sorts of Biblical things, arguing one thing over another when perhaps both are right.

I think God laughs at all our babble sometimes. It's like when my girls argue over who has a bigger appetite or whether curious george is a boy or a girl. I think sometimes God probably shakes His head at us and thinks "will ya just get to work already! Love my people. Serve my people. Feed my sheep. Stop all your nonsense already! What you are arguing about DOES NOT MATTER!". ;)

Jamey... said...

What EVERYONE is called to is to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself".

I like the idea of Quiverfull, but I don't think that the idea of unlimited children in a family is always a good idea and I certainly don't think that it's mandated in the Bible.

Personally, we have three kids right now and each time I have struggled with postpartum depression and post-adoption depression. I think that for us to just have as many children as possible would have very serious and negative implications for my ability to mother my children and be a wife to my husband.

Deanna said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing what is on your heart! And I'd have to agree with you. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help guide us. I agree that this subject is not fully covered in the Bible and I believe this is just another way for us to seek what God calls for us in our own lives and as we seek the answers, I believe that God will draw us near to him and reveal the truth through his Holy Spirit.

Holly said...

dang it..I don't have time to respond like I want to right now but I just have to add one thing...


When Eve rebelled, sin entered and now it's all out of whack...

I'm just saying that to say that there may not be one solid-black and white answer on this one.

and I don't know what verse exactly is being referred to (because there are a couple) but are we SURE that it is a COMMAND to us or instructions to that specific person in the story....are we taking one verse out of the story or is this the story as a whole?
(that was a genuine question, not a statement)

Chris Jeub said...

Great post, Tisha. I'm glad you stirred up the conversation.

Mike and Sherri said...

There is a bigger issue here:

Circumcision = The Law Operating System

Galatians 5

1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

I thank the Lord that He has given us the gift of abundance Grace and the gift of Righteousness (God's perfection given to me in my spirit.) I reign through the One! (Romans 5:17)

He gave us a NEW way to live: the Grace Operating System ==His life in us as we live led by the Spirit. (2 Cor. 5:21)

He loves us so much that He provided a whole new system so we could get off the performance treadmill.

P.S. In regard to those who think it has to be a certain way: His Word also tells us that if we are going to preach the Law we better keep every aspect of it!

Would love to meet up with you sometime!

this is us said...

I love that you jump in with both of your passionate feet, Tisha! : )

Carla said...

I was going to comment, but after reading the comments already left...I ditto what Deanna said. "I believe this is just another way for us to seek what God calls for us in our own lives and as we seek the answers, I believe that God will draw us near to him and reveal the truth through his Holy Spirit."

EM said...

I'm with you Tisha, and Deanna and Carla.

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