Friday, May 21, 2010

Coming Out of the Closet

I have a confession to make that will not come as a great surprise to many of you, but that will truly shock some of you...

Something that might make me the object of ridicule or the butt of jokes...

Something that may make some of you feel sorry for me...

Something that might motivate some of you to pray for me, that I might realize that I don't have to live this way...

Some of you may even pray that God does something to "teach me a lesson" about how irresponsible I'm being...

Actually, I've been this way for a long time...probably all of my life, if I'm honest with myself. I can look back and see the signs in my personality from when I was a little child.

No, I don't blame it on my parents...they weren't this way...but I do credit God, for this is what he created me to be.

I suppressed it for a while, because all of society around me told me how wrong it was. I did have a couple of friends who were like me in this, who tried to encourage me to embrace this lifestyle. I did my best to push them away and not listen. Sadly, it took years for me to realize that they were right.

Up until now, I've been afraid to blog about it...afraid of what my friends and family might think.

But I've come to realize that I have nothing to be ashamed of. This is part of who I am, and part of who God has called me to be, so I don't need to hide it anymore.

So...what is this shocking secret, you may ask?

I'm QuiverFull.


There I said it.

More accurately, we're QuiverFull. This is a choice that my husband and I have embraced, mutually.

For those of you who don't speak Christianese, "QuiverFull" means that we are allowing God to bless us with as many children as He sees fit. We will not use any form of "birth control", and we will leave the size of our family up to Him.

The term has its origins in Psalm 127:4-5 :

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed when they speak with there enemies in the gate."


We not doing this because we somehow think of ourselves as "super parents" who have it all together, are doing it all right, and are better than everyone else.

For us, this is an act of obedience. As we've allowed God to teach us from His Word, we have come to realize that God never repealed the command He gave to "Be fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:28) In fact, He repeats it numerous times throughout the Old Testament.

It is also an act of faith. Our contemporary culture seems to have lost touch with the reality that everything we have comes from God. With prosperity-run-rampant, it can be so easy for us to forget God (See Deuteronomy 6:10-12). Most Christians who limit the size of their families talk in terms of how many children they can "afford". Does not the same God who gives life in the womb not also provide for them? Does He ever leave us or forsake us?

It is a choice to embrace God's blessing. The Bible repeatedly and consistently refers to children as a blessing. When Rebekah became engaged to Isaac, her friends prayed that her offspring would become thousands upon thousands (Genesis 24:60).  Psalm 127:3 tells us that the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Scripture also gives us several examples of woman crying out to God for a baby. We experienced this ourselves when, after having used contraceptives for two years, found that we were unable to conceive when we thought the "time was right". Oh, how much did we have to learn!

After going through this pain firsthand, and also knowing many friends who have wept, and some indeed are still weeping, for God to give them a child, we find it foolish to reject God's hand of blessing and call it a curse. (See Isaiah 5:20)

It is a result of multi-generational vision. Perhaps the most powerful reason we have for embracing God's blessing of children is that we've caught the vision of multi-generational faithfulness. Malachi 2:15 tells us that one of God's primary purposes for marriage is that He desires godly offspring.

We talk about wanting to reach the world for Christ, but we so often forget that one of God's biggest plans for world evangelism is that we raise up children who will serve and follow Him whole-heartedly.  Some of history's most influential missionaries, pastors, teachers, and evangelists have come from large families lead by a godly mother and father, who had a vision to see their children become world changers. This is the vision we have embraced for our family.

Statistics paint a troubling picture. While birth rates in Christian cultures have dropped to below replacement rate (2.1 children per family), we are at the same time doing such a poor job evangelizing and discipling our own children that 75-88% of them leave the faith by their freshman year in college. In practicality, this means that it takes two Christian families to get one, single Christian into the next generation. (Much thanks to Voddie Baucham for pointing this out. You can hear more in his powerful sermon, The Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism and Discipleship of the Next Generation, at sermonaudio.com).

In the meantime, the Islamic community is having an average of 6 children per family, and they are doing a far superior job of passing their beliefs and worldview onto their kids than we are. If Christian families don't start receiving children as a blessing, and get serious about discipling them in their homes, who will be left to preach the gospel to the Muslim world?

Ultimately, we desire to honor God in our household. Our choices may not be mainstream or "normal", but we do not believe that God called us to be mainstream. He has called us to Himself, regardless of the values of the culture around us.

He has a plan for our family, and we are so thankful that He has made us the objects of His grace.

14 comments:

*Mirage* said...

My mom and dad weren't that way either. And I don't think you're weird at all. ;) Alot of your story sounds familiar. God was calling to my heart from a very young age regarding having many children and letting Him lead.
Honestly though I am baffled, completely and totally baffled as to why He would pick ME to call to have more than the cultural standard 2.3 children. I have no idea. I'm definately not the best candidate for patience. And my firstborn alone is strong-willed enough to require a fulltime parenting team of 10 to channel her energies, so I don't know why my heart cries for more babies. Surely there are many better moms He could have planted this seed in.

hebrews110 said...

I'm expecting number five. My oldest just turned ten. For us it was a matter of trust. Do we trust that God is in control and is only out for our good? Then why would we try and control something that is in His hands?

Amy Lu said...

We've been "quiverful" since 1995. It means handing your fertility over to him... whatever the results!

It's easy to consider when you believe your arms will be full of chubby babies, but when the result is a closed womb it's not so fun.

Still. We're trusting Him.

This post didn't surprise me. :o) But I'm still waiting for a post on head coverings. ;o)

Carol Flett said...

Way to go!!

Mrs. Teasley said...

Amen!

Suzanne said...

you said this so beautifully...I may refer people to it when they ask (we just had #3, are starting to get a few raised eyebrows when people realize that we are serious about a large family, God willing).
I was eager to have my second, nervous for my third, but I am excited, and almost chomping at the bit (joyfully) for the next blessing that the lord gives us...can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Tiana...I'm quiverfull too, just in case you were wondering. Thank you for your post, for being real.

Hannah

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

We're expecting baby #4 this winter, and we're QF too :). We started getting the 'large family' comments after #3 (which is so funny I think!) We really enjoy Baucham's preaching too!

We were convicted shortly after our conversion 3 years ago. If we believe in a sovereign God it seems almost like a given :). We can't see the long-term, and He can, we don't know what's best for us, but He does. Best to leave Him in charge :).

Jennifer D said...

Hello Tiana~
I read your article from LAF and I came here since you said you live in WI. I live north, in Crandon, WI (2 hours north of GB)....

We have 6 children, ages 9 - 8 mths., and I home school the eldest 3: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. Plus a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby. :0) I've never been a good juggler, so our days are interesting!

I agree with your post about being "quiverfull". Although I wouldn't describe myself as such (for I don't like labels or movements in general), I agree with what they teach and with the points that you brought up. It surely is an interesting walk. And believe me, the comments don't get any better or become less the more children you have. Although we do have some friends who have 14 children, and while they don't go many places with all of them (for 2 of them are in the Navy), they said they don't get many comments anymore. Except for the "are they all yours?" one...:0)

Blessings!
Jennifer D

Anonymous said...

We came to the same conclusions as you where our fertility is concerned. For me it is an act of trust, obeidence, and faith. How can we trust God with our souls, our money, our direction and purpose in life but not with our fertility?

Honestly, I was scared at first. We had a 16 month old and a 3 month old. I am unable to breastfeed (I poduce very little milk) and was scared I would be constantly pregnant. But we stepped out on faith ten months ago and we still have only two. God's timing is perfect!

Zannah said...

Hi. I stumbled upon your blog yesterday. I've been reading it and I really think you are a blessed lady! Some of your posts are really thought provoking for me as I am trying to grow in the Lord.

We have only 2 children. They're 7 years apart. After my daughter (2nd child) was born I almost died from blood loss. I had 3 transfusions. My daughter was also born with down syndrome, she was in the hospital for 3 weeks while they ran many tests on her trying to figure out why her platelets were dangerously low. She healed overnight, it was definitely the Lords work. Many people were praying for her.

But after all that scary stuff, my husband and I agreed that we would have no more children.
Frankly, the idea of it frightens me. I want to be obedient to God, but I also wonder if He gave us good minds to make the decision to be careful not to conceive. It's something that you've given me to think about and I was wondering your thoughts about something like my situation.

Thank you for your wonderful blog, I am really enjoying it and will continue to read as you post more things. God bless!

Tiana said...

Hi Zannah,

Thanks for reading! I'm glad that this blog has been a blessing to you. To God alone be the glory.

I have a friend who has been through some scary pregnancies. She wrote a wonderful piece on this a while back, and I think you'll find it thought provoking:

http://www.a2ndgenerationofhomeschooling.com/2010/02/using-birth-control-when-mothers-life.html

Blessings,

:)Tiana

Jespren said...

(Btw, just found this through the Unnecessarean) I am absolutely called to raise many children, and my heart weeps in anguish when I see Quiverful moms who birthed all their wonderful babies! I have a medical condition that requires medicate dangerous to baby, so after barely making it through 2 pregnancies we've bowed to the inevitiblity of this being a fallen world and won't be having any further biological kids. It hurts to know I won't birth any more kids, and I'm happy when I see a big family even as I'm saddened. But my husband and I plan on adding some 'arrows' made by others to our quiver, niether one of us was made to be parents of only 2 kids! But I wish we didn't have to rely on adoption to further grow our family.

Tiana said...

Thanks for reading, Jespren! I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I know of several Quiverfull minded families who have be blessed by the ministry of adoption.

Have you heard this sermon by Voddie Baucham?

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=113101250246

They, too, realized they weren't meant to have only two kids, even though they could not have any more biologically. I think you'll find what he has to say encouraging.

God Bless!

:)Tiana

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

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