By Natalie, Contributing Writer
Got your guard up? Hopefully this post will help bring the different sides together a little closer on this subject.
I don't claim to have it all figured out, but since Stephanie asked the contributors on KOTH to write up a post this month on a topic that we don't have all the answers for, and since I am publishing a book this month (catch the details below!) about women who had lots of babies over the course of three decades, I thought we would stick our big toes into these controversial waters a bit.
Birth Control: Controversial for WHOM?
The subject of birth control is not really controversial for unbelievers, and that makes sense, doesn't it? Generally speaking, the Creator of life is not on their radar screen, so why would they care what He thinks about it? Birth control is a private, personal thing, and one's choice to use it—and what type they will use—is a woman's own business. Not God's.
It IS controversial for believers because we have the Spirit of the Creator indwelling our spirits, and we tend to care a little more what He thinks about stuff like that.
I think the rub among Christians is who gets control over whether a person is born (created)—or not. Some say we do. Some say God does. I'd like to propose that maybe—it's a little of both.
And maybe that's the way God intended.
The Biblical Non-Negotiables
There are some things we Christians can all agree on about this subject because God has specifically addressed them in the Bible.
1. God is the Author of all life. (Hebrews 11:3)
2. God creates and loves children. (Matthew 19:14) They are the future blessed citizens of His coming Kingdom. Their lives are precious to Him and, therefore, ought to be precious to us.
3. God's enemy, Satan, hates life. The Enemy is at work, first of all, to prevent life, and then if that doesn't work, to destroy it—the ultimate goal being eternal destruction.
4. Some birth control results in the death of a baby and, therefore, must be avoided. It is now a well-known and documented (on the packaging and elsewhere) fact that the Pill is an abortifacient. If you are a Christian who does not want to knowingly violate God's command to not murder, then the Pill is not an option for you.
5. God entrusts children to parents and requires them to teach their children about Him and His creation and coming Kingdom. How that plays out from family to family may differ in methodology, but the ultimate goal is the same: that these children would grow up to know, love, and glorify their Creator.
6. God is sovereign over all things both great and small. (Psalm 115:3) If He wasn't, He wouldn't be God. There are no exceptions.
7. God mysteriously works through all the gazillions of events, choices, circumstances, tragedies, and opportunities that the gazillions of human beings are making and finding themselves in all over the face of the earth at any given time in history. (Proverbs 16:9) This is where our brains freeze up, and we just need to put our hands over our mouths, like Job, and say that God is God and we are not.
Some Things We Can Logically Conclude
1. God uses some human beings to create future citizens of the Kingdom. He does not use all people for this purpose. Nobody can argue that the Word of God says that all human beings will bear and raise children. There are many examples in the Bible of people God loved and used that did not get married and have children.
What's more, there are probably hundreds of reasons God doesn't do that, and probably millions of other things He has for those people to do that will accomplish His will for them on earth. God is bigger than the box we often put Him in.
2. God gives different amounts of children to different people. Sarah, the mother of the nation of Israel, had one child. There are many examples of families in the Bible that only had a handful of children. Having 15 children is not a mark of God's favor and is not a signal to everyone that a person is holier or more in the will of God than anyone else. Some heathen folks have large numbers of children, too.
3. It is normative for married human beings to have children and raise a family. This is what God intends for most married people. Nowhere in the Bible do you see God instructing humans to avoid having children for the sake of the Kingdom or so that they can take more vacations or have a nicer home or pursue a better career or—fill in the blank.
The Bible does not teach that children get in the way of His work and are a curse or a burden. Selfish humans teach and believe that and make choices that reflect those beliefs.
The Awkwardness of This Issue Among Us
Every Christian woman has her own opinion and experience with this issue, from the extreme of believing that Christians who don't "let God have their womb" are murderers—to the extreme of believing that Christians who have large families are irresponsible, backward idiots.
The readers here probably lie somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but we still have our own bias, don't we? And it is these biased beliefs—rooted more in our own choices and personal convictions rather than in Scripture—that cause conflict and suspicion in our relationships with our sisters in Christ.
I happen to have friends who have many children, and I also have friends who only have two to three kids for various reasons. Those women who know me best know that how many kids they have is irrelevant to our friendship or to my respect and honor of them. I believe God has different plans for each of us, and I am not to judge what those plans may be.
They also know I encourage women who are physically able to have children—and who have husbands that are willing to have children—to prayerfully consider this opportunity before God. We only live once, and it is a short life.
The Bible backs me up when I say that to bear and raise children for the glory of God is a high calling and an excellent investment of a life. That is the life God, by His grace at work in me, has enabled me to live. So I will continue to uphold that truth until I die. (This is also why I published the book, Three Decades of Fertility.)
BUT— it isn't my business to pressure anyone to make that kind of life long commitment. That's God's business. And He can do His thing just fine without you or me helping Him along.
Tragic results can occur when people do things because other people told them to—and not because they were convicted by the Holy Spirit to do them.
Thoughts for Moms of Many
Give your sisters who have smaller families a break. Don't think that just because you have been blessed with many children that you are more blessed than others.
God is blessing the infertile woman just as much as He is blessing you. He is simply doing it in a different way.
Your job is to raise your children to love God and love others. If you are constantly standing in judgment of those around you, guess what your kids will grow up doing? Not pretty.
God doesn't give explicit instructions to every person in the human race to have as many children as they can possible eke out in a lifetime. "Be fruitful and multiply" is not specific, and I think there are some pretty good reasons for that.
Thoughts for Moms of a Few
Give your sisters who have honkin' huge families a break.
It's easy to turn up our noses at the big family who comes trooping into church on Sunday morning like a mini-tsunami. We can get irritated by the sight of all those children—some of whom are sporting runny noses. When they show up for pot luck dinners we might be tempted to think negative thoughts about how many mouths will be eating up all the food.
But God wants you to have His vision and His love for ALL children—not just your own.
If those moms are anything like me, they're barely hanging on to their sanity. They need loads of encouragement, tips on how to make their households run smoothly, warm hugs, and many prayers. They need to know that you love them and their many children. They need your support.
Don't assume they are all standing in judgment over you for not having a large family. I have felt that, on occasion, from moms of a few before they get to know me. They had me stereotyped based on some bad experience with another "mom of many" who was judgmental.
I've even had some backlash already from the publication of Three Decades of Fertility.
Many people don't want to touch a book like that with a ten foot pole. They feel it is exclusive and doesn't reach out to the majority of Christian women today. They do not believe that those ten women have a right to share their stories with joy and freedom—lest others feel bad that they don't have the same life.
So What Do You Think?
This is your opportunity to get in on the discussion. Are you a "mom of many" who embraces the life God has given you, but you struggle with feeling like everyone else should do the same? Are you a "mom of few" who gets defensive when a "mom of many" comes around with her kids in tow?
Do you wonder where in the world you stand on this—and you're still trying to figure out what God might have for you, personally?
Is God really sovereign over all things—including this area of our lives?
Do you believe that God chooses to give different sized families to different people—and uses thousands of different kinds of means and circumstances to accomplish His purposes? Do you think He can work in and through the choices of His people as they seek His direction in their lives?
We would love to hear what's on your heart in the comment section!
Pssst! Wanna hear a secret? Even though the official launch date for Three Decades isn't for another week (July 29), you can get it before anyone else until midnight tonight. The PDF version of this hefty book is only $6.99. Kindle and Nook versions are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $8.99. The paperback (344 pages) is available on Amazon for $11.97 as of the writing of this post (the list price is $14.99 but pricing there fluctuates).
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