This is a subject that is widely debated amongst Christians, and I’m sure you will have a different view on this than me, but here is our little take on this vast subject.
All through the Bible children are regarded as blessings, gifts, and rewards from the Lord. I firmly believe that and if you read much of this blog, you will also know that Lowell and I hold our children in high esteem. In fact, they’re our life. Please remember this as you read this post.
To me, the Scriptures are very vague on the hows, whens, and wherefores of planning your family. God does not say how big the “quiver” is or how often the children should come. Could it be perhaps that He has left some decisions such as this up to us?
After reading much on this issue, I personally believe that there are two dangerous ditches that a person can fall into. One ditch is that of pure selfishness where a married couple is more concerned with themselves, their lives, careers, and finances than about raising a soul for Him. The other ditch is where Christians make it a hard and fast rule that any and all birth control is sin.
I do not personally believe that either of those are Biblically correct. But I am going to speak mostly on the one which dogmatically pushes the idea that we should use nothing to space our children.
Let’s look first at what God says about having children:
God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Genesis 1:28
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb, is His reward. Proverbs 127:3
I believe the attitude we have towards our children is of utmost importance. We can have two children and see them as more of a blessing than someone who has twelve. This fundamental principle regarding children is all through the Bible. Even Jesus loved children and wanted them near Him.
When we were first married, I read a book which strongly promoted the idea that all birth control is wrong and should be left up to God. I quickly latched onto that since I have always wanted to have twelve children from the time I was a teen. My husband wasn’t entirely convinced it was right, but allowed us to try it.
I was happy to claim this as my little Christian soapbox until I began to see how it was making me. I became prideful and self-righteous. Where I should have had grace, instead I became judgemental of those who only had two children. Never knowing that maybe they had been trying for years with no success. And in my hasty judgement, not stopping to ask or offer sympathy.
This way of “no birth control” lasted for about one baby. By then I had begun to realize that this view was narrow-minded at best and allowed for no consideration of personal circumstances. Since then, I have watched many women having both large and small families and these are my findings.
1. My husband is the head of our home – as appointed by God. For me to push my way when he doesn’t give his consent is wrong. I personally know this and am ashamed at not submitting with my whole heart, but pushing that my way was the more spiritual way. I didn’t stop to consider that God might have been speaking to my husband and not me.
2. Children are a blessing, not a command. It seems that some have turned this blessing of children into a command. God also says in Proverbs 18:22 that a wife is a blessing from God. Yet God desires that a married man have only one wife. Another thing to consider that if this would be a command, then those who are single would be living in sin. For procreation is for marriage only, so those not married would not be following the command to have children.
3. A theory like this is one that can cause not only self-righteousness, but bodily harm. Our bodies are fallen bodies and pregnancy drains a woman’s body. We need time between little ones to rebuild and recuperate, as well as to enjoy that precious blessing.
Many mothers suffer postpartum depression and they need time to recover mentally from that. What do the people who push this theory say to the mom who is in tears every day and feels like she is in a deep, black hole with no way out? Or her depression is so bad she cannot sleep, plus take care of a tiny newborn, other children, a home, and a husband? Sometimes I feel these women are left with much guilt that they don’t measure up — even when they are doing the absolute best they can. Then there are the extreme cases such as Andrea Yates who is an example of severe postpartum depression that caused much harm and heartbreak.
4. This mindset of no birth control does not take into account our fallen world. I would have loved to continue having children whenever they came, although without the self-righteousness and pride, but life took other turns. My husband was in a motorcycle accident which left him in severe pain for a couple years. As anyone with excruciating pain knows, he could not handle loud noise and much commotion. Plus, within months following his accident, the economy crashed and finances got tighter than they had ever been in our married life.
There are also families who have an extremely heavy burden such as a child with cancer, a father who is handicapped and unable to work, or a marriage on the brink of collapse. What does this way propose for them?
This is where we can plan our lives a certain way, but sometimes God allows circumstances which we have no control over. And choosing to bring a child into those circumstances is something I believe God leaves up to us – a decision which we should make with much prayer and wisdom.
5. Children are an eternal soul, not a number we spout off to impress our friends. More than the rate and number we can reproduce at, we need to take seriously the command to “Train up a child in the way he should go…” The Bible speaks much more on the training of children than it does on the procreation of them. They are priceless souls placed into our care by the Father Himself.
6. There are some people who choose to do this way for their own family, and that is honorable. Some have been blessed both financially and physically to where they can care for as many children as may come. They should not be looked down on, nor held to be above everyone. It is their own personal conviction.
It should also be pointed out that the judging can go on from both sides of this issue. None of us are exempt from pride and conceit. But instead we should extend grace to those who choose to space their children. And we should also extend grace to those who through much prayer decide to have as many children as they can.
The part we need to be wary of is when either view is pushed dogmatically as the only Christian option – when it isn’t clearly spelled out in the Bible.
There is one birth control option, though, which I believe no married, Christian woman should ever use. (in marriage – where there is a possibility of conception) I know this sounds strong, but I stand firmly behind it. This option is hormonal birth control, such as the Pill, which is an abortifacient – it has the potential to kill a fertilized egg (your newly-conceived baby).
I will not go into great detail here, but if you are currently using some form of hormonal birth control, I urge you to read the book Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? by Randy Alcorn. The Pill has three mechanisms it uses to achieve its effectiveness. 1. It suppresses ovulation (releasing of the egg). 2. It thickens cervical mucous, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. 3. It alters the lining of the uterus so that it cannot (or is less able to) sustain the implanting of the fertilized egg.
Numbers one and two simply don’t allow the egg and sperm to meet. But number three is abortive by not allowing the newly-conceived embryo to implant and continue the life journey it has already begun. I strongly plead with you to research this before considering this option, for as Christians, all life is considered precious to our Heavenly Father. Whether it be one day old or 100 years old.
In conclusion, these are my thoughts and I’m sure you have yours, so if you leave a comment please do so kindly and respectfully to all. Where the Bible is silent, is where it takes studying and personal researching to come to a conclusion, so you are welcome to voice your own opinion. However, if it gets too heated, I will have to turn the comments off. So let’s be gracious to everyone posting. Thank you!