My vivacious daughter, Moriah, turned one just this past weekend. Although I have obviously seen her growth over the past year, marked by early milestones and sleepless nights, it has suddenly dawned on me that my darling is no longer a baby. She is full of toothy grins and deep belly laughs, and I love witnessing the development of her personality. But, there is something bittersweet inside me that mourns the passing of her infancy.
After several comments made at Moriah’s birthday party, I realized that my deep love of babies is a bit uncommon. First was the shocked reaction by a friend who heard that Noah and I are trying to get pregnant again, followed by a snarky, “Well, you don’t waste any time, do you?” Next was the angry tirade from a wife to her husband about how expensive and demanding children are when he made a passing comment about the benefits of siblings. (One child is enough for her, it seems.) Finally, I sat in complete stunned silence when a woman from my church told me that after the birth of her third child, her father-in-law near immediately asked if she had her tubes tied.
I have two children that I absolutely adore. That, in and of itself, is not entirely uncommon; I’d venture to say most parents claim to adore their kids. My toddlers are the perfect pair: a boy and a girl, a Daddy doppelganger and a Mommy doppelganger. They are close enough in age to squabble, but just far enough apart to fit the world’s standards of a “healthy” gap in between. They are wholly alike, yet completely different. By all gauges, my family is complete.
So why in the world would I want to have more?
First of all, I genuinely believe that children are a blessing from God.
I believe the entirety of the Bible. I stand firm on the Word of God, even the parts I struggle with before God blesses me with understanding. When the Word calls children “a gift of the Lord,” (Psalm 127:3) that means that they are not to be considered a burden, or a blight. I do not care that children are “expensive,” that they limit my “freedom,” or that most feminists would warn me against “losing my self.” (Which is hardly a concern for a Christian mother, I should add.) My children are a gift from the Creator of the Universe, and that far outranks any self-righteous indignation I might have about birthing a child I’m blessed to get pregnant with.
To quote Voddie Baucham, an excellent pastor and apologist, “What other blessing is there, in the world, where we say to God, ‘Please don’t bless me like that anymore’? …Why is it that when we see a woman walking down the street with 6, 7, 8 kids we look at her like she’s got a third eye in the middle of her head? Because our culture despises children, and so do we. …What does the text say? Why do we believe the culture, and not the Bible?”
I am not arrogant enough to believe I have a right to choose how many children I have.
To preface this, I am not saying you are only obedient to Jesus Christ if you have families the size of the Duggars. I do, however, know that the Bible says God is the giver of children. (Ps 113:9, Ps 127:3, Gen 33:5, Gen 48:9) That means my womb is open or closed by HIM. He ultimately decides to give me another child or not. How many times have we heard about failed family planning to already implicitly understand that God’s plans are bigger than our own? This current process of waiting for baby number three has simply proven to me, again and again, that while I may choose whether or not I actively participate, the blessing of a child can, and will, only come in His timing.
Finally, I am not afraid of the costs of raising children.
I know from first hand experience that if the Lord gives me a child, He will provide for him/her. When Noah and I got pregnant with our son, Elijah, we made the counter-intuitive decision for me to stay at home. There were a lot of factors that went into this, but mostly, we wanted to be obedient to God. (Titus 2:4-5, Proverbs 31:27) Struggles abounded after that point; we even went on food stamps for 6 months. However, with every child has come a huge promotion for Noah, or insane demonstrations of God’s provision. Now, two years later, our bills are paid, and food is plentiful. We are not rich by worldly standards, but we have enough. (Not to mention, I no longer suffer from the depression and lack of purpose I dealt with for as long as I can remember.) In many ways, we have more than enough; we have an abundant life. (John 10:10)
In Christ, I have no reason to be fearful for my future. (2 Tim 1:7, 1 Jhn 4:18, 1 Peter 5:7, Deut 31:8) That includes any fear of having more children. My heart aches for the church that despises children because of the influence of the world. The Word does not say children should be well-planned for, spread out in age, or limited to 2-3. Simply put, I refuse to dread another blessing from the Lord because the culture’s mentality is one of “legal, safe, and rare.”