I usually stay out of the birth control debate, but I’m venturing into the murk just a little bit this week.
The topic is often an emotional one. Can we imagine a godly parent ever saying, “My child is not a blessing”? How could parents of a large family say something like “The last two were definitely too much”? Accusations about little faith or foolhardy risk taking do little to help clarify biblical principles and cultivate wise decision making.
The topic is also a spiritual one. It’s true that the decision to control one’s family size is often a selfish one. Many women, even Christian women, seek their own desires before seeking God’s plan for them when it comes to children, and I believe this approach is not right. At the same time, because the Bible is largely silent in matters of family size, couples seeking God’s will may make opposing decisions.
How can godly families come to contrary conclusions on this important topic? I believe that in each situation there is a unique combination of factors that must be considered when seeking God’s wisdom. I suspect as long as we are seeking God’s ways more than our own, He will direct our paths as He has promised. I do believe it is possible for a family to seek the Lord and make a wise decision to limit the size of their family (as in, “our quiver is full”).
The topic is also a personal one. Anecdotes are tricky. They don’t prove anything, but they can be helpful to challenge our biblical perceptions and beliefs. I’m going to share a little bit about our journey, not to endorse a decision that everyone should make, but hopefully to encourage you to seek the Lord and trust in His guidance.
I’ve had three fairly traumatic post-deliveries. I’ve had few complications in delivery, but in each case, I have ended up with hospital (ICU) time, blood transfusions, and problems. Each delivery has been progressively more serious; the last time I was hospitalized for septic shock. My doctor husband indicated that he didn’t want to put my life at risk any more. We came to the conclusion that the command to preserve life (mine) was a greater priority scripturally than having more children. Our quiver was full.
A lot of women will at this point share their personal testimonies of trusting God in great peril, and I do not disparage their experience. All I can say is that yes, we were seeking the Lord. We searched the Scriptures for principles that would guide us. Yes, we were committed to following Him should He lead us otherwise. Yes, we prayed about it. No, I do not believe the decision was selfishly motivated.
But that doesn’t mean my desire for more babies disappeared.
This surprised me. Was God really leading us to make that decision? Does the desire that I feel mean that we made the wrong decision? Perhaps what I was really feeling was conviction for a sinful choice.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about how God directed and resolved those doubts.