When Your Quiver Overflows

Stacy McDonald

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I was in the midst of a world that was changing rapidly. No longer was it the norm for a mother to happily stay home with her babies. Although it was not as prevalent as it is today, there were many career moms in our neighborhood. There would be several day care buses lined up outside of our elementary school ready to pick up the children whose mothers were at work. Many women were choosing to limit the number of children they had to pursue careers. Some chose not to have any at all…or at least "wait" until a more opportune time in life. I wonder how many of those women sadly "waited" too long.

In spite of the trend of the world around me, I would line up my dolls and "pretend" to be a mommy and enjoy the fantasy of many children. After my first baby was born I remember being in awe. Only in child-birth does God give us such an awesome love for a human being we’ve never before met. To never have laid eyes on someone one day and be willing to die for them the next…only God is capable of empowering us with such love.

God used a ladies’ Christian email list to bring me to the conviction that God should be in control of our wombs. When I first joined the list, I read all of the articles on birth control and sat down committed to writing in and proving them wrong. Every time I looked up a Scripture to dispute something, it backfired and I realized I was wrong and they would probably use this or that Scripture to prove it. The more I searched the Scriptures, the more certain I became that I had been fooled by the world AND MOST OF THE CHURCH! It's hard to swallow when every pastor you've ever known believes birth control is the "responsible" thing for married adults who feel they have had "enough" children. I had always thought I wanted a "bunch of babies" but with certain new transitions going on in our lives at the time, I had changed my mind and was certain we now had ENOUGH children. Some days, I thought we had MORE than enough! I viewed my children as burdens and NOT blessings.

As God pricked my heart, I shared my concerns with my husband who had already been having the same doubts about birth control being Biblical. I had even pressured him about having a Vasectomy. He shared with me how he felt that we were putting our trust in ourselves and not in God by "taking matters into our own hands." Didn’t God know what He was doing? Isn’t He the One who opens and closes the womb? At first I thought he was just afraid to "go under the knife" for the Vasectomy. Then as God convicted my heart, I began to understand what he was trying to show me. God has been very sweet to bring us to the same place at the same time on these issues.

After reading the articles I gave him, he was even more certain that birth control was not God’s will for Christians and we never used birth control again. Technically, we weren't using any traditional form of "birth control" anyway. We were just using an "early withdrawal" method. That was part of the problem. We couldn't come up with a form of birth control that we felt comfortable with. We knew the pill and IUD could cause a spontaneous abortion, so that was out of the question. We had attempted to use condoms at one point, but it seemed like such a cold and dirty way to celebrate the wonderful gift of love-making that God provided for a husband and wife. We considered the diaphragm, but I have Scoliosis, so I was told by my doctor that it would not work for me because it would not fit properly. I wasn't going to use the Norplant as it seemed so new and risky so we just practiced "early withdrawal" and hoped it worked. This method was less than romantic by the way. It was also stressful because I always fretted afterwards, wondering if we made it in time and "was I going to wind up pregnant anyway?" Which I did! In June of 1998, Abigail was born. What a tremendous source of joy and blessing she has been!

As I studied Scripture in relation to the form of "birth control" we were using, this is what I found:

Genesis 38:9-10
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he
went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that
he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

Now, it is true that part of what was displeasing to God, in this instance, was the fact that he was deliberately trying to avoid carrying out his duty to his dead brother in carrying on his family line. (called a Levirate Marriage - Deuteronomy 25:5) But he was also enjoying physical sexual intimacy while trying to manipulate the function of intercourse. The
bottom line is that he "spilled his seed" to avoid having children. Whatever his motive in doing this thing was, he was trying to manipulate God. He was pretending to obey God (by marrying his brother's widow) while at the same time rejecting the whole purpose of the Levirate Marriage....which was to give his dead brother a child to carry on his name.

I believe this also applies to the Rhythm Method in the sense that this method’s purpose is still to AVOID children, which God says are a blessing. No matter what "form" of birth control we use, it is still what it is called....birth CONTROL! We are trying to control conception instead of trusting God to control it. Make sense?

Whether we use a medical form of birth control, or Early Withdrawal, or use a calendar to try to avoid conception....it's all the same. It says to God, "I want to be in control of this because I don't trust You to make a wise decision in this area.....so here's a little help!"

Sometimes it is so hard to trust God completely, especially when we've been raised around Christians who think God needs help. I was one of them! It's one of those "everybody else is doing it" concepts. But God wants us to look at Scripture, NOT what everybody else is doing or what everybody else thinks is acceptable to God.

Sometimes I think about Susanna Wesley....they were in an incredible amount of debt, she had a very unhelpful husband and she was ill much of her life. I wonder, if she would have had the option to use birth control, would John and Charles Wesley have ever been born? (They were some of her younger children). I tend to think that she would have been quiver minded, but we'll never know, because thankfully, she did not have the option or the same social pressure that so many ladies have today. Suzanna herself, was the 24th of 24 children! Who would have blamed her mother if she had said, "surely God knows we have enough children, one little simple surgery can cure this!"

What is interesting is that since we made this decision, it has actually changed our relationship with our children. We have had to repent of seeing our children as burdens. We now truly see them as blessings from the hand of God. We never would have actually admitted that we thought this way, but now that we see the change, we realize that is what we were doing. I was really afraid that I would have 20 kids! My husband started to point out how there was no birth control in Biblical times and women did not ALL have 30 children. Some only had one or two children and some begged God for even one little blessing! God truly is the One who opens and closes the womb. I also realized that if God gave me more children I should trust Him enough to know that He would also provide the strength to handle it. For me to say,"Lord I love you, Lord I trust you with everything, Lord take my life, take all of me," but then not trust Him with my womb, then I was a liar if I said that I trusted the Lord. The excuses that I gave for not wanting more children were all selfish and unBiblical:

1. " I can't handle the ones I have...I'm so tired! " - I truly needed to cast my cares upon the Lord. I was so wrapped up in "poor me" that many times it caused me to take my eyes off of Him.

2. "We can't afford more children...."- God supplies for our needs. If I am truly trusting him and acknowledging that all we have comes from Him, then I should be confident that He will supply what is needed for each additional child that He places into our hands.

3. " I'm getting too old! "- I found out many of the stories of dangers in child birth for moms in their 30s and 40s are just myths. But again, God knows how old I am and He is in control of my body. If he places a child in this old body whether it be 34 or 94, He knows what He's doing....do I trust Him?

4. "What about my other kids? They won't get enough attention from me...it just won't be fair to them" - Do you know that the more children we have, the less selfish the kids become? It's amazing how God has done such miracles in the family as it has grown! We're closer now than EVER. Also, it keeps me from spoiling the younger ones (my tendency) the older ones keep me in check on that one...you can BET on that! When you have a larger family, there's just no time for selfishness, excessive privacy, or petty fighting! It would get way too loud! They still try it now and then, but our family size forces us to keep things under control. I have also become extremely organized out of shear necessity. Just another "extra credit" for having a large group in the house.

I noticed that after we repented, and as God has worked in this area of our lives, the fear of weariness, finances, medical problems, pain etc. have all left…..they have been replaced with the precious gift of faith. Faith that God will provide the physical needs of our family and the strength and wisdom to raise all of our children for the kingdom of God. As we have grown, not only has the fear left, but a sweet eagerness and desire for more children has blossomed. At first, we just kind of closed our eyes and said, "OK God, if you MAKE us have more children, we will….we will obey if you give us ANOTHER one, but I just can’t look!!!" As we opened one fearful eye, and saw we weren’t yet pregnant, we then opened a second eye…a little braver this time..and yep, I still wasn’t pregnant….until finally we were saying, "Hey….I’m not pregnant yet???? In fact, to our surprise, we now WANTED more babies! God is so good!

Used by permission-The Patriarch's Path