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"Quiverfull" questions...


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Dh & I are expecting #4 this summer. Before getting married, I told dh I wanted 4-6 dc; after the 1st 2, I was happy, but he wanted as many as poss, but AT LEAST 2 more. LOL

 

After going to a home church for a while w/ a couple of families w/ 6 sweet children apiece, we agreed that we didn't want more than 5. We just aren't that organized, & we don't want to drive that big of a car.

 

After #3, we both knew we wanted 1 more for sure...beyond that was up for grabs. But we'd gotten to the pt that we could really feel the strain physically & emotionally. We agreed that we didn't want to have more than we could give appropriate attention & love to.

 

So we're pg w/ #4 MUCH sooner than we were planning, finances are pretty crazy (although that should be temporary), & we know we're about to be super exhausted. We've started talking about bc in a new way, kwim?

 

Dh for the 1st time is willing to even talk about a V, & we've started looking at all kinds of bc, whereas, previously, there was very little we were comfortable with. We used NFP/barrier w/out... unexpected results? Until now. Otoh, until now, we weren't too concerned w/ 1 more.

 

Ok, that's a lot of info to say this: we've never been certain about the moral implications of bc. It's so controversial, it's hard to get people to talk about it honestly, it seems. But I've begun to hear voices as I go to sleep at night, asking things like, "Did you love me less because I wasn't firstborn?"

 

Now, I tend toward crazy, so I'm not just buying this. But I have always believed that souls are created by God, not by parents. They exist from a time before conception--otherwise, how could He have known us & died for us on the cross, before we had even sinned?

 

This view has been challenged, though, over the past few years as I grapple w/ what I believe about bc. If souls really pre-exist & are...I don't know, placed in families by God's design, then any children we choose not to have...well, it gets to be like abortion.

 

That's a strong way of putting it. Please don't get offended. This is not what I believe, just...I'm beginning to wonder about it. IF that were the right way to look at it (you know, with wide, horrified eyes at the thought of giving up control & potentially having THAT many children), that makes the birth rate significantly different than what God might have planned. I forget the statistics on abortion, but if we did combine those #s w/ the effects of bc...wow. That's all.

 

So I was talking to a friend the other night on the phone, & she mentioned the "quiverfull" pov. I had thought that this was a specific #, but she says it's just people who don't use any sort of bc, incl organized abstinence, & leave the # of children they're going to have entirely to the Lord. I'd rather not know there are people who think this way, because it gives more validity to the direction I feel like I might be being led. Yikes!

 

When it gets down to it, the truth is, I don't trust God to give me the right # of children. I think I know better than He does. Or if He does know how many, He certainly wouldn't space them appropriately. Or He doesn't know the effects it would have on my body. Or my mind, LOL!:eek:

 

But, really, aren't those all ways of saying that I don't believe God is who He says he is. No, honestly, when I think about these things, I find myself questioning God's existence at all. Not that I don't believe, exactly, but IF I do, then this shouldn't really be an issue. But it is, & when it comes to this issue, I find that I think of God as something obscure & distant &...well, not real.

 

And that's scary, not because I'm really questioning my faith, but because it leads me to one conclusion. And that might be a LOT of kids. After all, I'm only 28!!! (Couldn't He wait to discuss this with me when I'm 38? I'd have much more faith THEN, I'm sure!)

 

So I'd like your thoughts, esp from people on the other side of this issue. Gently, if possible. Not that I deserve it, because I have not always been gentle w/ this perspective. I guess it serves me right to even have to think about it. :o

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Just that I was going to post something similar, soonish.

 

I think I'm ready to be there - quiverfull I mean. But DH isn't. To truly be quiverfull, he'd have to go get a reversal surgery and I just won't bring that up with him. I'll leave that to the Lord to convict his heart. I'm chicken, I know!

 

My issues are more how do quiverfull families deal with people. I've read the snarky and not so snarky responses. (though I only remember the snarky ones!) I've only recently found out that someone on the children's team at church is vocally against many children. (In her words, her SIL is trying to repopulate the earth all by herself.) Then I also found out how my mother feels about it this weekend. (I mentioned seeing 2 families eating out, one with 10, the other with 8. One family had one on the way. "At that point I'd ask if they knew what caused children" not in a nod-nod, elbow-elbow sort of way. In a 'what do you think you are doing!?' kind of way.)

 

Now what I read in your note is more a trust issue. We all have those from time to time. My issue is obedience. I trust Him, I'm just not obedient b/c I don't want to do what he tells me to do. (I do have trust issues as well, just obedience is bigger.) All I can really say to you is pray. I know you just came off a board break for intense prayer, but that's the solution. Pray and talk to your husband. Me, I'm stuck on the prayer. :o

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Did you ever think about the fact that Noah's sons didn't have children during the 40 years the ark was being built?

 

Ok, that was a little side point, to say that there have been times God's servants prevented pregnancy.

 

You sound very mixed up and confused about this and I feel really sorry for you! You are pregnant, have 3 young children and I"m sure you are exhausted already.

 

All I can say to you is my belief. Life begins at conception. Preventing conception is NOT anywhere near the same thing as aborting a pregancy. I absolutely do not believe, not do I find scripture to support, the idea that we were spirits before conception. I take my reproductive abilities very very seriously, as I believe they are God given. I personally will not take permanant measures to prevent pregnancy. (Probably...I am sure there could be a reason such as if I would die in pregnancy/childbirth).

 

I do not believe scripture supports the idea that ALL bc is sinful. And because of that I can only say to you as I would a friend over coffee....You seem distressed to think of having another baby right now. So prevent that. But how you feel today is not how you might feel in 5 years and you might very well regret taking permanant measures to have no more children.

 

(((Aubrey)))

 

From Scarlett who so wishes she could have had 4.

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Did you ever think about the fact that Noah's sons didn't have children during the 40 years the ark was being built?

 

Ok, that was a little side point, to say that there have been times God's servants prevented pregnancy.

 

You sound very mixed up and confused about this and I feel really sorry for you! You are pregnant, have 3 young children and I"m sure you are exhausted already.

 

All I can say to you is my belief. Life begins at conception. Preventing conception is NOT anywhere near the same thing as aborting a pregancy. I absolutely do not believe, not do I find scripture to support, the idea that we were spirits before conception. I take my reproductive abilities very very seriously, as I believe they are God given. I personally will not take permanant measures to prevent pregnancy. (Probably...I am sure there could be a reason such as if I would die in pregnancy/childbirth).

 

I do not believe scripture supports the idea that ALL bc is sinful. And because of that I can only say to you as I would a friend over coffee....You seem distressed to think of having another baby right now. So prevent that. But how you feel today is not how you might feel in 5 years and you might very well regret taking permanant measures to have no more children.

 

(((Aubrey)))

 

From Scarlett who so wishes she could have had 4.

 

1. Maybe this is just for me, not actually the RIGHT way, kwim? I don't want anyone to feel like I'm judging people who have a different # of dc than me!

 

2. Current bc: I think the pg has that covered, LOL!

 

3. Distressed to have another? That's more complicated. If it's God's will, I've seen enough of that to know that that is good. I also know that I'm not... responsible? enough to handle it right now. But then I look at what kind of person I was when I had #1. I've grown so much! If I grow that much more in the same space of time...maybe I could handle it?

 

I guess I'm more talking out loud for direction. Your pov sounds EXACTLY like mine has been up to now. It's just that...I'm finding mine challenged. Is it just because it IS a challenging issue? Or is it the Lord, leading me to something that, in myself, I could not do? (Like marrying my dh w/out dating him! Or selling our house & coming to seminary w/ 3 dc & no job lined up. Etc.)

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Scarlett, that was a great post,

 

Aubrey,

 

I agree with Scarlett, you seem distressed. There is no verse in scripture against bc. If you and your dh need a rest having little ones, you should take one. I also don't think it is wise to do anything permanent, because you may feel very differently in just 1 year.

 

And I would ask if you are feeling challenged or being led, not by the Lord, but by others. I am sympathetic to those who shun bc and have as many children as the Lord provides, but the issue should always be brought back to scripture.

 

Enjoy your pregnancy and newest blessing, focus on your dc and instructing them.

 

I find when I spend time thinking about such controversial things, I spend less time tending my own garden.

 

HTH,

 

Kim

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We are pg w/ #7...certainly more than we anticipated having and definitely more than any family members expected us to have! My dh will laugh and tell you he was done with 2 (we had our girl and our boy!). Well, we were never fans of bc and so you guess what happened...3, 4, 5, 6 and now 7! :D Dh was scheduled to have a V when we got pg with #6 (our 2nd girl and the light of our life). We had cancelled one appt., the dr. had to postpone another and appt. #3 was scheduled for dh's Christmas break...but we found about #6 2 weeks before. He cancelled. After dd2 was born, he did a complete 180...he said he didn't want the V (I had already said I didn't want him to) and wanted as many kids as God would give us. WOW! So here we are. Some thoughts:

 

Yes, children are a blessing and a gift of God. BUT, I don't believe God frowns upon those who choose to limit their family size. We live in a different world than that of Adam and Eve, etc.! God knows that! Financies, health issues, etc. can mandate limiting family size. We've been blessed w/ healthy/easy pregnancies and children, a supportive extended family (albeit a bit shocked and dazed by the sheer number!), a home, a small, but sufficient income, etc. I want as many children as God will give us (as I'm 35, I'm thinking my time is coming to and end very soon and it does make me sad!). I feel completely incapable of handling them most days. I didn't come from a large family so have no skills or knowledge to build upon. I'm winging it with God's help! I figure He wouldn't have given me these beautiful children (as rotten as they can be sometimes:D) if He hadn't called me to parent them, KWIM? BUT, my very honest Christian friends also tell me that God gives us wisdom! I haven't figured out how to jive the 2 schools of though, yet.

 

I will tell you that many friends of mine whose dh's had V's regret the decision. Years later situations change and they want another child. That's the key...situations change in the blink of an eye and we don't even know we'll make it to another day before the rapture! God will provide...trust Him to let you know what to do. Oh, one other thought that I tell people...God can open and close the womb just as He's done in the past for Sarah and other women of Bible times. I have friends who desperately want more babies and can't have them. OR friends who don't use bc and simply don't get pg!

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how could He have known us & died for us on the cross, before we had even sinned?

 

If I understand the faith correctly, the reason God knows us before we were born is not because we had some pre-existence, but because God exists outside of time. So he knows me, this moment, as an old woman, because he is there on the timeline with me as an old woman (presuming I live that long, of course). He knows me as a baby, as if I were a baby right now. He is at all points on the timeline. He encompasses and surpasses the time line in all directions.

 

I have had many of these same concerns regarding the Quiverfull philosophy. And by the way, I'm pushing 38 and it isn't much easier to trust Him than it was when I was 28 -- a little maybe, but the reality is I have six children now and I'm not sure I can handle more. And, if I were to stop using birth control, the risks of each pregnancy for birth defects/complications goes up. So I look at you and think it's easier to trust him when you're younger! :wink:

 

We are not a Quiverfull family. I have used bc to space my children. We may/may not stop using bc in the future, but right now I'm getting up twice a night with a 7 month old, working with the three year old on his speech, planning to start homeschooling one and potentially three of the little ones, and frankly I feel stretched pretty thin. I do not believe that it is possible that there could be a soul truly meant for our family that wouldn't get here. God is sovereign. When Paul preached to the Greeks, he pointed out that God had determined every man's place and time in history for existence (Acts 17). So if God wants a child born, that child will be born. There are no rogue molecules in the universe. :)

 

BUT, at the same time, I will say this. If God is calling you to something and you are refusing it, then that is sin. I would prayerfully work out in your own heart what you think God's will is, then I would approach your husband with it. I think if it is God's will for you to go Quiverfull, then he will bring you both into accord. I just think this is something that each couple really has to prayerfully work out for themselves, and there really isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. That really, from what I have seen, can sadly lead to pharisaical judgmentalism and pride.

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If I understand the faith correctly, the reason God knows us before we were born is not because we had some pre-existence, but because God exists outside of time. So he knows me, this moment, as an old woman, because he is there on the timeline with me as an old woman (presuming I live that long, of course). He knows me as a baby, as if I were a baby right now. He is at all points on the timeline. He encompasses and surpasses the time line in all directions.

 

Could be. I'm not very good at expressing things like this, & I oftend end up phrasing my ideas in ways that sound like heresy, even to me. LOL

 

God is sovereign. When Paul preached to the Greeks, he pointed out that God had determined every man's place and time in history for existence (Acts 17). So if God wants a child born, that child will be born. There are no rogue molecules in the universe. :)

 

Well...that discounts the effects of sin, you know? I mean, we can maim & kill ea other, but that's not God's will. I think we can prevent babies God intends--whether or not that means all bc is always wrong.

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Well...that discounts the effects of sin, you know? I mean, we can maim & kill ea other, but that's not God's will. I think we can prevent babies God intends--whether or not that means all bc is always wrong.

 

 

I don't think *all* birth control is *always* wrong, and if it were, I think God would have made it very clear for us in Scripture. I think sometimes birth control might be sinful, though, if a couple is using it in the wrong way. It's a matter of conscience, in other words. It's what's in your heart.

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We fend off death with antibiotics and surgery, etc., i.e. using our brains to do so.

How is fending off conception so different? Even choosing celibacy is using our brains to fend off conception. (It requires knowledge of how babies come about, and electing to not have that happen).

Choosing one thing over another is in even tiny infants...a baby prefers a bottle over a bre**t, a toddlers wants the purple blankie, not the green. I'm not a Christian, but it does seem if we have/were given a brain and free choice, we will/should/are mandated to use it.

Just a different thought....just me whistling as I walk on down the street...

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I would like to point out there are ways to prevent pregnancy without birthcontrol.

 

I took birth control before we had children, but once we had our son, I became convicted that the pill and other forms were not for me. After our 2nd child was born, I was at my wit's end and needed a bit of a break and decided I had to make sure this time that I wasn't going to have another baby, however God kept telling me I wasn't in the right spirit. I got pregnant and miscarried that baby while I was on bc, but I feel it was God telling me to trust him.

 

Now we do family planning and use protection during the time when I could get pregnant. We have only had 1 unexpected pregnancy and that was the one while on bc. Now, I don't completely like the idea of saying it's all up to God, for myself personally(not comdeming those that do), because God gave us regular cycles that can be figured out and brains to use to figure it out. With what I'm doing I believe God can intervene at any moment and say that we need another child.

 

I trust in God to not give me more than I can handle, but I also do my part to prevent pregnancy, realizing that I also have a hand in this. It's kinda like financially, we depend on God, however we need to go out and make an income and not just live for the moment on credit cards, "trusting" God to bail us out. I hope this makes a little sense.

 

Now, I feel the need to clarify that I probably don't fall into the 'quiverfull' thinking. While I have problems with bc, because for me I don't feel right with the fact that conception can happen, just not implantation, I'm not sure that I feel that a V or having tubes tied is wrong. This, for now unless God changes my thought, is because I do know of people who've had those things done. God intervenes and says, "I'm in control. I have another being I need you to create for me." Just my $.02.

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I personally feel that you are very sweet to seek the Lord's will on all things. It seems that you ARE welcoming children into your home. Having 6, 8, or 10 will not make you more or less acceptable to God. I would rest in his love and enjoy the children that you and your husband have now. The future will take care of itself.

 

As an aside, do you REALLY feel that you, despite all your efforts, can prevent a child that God, the Sovereign King of all the Universe, would give you? Girl, I don't think so!

 

I don't think barrier or rhythm methods are a sin in themselves. Abortion and methods that can cause it such as The Pill, IUD, and the like, are unacceptable to me, due to the fact that these take human life that has already begun.

 

There are so many other areas of sin that I stumble in, that this is a non-issue to me. Remember that we are accepted in The Beloved, not on account of our own merit, family size, or organic cooking. :D

 

: )

Tami

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Maybe this has been posted. But the article I'll link from Desiring God ministries (John Piper) is the most balanced I've seen on these issues. It encourages children and yet points out where limiting family-size might be perfectly Biblical.

 

Jami

 

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2006/1440_Does_the_Bible_permit_birth_control/

 

Edit: Here's another article I like by Douglas Wilson, who is more balanced than I think some would expect him to be. ;)

 

http://credenda.org/issues/18-4husbandry.php

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As an aside, do you REALLY feel that you, despite all your efforts, can prevent a child that God, the Sovereign King of all the Universe, would give you? Girl, I don't think so!

 

 

 

Beautifully said! That puts it all into perspective! What a great thread, BTW, and some very thought-provoking replies from believers and non-believers alike! I just love this board for it's wisdom and different points of view...I learn so much:D

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Let's take our American Constitution, for example. The amendments and articles can be interpreted different ways, but we are mandated to follow them one way or another.

 

Free will is not an issue. Free will is not necessarily in line with God. Humans have possibilities for both good and evil. Same with the brain. One person's brain tells them to do one thing, while another gal's says the opposite.

 

The issue for a Christian, is following our "Constitution," the Bible, and discerning what it's true meaning and intent is for our lives. Christians have an uncanny desire to discern Scripture, and then to try and obey it. I don't know if there is an analogy for the secular gal.

 

WHen I was secular, I just did whatever I felt was right at the time. I went with my own "heart," actually whims, and popular ethics. THere was no real dilemma for me. For me as the Christian, God's Truth is unchanging. Our dilemma as Christians is to not only know what God's will is, but to actively embrace it. God's decrees do not always line up with our human wills, and we do not always "feel like" acting in love, truthfulness, meekness, forgiveness, and the like.

 

Hope that explains a little from the Christian perspective. My head is stuffed up with a cold, so I hope this comes out and actually makes sense.

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Guest Virginia Dawn

I am not a "quiverfull" proponent or opponent, but I think any decision you make should be done with your eyes wide open.

 

I know two quiverfull families and have known the moms as good friends for more than 15 years.

 

The first family has 11 children. The mom is now nearing 50 and her youngest is about 5, she has had two miscarriages since him and thinks she is done having kids. They have 4 bedroom house with 2 or more children in each room, they have 2 dining room tables and a 15 passenger van. They shop in bulk at warehouse stores, organic foods are out of the question. Much of the last 20 years they were not able to afford health insurance, so they used whatever public health services that were available and paid cash for the births. There were many times when they were absolutely broke. Oh yea, one bathroom!

 

The second family has just had their 10th child. They have had a slightly better financial situation than the first family, but not by much. The living space question has been just as difficult. Neither one went on any kind of welfare, but they did often rely on the generosity of friends and family.

 

Because the moms are my friends, I have seen how hard this life has been for them. The first one is now experiencing some relief, now that some of her children are grown and on their own and there are no babies to take care of.

The second has begun to think that maybe 10 children is enough for them. After all this time, they still wonder if they made the right choice. But, in a way, for them, they could see no other path.

 

I'm not saying there was never any joy, or satisfaction in their lives, what I am saying is that you need to look at this very carefully and understand the full implications of the decision.

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I personally feel that you are very sweet to seek the Lord's will on all things. It seems that you ARE welcoming children into your home. Having 6, 8, or 10 will not make you more or less acceptable to God. I would rest in his love and enjoy the children that you and your husband have now. The future will take care of itself.

 

As an aside, do you REALLY feel that you, despite all your efforts, can prevent a child that God, the Sovereign King of all the Universe, would give you? Girl, I don't think so!

 

I don't think barrier or rhythm methods are a sin in themselves. Abortion and methods that can cause it such as The Pill, IUD, and the like, are unacceptable to me, due to the fact that these take human life that has already begun.

 

There are so many other areas of sin that I stumble in, that this is a non-issue to me. Remember that we are accepted in The Beloved, not on account of our own merit, family size, or organic cooking. :D

 

 

Very well put Tami!!!

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I'm not going to go into all the things discussed above because like certain theological points, there will probably never be a definitive answer that everyone agrees upon.

 

However, we are as wives commanded by God to obey our husbands. If you are struggling with either having or not having more and your husband is on a different page, then you need to pray and duck-- pray, duck, and ask God to hit your husband! Then when he makes a decision in either direction, all you have to do is follow.

 

I am expecting our 8th, and have had a miscarriage, which means we have dealt with this issue nine times. I am blessed to have a husband who takes his role as my shepherd and protector very seriously. We both desire to be faithful to God and we both do no believe that it is our right to put our hands on our hips and tell the God of the universe what we are going to do, in any area of our lives. So there is balance: we don't tell God how many and my husband prayerfully considers every month. There have been seasons when I thought I was ready for another baby and he said, "Not now". That was hard for me, but all I had to do was obey. Now I am in a season of having two babies back-to-back, which neither I nor my husband "planned". We make plans, God laughs, no? ;) God wants this baby born in May, despite our awkward efforts to delay pregnancy. It really is all up to Him.

 

Your husband will stand before the Lord someday as the head of your household and take account for the decisions he made in leading you. You can rest and relax in the knowledge that your job is to obey him, and as long as he is not leading you to sin, then you have full assurance that whatever your husband's decision is, by following him, you have been faithful.

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We fend off death with antibiotics and surgery, etc., i.e. using our brains to do so. How is fending off conception so different? Even choosing celibacy is using our brains to fend off conception.

 

As an interested bystander (and maybe it can help Aubrey too), can anyone address this particular issue? How is using BC to prevent pregnancy different from using medical treatment to prevent death? (I'm definitely not asking in a snarky way, I've often wondered this very thing and debated the BC issue with myself, even as a child!)

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Conception is a natural process, and I think in most cases, God lets nature take its course. Just as I don't think God causes natural disasters, I don't think God personally causes each conception. (Hmm. That makes it sound like babies are natural disasters, which isn't quite what I wanted to say.)

 

I think God is capable of supporting us in whatever life circumstances we find ourselves . . . but I also think he approves of us taking an active role in our family size. I think the analogy to trusting God to provide while working hard to get a job is appropriate.

 

Of course, I've been known to say that we *all* have full quivers--some of us just have bigger quivers than others!

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Guest Virginia Dawn

For instance one might question whether God in fact wills each child to be born. Does he direct a specific sperm cell to a specific egg so a specific person comes into this world? In other words, is each child a truly miraculous (as in supernaturally determined) event?

 

Or, has he placed a set of physical laws in motion that we can use to determine the probability of a child's conception and birth? Does a child born in a low probability situation mean that God is responsible in a miraculous way? If I do not ever have a child, does that mean that God personally prevented conception?

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As an aside, do you REALLY feel that you, despite all your efforts, can prevent a child that God, the Sovereign King of all the Universe, would give you? Girl, I don't think so!

 

This was exactly my pov when we first got married. Now, though...we do (as people) prevent God's will all the time, don't we? I mean, otherwise, we wouldn't be able to kill each other, etc.

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As an interested bystander (and maybe it can help Aubrey too), can anyone address this particular issue? How is using BC to prevent pregnancy different from using medical treatment to prevent death? (I'm definitely not asking in a snarky way, I've often wondered this very thing and debated the BC issue with myself, even as a child!)

 

Well...isn't preventing death kind-of the opposite of preventing life? Not to be snarky here, either. I do see what you mean, I'm just searching, ya know.

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This was exactly my pov when we first got married. Now, though...we do (as people) prevent God's will all the time, don't we? I mean, otherwise, we wouldn't be able to kill each other, etc.

 

But of course then the question is, should we? Unlike cancer or the common cold, children are not an illness. In fact, the Bible repeatedly calls them blessings. Well, golly, we've yet to turn down a financial blessing, or the blessing of health, or a roof over our heads. For us, we just couldn't reconcile how we could tell God to bring on the blessings of all the other things but, "No thanks, God. We're not interested in being blessed with more children." Who do we think we are?

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Well said, Kendra.

 

The more I let the decisions about our family (size, location, use of resources) rest on dh's shoulders, the more peace and freedom from anxiety I feel. He is happy to listen to my input, advice, council, etc. on these things and I trust that he takes my heart into account, but the responsibility for the final decisions rest with him and he is accountable before God.

 

As Aubrey knows, we had three children in rapid succession. The third was in-utero during a very rough time for our family and her birth was an emergency c-section which I had a hard time recovering from (especially with two toddlers to care for at that time). At that point dh said, 'three is great, we're done at three' and I *mostly* agreed. But we decided to give ourselves 2 years before making final decisions and I left bc up to dh (barrier and timing with my cycle). After 2 years we were still overwhelmed with the three little ones and preparing for a huge move and transition in our lives, so being *done* still seemd wise. But we couldn't quite bring ourselves to be *done, done* ;) in part because dh was not yet 30 and I was just 30. We've continued to have the very kinds of conversations that you (Aubrey) and L are having. And I read the articles above that I linked for you. We continue to feel a great deal of freedom as believers in this area. But as *my* heart has started moving toward wanting a fourth and our youngest is now almost four...dh has to weigh whether our finances, parenting energy, emotional energy, responsibilites to the three we already have make having a fourth child a wise decision for our family. I'm thankful that he is able to think through these things in a more detached way, unlike my hormonally and baby-lust driven desires! :) But he's listened to my thoughts and reasonings and even the emotionally-charged arguments...and is now ready to add a fourth child to the mix. In God's timing of course, since we can't quite order one the moment we decide we're ready! :D

 

But if dh says four is where we stop, then that's the right decision for our family. I trust his judgement, more than my own even. ;)

 

These are hard issues and in our 10 years of marriage we've been round and round the same arguments and issue, but erring on the side of grace and not binding ourselves where the Bible is silent and spending most of our energy on obeying where the Bible is very clear (loving one another, bringing up our children in Godliness, submission and leadership, etc.) seems to help relieve some of the earlier anxiety we (I) felt about these issues.

 

Jami

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I'm not going to go into all the things discussed above because like certain theological points, there will probably never be a definitive answer that everyone agrees upon.

 

However, we are as wives commanded by God to obey our husbands. If you are struggling with either having or not having more and your husband is on a different page, then you need to pray and duck-- pray, duck, and ask God to hit your husband! Then when he makes a decision in either direction, all you have to do is follow.

 

I am expecting our 8th, and have had a miscarriage, which means we have dealt with this issue nine times. I am blessed to have a husband who takes his role as my shepherd and protector very seriously. We both desire to be faithful to God and we both do no believe that it is our right to put our hands on our hips and tell the God of the universe what we are going to do, in any area of our lives. So there is balance: we don't tell God how many and my husband prayerfully considers every month. There have been seasons when I thought I was ready for another baby and he said, "Not now". That was hard for me, but all I had to do was obey. Now I am in a season of having two babies back-to-back, which neither I nor my husband "planned". We make plans, God laughs, no? ;) God wants this baby born in May, despite our awkward efforts to delay pregnancy. It really is all up to Him.

 

Your husband will stand before the Lord someday as the head of your household and take account for the decisions he made in leading you. You can rest and relax in the knowledge that your job is to obey him, and as long as he is not leading you to sin, then you have full assurance that whatever your husband's decision is, by following him, you have been faithful.

 

Since I'm not quite at the point of being willing to hand this over to the Lord, I'm more than willling to let dh lead, kwim? Becuase at this point, I know it scares him as much as it does me.

 

But he just came home from work for a couple of hrs, & we were talking about this thread. He said again that basically he's not ready to hear that from the Lord.

 

That's when it hit me. He keeps saying that, & it's a phrase he only uses when he IS hearing the Lord, lol. I pointed this out to him, & he agreed. He said he's been wondering about it for a few years.

 

I'd say we're both too scared to force anything on the other one, but we're also at the point that we can't deny that we're hearing something. Kwim? Our attitude up to now has been to use bc we're comfortable w/ (though its effectiveness is statistically low) & follow the Lord's leading. We felt led to have #3 & obeyed. We felt called to have #1 & #4 but were too chicken to obey specifically (i.e., TRY) but did not, er, inhibit.

 

For now, I feel okay with continuing with that frame of mind, but I feel like it's just a baby step to something more. I'd been thinking for a few yrs that I'd really like the feeling of knowing I was done being pg. It's so disruptive to life, etc. Now, I'm thinking of changing my frame of ref. Maybe being pg is just a part of life, & I need to learn to acclamate. (I'm pretty sure that's spelled wrong.)

 

Just thinking. Thanks for your thoughts.

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Well...isn't preventing death kind-of the opposite of preventing life? Not to be snarky here, either. I do see what you mean, I'm just searching, ya know.

 

Ha, true. I wasn't actually thinking of it in those terms, though. I would assume that a person's passing is as much an act of God's will as a person's creation. I hear people say that all the time, "God had a plan...God wanted her by his side...God took her back to be with him." I guess I'm wondering how one could reconcile using medical procedures to thwart death, but not birth, particularly when that birth might prove as painful for a family emotionally as a loved one's death might be. I'm conflicted about my own beliefs, so I guess I'm just searching too :o

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But of course then the question is, should we? Unlike cancer or the common cold, children are not an illness. In fact, the Bible repeatedly calls them blessings. Well, golly, we've yet to turn down a financial blessing, or the blessing of health, or a roof over our heads. For us, we just couldn't reconcile how we could tell God to bring on the blessings of all the other things but, "No thanks, God. We're not interested in being blessed with more children." Who do we think we are?

 

I hadn't thought of it like that. Good point.

 

I have so many thoughts both directions!! Wouldn't it be nice if things were just EASY? LOL

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I'd been thinking for a few yrs that I'd really like the feeling of knowing I was done being pg. It's so disruptive to life, etc. Now, I'm thinking of changing my frame of ref. Maybe being pg is just a part of life, & I need to learn to acclamate.

 

No denying that here! This isn't an easy path. Early on when I mentioned to my mom that we were leaning this way she said, "I'm just afraid you're jumping on a bandwagon."

 

Let me tell you-- if I were to jump on a bandwagon, this would not be it. The lay-by-the-pool-drinking-pina-coladas bandwagon? THAT'S the bandwagon I want to be on :D

 

But... would I put any of them back? Would I trade any one of our seven? Not a chance. I am so, so thankful God called us to this. And we have no regrets. We feel we've been faithful, and that's what we want most.

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And this is where I find I disagree with the Quiverfull argument and really like the comparison the Desiring God article makes. We're called to be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the earth, in the Creation Mandate in Genesis. But farmers do not buy or attempt to till and work as much land as they possibly can, though wouldn't subduing MORE of creation be MORE of a blessing? No, they thoughtfully take into account the amount of land their resources can bring to the fullest harvest. Resources including time, finances, physical strength, etc. Our calling is to bring up children who can be *effective* arrows, Godly arrows. And that means that choosing to space or limit those arrows may be wise. If I can not teach and disciple *well* more than 4 children (as far as I or my husband know and God of course will demonstrate I can handle more if that is what he pleases to do) and if I cannot care for my home and husband as I have already been called to with one child or a dozen, then more children are perhaps not wise.

 

I would also recommend the excellent book on making decisions in general to you, Aubrey. "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Gary Friesen. This book has been a wonderful guide to dh and I over the years and has given us a huge sense of freedom from fearing making the "wrong" decision about things which God has not expressly forbidden.

 

Jami

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I agree with Kendra, to listen to your DH and his leading. Continue to pray, continue to seek His will and listen. Being quiverfull doesn't always = 20 kids either. You could leave it up to God and have no more children. You could leave it up to God and have 10 more children. Truely being quiverfull is leaving the #, the timing, thehealth, the financial and all of it up to God. Trust Him to provide all your needs as He sees fit.

 

We haven't had much money and things seem to be a struggle with us for money, but He has always met our needs and sometimes our wants, too. I don't think God ever promised life would be rosey, but He does promise to take care of our needs if we trust Him. Matt 6:31-34

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But farmers do not buy or attempt to till and work as much land as they possibly can, though wouldn't subduing MORE of creation be MORE of a blessing? No, they thoughtfully take into account the amount of land their resources can bring to the fullest harvest. Resources including time, finances, physical strength, etc.

 

Ok, good point. But, otoh, isn't this more like, um, somehow making soil that you already own infertile & then planting seeds there?

 

The thing is, I really, really want to agree w/ you! I have, up to now.

 

As to the wisdom of a great # of children, I don't see that there could be any, at least not in this day & age. And yet, my idea of wisdom is not always God's. (Very often, though.;))

 

I would also recommend the excellent book on making decisions in general to you, Aubrey. "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Gary Friesen. This book has been a wonderful guide to dh and I over the years and has given us a huge sense of freedom from fearing making the "wrong" decision about things which God has not expressly forbidden.

 

 

I'm wondering about this issue, but not in terms of condemnation, guilt, etc. I guess I figure that as long as I live, I will be doing something that's not the way God would have me do it. He'll address these issues one at a time, & the more I yield, the more He'll have time to get to before I die.

 

I don't see it as an issue of being more or less accepted by God or anything like that. Otoh, I have found that when I resist the Lord, I'm generally wrong, & I'm happier when I follow Him.

 

I'm afraid I'm getting redundant. I was raised in a denomination that was very fear-based, & if you didn't do things right, you'd go to hell. I'm FAAAAARR from that now. If I tend to sound that way, it's not what I mean!:)

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If I can not teach and disciple *well* more than 4 children (as far as I or my husband know and God of course will demonstrate I can handle more if that is what he pleases to do) and if I cannot care for my home and husband as I have already been called to with one child or a dozen, then more children are perhaps not wise.

 

 

The Pearls wrote an article addressing this called "Raising Rats". And I agree-- we do have to be faithfully raising our children to love and serve God.

 

Still, we won't make a permanent decision (vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc.) because we have seen that with each one, God has given grace. I always freak out a little before a new baby is born with thoughts of, "I can't do this! I'm not equipped to have this many!" But then I see that when we had our fourth, I suddenly had grace for four that I did not previously have with three. And grace for five that I didn't have with four, etc.

 

Where God provides the mouths, He provides the meat. Or the help. Or whatever our needs may be. He doesn't call people to the mission field to abandon them there. Likewise, He has not called us to parent many only to strand us without the proper tools.

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The Pearls wrote an article addressing this called "Raising Rats". And I agree-- we do have to be faithfully raising our children to love and serve God.

 

Still, we won't make a permanent decision (vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc.) because we have seen that with each one, God has given grace. I always freak out a little before a new baby is born with thoughts of, "I can't do this! I'm not equipped to have this many!" But then I see that when we had our fourth, I suddenly had grace for four that I did not previously have with three. And grace for five that I didn't have with four, etc.

 

Where God provides the mouths, He provides the meat. Or the help. Or whatever our needs may be. He doesn't call people to the mission field to abandon them there. Likewise, He has not called us to parent many only to strand us without the proper tools.

 

I agree. This may not always be the case, but for me, I couldn't have imagined how much I'd grow between #1 & now. I still don't feel adequate, but can we ever?

 

Plus, it's easy to forget that the big ones get bigger. When I imagine a scary-big # (like 8, lol), I imagine my oldest is still only 7. When I figure in that he'll be AT LEAST 4 yrs older...it seems more doable. I can't believe how sweet & wonderfully helpful he & 4yo dd are NOW, much less 4 yrs from now.

 

That sounds like I'm treating them like servants. What I mean, though, is that because of their faithfulness to be obedient & cooperative, I have an easier time having faith in God's will/provision, etc. Imagine what a wonderful thing for your parents to say to you? Because you were faithful when you were young, I was better able to follow God.

 

That could be misused, misapplied, etc., but assuming it's not...

 

For ex, I just started assigning 30 min increments for dc to play w/ baby in her room while I do school w/ the other one, ala MOTH. They cooperate pretty cheerfully, but the real kicker was the other day when I put baby to bed, & they weren't expecting it. They both objected that they had wanted to play w/ her!

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Aubrey, what you're doing is hard. When I had our fourth, our first was just six, and it was HARD. We don't consider ourselves "Quiverfull" because we do *gasp* ask God for wisdom and sometimes try to delay a pregnancy if my dh thinks it is wise, but one of the things that bothers me in the QF movement is the tendency to ignore the fact that having lots of little children isn't easy. Same with homeschoolers-- it irks me when some are not willing to admit that it isn't always fun to be with your kids all. day. long.

 

So, aside from the fact that children are a blessing, aside from the fact that homeschooling is an excellent way to disciple our children, both paths are difficult, and the fact that you and your dh are struggling through it is absolutely ok to admit. Just ask God to make you faithful. That's what He requires of us.

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I am blessed to have a husband who takes his role as my shepherd and protector very seriously....

Your husband will stand before the Lord someday as the head of your household and take account for the decisions he made in leading you.

 

This is very true. At the same time the Bible tells us to submit to one another in love out of reverence for Christ... If a woman has very difficult or dangerous pregnancies or if she is extremely stressed, or even depressed, with what she already has and is not being properly attended to or having her needs met, she sure better have a husband that loves her as he loves his own body! And as your husband is very careful to pay attention to, a man better know that he is able and willing to adequately provide. A man who loves his wife as he loves his own body will listen to her heart and mind and will take them strongly into consideration.

 

Unfortunately I've known too many women that "obeyed" their husbands on this issue and essentially had no voice on the matter. That is absolutely not Biblical. (Kendra, I am *not* saying this is the case with you at all! Please know that!) In many instances a husband has done this and insisted on having as many blessings as possible and promptly left his wife and many blessings behind to fend for themselves. I have seen this too many times.

 

I completely agree with you Kendra, that God is sovereign no matter what and that he works in, through, over and above our plans. God does not tell us not to make plans or choices. We must and we do so daily. If we don't we are being irresponsible. But we must leave the outcome to Him and thank Him for his sovereignty whether our plans succeed or are overruled by His gracious sovereign hand.

 

 

 

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course,

but the LORD determines his steps.

 

 

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And I would ask if you are feeling challenged or being led, not by the Lord, but by others.

 

I've been thinking about this all day. I don't personally know anybody who feels this way. This has come up independently of others, & since then, I've heard of friends of friends who believe this way--still haven't met anyone.

 

After talking to dh today, he's been praying about this for a couple of yrs.

 

Other than that, the closest we've come to this kind of mindset is our Catholic friends. We know two couples who are "good" Catholics. One plans on having 3 children & simply using NFP to prevent more. They're pg w/ #1 & are relatively new converts.

 

The other couple are both "cradle Catholics" and have 4 dc. One comes from a family of 14, but they weren't even completely aware of the Catholic stance on bc when we met them, although they pretty much knew they were going to have a big family & were content w/ that.

 

Catholicism seems a little different to me, though, for 2 reasons. 1. They accept NFP. 2. Bc (except for NFP) IS considered sin, so there's less to grapple w/.

 

But the "others" in my life think I'm crazy to have 4. They want some kind of assurance that we're done now.

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This is very true. At the same time the Bible tells us to submit to one another in love out of reverence for Christ... If a woman has very difficult or dangerous pregnancies or if she is extremely stressed, or even depressed, with what she already has and is not being properly attended to or having her needs met, she sure better have a husband that loves her as he loves his own body! And as your husband is very careful to pay attention to, a man better know that he is able and willing to adequately provide. A man who loves his wife as he loves his own body will listen to her heart and mind and will take them strongly into consideration.

 

Unfortunately I've known too many women that "obeyed" their husbands on this issue and essentially had no voice on the matter. That is absolutely not Biblical. (Kendra, I am *not* saying this is the case with you at all! Please know that!) In many instances a husband has done this and insisted on having as many blessings as possible and promptly left his wife and many blessings behind to fend for themselves. I have seen this too many times.

 

I completely agree with you Kendra, that God is sovereign no matter what and that he works in, through, over and above our plans. God does not tell us not to make plans or choices. We must and we do so daily. If we don't we are being irresponsible. But we must leave the outcome to Him and thank Him for his sovereignty whether our plans succeed or are overruled by His gracious sovereign hand.

 

 

 

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course,

 

but the LORD determines his steps.

 

 

 

 

See, I get caught up in what-ifs. I have a friend for whom pregnancy is life-threatening. She has one child, & I'd imagine she'll have one more. But she is surely justified in using bc!

 

And, of course, I feel the same way about women w/ post-partum depression or marital issues, etc.

 

So maybe it's wrong to look for a mandate for all women. Or maybe if there is some kind of general rule, it's for healthy women w/ good dh's, etc.

 

I know for me, pg's a drag, but my babies & I have been healthy enough that that's absolutely not an issue. My dh (no offense to anyone else's) is the best on the planet. ;) Not that that helps w/ bc! LOL

 

So...I'm sort of forcing the what-if's to the side, because, honestly, I *know* they don't apply to me. They absolutely DO apply to others, though, & I don't mean to judge anyone who falls under different sets of circumstances. Really, I hope I'm not judging anyone, period. Because, I'm pretty off-the-wall wrong about quite a bit of stuff, & when it comes to having dc, well, you can't put them back, can you?

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well, as I mentioned previously on the old board, marriage is a blessing, yet we don't just go out and marry any old person ASAP --we consider it thoughtfully and prayerfully. Paul even advised some to remain unmarried in specific stressful times. Just because something is a blessing does not mean we need to pursue it blindly.

 

dh was recently offered an *extra* $2500 every *month* if he would sacrifice his schedule to be on call 24/7 and only 4 days off a month. He turned it down because he knew he could simply NOT be grateful for it --he would be bitter about being on call all. the. time. I know that was a tough decision for him as the provider of the family.

 

So are there times we turn down "blessings"? You betcha.

 

 

Absolutely follow dh's lead on this, but don't shirk YOUR responsibility in sharing honestly your thoughts and concerns and feelings about it.

 

I like what nancy said: "God does not tell us not to make plans or choices."

 

We are our dh's *helpers*--and if we don't do our part in helping them w/ facts and feelings, we aren't obeying in a scriptural manner. Our dh's need all the info they can get to make a good decision. withold nothing from him. he has an awesome responsibility --help him completely.

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I think that God is all powerful. As such, He can circumvent birth control any time He likes, so those who want to use may as well do so. Certainly there are a lot of women who get pregnant while using birth control.

 

There are even women like me, who get pregnant even though it is physically impossible. I prayed for another baby after my triplets were born, and 3 months later, I was pregnant with DD. If it had not been impossible, it would have been highly improbable because DH and I didn't have time to try as we were busy taking care of premature, sickly triplet infants. So it's not like we were behaving like newlyweds or anything.

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I think that this is an important enough topic for you and your husband that you should make decisions after you've had this baby. My thoughts during pregnancy are usually all over the place. I think this issue will seem clearer after the baby is born. (Whichever way you choose!)

 

Nancypants- I like you more with each post you write!

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Aubrey-- the "general mandate" is definitely NOT tied up in the what-if's --you are wise to put them aside.

 

the general mandate is tied to the *heart* not the body.

 

If doing something will make you bitter, then do NOT do it. Just because you aren't hearing this from any other *person* does not mean there aren't other forces at work on this earth. Following God leads to peace. Not necessarily prosperity or lack of struggle ;), but a peace nonetheless.

 

If delaying a pregnancy will make you bitter, don't. If having another child this soon will make you bitter over a quiverful mentality, then don't. As has been said, God makes things happen whether we want them to or not. When people kill others, that is disobedience, period. There's a commandment about that! There is no commandment to go forth and have *as many* kids as possible. You've multiplied. Cross that off your checklist, lol and continue to study God's Word. Good luck :-)

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I'm posting this with some trepidation, but here goes.

 

I'm assuming from your first post that (1) you are Protestant and (2) your decision will be based on an understanding of Scriptural teaching as binding on the conscience of believers. In other words, if you are convicted that the Bible teaches that birth control is sinful, you would feel obligated not to use it. Since the Quiverfull movement adds to this a rejection of planned continence within marriage for the purposes of preventing conception (e.g., NFP), I'm assuming that (2) applies to this proposition as well.

 

Now I am coming at this from a different place from many here. First, I'm a man - and I don't for a minute discount the difference that makes in discussions like these. Second, I'm Catholic, although raised Protestant. The Catholic Church has clear teachings on family planning, and those teachings are binding for Catholics. Briefly, the Church rejects artificial birth control but allows for periodic continence; the Quiverfull movement, therefore, argues against something that the Catholic Church teaches is morally licit.

 

For me, the first question to ask is: What does your denomination/tradition/church teach about birth control and family planning? If your church does not have an explicit teaching, then I would talk over your concerns with your dh and together consult your pastor. If after that conversation you still have no clear conviction, then and only then would I begin to search around for input from religious teachers outside your tradition.

 

The reason I say this is that the underlying theology is not always as cut-and-dried as "the Bible says so." Although the Bible does not present an unequivocal teaching on birth control, virtually all Christians rejected it until only about a century ago - something that should give us pause. Much depends on your understanding of Genesis and what is referred to by some as the dominion mandate, as well as other passages of Scripture that speak about conception, childbirth, and infertility. All of this gets into denominational distinctives that I am not competent to sort out and that are probably too controversial to go into on this board in any case. My point is that you will find "biblical" arguments complete with proof texts on all sides of this issue, but rarely will you see all the underlying presuppositions spelled out carefully. If you want a consistent moral understanding, you need to seek out those presuppositions and make sure that the position you and your dh choose is of a piece with the rest of your beliefs.

 

I'm sorry if this all sounds terribly abstract, but I'm trying very hard not to step on anyone's toes. I hope this helps anyway. God bless you and your dh in your search for answers.

 

Edited to add: Several other posts were added in the time I was composing this reply, so I see that you're already familiar with the Catholic position on this issue. :)

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I'm sorry if this all sounds terribly abstract, but I'm trying very hard not to step on anyone's toes. I hope this helps anyway. God bless you and your dh in your search for answers.

 

Plaid Dad, even if I don't completely agree with your perspective on this, I think you gave some very wise advice. Good on ya!

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Yah, Nan, I agree.

 

And I have to say, everyone-- I have seen some very, very ugly fights on blogs and message boards over this topic. Thank you all for being thoughtful, temperate, and "slow to speak, slow to anger."

 

I entered this thread with much trepidation, but I am glad now that I took part and was able to hear everyone else on the matter, as well.

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I'll just address one part of what you said.

 

When it gets down to it, the truth is, I don't trust God to give me the right # of children. I think I know better than He does. Or if He does know how many, He certainly wouldn't space them appropriately. Or He doesn't know the effects it would have on my body. Or my mind, LOL!:eek:

 

But, really, aren't those all ways of saying that I don't believe God is who He says he is. No, honestly, when I think about these things, I find myself questioning God's existence at all. Not that I don't believe, exactly, but IF I do, then this shouldn't really be an issue. But it is, & when it comes to this issue, I find that I think of God as something obscure & distant &...well, not real.

 

I think you've nailed it here. That's exactly what it comes down to.

 

Like you, I suspect that BC is a way of controlling our lives out of fear that God will not do it right. (Combined with the arrogance that assumes that if a scientist can describe it, we know what's "really" going on.)

 

Yet.

 

I've never been able to embrace in practice what I've already come to believe. And it's utterly and completely a matter of not trusting God. That's absolutely what it is.

 

Here's the one small thing I take comfort in: there are biblical instances of people "talking back" to God and living. Abraham argues with God about the fate of Sodom. Moses refuses God's offer to destroy Israel and make a new Moses-nation. Ezekiel tells God that the little living sermon God has planned for him is too much for him to bear (God asks him to roast his food on a fire made of humanure). And God relents in all these cases.

 

I think there is room for people to tell God, "Yes, you're right. But I'm too weak for that yet." That's what the Ezekiel case was about, anyway. God is Father and Mother, not the Justice Dispensing Machine.

 

There will be people who will use that as an excuse to do whatever they want. But that's not what I'm talking about--I'm talking about faithful, even holy people, who find that one thing God asks of them is just too hard.

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