My family is not my religion.
One of the more obvious themes of this blog is having a larger-than-average family in a small-family culture. I’m a mother of five active and challenging people. This job—or perhaps it’s better to call it a relationship–takes up my whole day, every day, and will do so for at least the next couple of decades, so it’s hardly surprising that that is what I blog about. “Write what you know” is good advice, so I stick with it. However, I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that the size of my family is the cornerstone of my existence. It isn’t. Jesus is.
I have, in comments on other posts, been accused of “child worship” for believing that each child given to a believer, no matter the circumstances, is a blessing from God. There are those who believe that submitting to a husband’s authority is husband-worship. I have, on other blogs, been accused of “fetus worship” for being unbendingly pro-life. I have been accused in political threads of Ron Paul worship, of all things, just because I agree with him on many things. If you stand for anything at all, somebody is going to assume that that thing is the only thing about you, and thus, you must worship it.
I have, thankfully, been accused of Jesus-worship many times, also. That, I’m happy to report, is true!
With so many people on the internet randomly clicking in, reading through the lenses of their own preconceptions and stereotypes, then clicking away, never to return, it’s pretty easy to be misunderstood.I’d like to address a few of those misconceptions here, even though the people I am addressing are most likely never going to come back here to read it.
My purpose in this world, contrary to the belief of some, is not to have children! I’m very uncomfortable with the “quiverfull” label. It has a wrong emphasis on family size and, I believe, comes dangerously close to preaching an unbiblical, works-based model of salvation. If I had no kids, Jesus would still be my Lord and my God. If I have a dozen more (oh, my), Jesus will still be my purpose. My family size is an outworking of this faith, it is true. If I didn’t get my worldview from a Bible that considers children to be an asset, I would most likely conform to the beliefs of the World and have a smaller number of children. But a large family has never been my goal. Christ is my goal.
I could not care less how many children you have, or why, dear reader. I was once asked by a Twitter follower whether I “want all women to live that way”. I didn’t even need to ask what she meant by that. She meant “barefoot and pregnant”. The short answer is no. I wear shoes. (Kidding!)
It is not my place to want anything for other people’s lives. But the long answer is a little more complicated. You see, I do want all women (and men) to bring their lives and fortunes under the control of Christ, as any Christian does. Often, submission to the Savior brings about a lifestyle that looks remarkably similar to mine. Just as often, it brings about lives that look completely different from mine!
I’m not counting your children to see how much you trust Jesus. Sometimes God doesn’t give a woman any children at all, even while she is leaving it all up to Him. He knows what he’s doing, and I spend very little time worrying about the fertility of others. Whether you had your tubes tied for financial reasons, or had a hysterectomy due to health problems, or have infertility issues, or have a dozen kids, all of these things are pretty far from my mind unless you bring them up.
I’m not “trying” to have children. I’m simply sleeping with my husband (like a good Christian should) and letting the chips fall where they may. I’m often asked how many more I “want”. The truth is, I don’t want any more! I only want what I have, without attempting to look into the future to decide what will be best for me. I am content with five. I was content with four. I will strive to be content with any other number the Lord chooses for me. My contentedness is rooted in Christ, not in motherhood or in any of the other circumstances He brings about for me.
More kids does not equal more holiness. If the Lord closes my womb today and never opens it again, I will not consider it to be less of a blessing than if he gives me half a dozen more. He knows what He is doing. I am His vessel, and if he chooses to bring life into this world through me, I don’t believe that it is my place to say no. Nor do I believe that it is my place to wish for more than I have. I often say that every child is a complete blessing, and it is true. (This post from Shannon at HSBA turned up in my feed this morning, and I heartily agree!) I’m thrilled that I’ve got so many blessings, numerically, but they don’t prove my holiness. Your small family (or your childless one) doesn’t prove your unholiness!
I am not “judging” those who disagree with me. I am a Christian. I apply what I know of Christ to my life as faithfully as I can. I assume that all other Christians are doing so, as well, whether we reach the same conclusions or not. I do urge Christians to look at God’s word and see what He has to say that contradicts our modern world’s view of the purpose and structure of the family. I don’t believe that I am wrong in believing that the contraceptive culture is wholly unBiblical, but I do believe that many Christians are unaware of it and have no sin in their hearts when they unthinkingly go along with it. (James 4:17)
Further, there are others who have put a great deal of thought into it, and have still concluded differently. If God doesn’t impress upon other Christian men and women the same view of the family that I have, then I trust that they come to that disagreement honestly. I make no pretense of knowing their hearts.
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
I have several more posts on the topic of faith and fertility, but it is a touchy subject that threatens to damage the cause of Christ if done unlovingly. I wanted to make sure that we’re all on the same page concerning holiness, lifestyles, and children before I wade into even more turbulent waters than I’ve been in before.