Enjoying Your Blessings

Posted By on April 26, 2010

Psalm 127:3-5:

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

My husband and I have been blessed with the gift of many children. We decided long ago to leave childbearing completely in the Lord’s hands–no birth control, no sterilization, and no Natural Family Planning. We have been delighted to receive a goodly heritage from God, but sometimes we’ve stopped and asked ourselves, “What about promotion? Does God want us to try to conceive?” And, let me take it one step further…does He want us to use interventive methods to cause us to conceive?

This is a question that the child-welcoming family has to consider, because there may come a time when the babies don’t just “automatically” come. You may find yourself frustrated when you don’t conceive within your “normal” time frame and wonder if something’s gone wrong or if the Lord has decided not to bless you.However, this is where the rubber meets the road. If you believe the Lord controls when you conceive, then you have to believe the converse: the Lord controls when you don’t conceive. In fact, I would suggest that for the child-rich mother, having lots of babies is not nearly so difficult as going through a period of time when the babies aren’t coming at all. I believe the Lord expects us to keep our bodies in working order, but we must be careful that we are not trying to usurp the Lord’s authority. What are our motives? Remember, the Lord’s plans are not always (dare I say, rarely) immediately evident to us. So, we really must evaluate all interventive methods with much prayer and diligent introspection of our hearts. Throughout Scripture, we see examples of God closing the womb and opening the womb. I believe it is important to thank God for both of those seasons and rest in His sovereignty.

But there’s another issue that will more than likely rear its ugly head at some point during our childbearing years–something I call “The Conception Competition.” Even something as pure and good as having many children can turn sour in our sinful human hands. We all know what this “Race to Conceive” looks like and feels like. We want to keep up with that Other family.  We don’t want another family to “beat us” We find ourselves thinking, “Whatever will I do if ______ (name of another  mama) gets pregnant before I do?” Jealousy is never far from the surface.

It is perfectly natural for a woman to desire children, but when bearing children becomes our sole focus, the essence of truly welcoming children is lost. The verse reads, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (emphasis mine). We are not all going to have the same number of arrows . The Bible clearly warns us against comparing ourselves amongst ourselves (2 Cor 10:12). This only leads to jealousy and sinful behaviors. If we are totally trusting the Lord with our family size, then we must be content with our family size at any given point in time.

We cannot spend our time being jealous of others or feeling as though we are less-than-blessed because we “only” have X-number of children. Instead, we should wholeheartedly enjoy our particular blessings. God does not “guarantee” our fertility, and each new baby is a reason to rejoice rather than a reason to gloat.

Having babies is not a status symbol. Children are not “points” we  “collect;” they are blessings we receive from the Lord. We must appreciate each and every one for the individuality of their particular blessing. Showing off will only taint our testimony.

Lastly, let your babies be babies. Enjoy every second you have with each of your little blessings. Should the Lord bless again, wonderful! Should He not, you have not spent so much time focusing on a future baby that you have neglected the babies you do have.

It all comes down to trust. Do you trust the Lord to be the author of your family? That is the essence of being child-rich. So, let’s enjoy our blessings and rejoice with our sisters when they receive blessings from the Lord’s hand as well.

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About The Author

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 5 living children with one on the way, and a precious little girl named Emily who left her arms at 7 months to be held for eternity in the Lord's. You can find Amy blogging about the joy and grief of raising these wonderful little arrows at Raising Arrows.

Comments

20 Responses to “Enjoying Your Blessings”

  1. mary dawson says:

    I am the mother of one daughter and because of health reasons was unable to have any more children. I never let my desire to have more children cast a shadow over my relationship with her, but I did mourn privately my inability to have more children.

    However, the Lord has opened opportunities for me to minister to other children, either through church ministries, as a foster parent and as a helper to families where there has been only one parent. I realize that if I had more children of my own, I would not have been as available to minister to these other children and their families.

    My daughter is now grown and she has only one daughter. I do not know if the Lord has more children planned for her or not; but I hope that I will be able to share with her the contentment that I have found in my circumstances.

  2. Mrs. Laura says:

    What a wonderful post. I just blogged about babies and waiting to be blessed yesterday.

    It’s been almost 6 years but I’m ok with that. I trust in the Lord.

  3. This is good, Amy…thank you. I would add something to your beginning thoughts that I do feel strongly about. My husband and I also leave our family size completely up to the Lord without intervention one way or another. However, there was a time when I went a longer than “normal” period of time without conceiving. During that time, I kept wondering and praying (Ok, begging…) God to give us more. That period of time culminated in a miscarriage which eventually led me to find out that there was a medical reason why I was not conceiving. I was able to receive help for that medical problem and have had two healthy babies since. Had the problem not been addressed, it would have progressed and affected my body in lots of ways. It wasn’t a sign that God was closing the womb,; instead, because I was not on birth control, he was able to use my inability to conceive to show me that I had an underlying problem going on.

    It is my belief that, while we should not go to “extraordinary” means to become pregnant, we should not take an extended lapse in fertility in an otherwise fertile body as automatically being God’s will. Sometimes it can serve as a symptom and a sign that there is a medical issue that we need to have taken care of.

    When it comes to trying in a natural way to become pregnant (taking advantage of “fertile” days :), I tend to think that the practice is acting out God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”!! 🙂 We know that God is not indifferent on the subject–he desires to “fill our quivers” and have us populate the earth with children that we can raise for his glory. I would consider NATURALLY trying to get pregnant to be an act of going after God’s blessings and don’t think it to be the equal opposite of birth control.

    Congratulations on your new baby–we have one due any day as well. Have a wonderful day!

    Sarah

  4. ladyscott says:

    There was an article in the local paper about quiverfull families and they said that being quiverfull meant that you have as many babies as you possibly can. I’ve heard others say that quiverfull families are dominionists so they have as many babies as possible to overrun the world with potential Christians.

    I have always seen being quiverfull (if you choose to use that label) as simply allowing the Lord to choose your family size whether it’s none or 20. You don’t actively pursue conception and you don’t actively pursue birth control of any form…though I daresay we all use some form of birth control, be it extended breast feeding or times of abstinence, especially post-partum (Duggars)…but those times are at least in rhythm with the nature God created.

  5. Renee Stam says:

    Oh I love this post!

    We are letting God choose the size of our family how big or small it might be! My husband and I have to admit that we desire a big family, he is from a family of 12 and loved it, and I had only 1 brother and 1 sister and longed for more sibling to play with!!! So we have let God know our desire in prayer and let Him take charge of the rest.

    But are we taking our fertility in our own hand, we try not to. We have been bless with 2 daughters 18 months apart then one little blessing when to meet the Lord after 10 weeks of being inside of me and I’m now currently expecting baby #3 in a few short weeks.

    Were all of these pregnancies planned, no but wanted, yes!!!! We are so thankful for each of them.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us!
    Blessing

  6. Thank you for writing on this topic. My husband and I are in the process of deciding “how far” we’re willing to go to open my womb. Obviously IVF is out of the question, but the “line” between IVF for fertility and “just” prayer for fertility is fuzzy. What about hormone supplements? What if medication is needed to ovulate at all? What if, as in my case, the thryoid is out of wack and medication is needed to regulate it? Etc. All that to say, it’s good to hear someone speaking about this issue as we feel like we’re floating a bit in this area!

  7. Thank you, ladies, for all these thoughtful and heartfelt responses to Amy’s article. This is just the kind of discussion I hope to see more of on LAF. 🙂 Sarah, you are so right about investigating health issues when something doesn’t seem right. I had thyroid trouble a few years back and was able to find a cure through diet and careful supplementation. It is a good idea to be proactive about maternal health. One reason we post so many pieces about hormonal birth control is that women are not being fully informed about the risks, side effects, and long-term health impact (not to mention the abortifacient nature of the pill). I highly recommend Shonda Parker’s books on women’s health–pregnant or not. Keep up the good discussion!

  8. ladyscott says:

    Just as an aside, I would love to see future posts about being pregnant time and time again. I’ve visited many sites and blogs that support leaving the family size in God’s hands and having large families but I’ve found that they address actual pregnancy very little or if they do it is when they have older children to help care for the house. How about being pregnant with #3, 4 or 5 when the others are just infants, toddlers or young preschoolers themselves? Just a suggestion of another area where we ladies can help and encourage each other under the beautiful umbrella of the Word of God.

  9. Thanks for that suggestion, ladyscott! I will put that into the brain hopper for future articles. 🙂

  10. Renee Stam says:

    @ Laddyscott I’m an mother of soon to be 3 little one under 3 and have many readers in the same season of life and It’s amazing the support to we give each other!!!

    Indeed we are busy, mostly at home posting while nursing one little one is nursing or when toddlers are sleeping. Our home sometimes feels like a tornado just went trough but we are actively trying to make order in this beautiful Chaos!!!!

    Our daily life revolved around diapers, nursing or feeding, cleaning, training, discipline, teaching and of let’s not forget course our wonderful husband are at work for many hours to provide for us!!!! They are our protectors, leaders and providers, we love them deeply and are trying everyday to make then first (after God) in our life despite our sleep deprived schedule!!!

    We laugh lots, love deeply and are emotional (did I mention sleep deprivation, yes we cry sometimes for no reason and laugh at the same time) God is teaching us patience, grace, true love, how to serve and serve again, to lean on Him to get our tank fill up, and we have to come to Him often because our thank does empty sometimes very fast!

    Ok I think this comment is long enough 🙂

    Blessing

  11. Anna says:

    As far as nutritional support for fertility, I would recomend the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. Her work is based on Weston A Price’s work and book “Nutritional Degeneration”.
    I can’t forget an article on the website westonaprice.org I read years ago about a zoo that was giving I believe an ape or some sort of primate that was rare a vegetarian diet. They were trying to breed it and were having absolutely no results. They introduced foods from animal sources and they were able to breed. God made certain foods to have the nessecary nutrient for our fertility.

    Price studied 13 diferent cultures around the world in the 1930’s that had astounding health, and each one had a different food concidered nessecary for fertility and developement that was nearly sacred….

    Each food was 1) an animal food and 2) very high in _fat_ soluable vitamins A and D and what is now called K2 (He named it the X- factor…not anything like K1 which he only found in raw, unpasturized animal products like raw eggs, raw cream, fermented meats, etc.).

    Anna

  12. lady_bostock says:

    Excellent article! It’s nice to see a reminder for folks to treasure the blessings they’ve already got instead of agonizing over blessings they haven’t been given – and for that matter, aren’t guaranteed. When more babies don’t come it doesn’t mean that God isn’t blessing you – if you have even one child, He already has!

    This is a lesson that has really been brought home to me over the years. Our seventh anniversary is coming up in a few months, and we have two children, a boy who’s almost 6 and a girl who’s 4. We decided not to take any steps to prevent pregnancy as newlyweds, and it wasn’t long before our family grew from 2 to 3, and then 3 to 4. But along the way we’ve had a lot of problems. 4 of the 6 babies I’ve ever carried are in heaven, and even though we’ve got two kids, those pregnancies had problems. The most gut-wrenching loss, though, was the stillborn daughter we had in 2008. For a long time, all I could think about was losing her and asking why we weren’t being blessed when others were. But then, God reminded me that He’s already given us two beautiful, healthy little children, and He’s watching over the others for us too. We’ve *been* blessed. We *are* blessed. I decided that, instead of focusing on our loss and on the baby we no longer have and on the fact that our family isn’t exactly the way we planned, I would focus on what we already have and simply trust that our family is in the hands of the Father no matter what. If we never have another, we’re already rich beyond measure.

    I also wanted to mention something about birth control. When we first got married we both felt that birth control was “playing God” and that we wanted no part in it. But things changed. When our second was born, I had an emergency c-section. The doctor told me that it would be a very good idea to wait at least a year before having another baby, so that I’d have time to heal fully. To do this I needed some form of birth control – my cycle returned within 6 weeks of birth, and I am very, very fertile. We found a non-hormonal method that wouldn’t mess with my chemistry or prevent implantation, and have been using it as needed since. There are times when it’s necessary for one’s health to take steps to prevent pregnancy. I just wanted to throw that out there, a perspective from the other side of things. : )

  13. ladyscott says:

    @ lady_bostock: I’ve had 3 miscarriages…one of which nearly took my life, too. As difficult as I was I am of the firm opinion that EVERY pregnancy whether it results in a loss or a baby for us to mother IS a blessing. Even a baby that is lost soon after conception is a baby added to the Kingdom of Heaven. God knew that baby and welcomed that baby and isn’t that just something to rejoice about!? As hard as the losses are, and I can’t even begin to imagine the grief of having a stillborn or a child die, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Even my tears and grief over the losses of my little ones I couldn’t help but smile that they are with Jesus! God used little ol’ me as a vessel to create and carry, even for a short time one of His miracles and add to His Kingdom.

  14. Heather N. says:

    This article was so good for me. I just had a miscarriage last week after going through a time when the babies weren’t coming for me! This article really was a blessing to me. Thank you so much!

  15. Deanna Rabe says:

    Amy

    I so appreciated your article. I thought it was honest and brought the whole discussion back to truly trusting the Lord.

    Thanks so much!

  16. rejoicealways says:

    So true. Ever since God showed us the way out of birth control and into His control, we realized the same is true for if he chooses to close His womb. I can understand it is difficult for some but nevertheless we still have to submit to Him. We cannot go through our days being jealous of another family because they have more or less kids than us. Its called covetousness and it is a sin. Thank God for your blessings and look for ways you can still minister to your kids as well as help out other families or others in your community.

  17. quiltermama says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I have two wonderful daughters- ages 14 and almost 12. After our second child, we had a tubal ligation. Oh! The nights I cried myself to sleep and begged the Lord to heal me! I cannot tell you the pain and anguish I have felt from that bad decision when I was really too young to make that kind of decision. My husband and I have prayed about it- asked forgiveness for not trusting the Lord, and for more children. I have recently remarked to my husband that the hardest thing over the years was knowing that the Lord forgives, but doesn’t always set us back to right when we have made decisions against Him. We just have to live with the consequences of our action, while still knowing that He has forgiven us. Sadly, I mourned over the lost fertility, and was likely not as thankful for the children I have when they were little. We are usually surrounded by women with new babies- my daughters are mother’s helpers once per week, so I do at least get to love on little ones. Of course I love my “little ones” who aren’t really little any more….they still need me- and just because they get older doesn’t mean they don’t- it’s a different kind of need- maybe they need me even more than when they were very little! We don’t stop asking the Lord, but He has softened my heart towards hearing “no.” I know He knows what’s best for us. I can not know for sure, but He does- maybe I would have had the two I have and that’s it no matter what I decided to do…

    Great post. 🙂

  18. pedsrn22 says:

    While I generally agree with the majority of your articles, I would not have my two precious twin boys if not for IVF. Sometimes infertility is due to a medical condition-cancer, endometriosis, hormonal imbalance, previous tubal pregnancy resulting in irreversable damage to the fallopian tube(s). Please be careful to understand that some couples must persue medical treatment in order to achieve pregnancy, just like other people must persue medical treatment for a heart condition, diabetes, kidney failure etc. Combining prayer with medical treatment might be the best option for some, it was for us. People who have cancer pray for the Lord to take away their disease, but also persue treatment at the same time. We persued conservative IVF treatment with a physician who would only treat married couples. We have our two sweet baby boys and three more frozen embryos which we intend to use in the near future. That was part of the decision process for my husband and I-to give any life that is created through this process a chance and that is what we intend to do. The Lord may have still said “no” after all that we went through, which would have been difficult, but we felt we would have a harder time dealing with not even having tried this at all and looking back 20yrs from now wondering “what if…”
    My husband and I feel like the Lord had us go through this so we can provide encouragement to others who are in the same situation. He has already put so many people in both of our paths that are in the same situation. We are greatful for the opportunity and greatful for our 2(+3) little blessings:)

  19. faithandhope says:

    I am a woman who has been unable to conceive, and I think this post is wonderful. I have been angry, jealous, ashamed, hopeful and hopeless…all usually on the same day regarding desiring children. 😉
    As much as I pray for a child, I do realize that it’s His will, not mine, and no matter how much I try and push the subject, it will always be on His timetable. Saying that though, I did try a fertility clinic to no avail. They were wanting to move too fast into territory my husband and I considered unethical and were unwilling to take things slowly. We haven’t been back. We’re trying to fix some medical issues through diet and such and prayer is always at the top of our list!
    The one issue that keeps coming up for me is that ‘children are a blessing of the Lord’…does that mean I’m unfavored in His eyes? Am I less blessed than those with children running around their legs and being held in their arms? Being a woman, we are designed to want children, but what if that wanting never bears the fruit of chubby baby cheeks who look like the perfect mix between you and your husband? All I can do is pray and have faith that one day the Lord may say ‘yes’ to my longings.
    Please remember to pray for those who, though desperately wanting, are unable to have children and are on the other side of where you may be. It hurts more than you’ll ever know.

  20. redkatiedid1971 says:

    as a Christ-centered preacher’s wife, I thank you for rememering those of us who have NOT been blessed w/ children. It is painful, the most painful path that a woman can experience.

    That being said, I have come to understand, thru the Holy Spirit’s gentle guidence, (in my humanness, sometimes He has to be not-so-gentle!) that not all women could handle infertility. Not all couple’s could experience this and still have thier faith in Jesus in tact and still be married almost 17 yrs later!! Not all women could love a child that another women gave birth to. I have 11 children in my life that I can pray for daily, but for, and spoil!!