Where do they get this stuff?

Posted By on June 12, 2010

"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”" (Matthew 11:30)

This morning, I woke up to find the following comment on my Facebook wall. A pastor’s wife was writing in response to a video I posted yesterday describing how “the pill” is an abortifacient. If her comment hadn’t been so troubling it would have been hysterically funny. She apparently doesn’t know the hundreds of large, homeschooling families I know. What do you think?

“I have no idea how anyone can care for the needs of so many children. Well, yes, I do: the kids are stacked in bunks, the garage is made into a bedroom (more bunks), the kitchen table is a door…”

I’m assuming she meant that a door is used for a kitchen table. Sounds very shabby chic! And since when are bunk beds tragic? I’d love to get rid of the one in my sons room, but he loves it!

“…and the big kids become babysitters for the many babies, none of whom are breastfed for more than a few months between Mom’s pregnancies… or else she’s tandem nursing.”

The older children loved helping with the little ones – in fact, they often accused each other of “hogging” the babies! And the little ones learn to pitch in too! Nobody in a large family can afford to be lazy or self-centered (though some certainly try!). Children are taught early that being part of a family means that we all live, love, learn, cry, laugh, sacrifice, and work hard together!

And for the record, this mama-of-many nursed all her children for a minimum of 18 months – and cherished the opportunity. My last baby was nursed until he was nearly three years old! Clearly, the aforementioned commenter hasn’t been around healthy, active large families.

“The household is chaos; nobody is given really fine instruction in musical instruments, unless the Walmart plastic guitar counts; the finances run in the red, and regular dental care is nonexistent.”

I grew up in a small family and never even learned to play the piano. Most of the kids I knew who played an instrument hated it, but their parents forced them to take lessons.

On the other hand, large homeschooling families are some of the most musical people I know! Several families I know very well play together as a family. At my daughter’s recent wedding, the string quartet, as well as most of the choir, consisted of large family members. I’m sorry this commenter didn’t do a little more research before drawing her conclusions.

“Mom surrounds herself with pillows at night in hopes that Ol’ Randy can’t find her, but he does, anyway. Next morning, she prays in angst to be made willing to bear another mouth to feed. Her wardrobe is all maternity clothes, because her poor belly never goes down. Birthday and Christmas money is earmarked for another bathroom. She is 35, and looks 50. Her husband drives a wreck and longs for windfalls of cash that, when they come, are instantly gone. Sound familiar, gentle ladies?”

I’m always amazed by the way Satan can use the normal trials and temptations of life and turn them into nightmare scenarios in our minds. Of course, that is the way fear works, isn’t it? Instead of seeing the beauty in a child of God humbly praying that God would give her an obedient heart, it is turned into a depressing scene of slavish abuse.

By portraying a “fruitful” wife as a weary, miserable wretch who is forced to have intimacy with her husband and sentenced to wear tattered maternity clothes all her days, my dear commenter creates a false image of despair.

The problem is, those of us who live this life know it’s a lie. Those who don’t, may be easily deceived by ridiculous scenarios! Fear draws its breath from the unknown. We are a people who, without faith, fear the unknown. But truth dispels the lie – and faith dispels the fear (Heb. 11:1).

“God gives us bodies that will reproduce automatically, and that was fine in a young, underpopulated Earth. Now, however, the planet groans with its burden of humans, and this results in massive crime rates, widespread poverty, and dense pollution. We need to be responsible in our family planning; the ability to reason is one thing that separates us from the animals.”

Have you looked into the demographic data around the planet? European nations are paying people to have children. Japan is giving people time off to “invest” in their families. The only significant segment of the global population that is still growing is the Muslim one. Check out this post Just Another Mouth to Feed.

Still, you are right, if we do not train up our children in the way they should go, we will raise heathens who could wreak their own personal havoc (the same is true for small families). And that is the point. Responsibility means we are accountable or answerable for something. Each of us is accountable to God for what He gives us. He has given me ten children to train up for His glory (I gave birth to only six of them, but I will say, childbirth is the easy part!).

And I take that responsibility seriously; but, it doesn’t mean I am going to “tell God” what I can handle. He gives me the strength and the grace to handle whatever He gives me each year – each day. He supplies all my needs; not all my wants, but all my needs. This doesn’t mean life is easy. There are difficult days. There are days when I struggle with selfishness, exhaustion, and fear. For I am weak. But God’s grace is sufficient for me. His Word says:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Five of my children are now adults (three are out of the house – one engaged and two married) and I can say with assurance that God keeps His Word.

“What I’m hearing here is sentimentality, not godly obedience. Some of you advocate just letting nature take its course. You take verses out of context to justify this, but it won’t wash, folks. God never intended for us to abuse the very great gift of reproduction. “

What I am hearing are man’s ways glorified. What I am hearing is fear and lack of knowledge. Perhaps you’ve never seen a godly, large family living out their convictions with faith and joy. I’m sorry for that. But I pray you will stay a while and learn a bit more about the families you have so badly misrepresented. Grace and peace to you and to those who have believed the same stereotypes.

[Incidentally, “Quiverfull does not necessarily equal “large family.” Read “Jesus-full” HERE]

About The Author

Stacy is the wife of Pastor James McDonald of Providence Church and Family Reformation Ministries. She is the mother of ten precious blessings, and the grandma of 3 1/2 treasured cuddle bugs, so far! Surely, she is and does other things, but these are the most significant to her. Stacy is also a conference speaker, the author of Raising Maidens of Virtue, and co-author of the popular book, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.


21 Responses to “Where do they get this stuff?”

  1. Renee Stam says:

    If you have 1 little baby or a house full of them you could be the wife that this commenter describe. Motherhood is not always roses and chocolate, yes it’s a real blessing and a joy and involve lots of self sacrifice.

    How we decide to play it out is all about the state of our heart, if bitterness is in our heart it will show on the outside and people will see what sin will make us show. But if we are looking to get our strength from the Lord then what would be pouring out would be more Christ like.

    So either large or small, if sin in the center of the family it will show, but if Christ is the center it will shine!!!!

    Let us remember to Shine, and be a light into the world 🙂

  2. Emily W. says:

    This is a great rebuttal to all the complaints I hear about large families! A close friend just had baby seven. They live in a 1400 sq.ft. house, and it’s one of the happiest homes I know!

    You’re right on this too: it doesn’t matter if a family is small or large, parents must be faithful to the Lord in their parenting. Most families with two or fewer children seem to be lost in a game of keeping score. I think the more children you have the harder it becomes to keep up with the game and the more you see your need for Christ–His grace, mercy, strength, and love.

  3. LadyM says:

    Boy, she has not met any of the large families that attend my church! We have several families with 8 and one who was blessed with 11.

    We are small in comparison – 3 here, 1 on the way and 3 tiny blessings in heaven. And yet, none of our children (or theirs) could be thought to be neglected, deprived, etc. My older 2 were so thrilled when they found out we were pregnant with their now 20 month old brother. There was actual bickering over who would get to change his poopy diaper, lol! Then, my oldest decided she needed a baby sister to dress up. Unbeknownst to us, she started praying for her sister to come late last year. We found out in January that we were pregnant and found out, when we told the children in late February, that she had been praying for this. And – we found out baby is a girl a couple of weeks ago, lol! No one was surprised by that! Big sister will be almost 12 when this baby arrives. And she is very excited to welcome another little one into our house.

    Yes, our children will have to share a bedroom and yes, a bunkbed makes that more convenient (more room for Playmobil & Lego building on the floor!). But, there were 3 of us when I was growing up and my sister & I shared a room. Why is it such a big deal to people? Deception, I guess – belief in the lies that make them feel better. I feel sad for people like this.

  4. cathytress says:

    God gave us bodies that reproduce automatically? Really?? I thought GOD was the author and giver of life, the one who opens and closes the womb. Not even a sparrow falls from the sky without his knowledge, yet our bodies make babies automatically? I wonder if this Pastor’s wife has ever met an infertile couple, or someone (like myself) with several years between children though no birth control was ever used. People are not machines, nothing that happens to us is automatic!

  5. Who opens and closes the womb? Who miraculously forms each child?

    “For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” (Genesis 20:18, ESV)

    When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. (Gen 29:31)

    Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. (Gen 30:22)

    “Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition [a child] that you have made to him.” (1 Samuel 1:17)

    “Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:2, ESV)

    “Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son…for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”” (Judges 13:7, ESV)

    “And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.” (Deuteronomy 28:11, ESV)

    He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.” (Deuteronomy 7:13, ESV)

    “But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.” (1 Samuel 1:5, ESV)

    Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15, ESV)

    “You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children…” (Psalm 17:14, ESV)

    “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3, ESV)

    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, ESV)

    “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ESV)

    “Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 44:2, ESV)

    “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…” (Isaiah 44:24, ESV)

    “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God.” (Isaiah 66:9, ESV)

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)

  6. millie says:

    The only problem I have with large families is that I a wee bit envious. I wanted 12 children. I got married and spent the first 10 years trying. When I found I couldn’t have children I was devastated. Then the doctors said I needed a hysterectomy. A total one. I spent the next 10 years mad at God. I finally got myself together and am now happy with my life. So if any of you decide that you have too many children, how about donating a few. Just kidding.

  7. Renee Stam says:

    Mrs McDonald,

    to your reply I say Amen, Amen and again Amen!

    God is in control over our womb, His plans are perfect.

    Thanks for all the scriptures 🙂

  8. rejoicealways says:

    Psalm 37:25-26
    I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
    They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

  9. Luthor Rex says:

    The criticisms of high fertility miss the point. Our temperament largely determines our values and how we vote, and it is our biology which largely determines our temperament. Which means that we, in part, inherit our preference for being liberal of conservative.

    Guess who is making the most babies right now? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the crowd who likes abortions.

    As this liberal demographer bemoans, because the conservative are making more babies than the liberals, we could very well be headed for the return of patriarchy:


  10. kerimae says:

    This makes me so sad. Do you mean that if I were to visit this woman’s church, she would greet me with a smile and a hand but in her heart she would be thinking these things about me? I have to wonder, too: does her pastor husband know about this? Does he feel the same way? It sounds so unbelievable that I truly have to wonder if this was really written by a pastor’s wife, or by a woman who is just calling herself one to make more of a wave. How so very sad.

    My household is actually well ordered, all my children play (real) violins and (a real) piano, we owe nothing but mortgage & a school loan (and are selling our home to become completely debt free, Lord willing), our children have no cavities & are each other’s best friends, we drive quality paid for cars, and I love love love spending private time with my husband.

    I am so sorry for this woman’s bitterness. She surely needs our compassion and prayer.

  11. I was not going to comment on this because there are already several good comments. But then I read Kerimae’s comment and had to let her (and everyone else) know that the comment most definitely could have come from a pastor’s wife.
    My dh and I attended the same church for more than 20 years. I was saved there, we were married there, our children were all born while we attended there. When we began to homeschool, our eyes were opened to a whole different side of Christianity–one that we were not familiar with at all, but one that made a lot more sense to us than what we were being taught at our church. We stayed for several years while our hearts were being changed, but one of the things that ultimately lead to our leaving was our pastor and his wife’s stance on children. (BTW-this was not the pastor who married us, they took over the pulpit when our former pastor retired) They had a stand much like this Facebook commentor’s. That children are a blessing, but only when they wanted them, when they could afford them, and when the children wouldn’t be an interference to their lives.
    It saddened us greatly to learn that this pastor and his wife (who are a fairly young couple in their mid-thirties) counseled young couples in pre-marital counseling, that they should use birth-control until they are financially ready.
    My dh spoke with the pastor and asked why he was counseling this way. Why not suggest that if the couple is not financially ready for a family that they wait to marry. The pastor told him that it was unrealistic to expect young couples to wait to marry just because they are not financially ready for children and that today’s young women want careers before having children.
    I guess my point here is that depending on what church you’re attending, the pastor (and his wife) may not be preaching the truth and sadder still, may not even know the truth.
    I should also note that my dh and I, without the aid of birth control, had two children within the first five years of marriage, then we had a ten year gap and had three more in three years. It’s been 6 1/2 years now and we haven’t had any more. Not every couple that choses to not use birth control will end up with 7, 10, or 15 children.

  12. Joy says:

    My husband and I are newly weds who do not use birth control and desire for the Lord to plan our children, we are delighted to be expecting our first baby next month and are praying for more children! My husband comes from a large family and is one of the most loving families that I know. Our baby has many aunts and uncles awaiting her arrival and three cousins also. I love my maternity clothes and will be sad when I will be trading them for my normal clothes. We may not have much money to live a normal suburban life because I stay at home and because we have a child (and pray for many more) but it is delightful to live simply and frugally. Most of the large families I know are not wealthy but are happy.

  13. lady_bostock says:

    Wow, what an unpleasant attitude she displayed. I love how she states that she *does* know how large families run before proceeding to run them down so terribly. How does she know? She doesn’t! She is merely assuming. And her perspective sounds so materialistic. Heaven forbid kids have to share a room or – *gasp*! – sleep in bunk beds! Perish the thought! And heaven help the woman who’s had a lot of kids and doesn’t have the figure of a teenager any more.

    Everything she said makes me think she secretly despises motherhood. She didn’t have one good thing to say about the father, the mother, the children, nothing. Why? Children are a blessing! And motherhood isn’t meant to be a walk in the park – if it is, it’s because you’re doing it wrong.

    I’ve carried 3 babies now, though we have two kids, and my figure isn’t what it once was – my belly hasn’t gone down completely and probably never will now, no matter how many crunches I do. Our kids share a room, and they have bunk beds. Yes, bunk beds! Our clothes aren’t brand-new….some of them are actually a little worn. We share a house with my in-laws because we can’t afford our own. We homeschool. Our home is sometimes messy and chaotic, and our children don’t always get along perfectly. And they don’t own any musical instruments besides a cheap plastic recorder from the Dollarama. But despite what she would likely call a bunch of disaster and misery, our life is great. We are happy. We love one another – we are everything to each other. We’re all we’ve got, and it’s enough. It IS enough. She needs to lift her eyes up and look past the material and the physical, into the eyes of people in big – and maybe even not so big – families, and see what’s really going on. Underneath the noise and the chaos there is love and contentment.

  14. Cappuccinosmom says:

    Where do they get this stuff? I will tell you…

    They pick threads from here and there–blogs, denigrating websites, books, gossip, and personal experience–then they make assumptions and draw conclusions, and weave a stereotype that has very little basis in reality.
    I have seen it happen again and again and it is so incredibly frustrating.

    Are there some “bad” QF families? I’m sure. Being QF doesn’t make us immune from the tendency to sin, and for some it is part of a legalistic worldview.

    However, to take those individuals, and conflate their failures with the assumption that all QF families are the same shows a serious lack of willingness to *think* and a very unChristian tendency to assume the worst of complete strangers.

    To be honest the comments from that pastor’s wife sound more like what one would find on a non-Christian gossip blog about the Duggar’s than what one would expect from a woman who is part of the leadership system of a Christian church.

  15. i just can’t leave the bunk bed thing alone. i grew up in a small family. i have one brother, 13 years older than me. my parents were unable to have more children and adopted me. my brother moved out when i was 5. i didn’t have an unhappy childhood, but more than anything, i wished for a brother or sister my own age. one of the biggest (although kind of silly) reasons for this was because i so desperately wanted bunk beds! of course, my parents didn’t go for this, since there was no real need for them. but you can be sure, MY kids sleep in bunk beds! actually, the bunk beds my husband’s father built for him and his brothers when they were young. 😉 my daughter is actually just about to turn 5 and knows that that is the ‘magic age’ when she’ll finally be old enough (based on our earlier decision) to stack the beds again and this time SHE gets to be on top!

  16. fedup says:

    I think it’s funny that hundreds of thousands of people will quote something from a book, that supposedly came from Jesus that came from his apostles, who, by the way are nothing more than mistake- making humans,,if they existed. ? You have no idea if this actually happened, you have no idea if anyof it is true, and if there is a God, what makes your closed minded, lecture-giving, baby-making, crazy self so sure that YOUR religion is the correct one. That someone else’s God, Allah, Buddha, etc. is a fantasy, but yours is pure fact? Give me a break. Here’s a quote for you,, “If only closed minds had closed mouths.” Try to think on your own, and be a good person. Try that religion.

  17. Fedup, I would encourage you to investigate the claims of Christianity a little more carefully before leaping to such anti-historical conclusions as these. How do you know yours is not the closed mind? By what standard do you judge what is “closed” and what is “open?” If all religions have an equal claim to truth, then all are valid, even if they disagree on fundamental issues…which is patently absurd on its face. I would like to recommend that you listen to (or read or watch) the Bahnsen Stein debate at http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2006/12/05/greg-bahnsen-vs-gordon-stein-the-great-debate/. Open your mind and enjoy! 🙂

  18. fedup says:

    Why am I “anti-historical” because I think for myself? If history taught us anything, it is that there is no proof whatsoever of what you preach to people. Closed minded, to me, is when someone assumes you are going “against God” for not wanting to procreate. It is when someone points fingers at others, and quotes from a book to suit their needs. I do believe there is a higher power, and that we are all equal. As far as the fundamental issues, that is where I have a big problem with this site. It is MY opinion that you all use someone else’s words ( who that someone is we still don’t really know ) to act high and mighty, as if you’ve got some “seat by the thrown” and the rest of us are heathens. I respectfully decline to watch or listen to yet someone else’s rendition of “life and how to live it.” I’m free because I am able to think so. I am a good person, therefore, do not feel it necessary to follow step-by-step instructions. I also went to Catholic grade school and high school, because my parents made me, so I know all about “Christianity.” Thanks.

  19. I’m really sorry to see this response, as it demonstrates an unwillingness to consider the viewpoints and beliefs of others in a calm, rational way. Going to Catholic school hardly qualifies one to “know all about Christianity.” You might know about a particular strain of religious belief, but that’s hardly an examination of Chrisitanity in its full historial context. The Bahnsen-Stein Debate is not “someone else’s definition of ‘life and how to live it.'” It is actually a fundamental examination of where the concepts of “good” and “evil” come from, which is a vital question. Hilter thought he was “good,” so I’d wager it’s important to know where our definitions come from and how we know which ones are right (is there a “right?”). These are issues it behooves all of us to study as humans. Who defines the terms? Why? Some careful reading will show clearly that we can’t just presume these ideas and concepts appear out of nowhere. You are welcome here, and you’d be welcome around our dinner tables. There is no high and mighty superiority going on here, I assure you. This comes from a fellow human being who is also a searcher and who has made mistakes over a lifetime of seeking what is good and true. I hope you’ll stick around and keep reading…and perhaps revisit that debate link for some thought-provoking reading/listening. 🙂

  20. fedup says:

    No, Hitler thought he was right, not good. Might have something to do with why he killed himself. My problem, again, is not with people who are open to others’ views. It is the rhetoric that this site posts, in relationship to women, and the way we live. I don’t want to have babies, and that somehow means I am insulting my husband, shaming God, and making life harder, in general, for others’ future. I believe in birth control, so I must feel that children are not a gift, but an unwanted burden. THOSE things are what I am livid about. That so many people, especially women, would use words from a book to tell me I am not living right. THOSE are the “Christians” I am referring to. If YOU are not one of them, congratulations. Then I am not referring to you so I’m not sure why you continue to comment, with things that have nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

  21. preciousandpure says:

    Wow, the woman who said that should see how big families live. Of course there are exceptions, but big families are some of the happiest families out there. They are typically very close to Jesus, which would make anyone happy, and there is usually an abundance of love and no room for selfishness. When your family is big, that means there are more people who will be there for you when there are rough times and more people who you will know in Heaven. I am 17 right now, and I will strive to be content no matter where God has me, but I hope that it is in God’s will for me to marry and have a large family, because I know the love that will come from that and the blessings of so many children. I love little people and I just find it so hard to believe that someone would think that having many children is punishment. God handcrafts each child in the womb, so it’s not something that just “happens.” Jesus is there giving you the grace that you need to love each child and is helping you to provide. Lack of money is not a problem because in our eternal homes, there will be plenty of everything, so what happens in this life is only temporary. I pray that the woman will be changed by God and open her eyes to realize that children are gifts! God bless

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