Embracing God's Blessings

Posted by  | Monday, February 23, 2009  at 4:31 PM  
As we announced before, we are tackling the topic of "Family Planning" this week. We hope to inspire some good discussion and provide you with as much information as possible.

Ed and I have welcomed two sweet boys into our family so far. Samuel was born in August of 2006 and Joel followed 19 months later in March of 2008. When I told Ed we were covering the topic of Family Planning and wondered what I should say, we both sort of laughed to each other because we'd never really concretely discussed what "our plan" was. If you and your spouse haven't had this discussion, I highly encourage you to talk it over. Sometimes we assume we are on the same page as our spouse only to find out that we have very different ideas.

Even not having much of a plan when it comes to Family Planning is in fact having some sort of plan - I mean, you're either using some form of prevention or not! We started off the first 10 months of our marriage with me on the pill - five years later, I can't remember what I was on, sorry. After 10 months, I decided that I really didn't like taking the pill. I didn't like the way it made me feel, I didn't like taking hormone altering drugs, and I didn't like taking drugs long-term. So we started using condoms and used them consistently for one year. When we were coming up on our two year anniversary we decided we would stop using any form of prevention and see what happened. I got pregnant the very first time we didn't use a condom!

After Samuel was born, we used condoms for six months. I didn't get my period back during this time due to breastfeeding. Once Samuel was six months old, we stopped using condoms and my period also returned. I was pregnant three months later. We did not go back to using any kind of prevention after Joel was born. I just got my period back for the first time.

Ed and I had a great conversation about our ideas and we are both on the same page. Our approach to family planning is to not practice any form of prevention for this season of our life. We hope to welcome each child God gives us, one at a time. Now this is not to say that we have vowed to never prevent. But for the time being, we aren't. We've agreed that if we experience a major life change (job loss, major illness, Ed goes back to school, etc) we will talk it over more and decide what to do.

Our approach differs from another approach known as the Quiverfull Movement. Have you ever seen or heard of the Duggars, a family with a reality show on TLC called "18 and Counting"? They are part of the Quiverfull Movement, which basically forsakes all forms of prevention based on the belief that God intends children to be a blessing and we should embrace each blessing He has for us. You can read more about the Duggars here or the Quiverfull Movement here and here. My family's approach is different because we are not opposed to EVER using some sort of prevention. But the movement is interesting and worth reading about. I think one of the other girls will touch on John Piper's opinions of the Quiverfull Movement later this week. (BTW, if you follow the Quiverfull Movement and have found my description to be lacking, please let me know - I mean no disrespect).

So, have you any questions? I'd love to answer whatever you have on your mind. Thanks!

13 comments:

The Eckerts said...

Awesome topic this week. Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Mark'sMeg said...

We are pretty much where you guys are right now -- excited about any number of children God sees fit to give us in this season of life :) Children are such a blessing!

ChezDeshotels said...

What is anyone's view on an IUD

KC said...

No questions, just a funny thought. You said that you would welcome the blessings "one at a time." You might have to welcome them two at a time. Think of Krista! :)

Shannon Bradley said...

I read up on Piper's thoughts after seeing this post...I love how he does not "over spiritualize" everything, yet remains faithful to God's Word. Definitely a good read! I am looking forward to more on this!!

Christina said...

AJ - I'm working on finishing up my post today...I address hormonal birth control - including IUDs. In short, hormones work in ways some women are unaware of. Be sure you research exactly how the hormones in that method work. Here is the site for how Mirena (a popular IUD, but not the only one):

(copy and paste both lines)

http://www.mirena-us.com/
what_is_mirena/how_mirena_works.jsp

The second way it works is the one that concerns me and raises enough questions that I choose not to use hormonal birth control. Basically, it makes the lining of the uterus such that a fertilized egg would not be implanted and released with your period. Just something to consider...that in addition to the fact that I did not like how hormones made me feel!

marymstraits said...

First of all, this is an issue I've never dealt with personally since my husband is sterile, and we have never used any sort of birth control. BUT here is my quandary with the philosophy:

(1) On one hand, God is sovreign over all. No birth control is going to prevent God from creating life. I can think of a handful of people off the top of my head who got pregnant on the pill and using barrier methods. The idea of "control" when it comes to creating or preventing life is a fallacy to an extent.

(2) My issue with the philosophy is that I don't think it's a wise blanket philosophy for all Christians. Children are indeed a blessing from the hand of God! I'm a realist, though. Children also add additional financial and relational stress to a family. I do not think it is prudent to have children that you cannot afford--whether it be financial or the stress that it would add to an overstressed marriage.

I know two couples who are constantly complaining about money, being so exhausted and stressed all the time, not having family nearby, etc. And yet, they have chosen to have multiple children close in age. I just don't get that. They genuinely feel they are being "holy" by not using contraceptives and being open to whatever God gives them, but their lives seem like such a unholy disaster on many levels. But based on my #1, God could've given them that regardless . . .

I guess my bottom line is that I don't think it's a wise endeavor for every Christian couple from the very beginning of a marriage. I think, too, it's becoming more of an issue in our society b/c of the lady in California who has 14 children she can't afford. But that's a whole other can of worms. . .

Anyway, I know that my two points are very contradictory, but that's kind of where I am on the issue. I would love to hear more thoughts from others on the issue! Why did you choose this philosophy? Why did you not? What's the theology behind it, etc.?

Thanks for posting, Leah! I did appreciate the balanced approach you and your hubby have!

Christina said...

Mary -

Here's the link to the John Piper article that Leah mentioned. I was going to put it in my post (and still will) but thought some of you might want to read it now....

(copy and paste all three lines!)

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

And I don't think this was technically written by JP himself, b/c it says DG staff, but its from DesiringGod.org.

marymstraits said...

Thanks, Christina. I LOVED the Piper article!

Leah said...

Mary,
This is an issue that I go back and forth on as well. I weigh the following:
1)We are to trust God to provide for us - the end of Matthew 6 tells us not to be anxious about food or clothing, that God will provide them for us.
2)We are to be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure.
3)We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
I think one of the arguments against Quiverfull is that having too many children will be a financial burden on a family. I actually have to disagree with that. Sure, children cost money. BUT, they don't have to cost as much money as we tend to spend on them. A frugally lived life can support a lot of children. I know that a lot of us have goals of paying for our children's education and taking family vacations, etc, but to feed and clothe a large number of children is not an extremely expensive endeavor.
I do agree with you on the point you brought up about couples who wear their fertility decisions as a badge of honor. I actually prayed about this yesterday as I was dreaming up my post. I am a really, really prideful person and it is so hard for me to write on POH sometimes b/c I hate reading what I've written - I can see my pride come through. I don't want to wear my fertility choices as a badge of honor. It really bugs me when I see others do this. And it definitely bugs me when I see they are struggling with different issues in their marriage but choose to continue having children. I would say a rocky marriage is one instance where Ed and I would hold back from having more kids.
It's definitely an intersting topic to consider and one that people end up coming down on all sides.

Courtney said...

I just thought I would throw in my $.02. We have run the gamut on this issue in our household...
I was on the pill for years before we got married due to health problems, so it was natural to stay on it. When we got off, we ended up having to use fertility to concieve. BUT I am not sure that it was because of the pill. I had weird cycles before I ever started using the pill. Where we are now though is that it is in God's hands.
Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that I don't think that finances will ever be where you want them to be when you have a child. I also think that waiting for the perfect time, is ridiculous as well. God's timing is perfect ALL the time. I think that we have ideas about how we exactly want things to go and when they don't we begin to question God. When the reality is that it is His plan, not ours, that we should be seeking.

Z' Hodges said...

Well. I found you guys website due to seeing my sister blogs on here! Hey Leah!!! LOL

Thanks for sharing you alls testimony! I confess, I was a bit "nervous" to click on the title BIRTH CONTROL because I wasn't sure which direction you all were going to go on. I've heard both sides of the whole family planning issues and I wasn't sure where you all were going. But, I really appreciate what you all shared. Thanks, Ladies.

Z' Hodges said...

Ooops! I've got the wrong Leah in mind! LOL But, hello to you anyway! LOL

Zinnada<><

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