May 31

Quivering or quiver-full…

What are gifts from God? Should we desire all those gifts? Should we then desire as much of those gifts as possible? Is not desiring a particular gift, or not allowing God to give you a gift, sinning?

I love the Duggars on “19 Kids and Counting.” I can’t wait for the new season to start. I love how Michelle Duggar is always so calm, even with her 19 kids running around. Her children seem to be very smart, articulate, kind, responsible, and helpful. It was through this show that I first heard about a movement called the “Quiverfull Movement” which is taking place among many different evangelical Christian groups. Some parents are being convicted that the number of children they should have should be left up to the Lord, without any attempts on their part to limit the size of their family or space out how often their children are born via birth control or natural family planning.

Lately, I have been hearing more and more about this movement. I’ve come across several magazine articles in favor of it, and I’ve also found a web site called “No Longer Quivering” run by a woman who used to be a Quiverfull mom and seems to bear scars from those years. Therefore, this issue has been on my mind a lot lately, and I can’t quite figure out what I think of it. (I want to make it clear, though, that I don’t personally know any people who call themselves part of the “Quiverfull” group.)

The movement’s name comes from Psalm 127:3-5: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.”  Then, of course, there is the mandate in Genesis that mankind “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

So much of a Christian’s journey through life is about giving up our own life and trusting the Lord to take over. It is not something we do one time, when we become a Christian, and then that’s it; personally, it is something I have to choose to do (or not do) on a daily basis. Giving up control over my own life is not an easy thing to do, especially for this independent-minded American. I look at these families that are trusting their family size to the Lord, and trusting the Lord to help provide for their larger families, and I feel they must have enormous faith to do so. Do I trust God that much? Should I?

I can think of many criticisms to this mindset. What about women with health complications during pregnancy? What about women who face multiple c-sections? What about families with special-needs children? What about families with limited incomes or small homes? What about women with a tendency towards postpartum depression? And I’m sure there are more. Should a Christian’s faith, if it is strong enough, be enough to overcome all of these complications? Is it wrong to use modern medicine (or natural family planning practices) to make informed decisions regarding fertility and childbirth? Can some people be “called” by God to have large families, while others are not? Or does the mandate to “multiply” apply to all Christian married couples? And how far does Psalm 127 apply?

I am not a confrontational person at all. I’m not trying to start a debate, but, rather, I’m just sharing something that I have been trying to make sense of for many months now. I’d appreciate (kind!) input!


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