Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Big Families And Being Scared

Elizabeth Esther (whom I adore by the way) wrote a post this morning about large families and Christians. And it stuck in my craw a little bit.  So rather than hi-jack her comments I thought I'd share right here on my own blog.

First let me say, we have two kids.  Whom we adore. And when asked if I am done (which is a VERY rude question by the way) I smile sweetly and say "oh yes."  However, I am not at all opposed to large families.  In fact half of the blogs I read are of larger families.  I LOVE their families.  I love those moms.  I totally support them in their decision to be counter cultural with their large brood. Janet, Dianna, Char, Lady Why, you all rock the party.

However, it doesn't make them better than me.

It doesn't make them holier, more full of faith, more sanctified or more blessed.  In some of their cases it makes them obedient as they truly believe that this was what God called them to.

But he did not call me.  Trust me.  I asked.  Many times.

And apart from a few verses in the Psalms that are sometimes taken out of context God is rather silent on family size.

I am not afraid.  I am simply living the life I believe God called me to.

You see, we Christians are REALLY good at finding something that works for us and extrapolating it to include all Christians. I've seen it argued that God has called us to be more organized, more crafty, cleaner, adopt babies, sell everything, get everything, sing more hymns, sing more worship songs, follow very traditional gender roles, smash traditional gender roles and so on.

It's enough to send those that are not Christians screaming into the night.

Ands I've seen scriptural support for ALL these things.  Sometimes taken wildly out of context but still.

And amidst all of this we tend to miss the point.  It's not about what we do.

We are saved by grace.

What we do should flow out of the relationship we have with our Saviour and Creator.  And we serve an infinitely complex God so his people are going to look so very different.

Even when they are obedient.

This doesn't make them stupid or scared or sissies.

It makes them a reflection of the God who created them.  The church was not called to be uniform, it was called to be obedient.

So if God is calling you to have 14 children please go do so.  And let me know so I can send you a gift.  Cause if there is one thing I do know about lots of kids, your'e probably gonna want some pants for this baby without holes in the knees.

We just all need to do that which we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to do.

By grace.


Nan | WrathOfMom said...

I really don't have anything to add to this discussion since I'm agnostic and only have two children, but this line did make me laugh:
"Cause if there is one thing I do know about lots of kids, your'e probably gonna want some pants for this baby without holes in the knees."

So thanks for that.

Anonymous said...


As much as people with large families (and maybe I just grew up in a weird area, because of farming families or something, but we never started thinking of families as large until they hit seven. Maybe six, if they were all close together. Whether they were Christian or not) get upset over comments on their family size, I get just as many offensive comments from people on our choice to only have two. And while I can allow that my mother-in-law has, perhaps, the right to mourn a little, I really do not appreciate others sharing their opinion on our family size.

If Christians could start showing as much grace to others as we have received from the Lord, the church would look very different to the world, and to its own members.

Elizabeth Esther said...

It's interesting to me how we all bring our own experiences and perspectives to what others write. I can tell you quite honestly that my intention was not to say having less kids=less blessed. My only intent was to suggest that we make these decisions from a place of faith and not fear--regardless of whether that means one, two, ten or ZERO children. Clearly you've done that and that's awesome! And ftr, I think YOU rock the party! :)

Knittinchick said...

I love it! If we showed grace like we've had extended to us: we'd be a better place.

Me extending grace to others' families=smiling and nodding when moms tell me I don't understand sacrifice and service b/c I don't have children (I would very eagerly welcome children if God blessed me with a husband) etc etc.

I wonder what we'd be like if we fostered individual and community curiosity (a good kind that is redemptive!)about the person in front of me... what their story is and what it is that they've been asked to do. Maybe if I understood their story, they'd make lots more sense... and maybe if they understood my story, I'd make more sense (so they could explain me to me!)

Tez said...

The part of her post which stuck in my craw....

I was never bothered when non-religious people made impolite or even snide comments. I didn’t expect them to understand and I wasn’t about to apologize for the existence of ANY of my precious children.

Apparently, around non religious people, one is usually expected to apologize for the existence of children.

News to me as a long-time atheist.

All that to say, I can get why it stuck in YOUR craw because as a christian with only two children, I can certainly understand your lack of grace. HA HE HA!

Sorry, my snide comments got the best of me.

I love that you recognize that they are not better than other christians, merely based on quantity of children. You do what you do, with your amazing boys, with dedication and purpose and a lot of love. The fact that you have taken on the parenting role you have been given with all your heart, is making you holy, faithful and all that jazz.

We do the best we can with what we have, and that is all that is required to be a good human being. You have gone far beyond that doing a superior job of parenting and wife-ing than most of the parents I have ever met.

Thank you for embracing the truth that they aren't better than you. Continue to be confident in that because we, as fellow humans in this society, already tear each other apart for such benign and idiotic reasons as quantity of children, need to pull together to be successful as such a diverse community in such a small world.

Love YOU HG!

Char said...

Ah friend. It is SO easy to get wrapped up in what we 'should' be doing. As a best friend to one who has adopted two of her six babies, I often check my mind after considering that we 'should' be adopting too!

Honestly, I don't think that is what we are to be doing.

There are a lot of 'good' things we could do- for sure...

BUT if we step into something for the wrong reason,

we are missing out on what good things have been planned in advance for US to do! :)

I love you. Exactly as you are.

And so does the Big Guy! :)

Janet said...

TOTALLY agree with this post. It makes me angry when Christian women make other Christian women think that they are doing something WRONG by not having more children. God never gives a limit to how many we should or should not have. He does, however, give us a BRAIN. He gives us the ability to think, to reason, to understand that having a big family is not for everyone. He made us all different. And different is SO good. Don't let anyone tell you it is WRONG to have two children, HG. Because I have yet to find a Bible verse that says so.

Lady Why said...

Awww! Thank you, Happy Geek! And, I happen to think YOU rock the party. :-)

Michelle said...

That's so true. I KNOW that for me a big family is a BLESSING in so many ways...but not everyone would be so blessed by a large family. Nor would I want someone to do it just because someone told them that's what God wants.

AND it's so nice to hear that you prayerfully sought out God on the number of children to have. It was TWO. AMen to that.

anyway, just nodding my head in agreement. Now to go read the counter argument. LOL.

Found you on blogher ads.

beck'sthree said...

Love this post and agree with you completely. While I agree with EE that some people do reject having more children out of fear or unwillingness to let go of what they thought their lives would look like, that is not true of everyone. Probably not even the majority.

Homeschooling is another issue hot-button issue like this. Why do we always think the way we choose to do things is the right way? Mine are the only kids in my extended family who are not homeschooled, and I have often felt like a lesser mom for not doing so.

And to be honest, when I did plan to homeschool, I too, thought that I was a better mom than those who would, gasp, send their kids off to another person to raise for 7 hrs a day. But then, I was a waaaaaay better parent before I had kids!

Bibliomama said...

Well, you're officially my favourite Christian. Although it's only natural to think that the way we're doing things, particularly with children, is the right way (that's why we're doing it that way, after all), it's so easy to get obnoxious about it. And when religious authority is layered on top of that, it can add an extra layer of obnoxiousness. I really admire people who can follow a faith without feeling the need to condemn other people who don't do exactly as they do.

HaleyC said...

I find both of these posts interesting to read. I really liked what Elizabeth Esther had to say, mostly because I feel so alone in my church in actually wanting a large family. I think she is right, there is much criticism from everywhere about wanting a large family, even in the Christian church. I have to go online to find encouragement from others, I think this is sad. I don't hold any judgement one way or the other for other people, and hope people can be open enough toward me to find that out about me eventually. Sometimes it is difficult to get past the assumptions we hold toward one another. There really does need to be more dialogue on this topic. Thank you for writing about it!

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