November 15, 2009 by Stacy McDonald

Jesus-full

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“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-5)

Over the last couple of months, I’ve contemplated and prayed over the various controversies and consequences of the term “quiverfull.” As some of you may know, our family was interviewed several months ago by the Religious Affairs reporter for BBC regarding the “quiverfull movement. Though we explained to him that we aren’t part of any movement, that we don’t view having children as some sort of fertility contest, and that I only gave birth to six of our ten children, we also told him we welcome all the children God chooses to bless us with; and we believe it is our responsibility (and joy!) as Christian parents to train them up in the way they should go.

You see, it’s not about numbers—an out of wedlock mother of eight who is paid by the government to stay unmarried and dependent on the state could easily out breed most of us, if given enough incentive.

No; it’s about faithfulness. It’s about instilling in our children, our church, and our culture a passion for purity, children, family, and most of all, Jesus. It’s about raising up godly seed (Christian children) who aren’t focused on living for their own fleeting pleasures; but, are instead committed to glorifying God and enjoying Him forever—which involves loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

But you see, before we can do that, we have to believe it. Really believe it. We have to believe it so much that we are living it out each day without even thinking. We must value each life as much as we value our own—way down deep.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”” (Galatians 5:14)

We live in a culture that is growing more and more apathetic toward the sacredness of life. Children are brutally murdered in the womb in the name of “women’s rights.” Elderly parents, to whom we are commanded to honor and care for, are forgotten in the name of convenience. The severely ill or handicapped are denied food and water, so they might die in the name of compassion.

Life. Its value, it seems, is measured only in what it offers us—or how it threatens to inconvenience us. The more I contemplate the value of children, the more I realize that my view of children is bound up in how I value life. Am I truly loving my neighbor, my own family, the lost, the poor? Am I looking for ways to bring more and more glory to my Lord? Or am I looking for a cold and dusty list of rules? Am I hoping for loopholes or excuses? Am I worried about my free time? My career? My sanity? Am I ready to blame others or circumstance for why I “can’t” do this or that?

You see, Satan hates human life. He hates godly seed. He hates all that God loves. And he lurks in the shadows ready to devour the fruit in our lives, if we give him the chance (1 Peter 5:8). How do we escape? Scripture does not tell us to flee; instead we are told to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and the devil will flee from us (James 4:7)!

Are we willing to lay ourselves at the feet of Jesus as obedient and selfless servants? Or will we refuse to submit to Him, failing to resist the devil? Will we allow Satan to devour our God-ordained love for our neighbor (human life) by focusing on ourselves and our own flesh? Will we forget our primary purpose in life, which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? I pray not.

Here’s the thing. It’s not about whether or not you believe birth control is a sin. It’s really not about that at all, and in some ways it distracts us from the real point. The real issue is far, far more important. It’s about loving God, loving our neighbor, loving life, embracing His revealed will, and working hard to live out the Gospel honestly and faithfully before a watching…and desperate world.

Let me ask you something. What do the heathen hear from the “quiverfull crowd?”

“Birth control is a sin!”

Or

“Children are a blessing! It is hard work to train them up faithfully, but we are committed to trusting God, sacrificing if need be, and enjoying every minute we have with each little one that God gives us!”

My husband and I came to our convictions without anyone giving us a list of rules. God revealed to us the blessing of life—children—and we learned to slowly trust Him with the details. Yes, we were confronted with Scripture by some bold and faithful brothers and sisters; but, their focus was the blessing of life—and trusting God.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

As we learn to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, He faithfully works out the rest. There are days when life is really, really hard. Noisy days. Dirty days. “I’m locking myself in the bathroom again” days! In fact, just this week, sin was bouncing off every wall in our house! “Mom! She messed up my whole game again…on PURPOSE!”

My hormones were raging, my body was depleted of energy, my nerves were all on the outside of my skin, and my sin was being dredged to the surface of my being—and my children, as usual, responded in like manner.

But never once did I regret having them. Never once did I think, “What in the world have we done, having all these children!” No; I am humbled that God has chosen to bless me with these precious little lives, undeserving and weak as I am, because I know it’s not about me. It’s about training them up for Him—as difficult as that may be some days. Longsuffering is something I think we sometimes file away for missionaries; but, don’t be fooled (Eph. 4:2), we are missionaries! And as I submit to God—as I raise my children up for Him, He allows me to enjoy them as gifts from His hand.

So, stop focusing on the rules. Don’t get so caught up in the details! Start focusing on the blessing that comes from denying yourself and submitting to God and the details will take care of themselves. Am I “quiverfull?” No, I think I’d rather be “Jesus-full.” And because of that, I’m glad to stand aside; so, God might fill my quiver with whatever best glorifies Him.



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29 Responses to “Jesus-full”

  1. Janelle says:

    Thank you so much for your post! My husband and I have been praying (and reading and researching and talking) about this for months. We were beginning to get overwhelmed. Then, just this afternoon I met with a godly older woman from our church who (would you believe it) said almost the same thing you just wrote in your post! God is so good!

  2. Cheesemakin' Mamma says:

    Well said! I couldn't agree with you more. I believe that what you've written here completely lines up with scripture. It was very interesting reading everyone's views on this topic.

    God Bless,
    Jackie

  3. Cheesemakin' Mamma says:

    Also, I appreciate you bringing clarity to this topic, lest others be deceived.

    Jackie

  4. The Editrix says:

    Excellent post, Stacy! Very well-said.

  5. Jacque Dixon says:

    Amein Sister. You have expressed it beautifully. It is not about a movement at all.
    Thank you for this!

  6. cortney says:

    Honestly, I just want to say quickly that I think you handled this very well. As a 20yr old girl, I have drawn my personal conclusions on many of these topics, but am still seeking guidance on them. In otherwords, I'm confident in what I believe, but God is still using older, wiser men and women to shape me. When consistently faced with the worlds opinions, my first conviction becomes blurred. Especially since I haven't had the opportunity to take a visible stand on what I believe. Thank you for this post, it clarifies what I'm been thinking about.

  7. 5intow says:

    I could not agree more. It comes down to our love of God and treasuring the life He has created.

    Thank you, once again for sharing your gentle wisdom.
    ~Erin

  8. Brandi says:

    Jesus-full! I love the way you say that! Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  9. Suzanne says:

    What a powerful message, thank you for writing it. I like that in your message there is no condemnation, you gave Scriptures to really chew on:-)

  10. Mrs.L says:

    Excellent post! You not only spoke the truth about raising children for God's glory, but you also spoke the truth about your daily life! You shared how you
    and your family still struggle with indwelling sin…..a very important part to share, indeed! Thanks for being willing to be so transparent and forthright!

    Love in Christ,
    Pam

  11. Green Thumb Mama says:

    A well thought out, extremely well stated post. I love how you said it all. Thank you for continuing to be a blessing in my life!!

  12. Jen says:

    Truly edifying, Stacy. May God be praised! Many may look at my quiver and never consider it full (three children here, one with the Lord), but in 16 years of marriage this is what the Lord has given. It is His will and He has done it. What a beautiful focus…to be "Jesus-full". He is so good. I always look forward to your posts and this one was no exception. Lord bless you and yours.
    Jen

  13. Kristin says:

    What a wonderful post! I'd like your permission to repost it on my own blog. You've said, so succinctly, what I also believe to be the truth.

    ~k

  14. The Miller Family says:

    I've been following your blog posts concerning the quiverfull conundrum. Your comparison of how the world sees the quiverfull movement said it all.

    God desires his children to make positive (in its original meaning, not feel-good)declarations such as:

    We obey God because we love him and He is worthy, NOT… we don't disobey God because we don't want to go to hell.

    It's the same with the quiverful idea. We give our wombs willingly to the Lord for his purposes because they belong to him, NOT…we don't use birth control because it's a sin.

    If Christians proclaim the positive, or affirmative, side of an issue, there's really no reason to even mention the negative side, especially to unbelievers or young believers who don't have a complete grasp of the sovereignty of God.

    Thank you for such a well written synopsis.

    Katie M.

  15. Step says:

    Amen and amen! The pastor at our new church said something very similiar about not having a laundry list of rules to live by. I love the term Jesus-full and couldn't agree with you more. Children are a blessing, not a movement.

  16. Andrea says:

    Thank you for this lovely post! It was done in a very gracious and thought provoking manner.

    Andrea

  17. sarah says:

    "My hormones were raging, my body was depleted of energy, my nerves were all on the outside of my skin, and my sin was being dredged to the surface of my being—and my children, as usual, responded in like manner."

    I love that you put that in there! Bearing children and mothering them is an experience that builds character because it is not easy.

    This was a good post and I'll be back to re-read it again!

  18. Sara says:

    "My hormones were raging, my body was depleted of energy, my nerves were all on the outside of my skin, and my sin was being dredged to the surface of my being—and my children, as usual, responded in like manner."

    Oh, thank you!!! It was such a hard weekend for me! We have 6 – 8ys to 8mo. I could have written those words. (Except I always warn my husband that Dragon Woman is knocking at the door. I'm sorry if she escapes. I'm trying to put her to death!)

    Thank you for sharing your feelings! Thank you for not feeling like you'd want any less or never any more! It was so nice to read that there are others who understand! Thank you!!!

  19. Miss Jen says:

    Excellent post~ indeed!

    Love~ Jen

  20. Naturalearthfarm says:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful post. Most people don't understand why we choose to remain faithful to God's will for our lives. We aren't trying to set any records or purposefully have many, many children – not at all.
    My husband and I are faithful to God and one another and although we don't have much by the world's standards – we have been blessed with six amazing children – each at its own perfect timing.
    Warm wishes and blessings.

  21. Mrs. Lindblom says:

    This is very much how my husband and I feel on the matter. We do not want to "label" ourselves quiverfull b/c it's not about a movement, per se… it's simply about trust.

  22. J & A says:

    I won't lie, I truly was worried about what you were going to say…I thought you would be much, MUCH more militantly dogmatic but you really surprised me and I found myself agreeing with almost all of your points. Thank you very much for your clear, Scripture-backed, eloquent explanation of the heart of the matter.

  23. Jennifer says:

    “Birth control is a sin!”

    Or

    “Children are a blessing! It is hard work to train them up faithfully, but we are committed to trusting God, sacrificing if need be, and enjoying every minute we have with each little one that God gives us!”

    Other Christians have heard this too and it gets very tiring very quickly; you hit the nail on the head. Your explanation is the best I have seen, Stacy; thank you!

  24. mosey says:

    beautifully written! I knew it would be… I put a link to it on my blog!

  25. homeskoolmom5883 says:

    Yikes! I accidentally hit the "dislike" button…is there anyway for you to take it off???? I LOVE you post, and find it very similar to our beliefs as well.

  26. MommaMindy says:

    Stacy, thank you so much for the attitude of grace instead of law. I love how you have firm convictions, but you don't press your ideas, you press Jesus. I passed your blog onto my daughter and her hubby who have two kids and desire more. You confirmed a lot of things they had been praying about and seeking answers for. Thank you for having faith and courage in your life and in your words. Thanks for admitting your weakness, I don't rejoice in it, I just like to know sometimes I am not alone. :)

  27. Persuaded says:

    When thinking about this issue I always come back to this one thought…. Is it ever wrong to entrust the Lord with something? Why of course not. We can never trust Him too much. He will take great care of anything we place in His hands… even our fertility.

    Of course, being a single mom, it's very easy for me to take this stance, lol. I cannot have any more children no matter how deeply I might wish for them. But I must say- even in my situation- I do not regret any of my children, have never wished I had fewer. In fact, I have often wished I had more children… but I must be content that my "quiver" is exactly as full as the Lord has intended. Praise His name?

  28. Jeanette says:

    As always, Stacy, you are a blessing and an encouragement. Thank you for your gentle stand on things that are right!

  29. Joyeful says:

    This is just beautiful!!! Full of grace and truth!

    I just happened on your blog today and I have been so blessed by my visit here!

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