November 17, 2010 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)

[Republished from November 2009]

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 people 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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12 Responses to “Jesus-full”

  1. Laura says:

    STILL love this! :) I read it when it was first published, and this is the best article I’ve ever read on the subject. So touching, and true to life. Thanks for re-posting it!

    And for the record, we are now expecting #3… our first girl! And we are allowing the Lord to fill this quiver!

  2. Janel says:

    I agree. It’s still a great article! Thanks for republishing it. : )

  3. patrizia says:

    Amen! Thanks for this post! May the Lord be glorified :)

    Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

  4. Donna J says:

    EXCELLENT post and great message. Thanks so much!

  5. Brianah says:

    One thing I am still struggling with is whether or not it is appropriate to have more children if you are depending on state support. My husband and I are on WIC and have 2 sons under 2. We have been praying and praying about what God would have us do with regards to our family size. The one thing we keep coming back to is that we don’t want to be dependent on the state for assistance but we just can’t make it without the help.

    Let me say that I know the argument that if we don’t want to we could go off of it and God would provide, but we both really feel as if this is HOW God is choosing to provide right now. I was just curious as to what your opinion would be in this situation? seeking Godly counsel :)

  6. Jamie says:

    I too love this article and remember reading it when it was first published. I would love to hear more about your adoption stories.

    Thank you.

    Blessings,
    Jamie

  7. MomOf2 says:

    Glad to read this! Many of my friends have more kids than me, and I’m sure I would’ve had more than 2, but I unexpectedly went thru early menopause at age 38. I am just thrilled to enjoy the two that we do have.

    Re: the previous post: I too was on WIC most of the time which was a big help. The value of the food is only $50-80/mo (there are many factors that determine your approx. value which varies), yet my mother disapproved….. meanwhile my dad receives about $1000/month for disability and my grandma receives about $1600/month from the government (both ongoing for decades). For some reason, that’s more acceptable to receive from the state than when you have babies for a few short years.

    My personal advice would be to budget carefully for 1-2 yrs before adding to your family, use cloth diapers, cook from scratch, etc… and see how God provides for the next one. WIC is usually a phase of life that helps for a short while, and you’re not heavily relying on state support for all your food and housing. Blessings.

  8. Aimee Cabrera says:

    Stacy, thank you for your honesty, transparency and the way you describe the inevitable trials and joys of motherhood! We have been blessed with 8 children so far and would joyfully open our lives to more if God so chooses to bless us. I find that my children are often God’s vehicle for my own sanctification. When I see the sin in them, it is often like God is holding up a mirror to expose my own sinful attitudes…..then I get to train and correct them as I repent of my own sin and allow God to skim the dross (sin) out of my own life at the same time! God is so good! I love & enjoy my children so much! I would never trade my life for anything this world has to offer! Thank you for being real! :-)
    ~Aimee

  9. Amy says:

    I loved reading this again :o) My husband had reversal surgery with a wonderful Christian doctor in July. I’m walking that difficult line of hoping/praying for/desiring more children, but also wanting to be content if He chooses not to give us more. Some days are easier than others!

  10. Sue says:

    Very good article. I did not get to read it on the first posting. But the Lord blessed me , in finding it today.
    My husband and I are the parents to 10 sons and 6 daughters. Jesus full ,yes. Only God knows when our quiver will be full. Not I.
    We had #16, 9 months ago. On my 47th. birthday. Many say we need our own show on TV. Not I. I give glory to God through the reasing of our children.
    Others don’t understand, we did not create these blessings, but God. They think we are in cotrole of how many we have,That is not so.
    Thank you for such a great article. May the Lord bless you in writing more for us. Praise Ye the Lord.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Which of your children our adopted? So many of them look alike!!

  12. April says:

    Brianah, if you check in here, I’d love to chat with you. Email me at april.myabundantlife@gmail.com Blessings to you!

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