Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quiverfull Philosophy

Now would be a good time to mention Quiverfull, because I thought I might be pregnant this month. But I rejoice knowing that I still have the perfect number of children right now that God has for me. So while I would have been ecstatic to have another, I wait not at all unsatisfied. And it's fine with me if I have two (that I already am blessed with) or if I have 10 or more. The name Quiverfull is based on Psalm 127:3-5:

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Quiverfull families believe that children truly are blessings from the Lord and question why anyone would chose to turn down His blessings. We do not use birth control to control the number or spacing of our children. We believe that God will provide the resources to take care of the children He blesses us with and knows what is best for us.

Some who are Quiverfull believe that any use of birth control or natural family planning is a sin. I don't think birth control should be used just to make sure you are "financially stable" before having more children, but I don't know that every act of using any form of birth control is in fact sin.

We have a dear friend who has had two traumatic premature births caused by preclampsia and pregnancy induced hypertension. This was life-threatening to both her and her precious children. And her medical providers were certain is was too dangerous for her to continue with more pregnancies. She and her husband made the prayerful decision to have her tubes tied. Some may say that this is a lack of faith because God could have protected them in the event something happened again. I say that it is a very sad decision that they had to make to use medical science to provide the blessing of helping her stay alive to care for her children. I am sure they did not make the decision lightly. Just as my sister-in-law didn't lightly make the decision to use chemo on her dear daughter to keep her alive.

And God used the experience of losing my friend's fertility (She'll let me know if I'm wrong in my assertion and I'll correct it here.) to spurn them toward adoption. Joseph said that the thing you meant for evil, God used for good. He makes wonderful things out of the bad experiences in our lives.  We eagerly await the arrival of her future adoptive son.

I believe both children and medical science are blessings from God. And I do believe both blessings can be abused. Where I do have a problem is in using birth control to CONTROL this aspect of our lives simply because we want children when we want them and we would like only two, thank you very much, so we can afford the niceties we deem equivalent to the freedom to pursue happiness. Contrary to the actions and behavior of some, the American dream and Christianity are not exactly one and the same.

What makes me sad is that the medical community and many of my fellow protestants urge young married couples to make the most our of birth control.  You should wait to have children till you are a certain age, have a certain amount of money, graduate college, start your career, get out of debt and on and on. They even go so far as encouraging forms of birth control that are abortifacents. I myself have used these forms of birth control and am very regretful now. Who knows how many babies have been aborted in my own womb without my knowledge? I used to comfort myself and others by saying it was very unlikely for the other two mechanisms (preventing ovulation and creating an inhospitable environment for sperm) to fail and therefore aborting a newly conceived pregnancy would be more of an accident than a method of birth control. If you research, you can find information that being an abortifacent is just one way modern birth control works not simply a backup if it doesn't work properly. Besides, just knowing it is a possibility is enough to convict me not to do it even before my beliefs about leaving my fertility entirely in God's hands enter the picture. There are forms of birth control available that don't use this mechanism.

The rates of infertility continue to rise. Could this have something to do with our messing with the way our bodies were designed by God? I have discovered that extended breastfeeding has health benefits both for mother and child, including lowering the risks of cancer. I have discovered that pregnancy gives women a break from high levels of estrogen and therefore more pregnancies over a lifetime equals another lowering of cancer risks. I'm not saying that infertility and cancer are punishments for God, but a part of the way the nature He designed works. Trusting the maker of our bodies is akin to reading the owner's manual of our cars. They simply run better when we use them the way they are designed.

I'm not trying to judge anyone else's behavior here. I'm simply sharing my personal conviction based on what I understand the Bible to say. If any of this rings true with you, great. If not, I understand that as well. I lived for a long time before this conviction. But I had also never thought of it this way before. If this resonates in your soul, then I urge you to prayerfully consider what I've said. Otherwise, feel free to write me off as a lune who will eventually end up with so many children I'll pull my hair out. I do not recall one instance in the Bible where God cursed anyone with another child.

Of course, like any philosophy it is a continuum. Some quiverfull will say any use of birth control (even natural family planning) or fertility treatments are a sin. I am not one of those. In 1 Corinthians 8, there is a discussion of meat sacrificed to idols. It clearly explains that to some who believe it is a sin to eat this meat, it is indeed. To others, it is not. God meets us all where we are. (He doesn't leave us there, of course) But he certainly isn't OUT to get us. I believe if Quiverfull practices are what He wants you to do, He will make that abundantly clear to your heart. He made it clear to mine.

Here's a site to read some more:

1 comment:

DK said...

Just wanted to tell you that I miss you.