Tag Archives: Family Planning

Protecting Against Deception – Part 7

If you received e-mails with the following questions, what Scripture would you answer with?

“We have three children, and my husband does not want any more. What about vasectomies and tubals?”


“We believe permanent measures are wrong, but what about natural family planning?”

Our discussion of Satan’s deception against children began in last month’s Dad’s Corner (Part 6). I encourage you to read that article and the whole series.

To respond to the questions about having children or not having them, one has to begin with Who/who is in charge of planning families. The world tells Dad and Mom to decide how many children to have. However, God’s very first recorded command to mankind is, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth . . .” (Genesis 1:28). God has not told man to stop; as a matter of fact, after the flood, He reiterated it twice: “. . . Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1); “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply . . .” (Genesis 9:7).

Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord tell a husband and wife to plan how many children to have. This issue of the number of children is critical to each family. If God intended for parents to make that decision, would He have left that direction, whether explicit or implicit, out of the Bible? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What Scripture says is that children are an heritage (Psalms 127:3) and that we are to go and multiply (Genesis 9:1).

I have had a few men justify limiting children by saying that God tells us to plan as in Luke 14:28: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Yes, planning is good as long as we are being consistent with all Scriptural commands. Oftentimes Scripture can appear to say one thing when just one verse is considered. However, Scripture must be evaluated in context, and the context of Luke 14:28 is a discussion of the faith of being a disciple of Jesus.

The two verses prior to 14:28 are: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). The Lord is teaching us about the true cost of being His disciple. In essence, this verse is teaching the exact opposite of us planning a family; we are being challenged to have the faith to let Jesus control our lives. Do we have the faith to receive the good gifts He wants to give?

A practical application of Luke 14:28 is that thinking about the future is good. There is an important difference, though, between planning for what the Lord chooses to send us and planning to hinder His will for our lives. Proper application of Luke 14:28 in regard to family size would be for the couple to say, “Lord Jesus, we are committed to being good stewards and not wasting money so we will be ready for any children You choose to send us.”

In 2 Kings 13:15-19 there is an account of Elisha and Joash, where the wicked king of Israel came down to Elisha. Elisha told Joash of an arrow that Joash shot out the window: “. . . The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them” (2 Kings 13:17). Elisha then told Joash to smite the ground with the arrows. When Joash quit after striking the ground with the arrows only three times, we are told that Elisha was angry because Joash only smote the ground three times and not five or six. What Joash didn’t know is that each time he struck the ground it represented a victory the Lord would give him over the Syrians. He felt he had struck the ground enough and quit.

Sadly, many, many families tell the Lord “enough” when they fail to trust Him for the future and how He desires to use their family to glorify Him. “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth” (Psalms 127:4). Families seem content to settle for fewer children, not realizing that children are like arrows in our hands to reach a lost and fallen world.

The most common reason we hear for not wanting more children is that the parents believe more children will be a hindrance. There is no doubt children will greatly impact a person’s life, but so much depends on a person’s frame of reference. Have we “got Jesus” as some have a rabbit’s foot in the pocket, and now we can live life to the fullest with no fear of hell, or are we purchased by the blood of the Lamb and here to glorify Him with our lives in whatever way He chooses to use us?

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). If our heart’s desire is to wholeheartedly follow the Lord Jesus, families will find that children are the opposite of being a hindrance; they become part of a family’s credentials. “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6).

Some would say they are concerned about being able to provide for more children. How does the Lord Jesus speak to that concern? “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:30-34). Little comment is needed because the Lord clearly states that we are to trust Him to provide for our needs.

A number of times in the past, when I told my dad that the Lord was blessing us with another baby, he asked, “Where is the money going to come from for another child?” I would say, “The Lord will provide for what He sends our way.” And He has. We are told to deny ourselves and follow Him. He will provide.

Yes, they may “cost us,” but aren’t we bought with a price and stewards of His money? Would the Lord give us children if He didn’t want us to have them? Would He give us children if He wouldn’t provide for them? Of course not. Isn’t it a matter of faith and learning to depend on Him?

A side note here: What is the solution if a family trusts the Lord with family size and yet they struggle financially? A dad must fervently seek the Lord to find out why needs aren’t being met. “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). When we have faced difficulties without answers, I turn to my Lord with a fast for as long as I can handle it. God has always answered. Children are a great stimulus to improve our walk with Christ. They sure have been in mine.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as “natural family planning” condoned in Scripture. Any understanding of a normal husband and wife relationship and human physiology cries out against this misguided concept. I have had some support this notion by referencing 1 Corinthians 7:5: “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not. . . .”

I want to be discreet because we know children sometimes read the Corners, but this is not teaching natural family planning. The closest one can get to supporting family planning from this verse would be that if the family’s life is in such chaos and trouble, the husband and wife would fast and abstain for a time. However, I’m confident the vast majority of couples are not fasting when they think they are “applying” this verse.

Then we have e-mails from people asking us whether “permanent” means to limit children is a sin. With Teri’s depression, we permanently cut off the possibility of more children. I wrote about that in a previous Corner (We’re Reversed a Bad Decision), and so I won’t go into that here except to say the God changed our hearts as we studied Scripture.

Tubals and vasectomies are considered permanent means of surgically “breaking” something that was healthy. Doctors are given skills to heal and restore, and those should not be used to destroy something God-given and wonderful.

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). This verse tells us clearly that believers are purchased by the blood of Jesus. Our bodies are not our own to do what we want to do with them. We are to be good stewards of Jesus’ property.

God would not give us permission to “break” something that He has control over. He would simply choose not to give us more children if that was His will. We have to face the reality that surgical sterilization is taking control over something we don’t want God to control. This is difficult to say. Please understand, I speak out of love, and I am not being judgmental. I wonder if sterilization might be analogous to one aspect of suicide. Both take into control what God intended to be under His control. What do you think?

Any time we go against God’s will, it is sin, and worse, when we take permanent measures, it likely takes away any future option of a change of heart. God was so merciful in giving Teri and me children after I repented and had a reversal. However, I’ve talked to many families who haven’t been able to have children even after a reversal. Don’t presume upon His grace. Certainly, don’t take permanent measures to limit children.

When we travel, we often encounter families who trust the Lord to decide how many children they will have and to provide for babies that He sends. I frequently sense a spirit of faith and peace in their lives. I have spoken with so many families who surrendered this area to the Lord Jesus, and they rejoice at what He has been doing in their lives ever since. Regularly, we will receive e-mails from a family who first chose to limit their family size, but then the Lord changed their hearts. We rejoice with them when they write to tell us that they are expecting a baby.

If you have chosen to limit children, seek the Lord to see if your reasons for limiting children are selfish—most are—and if so, repent. The world has deceived families saved by the blood of Jesus. Please, please, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. …”

The Greatest Earthly Gift

Most families think of gifts around Christmastime. It definitely is a subject of discussion in our home, with the children spending time and prayer trying to bless others in the family with meaningful gifts. Giving the right gift greatly depends on the receiving person’s heart and values.

Often, man has a different idea of a good gift than God does because we have a different frame of reference. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). With an earthly focus, man will want wealth and material possessions as good gifts, but if we have a heavenly focus we will want the good gifts God offers.

The greatest gift that God, the Giver of good gifts, offers us is salvation. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). It is amazing that everyone would not want to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). If a person realized that eternity in hell is the only other option to eternal life with Christ, then more might choose life with Christ. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Sadly, man often wants his way, thereby rejecting the gift that was needed most. One area that highlights this difference of thought and value in relation to good gifts has to do with the Lord’s gifting of children to parents. The Lord says via the Psalmist: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3). We see in this verse that God is the One to give children. He actually calls them a heritage of the Lord and a reward. Today, however, man does not see children in this way.

Families will reject more children for a host of reasons. Why would man not want more children when God calls them a heritage and a reward? The answer is obvious since children represent hard work, time, money, and most likely, some degree of heartache. There are no guarantees with children. They could have health problems or be rebellious. Nonetheless, the Lord says children are His heritage and reward.

There is a vast difference between children and other aspects of the created world as seen in Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image.” Nothing else has been made in God’s image. The simple fact that a child is made in God’s image makes him a treasure. Do we really value children as His heritage and reward?

Another reason we reject children is that they bring change into our lives. If we allow it, they cause us to grow in Christ and in dependency on Him. Teri and I often hear moms say they could never homeschool because they aren’t patient enough. What parent has the character needed to raise a child? That is one reason why God gives us children. God will use them to constantly shape us into the image of Christ. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3). Children can break our hearts. Brokenness is a good thing that the Lord uses in our lives. Once broken, we are prepared for the work of the Potter’s hands. Certainly, who in their right mind would welcome a source of tribulation? Yet, the Lord says children are His heritage and reward.

Many will reject God giving the family more children because of all the work and money they will require. That would be like someone offering to give a friend a Mercedes and having him turn it down because of the costly insurance, gas, and maintenance. Perhaps another reason for saying no would be that he doesn’t have room in his garage. I don’t think so. It is all a matter of our point of view—heavenly or earthly.

We have shared in the past about Teri’s depression, and how we cut off the possibility of more children after God gave us three. Then five years later, we came to realize how wrong that decision was and repented of it. By God’s grace, after we reversed a bad decision, He then gave us five more children. (It is amazing that the number five is also the number that represents grace in Scripture.)

Our children have been such a blessing to Teri and me. They are our best friends, and their hands are on the plow with us. There have been times of struggle, discouragement, and heartache. Growth is a result in our lives, though. Plus the Lord Jesus becomes all the more precious and real to us.

When some people hear we have eight children, they reply that we have enough children for our own sports team. What a waste that would be! It would be like taking a multimillion-dollar army tank squirrel hunting. Far better that we are a tactical swat team at the command of the Lord Jesus! Now that is what it is all about! We love serving the Lord Jesus together.

What if God said He would give believers as many millions of dollars as we asked for? I’m confident we would see countless Christian millionaires. Hmmm. Instead, He openly extends a clear and far, far greater offer for man to accept: children. They are His heritage and reward. Will we welcome them?

When it is all said and done, our saved children and the souls of others we have led to Christ are all we are taking with us when we leave this world. Will you be traveling alone or in good company?

Grace in the Time of Sorrow

In March, we shared with you our joy over another pregnancy and baby that was due early in November. Now we share with you our sorrow over the miscarriage we experienced this week. We have not had a miscarriage before, and each of us has had to turn to the Lord during this time of sorrow and grief. The first night we had signs of the baby’s loss Steve said, “It is pretty hard to put three little boys to bed who are all crying.” As these issues of life and death affect our family, I would like to share some thoughts that I see relate to our homeschooling.

First, the Lord has abundantly poured out His grace in my life. I think that some of my close friends have grieved our loss as much as, or more than, I have. Not that my heart hasn’t felt sorrow upon sorrow, but the Lord is comforting me through it. This reminds me that 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “. . . My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. . . .”

I imagine you have heard, or maybe even said yourself, “I could never homeschool. I am just not cut out for it!” I have had similar thoughts about a miscarriage, “I could never handle the grief of losing a baby.” When I was not facing a miscarriage myself, the Lord’s grace was not there for me. I did not need it. However, in my time of need, God’s grace was there, and it was sufficient. In the same way, when He calls us to homeschool, He is giving us the grace to do what He has called us to do, even in our weakness.

That first night when we were aware of the miscarriage beginning, it was very difficult to go to bed. I felt like I would cry all night long. As I settled down, though, my mind began to praise the Lord, just focusing on Him. In addition, I remembered another friend who had recently miscarried and was pregnant again, due soon after I would have been. I prayed for that other little baby in his mother’s womb. With my thoughts off my own sorrow, I actually fell asleep.

How like our daily homeschooling problems this should be. But is it? What is your reaction to an attitude difficulty with a child that is ongoing, or an educational hurdle that doesn’t appear to be surmountable? My reaction is often to murmur about it, to seek for an immediate solution, and to feel discouraged by it. I would be so much better off to take it to my Lord, leave it with Him, praise Him for Who He is, and focus my prayer on the need or another need altogether. My worry and my discouragement do nothing to change a situation. However, Jesus Christ can and will work on it. I wonder how often I am hindering Him by my own solutions or my anxiety over it.

Lastly, this time of grief has brought to remembrance again of the preciousness and value of each child the Lord has already given us. We watched Tim’s family walk through the final months of his battle with brain cancer. We saw Larry and Wendy love Tim through those difficult last weeks with a patience and gentleness that touched all of our hearts. They allowed us to love Tim, too, during those days. Wendy shared how special that year of homeschooling had been because of the extra time it had given her with Tim.

After a loss, it is too late to express all we would like to express to that loved one. I am grateful that I had prayed for this baby’s safety, that I had thanked and praised the Lord for giving him to us, and that I had prayed for each stage of his few weeks of development. In the same way, as we homeschool, we have the opportunity minute by minute and day by day to love, encourage, and praise our children. This is one of the greatest benefits of having them home with us all day. However, all too easily, we become caught up in, and focused on, the negatives of our children’s behavior. Sometimes we even have trouble finding anything to praise and encourage a child about. May this never be! May our heartfelt drive be as intense to thank, praise, reward, and encourage as it is to teach, instruct, train, discipline, and correct. May we make sure that when we do teach and correct, our attitudes are sweet and pleasant. We want to truly seek our child’s good, and not our own convenience!

I challenge each of us to keep our focus on our Lord and on what He has called us to do. Let’s not become so wrapped up in the educational pursuits of our homes that we forget the ministry the Lord has given each of us of loving and cherishing our family members. May we delight in the grace the Lord gives us for each mountain and valley He walks us through!

Children and Family Planning

As I write this Mom’s Corner I am celebrating my 40th birthday! Birthdays have a way of causing us to reflect on life, and my heart has been filled with joy for my family today. I can’t help but think about how few women, at the age of 40, have the privilege of nursing a baby and delighting in an adult son too.

Had God not changed Steve’s and my heart regarding children and family planning I would have held my last baby in my arms 13 years ago. Joseph, John, Anna, and Jesse would not have been given life, and my nest would quickly be emptying. As we evaluate these past seven years of our lives, Steve and I believe that there is nothing we could have invested our lives in that would have had any more value.

After we surgically cut off the possibility of having more children for seven years, God showed us, from His Word, that closing the womb or opening it was His domain and could be trusted to Him in faith. We knew there was a great probability, even with reversing the original procedure, that we might not have more children.

With the realization of how dependent Steve and I were on the Lord for His gift of children came very different feelings in our hearts about our children. With our first three, having children was the thing to do–taken for granted–the norm for a young married couple. But with the last four we have known it was not a matter of our will that they were conceived but God’s, and we have had the pleasure that comes to hearts that choose obedience to God’s will.

What about those seven empty years, the gap between older children and younger ones, in our family? Did God have children for us that we refused? We think about that question from time to time and for me it usually brings tears.

What did God use to change our hearts and thinking in this area? He used His Word. Scriptures like: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD . . . Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. . .” (Psalms 127:3, 5), “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31), “. . . but the LORD had shut up her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5), “. . . Be fruitful, and multiply. . .” (Genesis 1:28). Steve, home sick one day, got out his concordance and began a study on God’s view of children that both broke and changed his heart. Malachi 2:15 clearly sums up God’s purpose for marriage.

I share this part of our lives because my heart is so full of joy in my family. We wish someone had confronted us with this idea before we made our decision to cut off having children, challenging us to search the Bible for its truth in this area. We might not have liked what we found enough to consider obedience to it since my life was so full of three little children whom I was not dealing well with emotionally–but that is another Mom’s Corner. For now, let a forty-year-old mother who is nursing her eleven-month-old baby encourage you to evaluate where you stand in relation to having children, not in light of your present circumstances or difficulties, but in the light of Scripture.