Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Life

Every year, like families everywhere, we like to reflect on God's blessings in our lives. There are many more than we could list, but of earthly blessings, I would have to say that children are God's greatest gift to us.

With baby Stephen being a new addition this year, we have so much more to be thankful for. Whenever we have a new child, it seems unimaginable to not have had him or her.

Some have told me, "With that sort of mentality, you would just keep going and going, and never stop!", referring to having children. Yes! Guilty as charged! My point exactly! In all honesty, I always wondered about how much parents love their children if they have this, "Thanks, but no thanks" attitude toward more babies. God's word tells us that children are a reward and a blessing. God promises to provide our needs and not give us more than we are able to bear. So why put a limit on how much we allow God to bless us?

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. - Proverbs 10:22

Would those same people, if offered a pay raise at their job, turn it down? What if they inherited something big, like a large mansion? Nobody turns those things down, because when it comes to good things, more is always better.

But wouldn't every loving parent agree that no earthly wealth compares to the blessing that each and every child is?  Who would trade their living, breathing child for a new car, or more money? Nobody, of course. The same is true of the children yet to be born - they will be loved no less, and every bit as precious.

Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: - Genesis 49:25

Considering all that, I was taken aback by an article someone shared with me recently, written by Tim Challies, a pastor in Canada, entitled "How many Children Should We Have?" In it, he weasels around the subject of birth control with apparent uneasiness. He starts by saying that according to his "knowledge and understanding there is no clear command" either telling us to have as large a family as possible, or telling us that we must employ birth control methods.

I, of course, disagree on this first point, as scripture over and over commands us to "be fruitful and multiply." Then there is the inconvenient truth that the Bible records one man practicing birth control, and God striking him dead for it. If Challies is looking for clear directives from the Bible to base his decisions on, I would like for him to find the one that clearly states that it is right and permissible in the sight of God to prevent conception, in spite of the fact that He has made that rather difficult and impractical by design. Unless we are 100% certain that God is permitting us to do something, we should not just assume that it is right. 

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. - Romans 14:23

The author goes on to conclude that it is therefore up to us to decide how many children we want to have. Even if that were true, my thinking is that anyone should still come to the conclusion that there is nothing greater in life than to bring forth new life, and that there are no legitimate arguments outweighing this simple fact.

He conveniently forgets to mention that, practically speaking, there are no righteous methods to prevent conception. Hormonal methods cause early "silent" abortions, barrier methods are disgusting and against God's plan for husband and wife to become "one flesh", rhythm/temperature methods require periods of abstinence longer than the Bible permits and at the most inconvenient of times, surgical procedures that "fix" husband or wife are a mutilation of God's design of the human body, and Onan's method cost him his life so I have a hunch it's not approved by God, either.

You say, "But God killed Onan not because of what he did, but why he did it! He was being selfish/faithless/disobedient [substitute any attribute of your choice]" Our reasons for practicing birth control in this day and age are no less selfish/faithless/disobedient [substitute any attribute of your choice], leading me to believe God is likewise displeased with those who choose to reject his blessings.

Challie's wife, according to his own account, reacted to the announcement of the birth of the Duggars' 15th child, with the words, “that’s just wrong!” Thank you, Mrs. Challies, to make that call. You must
have known something God didn't. Which number child on up should have never lived? What now that they have 19? I am still looking for the precedent in the Bible where God strikes a father or mother dead for having "too many" children, that they were supposed to have prevented from living even though He never gave a commandment concerning this.

We for one thank God for each and every single child he has graciously given us. If He had only given us any one of them, that would still be a blessing beyond measure, one to leave us eternally grateful and hopeful for more.

I'll leave you with this short sermon my husband, preached at a preaching class put on by a local church that our men were invited to. The preaching was supposed to be hot and fiery, but as it turns out, not this kind of hot and fiery. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy every one of those sweet faces gathered around your table, and thank God for each and every one of them.


  1. Praise the Lord for children. We sure are thankful. Good post.

    Funny, we just listened to this the other night.


  2. Well, I tend to agree with pastor Challies. I don't think that some people are psychologically or otherwise equpped for having a large number of children and I would find it hard to find a crystal clear command in the bible that it is absolutely wrong to limit the number of children in such cases. I would actually feel very guilty if I gave people such a command as a pastor and later something awful happens like the woman going crazy and killing all of her children due to feeling depressed or overburdened. If you have the strength for a large family, Zsuzsa, that is great and admirable, but don't impose that on everyone else.

  3. John 1:
    12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
    13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the WILL of the flesh, nor of the WILL of man, but of God.

    So apparently people are also born of the will of the flesh or will of man. Does this indicate that the will has an influence on conception or is somehow to consider in the process of conceiving?

  4. Actually, well first Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, second, I would totally turn down a pay raise at work, if it meant more work and longer hours away from home, in turn I would also turn down a Mansion, because the up-keep would be cost prohibitive, in the same vein I turn down having more children that I can afford and reasonably raise, meaning, being able to give ALL of my children my complete attention and love 100%.

    God promises us a Mansion when we die right, I am looking forward to that, but I hope I don't have to clean it!

  5. I've turned down a pay rise, and I would turn down such an inheritance too - or more accurately, give it to someone who needs a large mansion. I don't need more money. I don't need a large mansion. I know what things I need to be healthy, and to live in a way that might bring more life to the world. Money, a bigger house and more children aren't it, for me. I wish you could see that happiness and faithful living come in very different ways for different people.

  6. Let me assure you that not wanting any more children to love has no bearing whatsoever on a parent's love for existing children. There is a big difference between loving a child you already have, and loving the idea of another one.

    Simply because you want as many children as you can, as opposed to a woman who may want only two or even just the one, does not mean you love your earth bound babies any more than she does.

  7. Hello Zsuzsanna,
    I'm not really a person who's cut out to be a mother, nevertheless I'd like to react to your post, especially to the "That's just wrong" comment.
    The lady that made that comment is a complete stranger to the Duggars. Now I have been watching the series for over 5 years and I tell you something. When Grampa Duggar was alive... and he was the very grampa to those children, they asked him on TV what he thinks about this all, and he couldn't keep his opinion to himself on TV. He said that it's just wrong, he had told them a million times to "stop", and it should have stopped a long time ago, because it's not normal.
    That was the grandfather. He lived with the Duggars in his last years.
    And I wondered. Did he look at his grandchildren and thought from child nr 3 or four and on that: you and you and you.... should have never conceived and not be alive at all? Again, it was the grandfather. It's not nice to say but I felt no sorrow at the Grampa's funeral episode.
    I'm defo not the person cut out to be a mother of a lot of children. I love quiet so much that I treasure it over money, fancy lifestyle, parties, etc. When I'm in a noisy environment, my health fails in 3,2,1... I especially cannot handle the loud and absolutely pointless nya nya nya nya nya noises some children make. I have hyperacusis, I can hear a hair hit the ground, loud noises make me literally sick to my stomach and cry.
    But it works for them, fine. Works for you, fine. But I was outraged and honestly?! disgusted at the comment good grampa made on his own grandchildren. I am not a relative but I think those children are beautiful. The little ones look like angels. And there comes grandpa practically saying: most of them should not be existing. I failed to feel any kind of human feelings towards him after that.
    You and your husband raise your children well and provide for them, cater to their needs. As long as the children are taken care of, clean, healthy, well raised, etc, I don't say a word. Most people though, they have kids without wanting to provide for them, leeching off of other people, keep having 8-9 kids without wanting to provide them without "welfare" and other forms of theft while they could do simple jobs and make money, refusing to keep a garden to grow food, showing any signs of effort to actually being a provider. Mothers stay at home doing nothing but surfing online the entire day, their house looks like a tornado stricken area sticking with dirt. They put the kids in front of the tv, collect welfare, and surf online in pajamas. Now then... then I do raise my eyebrows but of course, I'm not allowed to say a thing about their attitude because they think that just the fact that they gave birth makes them a good mother that deserve to be fed by the government along with their husbands who also refuse to take "low" jobs. I see such people as parasites. They do not prosper, they just multiply, breed per se at the expense of people who actually work. And they think that after a certain number of children their job is done, they are out, they'll grow up somehow, right, so they can kick back and enjoy their welfare. I find it to be an extremely parasitic attitude and they pass it on to their large number of kids so they will do the same, being on easy street by just multiplying AND doing nothing but boozing and surfing online.
    It's a bit long-winded but thanks for letting me have my say. I have nothing against large families like yours, on the contrary. It is the people who think they are some sort of 35 year-old babies that should be fed by the government along with their large brood that bother me.

    1. I am 100% against any government welfare programs. If people weren't taxed to high heaven to support such programs, they might actually be in a position to help the unfortunate through private, local charitable donations, as has been the case in the past.

    2. Government programs don't exist to help the "less fortunate" as non-working, non-parenting, non-gardening, non-cooking birth mothers claim it to be. A scratch of it goes to feed lazy people. The ones who really, really need and deserve help are always helped out by their neighbors, town folks, even strangers. I totally believe in helping the ones that are going through tough times. But when I see welfare mothers spending their money on expensive nail paint, gadgets, branded items and they won't take a job that's "below their education"... I'm honestly sick. The best part is when these people say that a.) the government spends money on much worse things (which is true) then, in their next sentence they contradict themselves by ridiculing "government programs" such as climate cooling via chemtrails, funding well equipped FEMA camps, modifying food, poisoning tap water, HAARP, etc. I don't even want to get into this subject now, there will be plenty occasions on this blog, I'm certain. Point is: no. Not a penny from my money, either on do-nothing-all-day parents and government mischiefs. NO. Instead of painting their nails in pajamas all day, they should show some efforts in providing for their families. Have a nice day.


      First, not much of our taxes actually goes to welfare programs. . . second, where do you get your information about charitable donations being enough to support poor folks in the past??? In the past we helped people? We didn't have crowded tenement buildings filled with starving children? We didn't have women working in horrid factories trying to support their babies because their husbands died? We didn't have people treating folks of another race like slaves (oh shoot, they were slaves, that's right. Sure lots of church folks and other folks help people and help a lot! A lot of people donate lots of money to help, but it really is not enough. It wasn't in the past and it isn't enough now.

    4. Ooh, someone went into defense move already. Actually... most lazy people that I saw were absolutely and perfectly white. Not of color. Living in suburban areas with a garden - a rather dirty, unused garden. Dirty house, dirty garden, dirty kids. If your husband dies, it's your job to support your kids, anon 2. It is really unnecessary to bring up the race and slave issues - they don't have anything to do with non-caring stay at home lazies that buy branded nail polish and other undeserved and unnecessary stuff instead of planting food out there. How do you find the time to surf online anyway? How do you find the money to have internet connection at home? Just do people a favor and on facebook, instead of adding jobs like "etsy shop owner" and other obvious made up job titles... just be honest and say that you are not willing to work for money and take care of your kids either. PS: wash your hair.

    5. I was responding to the assertion that churches and charitable organizations helped people in the past, and using slavery as one very obvious indicator that that is a false assertion. And I never said that any color of people is less/more likely to be lazy. I agree that it is a parent's responsibility to take care of their kids. I am also aware that having a job is not always enough to care for kids, no matter how much you cut back. Also, I have a job (a good one, actually TWO jobs, and I have the internet because I have enough money to do so responsibly. Last year, I had four jobs in order to not need public assistance, but I still whole-heatedly believe we need those government programs. I also am proud to may taxes, because I know I am giving back to the country which gave me so much. Also, I don't have kids. Good job profiling people!!! Not everyone is as lucky/blessed as you. Not everyone is as lucky/blessed as me. One last thing . . . I am just as pissed as you that a lot of folks abuse the welfare system. . it needs to be changed, maybe, but not obliterated.

    6. Yes, there are some people who abuse the system you are right. The it isn't their kids fault. Why cut out welfare when the only people who will suffer are innocent kids. I also want to say that I have known several people on welfare and they all used it to supplement what income they were receiving from working. People go through hard times sometimes, just think, that could be you or one of your children someday.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving to your family! Thanks for taking the time to write this blog and the good reminder to enjoy our children. Good sermon, too!

  9. This isnt a hateful comment (at least i'm not intending it to be) But is it wrong to NOT celebrate the actual holiday Thanksgiving because of the historical massacres of native americans associated with it? Even if they were still thankful to God for what he has done for them, but just choose not to celebrate the american holiday of thanksgiving for the reasons I just stated.

  10. I hope Faithful Word is not a church only for the strong and ablebodied, because sometimes it comes across as such. In our church we have lots of old, sick and disabled people and also people with mental health issues. There is one particular couple which has psychiatric issues for more than a decade. They met each other in psychiatry many years ago, fell in love there and decided to marry. They are out of psychiatry now and have their own flat, however, they still need to take medication and also are unable to work in a normal job, instead they work in a special program set up for mental health patients. They are regular church attenders and very sweet in general. They don't have children and I have never asked them why, because the answer would be very obvious to me: they are unable to take care of children considering their state of mental health. They can't cope with stress very well, are easily exhausted and also need to regularly check into the clinic for examinations etc. They can't really provide financially for themselves, let alone for a child.

    Should they have married under such circumstances? Good question. What I see is that they are a great help and support to each other and would be far worse off alone. I see Gods grace working in their lifes, despite their problems. In our congregation we love and support them as much as we can. Would you do that at Faithful Word or would you burden them with the law and point at their insufficiency to meet it? Personally I am glad that I have a pastor who does not get tired to make it the center of his sermons that we are all miserable sinners, desperately in need for a saviour.

  11. Did you ever think that maybe Grandpa Duggar had a reason why he thought having as many children as the Duggars is a bad idea? I truly doubt that having 19 children allows parents to give them the individual attention and care they need. Of course, they get fed and clothed, but children have emotional needs too. And while I think that children should have their fair share of chores, I think it's irresponsible to put teenagers in charge of raising their siblings. Now with the reality TV show and all the books they write, I highly doubt Michelle Duggar has enough time to care for all of her minor children. Look, I'm not saying that there aren't worse parents than the Duggar. There are plenty. But I'm convinced the Duggars aren't the great role models everyone makes them out to be. There just aren't enough hours in a day to properly care for so many children, especially if you have a job, a reality show and other obligations to fulfill. Love can multiply, money can, but time simply doesn't.

  12. Having as many babies as you can is all fine and good for you and that is your conviction but to try to say it is gospel and force it on others is wrong. I take anti-seizure medication. I have to go off this medication to have babies because it causes severe birth defects or even fetal demise. I have to have my mother or one of my sisters stay with me during the day while my husband is at work during pregnancy to make sure that if I have a seizure I don't seriously injure myself and my unborn child. I cannot drive at all during pregnancy. I would like to have more than two children but it's just not medically feasible for me to do so. I "mutilated" my body for my own safety and really for the safety of the children I have.

  13. Please try to keep in mind when you see a family with no or few children, that may not be by choice! I enjoy your blog but at times I am uncomfortable with the assumptions you seem to sometimes make that all women with few children chose that. I have one child and I was very blessed to be able to have even one due to medical reasons - my family isn't this small by choice, but I am very, very thankful for the one I have! Hope you all have a good thanksgiving.

    1. Same here. 11 years ago, having my son almost killed me (very bad complications after pre-eclampsia). Despite this and after much thought, we decided after a few years we would like to have another child. I then dealt with secondary infertility. Our daughter, born almost exactly 10 years after her brother, was a very unexpected blessing after years of trying and more years of having given up hope. Now I am older, and it's doubtful we'll have another baby. But I'm exceedingly grateful for the ones we do have.

  14. Nothing to add... other than that I agree completely! Thank you!

  15. I would never accept the gift of a mansion because of the responsibility that comes with it. In fact, I inherited my grandmother's house when she died. It's not a mansion, but it is a beautiful house in the historical district of a nice city. It has been a huge responsibility and I am in the process of trying to sell it because I do not want the responsibility. Same with having a large family. Children are a huge responsibility, and the four beautiful children I have now are my limit. This was not a decision my husband and I made lightly; it was well-thought out and planned. I have a need for order and have a low tolerance for noise and messes; therefore I am a BETTER mom to fewer children than I would be to more. I worked as a teacher's assistant before and found that I did not enjoy being around so many children at once. It was overwhelming to me. Finances are another big consideration. My husband and I also want the children we do have to be able to participate in sports, music lessons, and other extracurricula activities. All these things cost money. I want all my children to be able to go to college without getting in debt through college loans, therefore we have been saving since each of their births for college. My husband makes good money, and the house we have now is perfect for our family size. If we had another baby, we would need a bigger house, but really can't afford to move. These reasons are not self-serving. It is what is best for our family. If you can handle the noise level and responsibility and have the financial resources to support a large family, more power to you! But the lifestyle you chose is not the best for everyone.

    1. With all due respect, you are making excuses not to trust in God's wisdom over your own. "Well-though-out" justifications for sin are still justifications for sin. You were blessed with a big, lovely house, but sought to get rid of it. To whom much is given, much is expected...but you're burying your talents in the ground instead of investing them. Remember: when the master returned, the servant who had done so was chastised for his foolishness.

      I, too, have four children, and I agree, they ARE a huge responsibility. I'm an only child, and I value my peace and quiet, as well as my time alone. Being a stay-at-home-mom who homeschools, my patience is daily put to the test, but BECAUSE of that, I have GROWN in patience and understanding, gentleness and caring, and I'm better able to handle other children as well.

      You see, God never gives His children more than they can handle. That means that if you get pregnant with a fifth child, He KNOWS you can handle it, BY HIS GRACE. He will give you everything you NEED to handle it. You might not get to live as comfortably as you did before, and you might have to sacrifice some of the things you like or want, but the Lord will ALWAYS look after His people.

      Sports, music lessons, and other extracurricular activities are NOT the most important things in life. They are not essential to living. Of your four children (at the time you wrote this, admittedly 2 years ago), which one of them would you give up so you could go skiing? Or on a vacation? Or to have the others take piano lessons? Any of them? You've essentially decided that for your fifth: that he or she is less important than an activity the others will do for a few hours a week.

      Your reasons ARE self-serving. YOU have decided what is "best for [your] family" instead of leaving that decision to GOD. The lifestyle that the original author chose was a God-ordained, God-centered it IS the best for everyone.

      I don't say all of this to upset you or attack you, but as a gentle admonition in the Lord. Iron sharpens iron, after all. God bless you and yours as you follow His word.

  16. I would love to have 10 children or so, but we simply don't have the financial means to do so and to raise them properly and adequately. That is why we are exercising our God-given wisdom to assess our financial and living situation and say that no, we will not continue to bring forth children we cannot properly care for.

    1. With all due respect, God takes care of His own. If God has decided to bless you with more children, He will also bless you with a way to take care of them. Even if God didn't provide one or both of you with raises or new, higher paying jobs, chances are you could adjust to feed another mouth by cutting out unnecessary expenses like cable or internet, or just budgeting more wisely. Please do not hide behind worldly wisdom to justify your lack of faith. I am not saying this to be mean or rude, but as a gentle admonition from one sister in Christ to another.

  17. anonymous November 24--why are you telling someone PS: Go Wash Your Hair? What kind of an immature and mean person are you? you sound like the defensive-and sarcastic one-to me!! you should be very ashamed!! :(


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