She went into the bathroom. She very quickly took the pregnancy test out of the wrapper. She re-read the directions for the 87th time. She took the test.
Setting it up on the counter, she set a timer on her phone so she wouldn’t be tempted to even peek before the three minutes were up.
When the timer went off, she whispered a quick prayer. “Lord, may your will be done” and looked at the test.
How many kids are you going to have? How soon?
This has to be one of the most asked questions to married and engaged couples.
Some couples agree 100% on number and timing. Some couples have a long way to go to get to some kind of agreement. And some couples change their minds even as they are having children.
I absolutely believe the answer to this question should neither be a number nor a time frame.
It should not be “4 kids in about 5 years” (which, I will admit, was my answer for a very long time.)
So what should the answer be?
The answer should be something you’ve taken the time to pray about individually and as a couple.
It should involve research on family planning models and what the treatments are really doing to your body and the body of any potential children created, as well as what the Bible has to say about family planning.
It should take into consideration how you would like to handle possible infertility issues, health of the mother, and what kind of parents God is calling you to be.
And most importantly, it should come with the realization that God is in control of the situation, the number and the timing. There absolutely has to be a God-factor in having children or procedures like IVF would work every single time without fail. And that’s simply not the case.
[I talk about some of these things in this post, which is one of my favorites.]
Are you curious about what my answer is to this question is now?
We would love to have a big family and we look forward to how God will bless and when.
Sounds pretty good right? No number, no timing. So I got it right, right?
The part about this that I’m learning about right now is the “we’d love to have a big family” part. This is a completely true and honest statement, and because this is a true desire of my heart, I don’t think it’s sinful one little bit to be talking to God about it.
And I’m certainly not saying in any way that ALL moms are called to be moms of a ‘big family’. [And here’s a great post on family size that I really liked.] That’s certainly possible and likely. I think Michelle Duggar is an amazingly patient woman with 19 children. I can’t imagine 19 children. If that’s how God chose to bless me, I would learn a lot more about grace and patience. Some people though are called to be moms of 1 or 2 or 3. Those are great numbers. What I’m saying is: take the time to talk to God about it, and not for His stamp of approval on your already determined number. Ask for His will on your number of children.
But this desire has been in my heart for some time. And even back in pre-marriage counseling when I wondered if we’d EVER have a baby, my husband and I talked about this desire. And we know that outside of biological birth, there are MANY ways that our family could be large; that if God has put this desire in us, He will bring it out in glorious ways, bigger than we can ask or imagine. And it is our job to boldly proclaim the Gospel to all of the children in our influence to increase the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.
So armed with the knowledge (and probably some fear), I thought we’d have to wait a while to have babies. I mean, who just gets pregnant without having to “try” for at least a while, right?
Us. That’s who.
And not once. Nope.
So here I am thinking my dreams of having a big family meant I’d be rolling one off of the assembly line every two years for the next 20 years of my fertility and I’m PSYCHED about that. I love that idea. My heart gushes thinking about it.
We aren’t pregnant. We fully believe that God will bless us with a baby in His good and perfect timing. We’re praying about it and (trying) not worrying about it.
This time, it’s just different. My daughter and son (3 yrs, 16 mos, respectively) are both asking about babies. And as I started choking up, wondering where my next baby was, and how long would I have to wait, I felt a peace fill me.
Are you happy with your two?
What? Am I happy with my two? Of course. I’m full of love and growth in ways that I could never possibly describe. I praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s interpretations of the groans my heart cannot put into words for these babies who bring me so much joy, frustration, exhaustion, beauty, tenacity, and grace.
Can you learn to be happy – forever – with just your two?
You mean, like, if these are the only two I get, forever? But God, I WANT a big family. I think I’d be an awesome mom to a house crawling with chaos and mess and kids every where.
That desire in your heart is so beautiful. And there is a reason for it. You know I will give you the children, even if you don’t give birth to them. There are children who need your love.
So you want me to just savor my two? And enjoy this time? And pray for what is truly my hearts desire and at the same time get filled with immense joy over the blessings I have and how I’m being shaped by knowing and raising them?
I am reminded of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They are the exiled children of Israel, living in Babylon. The Babylonian king has just issued an edict that anyone who will not bow down to the idol he has just built will be thrown into the fiery furnace. And these three men refuse.
As the king prepares to throw them into his fiery furnace, which he has heated 7x hotter than normal because he’s so angry with their subordination, the response these three men give is just an amazingly beautiful professional of faith:
“Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” -Daniel 3:16-18 MSG, emphasis mine. (I recommend reading the whole chapter here.)
How does this relate? I pray that my desire for a family will not become an idol that I bow down to. Also, I know that the God that I serve can rescue (read: bless) me with children. And I choose to right now, to proclaim that even if He doesn’t, it won’t make one bit of difference. I will still serve Him and praise His holy name.
And the girl who thought she’d raise a huge family (and Lord-willing still will)? I had to let go of the non-number and state, believe, and remind myself every. single. day that if I believe with all my heart that God will give me my kids in His perfect timing and His ordained number, that I can be, no, I am just as happy with my two as I think I could be with 12.
I invite you join me in praying about how God will grow our families and that we would be bold enough to put our trust for His plan and timing. I would love for you to leave your prayers in the comments, as encouragement to each other on our journeys.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of my children. I thank you that you entrusted them to my care, to raise them to know You and follow after You. The desire of my heart if to be a mom, and to love on the babies You give me to love on. I would love to have a house full of children. I would love even more to be in Your will for my family. Remind my heart that You have a plan for my family size. I look forward to seeing what that plan is. As that plan unfolds, remind my heart also to be content in the blessings you have given me right now. And that You are ALWAYS enough. I pray this in the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
Also, check out some more really cool news. This is for tomorrow, Friday October 10!: