Everette and I met and were married within 5.5 mths. Two weeks after our wedding night we conceived Layne. It hadn't been in our plans, but we were excited. Seventeen & half mths later Rauchelle was born. Four months later I conceived again but that ended in our first miscarriage (m/c). It seemed obvious to us that if we didn't pursue something stronger than the mini-pill and condoms/spermicide, we'd be multiplying like rabbits. We didn't like the idea of long-term pharmaceuticals.
Our pastor had pre-maritally suggested we not have children for at least 2 years into our marriage so we could really get to know one another. We obviously hadn't followed that plan (well, we had intended on waiting 4 years, but we started out differently than we had anticipated. And its turned out fantastic!) Now as parents of 2 dd's and a recent m/c, we sought 'spiritual counsel' from other married couples in the church, and they each suggested that "the guy should get a vasectomy because the wife's already been through enough with the pregnancies and deliveries." We also heard that "women will always have that nurturing desire/urge to have more babies" and "God gave you a brain and He expects you to use it", and "You are supposed to be good stewards."
So, we dutifully went ahead and Everette had a quick and free vasectomy.
At first we thought it was like a new-found freedom. We no longer worried about getting pregnant, and didn't have to bother with paraphernalia. We had the 'perfect little family' of two girls close in age. What could be better?
After a few years I started to regret the vasectomy, and the self-inflicted infertility that we had brought to our marriage. I started to question the reasons why we had decided to limit our family size, and basically it came down to an underlying issue of FEAR and SELFISHNESS. Fear of the future, of the ability to provide physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally for more children. Fear of the state of the world we'd be bringing more children into. Selfishness concerning sleep, personal time, self-development, ministry involvement.
We never searched the Scriptures to see if what so-and-so said was true (Acts 17:11) which was a big mistake of ours. Although we had both grown up in the church and knew that children were considered blessings according to Psalm 127, we didn't consider that limiting our family size might be a form of rejecting what God considered a blessing. And honestly, we didn't seek God's will in the decision.
It was through God bringing particular people, books, teachings and events into our lives that He began to speak clearly to my heart. I realized that I had rejected His perfect plan for the Christian marriage which I believe is to enjoy the marriage bed AND ... "Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth." (Malachi 2:15)
Yes, I know that Malachi is saying that He wants godly offspring and it can be argued that we would have more time to devote to achieving godly offspring if we had fewer children, but a major element about all of life and the stuff (ie. ministry) that we do is that we predominantly do it in our own strength vs abiding in Him (that's a whole other post!)
Anyways, from Scripture it's very clear that God likes children, He calls them a blessing, He even calls grandchildren (which you can't have unless you've had some children somehow) "a crown to the aged" Prov 17:6
Throughout the Old & New Testaments I repeatedly find that God is a God of fruitfulness and multiplication, and ever since the Garden of Eden He's been wanting His people to be blessed likewise.....Be fruitful and multiply.
Throughout Deuteronomy but particularly in chapter 28 I find clear descriptions of what He says are Blessings, and the things that He calls Curses. Verses 4 & 11 both talk about being fruitful in the womb. Verse 11 actually says "The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb". What? Abundant prosperity?? Doesn't our mindset say that the fruit of the womb will suck our bank accounts dry? I've heard that until each of our children are 18yo he/she will cost us something like US$250,000?
On the other hand, if "you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:....v18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed". Other books in the Old Testament talk of times that God said He closed the wombs because of judgment. A closed womb was never considered a desirable thing, until recent history. That isn't because God changed His view on the womb and children, but because society has changed its view on His blessings.
When I read the whole 28th chapter of Deut, I find that the fruit of the womb is about the only thing mentioned as a blessing that in today's society we choose to limit or even resist. Okay, maybe I wouldn't desire a herd of cattle, but considering that they were a great source of income as was olive oil, I'd gladly accept an abundance of that! I wouldn't want to limit or reject anything that God says is desirable!! The blessings are because the LORD wants to grant us abundant prosperity.
I started to get grossed out thinking about what we had actually done to Everette's body, that had once been working wonderfully according to God's plan (but not ours). When I researched about vasectomies and found out what undo stress it places on the man's body (because fluids that were meant to be kept within the vas deferens now went into the body cavity and were seen as invaders), I was anxious for Everette to have a reversal, even if we never had more children. I wanted his body to be working the way it was designed.
There were many issues we had to work out in our individual lives, and hash over as a couple. Months after I was convicted that we hadn't trusted God fully, Everette came to his own realization. Honestly, I did hope to have more children, but Everette didn't particularly desire more. He was content with the 2 we had, and really the sole purpose that he pursued a reversal was to make right what he had done out of lack-of-faith. He felt it was necessary for him to pay restitution for his sin.
It was 6.5 yrs since he'd had a vasectomy, and once we found the right surgeon to do the operation, they wanted to check his level of sperm-antibodies before agreeing to the surgery (lower antibodies supposedly equals greater chance of successful outcome meaning pregnancy). But even before we got the blood test results back Everette decided that it had nothing to do with the possibility of conception, but being made clean before the Lord. It was within our means to have a reversal (free snips for the vas, but thousands of dollars to get it reversed!! Oh, and its a lie (from the pit of hell) that a guy gets 'fixed' when he gets a vasectomy! He's gotten broken.)
We anxiously awaited the surgery date, which was February 16th, 2 days after we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Everette felt like he was awaiting a big spanking.....while I anticipated receiving more children from the hand of God. But both of us felt utter peace...unexplainable peace...during the time immediately around the surgery. That peace has remained all these years as long as we keep abiding in Him, and don't get our eyes onto our own limitations.
Absolutely amazing to me was that the first cycle I had after Everette was 'back to normal', we conceived Danaka. That was a miracle. It is normal to conceive between 3-12 months after the reversal.
So for those that don't know each of our children and their spacing, here's a list of the of the girls and boys and the years they were born.
I've often thought about writing out what my QF (quiverful) philosophy is, and so I've given it a try. Hope it makes sense. It is part philosophy, but mostly our journey. A journey in growing in our faith in a good God who has abundance for us. Abundance in ALL things that are good.
**Now, a common misconception (no pun intended) is that quiverful is equal to having lots of children. That just is not true. Quiverful is more of a mindset rather than a particular look. One can be quiverful with 1,5,8 or 20 children. The goal is not 'more is better'. It's a trust that God has a perfect family size and spacing for each married couple, and we won't end up with too many nor too few by not using contraceptives.
***Stupid Comments and Smart Come-backs
Question for You: If you have a larger-than-average family size, what are some of the stupidest questions you've been asked?
NOTE: As of July 2011 neither my dh nor I attest to be QF-minded. We have gone through a few years of questioning our religious beliefs, which have made us re-evaluate our QF beliefs. I no longer stand by what I wrote above.