On Jim’s 45th birthday I surprised the whole family (including Jim) by announcing I was pregnant with our eighth child. Thinking everyone would be excited, I was totally shocked when Allison and Bethany, 15 and 13 at the time, burst into tears and ran out of the room. We discovered they felt ready to be done with car seats, strollers, and the limiting schedules of babies so we would have the freedom of friends who came from smaller families. Now we all laugh at their response since none of us can imagine life without James.
Like all of our children, James is unique. He is artistic, creative, perceptive, a thinker, and a leader. From a very young age he declared he wants to be a movie director. As an eighteen-year-old, he already has his own production company and is honing his skills in videography and photography. He is also very passionate about God. We look forward to seeing all God will do in and through his life and believe he will be used, along with others, to influence the kingdom of God and the seven mountains of influence in society.
Unfortunately, many world-changers like James have not been born because the lies of the enemy have taken root in society regarding children. We have been led to believe that children are a hindrance, burden, and liability, instead of the blessing, reward, and gift God declares them to be (Psalm 127: 3-5.) The Planned Parenthood philosophy is so entrenched in society that large families have quickly become a thing of the past. Our fertility is viewed as something to be feared and stopped instead of an awesome privilege and opportunity by which we can partner with God in the creation of new life.
By prematurely closing our wombs, we have unknowingly suffered much loss. Many of the people God used in past revivals were later-born children: Charles Finney (the great evangelist of the 19th century) was a seventh-born child; John and Charles Wesley (influential revivalists of the 18th century) were the 14th and 17th children (!) of Suzanna Wesley; Jonathan Edwards (influential in America’s First Great Awakening) was the 11th of 11 children. Think how the purposes of God would have been thwarted in the earth had their parents believed the current view of children!
Do I share this because I think everyone should have eight children? No. Jim and I together had faith to receive more of God’s blessing, but not everyone feels led to do so or is even able to do so. (My parents were only blessed with two children in 65 years of marriage even though they wanted a large family.) What is my motive? My goal is to open our eyes to see how much we have unthinkingly embraced the world’s viewpoint on this topic, even in the midst of wholeheartedly seeking God.
It’s risky writing about issues such as this as it can seem uncaring and insensitive. How can Jim and I talk about the blessing of family and marriage when almost 50% of people have experienced divorce? How can I write about the blessing of children when many have suffered the pain of a miscarriage or have been unable to conceive? Or, what about those who unwittingly chose to close their wombs after two children and now regret that decision? Or, the women who have walked through the pain, tragedy, and deep sorrow of an abortion experience? Wouldn’t it be best to keep silent on this issue? That would be as absurd as saying we can’t talk about healing because so many people are sick. Instead, we need to proclaim the truth about God’s desire and ability to heal because that gives people hope. Similarly, in a world where the foundations have been destroyed (Psalm 11:3), it is needful that we talk about God’s truth in every arena. That means declaring that God is the one who can open wombs, heal broken hearts, and forgive past sin. It also means confronting the enemy’s lies and upholding the truth that children are a great blessing.
One of the most common unsolicited comments we have received from older women is that they wish they would have had more children. In a season when they felt totally overwhelmed with the children they already had, they made a choice they now regret. In moments of self-reflection, they wish they had made a different decision. Again, one of the best gifts the older generation can give the next generation is to be honest about their mistakes.
Having James is one of the best things we have ever done. Our lives and the world are a better place because of it. (The same is true of the children God has given you, whether those children were planned or unplanned.) That is one of the reasons I keep writing: may many, many more children like James be born into the world as God’s truth about children goes forth.
I am for you, not against you!
PS: Pictured above are our eight children. They are worth every night of disrupted sleep they caused us, the 300+ pounds I gained in my pregnancies, the frequent feelings of inadequacy I had in raising them, the days I felt stretched to my limits, and the clutter and noise with which they filled our home. They are our greatest treasure and joy, and in them we discovered part of God’s true riches. Each one is a special gift from God for which we are eternally grateful.