Author: April Witkowski
How do you decide when or if to have children? If you have a child, how do you decide whether or not to have more?
It’s a basic question. If you are young and married I’m sure people ask you some form of a child question on a regular basis. It might be asked by family members, friends at church or a stranger in Wal-mart. People are curious about this basic idea of family and everyone has their version of an opinion.
So is it really just a question that each couple comes to an answer on their own? Are there guidelines to help us? Wisdom that culture provides that must not be disputed?
It seems the prevailing advise I hear around has to do with being “prepared.” “Don’t have kids right away, enjoy just being married first.” “Save up some money and buy a house, car, etc. before bringing children into the picture.” “Parenting is hard work, make sure you are ready for it!” And then there are the awful stories told designed to scare mostly women of the horrors of childbirth and motherhood.
On top of the prevailing wisdom of our time, we have our own internal thoughts about the subject of family planning. I will speak only to the woman side of things since I understand that better. We like to think. And we have a host of ideas about whether we are willing to risk our bodies for the sake of bringing one or more babies into the world. What about the weight gain, the labor pain, the postpartum depression? What about my job? What if I’m a terrible mother? The list goes on.
I get it! I’ve thought through many of these angles.
Why have children? I mean, really, why? Is there a way to know?
Let me ask you a question… Have you ever prayed about whether or not to have kids? Have you ever opened your Bible to help you make this decision?
3 Questions To Consider
1. Are we willing to submit to God and His will for our life, and not be selfish?
Most of the reasons we have for delaying or not having children are ultimately selfish. And most of that comes from the fact that we aren’t interested in asking God about the decision before we make it. It’s all about heart attitudes.
I committed my life to the Lord Jesus Christ over two decades ago. I’m still finding sin in my life that needs to be repented of. I’m not perfect so I know I need to continually submit myself to the Lordship of Christ. It is through the Bible that we grow in knowledge about God. So for any and all life decisions I need to first and foremost look to His Word to guide me.
I don’t think the Bible says you should have as many children as you can possibly have. The more children you have does not mean the holier you are. But the Bible does have a lot to say about what our families should be like.
Are we willing to look to the Bible for answers and obey them if we find them?
2. Are we going to value what God values? He loves children.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. – Genesis 1:28
Ok, so whether you think this command to be fruitful and multiply is still in effect or not, you at least have to agree that God values children. The next generation is always important to Him.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5
Some people say we don’t need a lot of kids today because we aren’t farming and need the extra help that seven plus children bring. But I don’t see where farming or any economic incentive has a place here. God just says children are a blessing, i.e. kids are good. Period.
but Jesus said,
Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. – Matthew 19:14-15
Jesus took time to hug on children. When others thought they were a bother, He took time out of His schedule to talk to them. If Jesus made it a point to teach His disciples the importance of children, then shouldn’t His followers today make it a point to be known for loving children?
Search the Bible and see that children are always equated with blessings and good things. Maybe the smartest most mature decision isn’t to “wait of few years” to have kids after all. But you search the scriptures and decide.
3. Are we committed to trusting God to provide for all our needs (physical, financial, emotional)?
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. – Genesis 3:16
The physical demands of pregnancy and motherhood are real and ugly. They have to be because they are cursed. Cursed things are not all nice and rosy. But God has promised to provide grace to believing women who have children.
Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. – 1 Timothy 2:15
Here Paul writes that Christian women will be “saved” or delivered from the curse of childbirth. Is it hard? Yes, definitely yes. But God has not forgotten women. He walks with His daughters through the pain. So as we continue in the faith (and love and holiness with self-control) God helps us endure labor and delivery. He is with us through the depression and weight struggles. We can trust our awesome God and not let fear talk us out of having children.
We are on a take-a-calculator-to-the-grocery-store-and-put-something-back kinda budget. So believe me when I say I know children take a toll on your income. Children cost money. But Proverbs 10:3 says,
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry.
And you know what? We haven’t gone without food yet! Things are tight but God continues to provide for all our needs. God knows we only have one income and we still need to buy diapers.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:31-33
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children – Titus 2:4
I think the fact that Paul tells older women to train younger women to love their husbands and children means that sometimes they don’t! Sometimes you don’t feel like being a wife and mom and loving your family. Does it help you to realize that the Bible addresses that? It does for me. God knows that motherhood is emotionally taxing. He hasn’t called us to the great task of motherhood to preform some cold duty. His word provides the answers to having joy in the midst of potty training! God even realizes the importance of “girl time” since He says that these older ladies should be coming by to talk to these younger ladies. He knows what we need. Look to His Word and trust God to provide for your emotional needs too.
I don’t know what size family each should have. I don’t think the Bible gives a number or a timetable. But the Bible does give us knowledge about God, wisdom about life and principles to guide us. Will you commit yourself to God and obey what He shows you in His Word?