Well of course the answer is eleven! I’m just kidding. But trust me, when you have eleven kids, you get some variation of this question a lot. Actually, to be more accurate, we got that question a lot when we were having our sixth, seventh, and eighth child. When we took the jump to eleven, I think people were either too shocked or too scared to ask us anything about numbers for fear of the answer! But seriously, the idea of how many kids and why we decided to have so many, is a real question for many parents and “hope to be” parents. So how do you go about answering a question like that?
It’s funny, because for us we always say, start with prayer. In other words, I mean, literally ask the Lord, “God, how many kids would you have for us?” Virtually any time we’ve given that advice, the response has been, “But how is God going to answer that question?” Here’s the thing… we ask the question… then we leave the answering part up to God. Of course we have to have our eyes and ears and, more importantly, our hearts open for how He might answer… through something you read… through a parent… through a friend… through each other.
Please hear this! WE DO NOT THINK EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE 11 KIDS! Some of you just let out a sigh of relief. Seriously, we think that is a decision between you and the Lord. In fact, we recently interviewed our friends Christopher and Suzanne Williams on our Parenting with Truth and Grace podcast. They are an amazing couple with one child. You’ll appreciate their story and why they’ve decided to maybe only ever have one child. Check out their PODCAST HERE.
One thing I should explain, we were heavily influenced by a few experiences we had as young parents. The first were these conversations we had with multiple couples that were fifteen or so years ahead of us in life. Many of them had two children. They said when they were young parents everyone just had two children and a vasectomy. No one asked, no one talked about it, no one prayed about it, it was just what you did. Now their kids were graduating from high school and they were entering the empty nest stage and thinking, “I wish we had a couple more kids!”
Around the same time we had several friends that lived the “open womb”. In other words, they believed children are a gift from the Lord and God opens and closes the womb. Certainly that is a legitimate belief. They felt that if God wanted them to have more kids, then they’d get pregnant and if He didn’t, then they wouldn’t. It’s truly living by faith.
We landed somewhere in between. We felt like God should be part of the decision, hence the prayer. But we also felt like God gave man wisdom to be able to control birth if it seemed the wisest choice. We’re almost too embarrassed to tell you this next part of our journey. We took a Natural Planning Class as a young couple. If you don’t know what that is, it’s teaching couples the natural rhythm of a women’s body. If you use it properly, you can tell when a woman is more likely or less likely to get pregnant. We had several kids after taking that class… which all of our friends had a great time making fun of us. The assumption of course was the class didn’t work. Our standard come back was, the information was fine, in every case it was user failure. (We’ll just leave that right there)
So, as you consider your own family, our number one counsel to you is to pray. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom. Not just wisdom in considering your current situation, because things are going to change. But wisdom to consider, like our friends, fifteen years down the road and what might be the desires of your heart then. Children are a gift from the Lord. Choosing to have more… or choosing to stop… isn’t a decision to be taken flippantly. Take it to the Lord in prayer and just see what He might have to say.
And we’d love for you to check out our interview with Christopher and Suzanne Williams. Christopher Williams is a professional musician (ChristopherW.com) and Suzanne does ministry with kids with special needs. Here is a link to listen to their interview – PWTG Episode 007. Remember if you SUBSCRIBE to the podcast, then each week you will automatically receive the newest episode. Thanks for being a part of the Axis Ministries Family.