I guess a better title might be “The Danger of *saying* you’re trusting God.” Or maybe just, “We’re trusting God too.”
Barbara at Mommy Life is working on an article about Evangelicals (basically non-Catholics) who have given up birth control and are trusting God for their family size. She acknowledged “full-quiver” (having as many children as you can?) isn’t exactly what she’s trying to talk about.
The comments are full of personal stories, some quite inspiring, and (though I haven’t finished going through all of them) thankfully free of calls to sameness or the implication that all Christians are called to this type of obedience.
Jay and I haven’t felt called to this type of “openness to life.” We’ve felt peace about three biological children being the appropriate number for my body, and expect that to tie into plans God is giving us for when they are older.
My difficulty with this (and the reason for this post) is– you guessed it– the language.
There is no way (I have yet found) for a couple to express their calling to a large family (or whatever number they’re given, free of the plans of men) without somewhere, in some way, saying they’re “trusting God.” The unfortunate opposite of that is, of course, implying not trusting God.
I believe that couples (assuming they have sought God rather than only their own plans) can still be “trusting God” when they use contraceptives.
I feel very strongly that there are very few medical (or conscionable) reasons to use hormonal birth control or IUDs. There is enough question–some will say proof– about their abortifacient nature that I don’t think a pro-lifer should use them without careful consideration.
That said, I do believe there are contraceptive methods that are quite acceptable choices for believers.
I think of it as a stewardship issue, and compare trusting God for your family size to trusting God for your family finances.
Some people, frequently those in some type of ministry, are called to rely utterly on God (usually through the generosity of fellow believers) for their physical needs. These people have the thrill of seeing God’s promises in action.
As a teenager I got to see this in my own family when my father returned to school and our family lived on my mother’s part-time job(s). It was exciting to watch God provide again and again. Absolutely faith-building, and I’m glad to have had the experience.
I am also very thankful today to be married to a professional, educated, wage-earning man.
We are still trusting God to provide for our needs. Currently, God is providing what we need through Jay’s regular paychecks. Our role is (for Jay) to keep working faithfully and with excellence, and (for both of us) to use wisdom in the choices we make concerning how it is spent.
In the same way, we feel God has blessed our family with three children, and that three is His fullness at this time. (It is actually one less than we had “planned” when we were engaged.)
We now make choices that amount to stewardship of our bodies, in the same way that we make choices about the money God has given us. I suppose we could be giving away all our money ( “to the Lord’s work,” of course) and letting God supply all our needs without Jay’s paycheck.
That would look really spiritual and godly (and might take more faith than I have just now), but we don’t feel God is calling us to that type of a lifestyle.
Any of the reasons to deny that lifestyle could be construed as selfish, just as any reasons we may give to “stop” having children. But we aren’t supposed to let appearances change our minds and shake our faith when we rub up against the world. Should we let appearances cow us when we rub against believers who see things differently?
Naturally these questions pre-suppose you’ve sought God, and aren’t relying only on your own feelings and preferences. But even so, I’ve noticed that God is remarkably gentle when it comes to my feelings and preferences. He did design me, after all, and put in me the personality I was born with.
The point is, obedience may look different for each of us.
Even as we have reached the stage of “limiting” rather than “spacing” (as the Catholic CCL terminology puts it), we are confident that we are in obedience, and therefore that we, too, are trusting God.