Quiver Full, anyone?
This topic will be controversial to some. I'm not telling anyone how to live their life, nor am I passing judgement.
I have a friend I'll call Lou. Not her real name, but close enough. She's is one of the happiest people I have ever met in my life. She's the daughter of one of my old teachers, someone I've known for a while. To look at us, you really wouldn't think we could be friends. I am proudly Catholic; she's an equally proud Baptist.(I think). She homeschools; I don't know if I ever will. She home churches; we attend a church with 5000 families. To look at her house, you'd think she'd be depressed. After all, she and her hubby live in a 3 bedroom townhouse with 6 kids. We have a larger house, and the same number of kids. Her house is a chaotic, unorganized tumble, and yet she is beyond happy. She radiates enthusaism, excitement, and love. Her children are phenomenally happy, well adjusted, and first time obedient. She is everything that I am not, and all I strive to be.
She is the person who introduced me to the concept of "being quiver full". Based on Psalm 127:3 - 4:
"Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Having a large family in a day and age when family isn't important to most people makes it really hard to find someone to talk about the daily difficulties with. The vast majority of the time, people make comments like "Well, if you didn't have so many kids....." and "Of course you are tired. After all, your body isn't made to have all of those kids". It seems that people are quick to point out that we do not have to have so many children, basically blaming me for making my life so hard. Almost as if, since you had all these kids, it serves you right if you are struggling. I know moms with one or two children struggle, but that seems to be acceptable. After all, the American dream is to have your boy and girl, get them raised, and get on with your life. The children are an interruption, rather than a reason. What is really interesting, and disheartening, has been the reactions when I have announced my last three pregnancies. I definitely can sympathize with an unwed teenager. With my first couple of kids, everyone was so happy for us. The last ones have been greeted with "Oh, no! Did you mean to do this? We need to buy you guys a tv for your bedroom! God didn't mean for you to populate the world singlehandedly! What are you going to do?" Well, it's just having a baby. And I'm happy each and every time. But, boy is it hard to fly in the face of that day after day. Depressing, too. (Note: I'm not expecting now. Just running off at the mouth.)
So, Lou goes against all of that. When she and I first started talking, she had, I think, 3 kids, and I had 2. She announced a pregnancy to me, one that ended in miscarriage. She was devastated. I really couldn't figure it out; I mean, she already had 3 kids, how many more could she want? Didn't she want to DO something, BE something, MAKE something of herself??? We started to talk about being quiverfull. She and her husband fully believe that God sends children in his time, not yours. They are open to as many children as God will send, fully in His time. This principle actually made a lot of sense to me. It's one that isn't taught in the Catholic faith, although the use of birth control goes against the teachings of the church. That means ANY birth control, including and especially those with abortifacient properties, such as the pill and the IUD. (As an interesting aside, until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At the 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the other Protestant denominations followed suit.)
Being QF flies strongly against the societal norm. It's relying solely on God for all your needs. To a control freak like me, it's extremely scary. Being QF means that you trust that God will supply your every need - that God knows what you want and need before you do, and will fill those needs. It's basically saying that God does know best. Those are words that I can say so easily, and have SUCH a hard time living.
Being QF makes Lou happy. I've never met a person so happy, so at peace with life. And life has really thrown her some curves. She radiates joy. I, on the other hand, don't. I struggle with knowing what to do, when to do. I struggle with the thought that I could have half a dozen more kids in the next six years. I spoke to Lou today, and she made a great point. God opens the womb, and only He closes it. I could have six more kids in six years, or never have another.
She relys fully on God. She doesn't worry about anything. She finds her strength in prayer and Bible study, both things that I need to increase. I want to be like Lou.