Dear Denny and his Bride,
Yes indeed, that is a nice-sounding bunch you have there! May the LORD keep adding to your number!!
We have 9 living children also, ages 6 to 21, and 5 more with the Lord. Now that I'm in menopause, I am SO GLAD we did not hinder God in this respect. I can walk freely and delighted in the LORD today, glad that He gave us just the children He wished us to have. No more and no less. I am a free woman and glad to have served my KING in giving birth these many times!! Praise His Name, He makes it all wonderfully DO-able.
However!! We have not been the parents He wanted us to be, that is clear. We have failed miserably. Yet, we are being humbled and changed, by these very failings.
It's not been smooth sailing for us... even with a sheltered home life, homeschooling, home church, modesty in all things... we are facing problems we did not anticipate. We got too isolated for too long, that's one thing we see now. Children of big families may need other adults, other godly youth to bounce things off of. That's what I'm hearing as we 'compare notes' with other large homeschooling families.
Some of us are struggling deeply with those first-borns and seeing where joining ranks far sooner, in a church body or loving para-church group, would have helped all of them (all of us parents too!) to function better.
If a child is distant emotionally, or there is a period of uncommunication or conflict, sometimes just one other adult or young person can help keep that child's heart firmly at-home with Dad and Mom. Some large families have allowed their older ones to live with another family, for a season, if they are not doing well at home. (Much caution here -- it can backfire and turn a troubled child completely away from his parents! We've experienced this and so have some others.)
In a large family, especially of first-generation Christians from abusive backgrounds, emotional neglect and abuse can happen without realizing it.
If Dad and Mom are experiencing marriage problems of any kind, the children will play those out in triplicate. Marriages must be very strong, with lots of security and love and open communication. I cannot stress this enough.
If Dad and Mom can't find a group of other Christians to fellowship with in the community, the children may (rightly?) think 'there's something wrong with Dad and Mom'. If they see you being active in your faith, loving the brethren and helping the needy, they will follow you into a healthy, active faith. Consider moving if you can't find what you need, fellowship-wise, where you live.
If you are a hypocrite, the king (or queen) of your domain, with your family bowing down to YOU instead of to the LORD, their actions will reveal that, too. Which is a GIANT wake-up call to some of us who thought we were (ahem) perfect. :roll:
The flip-side of allowing God to plan your family size is, of course, Preventing Conception, a.k.a. Birth Control Devices of Some Form or Other. Birth control seems to go against everything God says those body parts are for. We could not, in good conscience, blaspheme God's design in that way. Just for the sake of convenience. (CONVENIENCE, not money or things, is the true American God. How much we do, and buy, and spend time on, 'for the sake of convenience'. We bow down to this god daily. Even in our bedrooms.)
Books on this topic:
[u]The Bible and Birth Control[/u] by Charles Provan.
[u]The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality[/u] by Mary Pride.
[u]A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ[/u] by Rick and Jan Hess.
My latest favorite:
[u]The Pursuit of Godly Seed[/u] by Denny Kenaston
www.homefirespub.com (I will do a review of this book soon.)
These books reference all the scriptures pertaining to the marriage bed and children. Our bodies are truly not our own, they are the LORD's.
PS: When people ask 'Don't you know what causes that?' just grin and say 'YES!' :-)