To Fill or Not to Fill—The Quiver: The Pendulum Series Begins!

To Fill or Not to Fill the Quiver

If you know anything of history, Wemmicks are constantly swinging from one extreme to the other.  It’s our nature.  Because we are small. Needy. Foolish. Ignorant.

Sinful.

We will continue to swing the pendulum until the end of history.

But God!

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.  Malachi 3:6

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?  Numbers 23:19

His pendulum never swings.  His ways are perfectly balanced and perfectly righteous.  His wisdom is superior to Wemmick wisdom.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

We have a Rock to stand on.  Our Creator.  Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful thing to know that He never wrings His hands in despair over the world, His plans frustrated or thwarted.  He is a Happy God.  From His Highest Perspective, He sees the ultimate end to all rottenness, injustice, deceptions, and wickedness.  Though we cannot see it from our little ant hill—everything is going according To Plan.

A reader recently asked my opinion of the Quiver-full Movement.  After answering her question, I got to thinking about Wemmicks and pendulums and our love of swinging to and fro—and it sparked my imagination.  How about a series (over the course of time) called, The Pendulum Series?  I’d love to talk about various issues that we swing around on regularly.  Since the Quiver-full Movement is one of them, why not begin there?

When Wemmicks All Start Moving in the Same Direction, Look Out!

Jesus said we are like sheep.  What do sheep do?  They follow one another.  Off cliffs.  That’s why they need a shepherd.

We are expecting our ninth child (actually, our 14th if you count the 5 we’ve lost), and so you might think, “Ah HA!  Quiver-Full folks!”  But we are wary of associating with any “movement” like that.

Wemmicks not only tend to follow one another off cliffs, but they also tend to make assumptions and generalizations as they lump groups of people together into “categories”.  Then, when they meet someone that, in their mind, belongs in a certain “category”—they automatically assume ALL people in that “category” are also that same way.

It’s so Wemmicky, don’t you think?

Nevertheless, that is what we all do.  There are some Quiver-full folks who believe that every single Christian should be having a dozen or so children, and if they aren’t—they are in direct total and utter disobedience to the Lord.  Others don’t believe that at all.

Some Quiver-full folks are having bus loads of children—and hating every minute of it—but doing it out of some morbid sense of duty rather than out of a joyful sense of fulfilling a grand purpose in life.  Their children can feel the parent’s resentment.  Others love having children and are finding great fulfillment and satisfaction in following God’s directive to “multiply and fill the earth.”  Their children are happy, well-adjusted, and loved.

Some Quiver-full folks struggle with pride in their large families and see each child as a trophy that will one day bring glory to their family name.  Others humbly accept each child as a miraculous gift…and are relying daily on His grace and mercy to raise them for the glory of Jesus Christ.

And, of course, there is everything imaginable in between.

Depending on which types you’ve run into (or are yourself), you may assume they are all the same.

They’re not.

And that is why my husband and I don’t call ourselves “Quiver-full.”

So what do we believe about having children?  Hopefully you can tell by our lives.  We embrace children as gifts from God.  We don’t take them for granted—each one is a miracle.  We see them as future King Worshipers and Kingdom Builders, and so we see our role in their lives as being teachers, trainers, and disciplers.

The thing is, I know Christians who only have 1-2 children who believe those exact same things.  You can’t see that on the outside based on their family size; nevertheless, that is their heart.  For reasons that are as varied as the people involved, God has limited their family size.  It is not my place to analyze why or to question God’s dealings in their individual lives.  God never promises a “Quiver-full” to every Christian.  He only makes the statement that those who have a “Quiver-full”—are blessed.

And so—they are.

Let’s Get Ready to Swing!

So here’s where the pendulum swing comes into play.  We live in a culture that hates children.  See the pendulum swinging over to the left?  We kill them in the womb.  We don’t want to have them.  Even Christians tend to think they get in the way of:

  • getting to know your new spouse
  • ministry opportunities
  • leisure
  • a career
  • paying off school loans
  • buying a new home

So the vast majority of Christians are running with the sheep that are heading toward Cliff A over there to the left.  Watch them run.  They’re trapped in the Wemmick Culture Box and don’t even know it.

There is a movement of Christians reacting to this foolish, selfish, short-sighted view of children.  See the pendulum swinging over to the right?  They wag their fingers and cluck their tongues at everyone, making little comments here and there about how horrible everyone else is for avoiding children.

They feel good about themselves because they’ve reached #8, feel jealous of others who have 14, feel mad at God when it seems to be taking longer than usual to conceive again…

They are running with the sheep that are heading toward Cliff B over there to the right.  Watch them run.  They are in a box.  I haven’t figured out what to call it yet though.

Are you wringing your hands yet?  Wondering who to run with?  My advice?  Let the sheep run where they will.  But you…

…stop for a moment and hold still.  Close your eyes.  Wait for your Shepherd to come, scoop you up in His Strong, Able arms…and teach You from His Word.  He promises to give wisdom to those who ask…and those who wait for Him.  But we’re so busy running hither and thither trying to keep up with other sheep that we miss out on the beautiful balance of just BEING with the Shepherd and resting in His ways.

There are some black and white issues surrounding this whole thing.  For example, abortion is murder.  The pill is an abortifacient. Therefore if we want to avoid murdering our own offspring and violating a clear command of Scripture, we should not use the pill.

And if we know someone is using the pill in ignorance, we should gently give them the resources they need to study that out for themselves, because we want them to have the knowledge of the truth in order to uphold God’s Word regarding murder.  BUT, if they scorn us, don’t believe us, or choose to ignore that information, then we need to commit them to God and let it be.  Perhaps He will give them grace sometime down the road.  Perhaps not.  Do your part and let the outcome belong to God.  He hates murder more than you do.  There will be consequences, but they aren’t our business.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2: 24-26

Other things are not so clear cut.  I won’t enumerate all of the various circumstances, but I’m sure a few will come to mind as you read this.  The point is—we are not responsible for what other sheep do.  We are responsible to keep our focus on the Shepherd and to obey His Word to the best of our ability as we follow His leading.

So what’s the bottom line?

Stop swinging on this pendulum.  You can find balance by acknowledging the truth that God reveals in His Word. Children are not “in the way” (remember how Jesus responded to children?) They are not pets.  They are not a “hobby.”  They are not idols.  Their purpose is not to bring us pleasure or glory or even purpose in life.  They do not belong to us.

Children are a blessing.  They are an eternal investment.  Their purpose is to bring their Creator glory and honor all the days of their earthly lives and on into eternity.  They are disciples.  They are precious because of their value to God.  They are Kingdom Builders.  They belong to God.  Their potential to change the world is huge if we have a clear understanding of what our purpose and goals are in raising them.

If you CAN have them, and you choose not to for purely self-focused and short sighted reasons, then you are the loser from an eternal perspective.  And you’ll never know (maybe) what you’ve lost.  BUT, to balance that out—if you choose not to have them for other reasons, complicated reasons that are between you, your spouse, and the Lord—then so be it.  Whether or not it is ultimately right or wrong is not for other Wemmicks to decide.  Be at peace.

If the Lord gives you many children, you are blessed.  If the Lord gives you two children, you are also blessed.  Other Wemmicks cannot see your heart.  That is a fact.  But God absolutely CAN see your heart.  He knows it better than you do.  He knows if it belongs wholly to Him—or if you are holding part of it back.  We Wemmicks need to humbly acknowledge that:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9

And armed with that honest evaluation of ourselves, present our lives to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable.  If we do that purposefully and sincerely, He will lead and guide us through all the varied circumstances that He has sovereignly ordained for our particular lives.  His sanctification process in each one of us will look very different.

Let Him be GREAT in your life—and let Wemmicks be—well—Wemmicks.

Swinging away…

Read more: Be Fruitful and Multiply—Why?

Resources for further study

Demographic Winter DVD Documentary

Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell

Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies by Steve and Candice Watters

The Long War Against Babies by Douglas Phillips

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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10 thoughts on “To Fill or Not to Fill—The Quiver: The Pendulum Series Begins!

  1. Such wise advice – thank you! Because we have been unable to have children, I’ve heard from people on both sides of the spectrum. Both can be hurtful, but these encounters have led to some good and prayerful conversations.

    And I’ll admit that I can be passionate about pro-life issues, though I’ve learned to temper it more over time. The reminder that God hates murder more than we ever can is a valuable one.

    • Thank you Amy. I’m sad to hear that you have to wrestle with the issues that come with being childless. I will pray God grants you peace and joy while you wait on Him and His perfect plan.

    • Oh…and one more thing…God is amazing to use the hurtful things (circumstances of life, thoughtless comments, etc.) to launch us forward into deeper understanding of Him, of life, and of others. If we see all these things as directly from His hand, we can grow in contentment and maturity. We don’t always respond rightly…but when we do…He is able to bless us far “beyond anything we could hope or dream or even imagine.” It is good to know you are experiencing that. : )

    • Sure! In each post where I refer to Wemmicks, I put a link on the word, “Wemmick” the first time it is mentioned so that if you haven’t heard of them, you can click on that link and find out! : )

  2. This is an issue I struggle with a lot. My reasons for “waiting” right now are physical. I struggle with thinking that maybe that means I don’t trust God with my health. But then God also gave us the wisdom to understand health (Doctors, etc). We have three beautiful children, and I don’t know if we will have more. I wish there was a clear answer.

    • As you wait on God and trust Him for guidance, He will make it clear to you and give you an inner peace about it…in time. The important thing is to be surrendered to Him…and not to do things based on pressure from other people. One way…or the other. : ) As long as you are unsure…simply wait. Sometimes that is the hardest place to be…but it builds our faith. Grace to you.