Monday, August 2, 2010

My Journey to Becoming Quiverfull


 I think it’s about time I share my journey to becoming a quiver full mama.
I have a confession to make as I begin. 
Although being quiver full has always been my conviction,
it has not always been my heart.

 When my husband and I were first married, 
we attended a church who preached a quiver full message. 
Most of the people there were 10 plus years older than us, and had several children in tow already.  We were profoundly impacted by the way they lived,
and proceeded to follow a no birth control lifestyle.
Our first child was born 2 ½ years after we had married. 
His birth was an emergency c-section, resulting in 9 days in NICU.  
Two years later, our second child was born naturally VBAC. 
One miscarriage and 15 months later, our third child was born, posterior, naturally. 

Then came 4 years of infertility, in which I did a lot of questioning God. 
Psalm 100, which I had memorized early in life resounded in my head, in verse 3, it says,
“Know that the Lord is God.  It is He who has made us and not we ourselves;”
 The Lord used this verse to teach me that I am not in the vocation of creating life, 
that it truly is His job, and to let Him do his job, 
without me telling Him how He ought to do it.

 
  
I was overjoyed to be expecting again,
only to miscarry early in October.
  A few weeks later, I marveled, “it is the strangest thing, but I feel like I am still pregnant.” 
My mother’s intuition was correct, I had lost one of two babies. 
Baby # 4 was born via induction, a labor which I do not care to review. 
I honestly thought I was dying after the baby had been born. 
It took me a long time to recover,
and with four children, homeschooling, a small farm, and a husband who had to work long hours,
I began to be overwhelmed, which led to irritability with the children. 
I longed to be a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit, but felt it was utterly impossible for me.

 

 Two more years went by, and another baby was on the way. 
At this time, my husband felt called to be in full time ministry, 
so we packed up and moved right at the time the baby was born.  
I was induced again, but experience told me to have an epidural this time, 
and everything went smooth. 
Along about this time, I decided that I had enough children.
We were getting those looks and those comments everywhere we went,
which made me self conscious of our family size. 
I told the Lord that I was done. 
My quiver was full.  
But I could not bring myself to do anything preventative, and low and behold, two years later, 
we were expecting our 6th child. 
I was not happy. 
And, I didn’t feel good, which was odd for me during a pregnancy.  
We decided to home birth.  
There was a wonderful Christian midwife in our church, with over 20 years experience,
and I figured,  I have seen the worst labor and delivery can bring,
I will attempt to do this at home.
15 weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried a beautiful baby boy. 
He was the most incredible thing I have ever seen.  
The size of my hand, perfectly formed right down to the teeny weenie fingernails. 
My heart tore in two. 
Here was the baby I had not wanted,
gone from my womb and into the arms of Jesus.

  His little body testament that God is God, 
and I am not.

 

 Immediately, I was pregnant again.  This time, I did not mind, 
but I still had much to learn about loving children. 
This baby was born at home, in a birthing tub, 
with the least pain I had ever experienced birthing,
including the previous birth with an epidural. 
Everything was so peaceful, the labor, the delivery, and the recovery in my own bed.  
Shortly after the baby was 4 weeks old, he began screaming, and continued this for 7 months,
day and night, until we put him on a straight goat milk diet. 
I thought I would lose my mind. 
I know I was short with the children.  
I was short on sleep. 
Short on Faith, I began to believe that God was punishing me 
for not trusting him the way I claimed I did. 
Well, I was truly done having children.

  With 6 children, living in a small  house, with a small income,
I excused myself by saying things like, 
“I just want to be able to do fun things with my older children without being tied down with a baby.”  
Again, people’s comments about us having had enough already, really impacted me. 

So when I became pregnant again, I was slightly embarrassed, and desired to stay home, 
safe from rude interjections from others about the size of my growing belly,
as if after having this many children and being well into my thirties
I should look like I did with my first baby at 22,
our prolific abilities- which was embarrassing to say the least, 
and the unsolicited opinions that, surely this would be the last?!

 

But God did something in my heart before this baby was born. 
Like a worm being morphed in a cocoon to come out a butterfly,
my heart opened up to love children, to love life, to love being pregnant. 
By the time our 7th baby was born, I was honestly overjoyed. 
Born at home, in the birthing tub, this baby was actually born so gently, she was asleep. 
We had to tickle her feet to get her to cry and clear her lungs. 
I was smitten. 
I did not want to put her down, but enjoyed every minute of her babyhood. 
I remember telling someone at church, as this adorable child was toddling around at my feet, “Imagine, I almost didn’t want her, look what I would have missed.” 

 


 Beginning to blossom in my soul was a certain change in my outlook, perspective, 
and willingness to love and nurture life. 
It effected every area of my life. 
I began growing in the Lord like crazy.
  I was constantly convicted about irritability, and the aroma I left in our home. 
God opened my heart to want to nurture all the children, even those that aren’t mine,
and raise them up to love him. 
I would be happy to have more, regardless of what any one says about my size when pregnant, 
our family size, or any other rude comments that come my way. 
I knew I was called of God to have babies
and to raise them to love God and serve Him with all their hearts. 

Bethany was our first delightful child.  
Not that the other children were not delightful,
but we didn’t realize the depth of joy and allurement a child could have upon us. 
Her every way was charming.
  Knowing that they grow up so fast, we really set out to take pleasure in every moment.  
 We had come to the realization that  home would be a much more somber place
without little ones to entertain us, or babies to rock to sleep.
  
This season will not last forever, and must be lived well, while it lasts.


We were excited to find we were going to have another blessing near Christmas 2008. 
Baby #8 was born quietly at home, in the birthing tub, into the hands of my husband. 
We now had a new understanding of the sacredness of this event,
this little life God had given us, 
and we relished every minute of the newness of this baby. 
He was not actually put down in his own bed for 13 days after he was born. 
We just could not get enough of him.

The Lord has used the birth of our 8th child to make me come to the understanding of rest in Him,
of physical rest, margin, pacing ourselves, and quietness of soul. 
I do not think I would have come to this point without my children. 
Now life is just beginning to be abundant and full of grace and goodness to me and through me. 
I shudder to think what my life would be like if I had willfully stopped my fertility at 5 or 6 children. 


Here I am, 41 years old, carrying our 9th child. 
I am getting old for this kind of venture, my body feels it. 
It is harder, true.  But the eternal rewards out weigh the temporary aches by far. 
Having the last three children has been of great benefit to me spiritually. 
I am so thankful the Lord gently led me to this place of green pastures,
where he has restored my soul and transformed my driven personality into becoming the woman I have long wanted to be… through the act of mothering. 
I have been saved from myself through childbirth. 
Each child is a blessing.
  Immense blessings to me; growing me,
challenging me to respond in a gracious, Godly manner, 
giving me opportunity to repeatedly die to myself and serve my family....
Which leads to the greatest joy,
the most peace, 
the least stress,
and the deepest relationship with God 
I have ever known.

10 comments:

~ Being Woven said...

Oh dear Julianne, reading this has brought tears of joy, tears of sorrow. The joy is seeing you and your little one sharing in the laundry time, the expressiveness in your tone as you have grown in the LORD, in the peace that passes all understanding through God's handiwork in your life, your husband's, and in your children. I pray that you and your precious family, each and all, know the LORD in as much of His fullness as one can on this earth, as they grow and walk with Him.
The tears of sorrow are for my loss. I am 62 and have never had children. I have taught hundreds and consider them all mine. I love children and have several under my loving wings this period of my life as friends, a great,great aunt, etc. My husband and I married late in life...45. I was married when I was 22 and never had children;then divorced for 13 years. In that period a hysterectomy had to be done and the chance of childbearing evaded my body and my heart and mind felt the loss even more so. I have struggled so many Mother's Days at churches; I no longer go on that day. People just do not understand what someone like me is going through when everyone else has or has had children just as they do not understand why or how you can have "another one". Julianne, you are truly blessed and God has given you children for his purposes and He alone knows just how many you and your husband are to hold for Him on this earth. He knows. He has given them to you for His purposes.
I am amazed that I feel so peaceful right now as I finish typing this. I feel blessed by you and your family. Thank you for allowing me in on this beautiful sharing.
loving you, ~ linda

Linda said...

I so enjoyed reading your post. We, too, began our quiverful journey about two years after our marriage at the late ages of 39 and 37. I was a month away from 40 when we had our first child. Our second was born 18 months later, then a miscarriage and our third child when I was 45. We have had two more miscarriages since then. I am now 55 and I guess I'm past childbearing now, Our youngest is 11 and the doctor says I'm "officially" menopausal. It is rather sad. But God open and closes the womb and He is sovereign. May He bless you and your beautiful family!

Mother Gooneybird said...

This is a beautiful post. Have we all gone through the same thing? It would be wonderful to be able to get together in person to share these things. I feel so blessed to have gone through a similar journey. I wouldn't trade baby #8 for anything in all eternity. Thank you for you inspiring words.

Michelle G said...

Thank you for your honesty. I am a mom of 6. I too have gone through the seasons of "I'm done" and "I want more".....(all about me - not about God's will - sigh...)I had 2 miscarriages and those crushed my heart...I thought maybe it "just wasn't meant to be". I began praying and telling God that another baby WAS the true desire of my heart.
Well, little Malachi was born at home in the water. As he was born I was laughing and crying and praising God for hearing my petition. How changed our lives are and how we would have so dearly missed SO MUCH without him! We are now trusting God for a quiverfull....a thought that is both exciting and scary at the same time somehow as I am 40 and have always had the idea in the back of my head that "anything after 40 was too old" - Isn't it funny how God has different plans?
So....I look forward to reading your blogs - what a beautiful blessing your family is! :)

Taneil said...

Julianne, my husband started reading your blog when you were building your house. A dream that he has himself. He read this post tonight and read it to me also. Thank you for your inspiration and the reminder that when one allows God to determine the size of the family there are no mistakes. What a comfort to remember when the comments and looks come for having more than 2.2 children.

May your birth next month go well and be another amazing experience.

Huisvrou said...

Julianne

God is faithful!!! He send me to this post via a link. I'm convinced about qf, my husband still have doubts as I'm turning 40 on Monday. Thanks

Jacinda said...

Thank you for your honesty and story. It is just the encouragement I need. I have lots of people around me that feel we have enough children but it is my husband and I's conviction to put our full trust in God. You have no idea how much your story means to me. We have three children 3yrs, 2yrs, and 1yr. I'm terrified to get pregnant again quickly but I know that is a fear the devil has but there. God is working on my heart and has been merciful to me...I know he will plan only the best for me all he asks is that I trust that. Thanks again.

Susan said...

I just read this post. I am new to your blog. I have been pondering the scripture of women being saved through childbirth and what exactly did it mean for the last week.
God has answered me through your words. I now fully understand. Die to myself and what I want to do. I am 45. I had my first baby at 41, 3 miscarriages later had another baby at 44. She is now 9 months. I am pondering having another. I, like you, fight irritability.
Thank you for your words and being honest.

emqberry said...

This post blessed me more than you can ever know. I read it with tears in my eyes. I am a mother to four, our fourth is just 2 1/2 months old. I have noticed that the wonder of God's miracle of life is more amazing and precious each time. I also will admit that I fight with bad moods, short tempers, and then incredible guilt for not being able to do it all with a smile. Your post reminded me that I am not meant to do it on my own but with my Savior doing it for me through me. I also can relate to the unwelcome, unkind comments of others even members of my church who said four was too many. I'm also convicted to let God decide how many I should have. But, the enemy of my soul has used all my flaws as weapons to tell me no I shouldn't. My husband isn't quite sure we should have more either and I know part of his hesitation is because of my mood swings. I'm sorry for rambling. Just wanted to thank you for sharing. It truly blessed me. God Bless.

Kristi said...

Isn't it amazing how the Lord works to change our hearts! I'm 25, have two children (2.5 and 11 months), and always wanted a big family until about a month ago--the burden of caring for them physically and spiritually hit me, and it was overwhelming. My husband and I prayed about it and realized that when I wanted many it was selfish, and when I wanted few it was selfish. God's will is to be in control of this area of our lives. We are now 100% open to whatever the Lord has in store for us. I am so, so grateful the Lord taught me this lesson early in life. God Bless you and Yours.