The Radical Choice to Not Have More Kids

“So, are you going to have more kids?” No kidding, I’ve been asked this at least once a week since we had our son back in 2012! I haven’t been annoyed by this question, but it causes me to think biblically about why we haven’t had more kids yet [we know couples who got married the same time as we did and already expecting their 6th kid!]. Do we need to get on our game? Or is it okay to choose not to have more kids?

Here are some of my thoughts….

Does God requires believers to have kids? Is that the purpose of marriage? I’m going to say, “No”. Not every believer gets married. Also, not every married couple is able to have or to raise up kids, as many have grieved through their infertility, miscarriages, or their children who have passed away. I have yet to find where in the New Testament where believers are commanded to have kids. (On a side note, I do think married people should be prepared for the possibility of having kids and being content with it. All people – whether married or not – should value children and see how important they are to God – children shouldn’t be viewed as an inconvenience nor what people should seek fulfillment in.)

How does God views children? I believe God loves children and speaks of them highly throughout the Bible. The Bible tells us children are gifts (Psalm 127:3Psalm 127:3
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3 Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh. The fruit of the womb is his reward.

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) and have great faith (Matthew 18:2-4Matthew 18:2-4
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2 Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Most assuredly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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), how God has uniquely knit each one in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13Psalm 139:13
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13 For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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) and how He knew about them before they born (Jeremiah 1:5Jeremiah 1:5
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5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

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).

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children[a] of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3Psalm 127:3
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3 Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh. The fruit of the womb is his reward.

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Children bless us in so many ways! They help us along in the process of sanctification; teaching us to be patient, self-sacrificing, and disciplined. They teach us about God’s love for us. They remind us to preach the gospel to ourselves and others. They unite us with other parents and families, no matter what nationality. They can make or break our reputation. They create a unique bond between husband and wife. I just can’t speak highly enough of my experience as a parent! I’m so thankful that we were able to have our son!

Are we still commanded to multiply and fill the earth?

God’s call for believers today is to make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:16-20Matthew 28:16-20
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16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

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). This call is placed on individuals who are unmarried, couples without kids, as well as families no matter what size. For married couples, one way they can make disciples of Jesus is through procreating and raising up children to know and follow Christ. I love this John Piper quote (which is after he explains how marriage displays Christ and the church),

“Marriage is for making children—that is, procreation. Having babies. This is not the main meaning of marriage. But is an important one and a biblical one. But then I add the words disciples of Jesus. ‘Marriage is for making children disciples of Jesus.’ This purpose of marriage is not merely to add more bodies to the planet. The point is to increase the number of followers of Jesus on the planet. The effect of saying it this way is that couples who cannot make children because of issues of infertility can still aim to make children followers of Jesus. God’s purpose in making marriage the place to have children was never merely to fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with worshipers of the true God.”

We believe that the great commission to the Church is the call God has placed on our lives. This is also in line with God’s command to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28Genesis 1:28
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28 God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

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; 9:1); as He wants the earth to be filled with people who worship Him. Both are equally important. It’s important to fill the earth with children who are raised to know God, but it’s also important to tell the ones who don’t know God about Christ!

Can married people choose not to have kids? Yes! Just as every believer is not required by God to get married (1 Corinthians 7:8-91 Corinthians 7:8-9
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8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. 9 But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than to burn.

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), I also believe that not every couple is required by God to have children – though both choices are in His will. Many times for some unknown reason, God doesn’t physically allow couples to have children even when they are greatly desired! Every believer has the freedom to choose to get married or not, every believer also has the freedom to choose to have kids or not.

Having children as I said earlier is a wonderful thing, and no couple should ever be judged for how they “just can’t seem to stop having kids”. Instead we should be rejoicing with them as they seek God’s blessing in raising up children for the glory of God!

So, are you and your husband going to have more kids?

In Mark 10:29-30Mark 10:29-30
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29 Jesus said, “Most assuredly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the Gospel’s sake, 30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.

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, Jesus said,

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

My husband and I are responding to the Great Commission by leaving our home, our dearest friends, and beloved family members, and taking the gospel to an unreached people group.

Since our firstborn was born with multiple life-threatening heart defects (and it was even thought he’d have other defects as well), we are at higher “risk” to have children with further complications. [I’m not saying that I don’t value children with defects, or think that children with birth defects will have a lower quality life]. Because of this and the remote location we are wanting to go to, if we had another child with a heart defect we don’t know if we could get the medical care he/she would need where we’d be working. We are placing this matter into God’s hands, though, as only He knows if I would ever get pregnant again, and if that child would or wouldn’t have any defects.

We’ve also looked extensively into adoption, though that also is a little difficult when living in a remote location overseas. We also aren’t old enough to adopt from many countries haha!

Both my husband and I have agreed that we are going to wait a while before pursuing having more kids, someday we could have 5 kids or maybe we’ll never have any more kids. If God gives us one, we will be thrilled, but at this time my husband and I are convicted to make spiritual children in remote locations, something that not every couple has the opportunity or conviction to do. We are hoping and praying that the people we meet will be able to see Christ represented in our marriage and through our little family. We are also praying earnestly for our son’s salvation and that we would be faithful gospel-tellers to our little 2 1/2 year old boy.

I love being pregnant, I love babies, I’m excited to be homeschooling, I love toddlers, I’d love to have a large family, I’m against abortion, I support maternal and newborn care in third-world nations, I’m a birth doula, BUT I’m laying this aside to pursue a greater passion God has planted in my heart… the privilege to, Lord-willing, become a spiritual mother and someday hear something similar to what Paul told the Roman church, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well” (Romans 16:13Romans 16:13
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13 Greet Rufus, the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

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This post reflects choices that we’ve made for our own family. I wanted to share my thoughts about how our family has come to that decision (for the time-being at least). I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post or about your family in the comments below!