Trusting God For Our Family Size
By the world's standards, we have a large family - six children. However. until our son, Owen, was born, my husband and I did not consider the size of our family something to consult the Lord about, let alone give Him control over. since our last name is Moore, Harry's joke when I was pregnant with Owen (our fourth-born) was that we were going to name him "No" - "No Moore!"
After much conviction and struggle, Harry and I came to the place in our lives where we felt the Lord was asking us to commit the size of our family to Him. We felt that He wanted us to stop trying to control things and to allow Him to give us all the children that He wanted us to have.
It was difficult for me to be obedient in this area. Many thoughts went through my mind - mostly selfish ones. What will my body look like after having all those children? Would I ever be able to do anything besides change diapers, nurse babies, potty train, etc.? I even tried to calculate how many children I would probably have between then (age 38) and menopause! I also did not relish going through labor and delivery numerous times. Given a list of things to do on a particular Saturday, giving birth would not be my first choice!
I struggled with seeing most of my friends' children growing up and watching these ladies have more and more freedom to pursue new interests. During my struggles with all these thoughts, Romans 12:1 kept coming to my mind: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." I knew that God was asking me to present my body as a living sacrifice by being willing to be pregnant, go through childbirth, and to give up my "rights" as to how I spent my time.
Six months after Emily's birth I was pregnant again. I was not excited. God's timing in my mind was rotten! However, before I could work through accepting God's "blessing" I had a miscarriage. We buried Amy Catherine on January 6, 1992.
With the miscarriage I recognized my ungrateful attitude. The Lord was blessing us again and all I could do was murmur and complain. The irony of the situation was that by October, when Amy would have been due, I was more than ready for another baby.
One year later I was pregnant. We were so excited. Owen had long been praying for a little brother, since he was the only boy in a house full of sisters. Our excitement was short-lived, since again the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We buried Samuel Adam on May 23, 1993.
When a year later I discovered that I was pregnant once again, we immediately called the elders for prayer. There was such an electricity as we prayed, that I felt sure the Lord was going to use this child to further His kingdom in some special way. However, on April 2, 1994, we buried Robert Steven.
After the third miscarriage, I remember saying to Harry that I did not think I could go through all of the emotion and pain of another miscarriage again. Harry was patient and gentle and he just listened. God was patient and gentle too. He seemed to be saying to me, "My grace is sufficient...I'm not asking you to go through another miscarriage today or next week. However, if I require that of you in the future, I will sustain you through it, just as I have through these other three."
Through the hurt and suffering of losing these children, God has taught me so much. I thought that He was asking me to be obedient to have many living children - to be willing to spend my life raising booocoodles of them for Him. However, I found He was asking me to do something different - trust Him no matter what the outcome, and to continue to trust Him when I don't know what the future will bring.
God has also showed me how presumptuous I was. I just assumed that because He had blessed us with six children and we were willing to give up control in the area of family size, that He would give us many more children. These miscarriages and giving God control in that area has made me truly realize that God is the giver and sustainer of life. He is the Creator. We are only His tools.
God has comforted me with the thought that one third of my children are already in heaven waiting for their Daddy and me. Two verses in particular from God's Word have special significance. They are Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." and Psalm 126;5,6, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Two years after the last miscarriage, God has not answered our prayers for another child, even though I long for another baby. He has shown me that being obedient to Him does not always have the results that we assume it will. However, He will sustain us, if we will only trust Him.
Atmore, Alabama, USA
Here are Harry and Joanne's six 'blessings' - Alison (17), Lauren (14), Sarah (12), Owen (9), Melissa (6) and Emily, nearly (5).