My husband and I were married in January 1972 and became Christians when I was pregnant with our second child. We had never really discussed how many children we wanted but as I was from a family of nine and my husband from a family of five, we were used to big families.
After we had our first three children in three years, we didn’t feel right about using the pill but started to use Natural Family Planning. We tried to avoid having too many more children too quickly.
We had another child after three and a half years, then one after four years, then three more with approximately two year gaps. At this point, I felt tired of having sick pregnancies (the last three I had felt sick a lot of the time) and going through the hard work of labour. I also felt I had my hands full, let alone the thought of having anymore.
I clearly remember one day when our seventh child was a few months old and the next one was nearly two years. I was trying to get the washing hung out on the line. I had put the baby and toddler down for a sleep, but the baby woke again! I thought, ‘No way could I manage anymore children, I can barely manage what I have!’
My Godly husband had always felt children were a blessing from the Lord and was not keen on our doing something permanent to stop having more. This left me seriously praying "Lord ,Your will in all areas, but I don’t think I could manage more children--HELP! "
God is so amazing the way He works. One day, soon after, I was listening to Focus on the Family. The speaker was a man with 10 children and I was interested in how he managed his children. Little did I know how my life would change.
He started talking about how there is a pro-abortion spirit in the church, i.e., lots of people would not have an abortion as such but they try to organize their life to have as few children as possible or only when it suits them. They are not open to God’s blessing of new life when He wants to give it.
“Oh boy, that is me,” I thought. Sure, I have seven children but a lot of my time and energy has gone into trying to avoid having too many. At that point, under conviction of the Holy Spirit, I knelt down in the middle of the lounge. I wept and wept and asked forgiveness for a pro-abortion spirit.
I never heard the rest of his message but heaps of tears later I felt washed and clean. It was the second most powerful spiritual experience I have had after being born again.
After that, I saw the Scriptures in a new light. I realised what a privilege it is to carry, bring to birth and raise up a child. I got a small glimpse of God’s will regarding children and realised what an honour and privilege it would be if God were to bless us with more children.
My husband was shocked at my change of heart! I think he was concerned we might have 20 children, but together we committed it to the Lord for His will to be done.
I was 41 at the time and was so excited at the prospect of new life! Each time my period was late but did not end in a pregnancy, I was so disappointed.
My friends thought I was mad. Finally, after two years I was pregnant and oh the joy. Despite a very sick pregnancy and a very difficult labour, I had such a sense of being in His will.
This baby was such an affirmation of my motherhood. Realising what a privilege it was to be entrusted by God with a new life to raise for His glory was so encouraging for me.
When I was 45, God opened my womb again. He also answered my prayer to have a homebirth. I had always wanted one and this was such an amazing experience. It was my best labour ever. God enabled me to be in control and get strength for the contractions by repeating Scriptures. A few pushes and Caleb was born and still delights us to this day.
God has also enabled me to have enough love to go around and get everything done. At times my husband and I had to make sure we got enough time for cuddles with the last two as the older children loved them so much and were so good with them.
Gary and Maree’s children are Donna, Mark, David, Chris, Benjamin, Sarah, Deborah, Isaac and Caleb.