Funny things happened when I began trusting the Lord to plan the size of our family. Occasionally, I would calculate the hypothetical number of children we would have based on current children, my body’s unique child spacing pattern, and the approximate years left of fertility. I would envision big vans and multiple bunk beds in one room.
My desire and yearning for more children to raise up for the Lord grew and grew…
Yet, even with all that desire and all that yearning to behold another person to love, my arms have at times remained empty.
Yes, I have 4 children, which is more than the normal 2.25 kids per family, but they have not always come when I wanted them.
I’ve wondered how some women give birth every 18 months and secretly wished that was me.
I’ve felt twinges of jealousy when friends announce the exciting news of their pregnancy.
I’ve slowed on breastfeeding hoping that would help things along.
I’ve wondered how others will know our family is pro-life and that we view children as a blessing and not a burden.
I’ve wished that our family too could be a living testament to the beauty of authentic Catholic family life.
I’ve forgotten that we gave this to God and that we trust Him in whatever His will is for us. Isn’t that what it is all about after all?- accepting His will and not an accumulation of children?
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them!”
Yes, children are a blessing from the Lord, but my quiver is not yours and yours is not mine. If I trust the Lord, our quiver will be full, though it will not be the same size as another’s.
We were promised nothing in return when we gave our fertility to God. So often women balk against the thought of “all those babies,” but it may very well be that you won’t even have all the babies you want.
Have I entrusted not only my fertility to the Lord, but my infertility as well? Do I believe He controls the whole kit and caboodle and that He is Sovereign Lord?
Children are gifts – not rewards, not guarantees. Pride and selfishness can seep into even the most “holy” of desires and we must constantly guard against making ourselves and our plans the God of our life.
This strong desire the Lord has placed in my heart is good and right, but I must not let it turn sour by trying to mold it into my will and not His.
These four arrows the Lord has placed in our quiver make our life so full. I truly am blessed. My prayer is not so much for the Lord to fill my quiver, but rather, to help me accept my particular quiver, whatever it may be, and to sharpen these sweet arrows that they may be a mighty weapon in His hand.
Lord, purify my heart. Help me to accept whatever Your will is for me. I trust in You, Jesus, to be the Author of my life. All praise and glory be to You forever and ever! Amen.
(As we celebrate NFP week, I think it is important to remember that we are not all called to practice NFP. The Catholic teaching on married life is absolutely beautiful, but practicing NFP is not the foundation for the fulfillment of genuine Catholic living. In fact, it should be only in exceptional cases that married couples practice NFP.
As Catholics, we tend to focus on opposing the contraceptive mentality of our culture by assuring outsiders of the viability, efficiency, and relational component of NFP. As a result, we often miss sharing the core of the Theology of the Body and what that entails for Catholic married life.
I would also note that I do not believe everyone should have as many babies as they possibly can. That too is not a part of the Catholic faith. Rather, we are called to pray and discern the Lord’s will for our family throughout the course of our married life. Serious physical, economic, psychological and social conditions are all valid reasons to postpone children.)