Feb
12
2010

Our Early Convictions

Taken from Chris & Wendy Jeub’s book Have Another Child, release date May 2010:

"This freedom is wonderful. This family life is liberating."

Life at our home is never boring. Activity is the rule of our days, and we thrive in it. We’re busy, but it isn’t dysfunctional busy, not like a workaholic who dives into an activity to avoid deeper issues in life. We’re busy because there is life going on in every corner of our house. Right now, the baby’s starting to stand up, the toddler is into spontaneous dancing, the preschooler is reading the alphabet, the boys are growing like weeds, the teenagers are preparing for debate and speech–we could go on and on. There is never a boring moment in our home. Children are our life and family is who we are.

Perhaps this is what people find so fascinating about big families like ours. Each child has such a dynamic personality that we have a tough time keeping up with every one. The social norm is approximately two children per couple, the nuclear family, perhaps one boy and one girl. I can imagine what they think of families like ours. “Wow, our family multiplied 7 or 8 times. That’s insane!” And they watch Kids by the Dozen, The Duggars, and Jon & Kate Plus 8 with extreme interest and curiosity.

We didn’t have reference to these popular shows early in our married life. Fifteen children was not even a thought to us. Honestly, we had difficulty with the idea of multiple children, letting them come one after another, because no one in our social circles was doing anything close to what was on our hearts. Chris was a school teacher with more children than any of the other teachers in the entire district (a whopping five children at the time). When Isaiah was born, our firstborn son, all social pressures said it was time to stop. Opinions rolled in–usually unsolicited–from doctors, coworkers, neighbors, church, and extended family. We didn’t have a family of a dozen kids next door encouraging us to have another child. We were alone in our conviction.

On our hearts was a simple prodding: have another child. It wasn’t “have 15 children” or “have more children than anyone else.” Our convictions are very personal, shaped for our lives and our hearts, stemming from our personal relationship with God. As husband and wife, we prayed together and read scripture together. We reasoned together through our weak moments when we doubted our convictions and questioned our sanity.

Our doubts were strong at that time in our life, but our fertility was stronger. Despite a fair amount of effort, we had three boys right in a row: Isaiah, Micah and Noah. Bing, bang, boom. Hardly a year between any of them. By 1998 we had seven children, 4 girls and 3 boys. We were still in our 20s and feeling incredibly healthy and blessed.

A funny thing happened at seven children. The social pressure disappeared. Our family and friends stopped dropping those annoying comments like, “Aren’t you done yet?” or “You do know how that happens, don’t you?” When you have two, you’re extremely normal; at four or five, you are in the same boat as many married couples, wondering whether or not to cut the line and stop having children. Once you’re at seven, you’re in Loonyland–you’re “out there” and there ain’t no persuading you.

Something happened to us, too. The pressures to conform began to roll off our backs. Instead of wondering if we were crazy, we would reflect on how exciting our life was. We laughed the wise cracks off. “You do know how that happens, don’t you?” Yeah, we do, but we refuse to give it up. Or yes, and we’re really good at it. And here’s one that I (Chris) told a newspaper reporter, and it ended up in the local paper: Wendy does, but she won’t tell me. Even cynics laugh with us.

We’re now in our 40s, have two adult children, a grandchild, three teenagers, two tweenagers, three middleagers (is there such a thing?), two kindergartners, three toddlers and a baby. We look back on our early 20s and think, how petty our anxiousness. We wrenched our hands and struggled with our convictions. For what? To avoid this life of limitless activity and joy and love? We are so happy we can hardly stand it. When we sit back and reflect (rarely happens in our busy life, but we manage to find the time now and then), we are incredibly thankful that we didn’t give in when we were young.

Perhaps this is why families find our life fascinating. We’re still young–we could have more children–and we live a free life without the burden of worry that we may have another child. Controlling conception doesn’t fill our thoughts, and discovering a pregnancy is, without any hesitation, joyous news. We make love without worrying something will “go wrong.” We welcome the blessing of children, and our home is filled with the joy of the prospect. This freedom is wonderful. This family life is liberating.

Deep down inside, couples wonder, “What would our life be like if we just let children come?

Let us know what you think. Post something in the comments section…

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado, with 14 of their 16 children. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Sarah M. in MI

    This is going to be GREAT!!!! I’m really excited about this project. Thanks for putting it into words for the rest of us. We ONLY have eight, and we’re you’re age, party because of the age we married, our “planning” early on, and a couple of losses in the last few years. Even I wonder what could have been had we left it to God back then.
    Anyway…really looking forward to reading this! : )
    Sarah M. in MI (from QF digest, and Facebook)

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ourfunhouseofgod/ Alexia

    freedom! sounds amazing. :-) thanks for posted.

  • http://jent-manyblessings.blogspot.com JenT

    I didn’t want to stop reading! I can’t wait to get the book.

  • Sheila Schrauben

    I can hardly wait to read your new book!
    Something my husband and I have always tried to do is be a living testimony of the joy and delight of a larger-than-average family (six children with us). That’s one thing I’ve appreciated about you folks, too. Simply living life together, fully trusting God for the future, whatever it may hold.
    I turned 39 in December, six weeks after I gave birth to our sixth child on earth (2 m/c between her and her older sister). I often wonder if she’ll be my last, but I have no cause for fear or concern! What a blessing my children have been! And what a blessing another would be…:)
    I recently saw the Duggars on the front cover of People magazine, and like much of the world, the question is raised “how many children are enough?” I think the statement was made, too, that they’d love more children, which could make it sound like they’re out to “purposely” have more, but that’s where the world doesn’t get it. Being open and glad for another child, and doing whatever it takes to “make it happen” are two different things.
    Anyway, I’ve rambled. Thank you for realistically presenting a joyful picture of a large family! Many blessings to you.
    Sheila,
    Blessed wife to Phillip
    and Mama to 3 sons, 3 daughters, so far…
    (plus two with Jesus)

  • http://medicationoptional.blogspot.com/ TWoP_Fan

    I only have one child and only plan on the one. I feel exactly like you do, only the opposite: I feel, in my heart, deep down, that I only want to parent one child. However, I think that resources should be shared, so I watch my nephew five days a week so my sister can work and I coach kindergarten soccer even though my baby is only 2.5. I am really looking forward to reading your book and I am seriously considering homeschooling my kiddo, and your story has helped me see a lot of the good in homeschooling. Thanks for sharing!

  • mollie

    You are inspiring and you validate the convictions I have.

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/befruitful jenny

    We have 9 and we live in Englnd. Our early years were in Scotland, where it is really going against the grain to have more than 3. We suffered terrible persecution, even to the point of almost homelessness. Ironically most from professing Christians.

  • Emily

    So true! From someone in her twenties, pregnant with sweet baby number six, thank you! Looking forward to your book!

  • wendi

    ooooh, so thats the ticket, I have to have 3 or 4 more before my mom stops asking when I’m done, LOL! I love it! Great post :)

  • christie

    wendy and chris .. i am the same way my husband and i are only 28 years old and parents to 4 wonderful children .. ages 8 4 1 and 4 months old .. yes we want at least 1 or 2 more and we get the exact same comments that you do .. its great to know that were not the only ones out there getting these comments .. we also homeschool our 8 year old .. we dont trust the school systems out here … thanks you guys are awesome .. christie ps. we have been together 9 years but married for 6 years ..

  • http://www.theviewfromhiddenvalley.blogspot.com Amy

    Sounds like a neat book! Can’t wait to read it! :)

  • Kathy in Wisconsin

    Chris and Wendy~

    My husband and I have had 8 children in 13 years, 5 girls and 3 boys, ages ranging from 12 down to 7 weeks. We were visiting with another couple this week that asked us “8 kids, what’s wrong with you???” To which my husband replied “apprently nothing!!” We all had a good laugh!

    We’re looking forward to reading your book! We have enjoyed watching you on the TLC channel in the past. I know you have a lot of wisdom to share!

    Blessings!

  • http://www.creatingtreasures.blogspot.com tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations

    I have truly enjoyed what I read. looking forward to the whole book.
    My conviction is that I just can’t CUT off this source of blessing. If it was pouring out money I know NO ONE would be cutting off the blessing, but because it produces children then most people can’t see the blessing in them.

    Anyway… I am turning 39 y.o. this year, 38 weeks pregnant with #4 and told my Mom today that I sooo love babies and wish for more. So it’s really up to God on how many more we will have. My Mom understands my convictions, my Dad and lots of other people think my husband and I are just crazy. :)

  • katie

    Just curious of your opinion of octomom. She has professed the love of children and wants to have more. Why do you believe she was so heavily persecuted when others like the duggars and you have not.

  • Jenny

    Hi Chris and Wendy, Truly enjoyed reading your post. I was a little offended by the title from People on the Duggars but you are right that most people think having large families are loony. Our situation is similiar but different. God placed in our hearts the need of orphans. I had a tubal ligation after my second child with my husband. My doctor asked if I was sure we did not want anymore children…I said “Of course we do but we want to be open to adopting”. Here we are now with 14 children (12 adopted) and we are not afraid. Our door will always be open to God’s children. People at first asked “Are you guys done adopting” now they know better and ask “when will you adopt again”. God Bless you guys.

  • Amy

    The love you have for your children flows through your words. Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts with all of us. You put on paper what we feel in our hearts.

    We had 8 kids in our twenties and now have 11. It was after our 9th baby that our family stopped trying to persuade us, more than likely because we didn’t tell them we were expecting until after she was born. Now they are excited for us and keep whatever negative opinions they may have, to themselves.

    I can’t wait to read this book. I devoured “Love in the House” and am excited to read this next installment.

    May God continue to richly bless your family.
    Thank you again for sharing your life with us.

  • http://stephsoundoff.blogspot.com Steph T

    It sounds great! I can’t wait to hear more about this journey in your lives. :)

  • http://www.theyoungpages.com/jodis_blog/ Jodi

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! We are precariously perched on the edge of normal with ‘only’ four kids so far (all girls, just like you had!) ages 5, 4, 2 1/2 and almost 1 (I am 32), and feeling so much pressure to do the ‘normal’ thing and stop. Neither my husband nor I has any desire to be ‘done’ though, nor can I really even imagine what that would feel like.

    I pray we will have the courage to follow our hearts as you have, but I also want to be submissive to my husband’s leading in this matter. Fortunately, he loved your book and reads your blog, too. He knows that God has laid this on his heart, too. Officially we’re just taking it one baby at a time for now, but the way we’re both looking forward to being pregnant with #5, I can’t imagine that will be our last, Lord willing :)

    Thank you so much for your encouragement to those of us still getting the “But you’re done now, right?!” type questions. You are a blessing to our family!

  • http://www.ourfruitfulharvest.com Fruitful Harvest

    Congrats on the new book~
    I can’t wait to read it!

    Warm Blessings,
    Georgiann….momma of 6 so far and praying daily to be blessed again!

  • Shelly

    I can’t wait to read the rest!! I love to read about how each family came to the decision to trust God for their family size.

    I wish more people would give it more than a passing thought, Christians especially. I pray that there are a few more babies born next year because someone reads this book and opens their heart.

    We have six so far. Our “baby” is two and we are now wondering if there are more to come… we hope so… but in the end it’s not about what we want… God truly does know what’s best!

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    Thank you for all the encouragement, everyone! Wait till you read the rest of this chapter. This post is about 1/10 of it. We’ll post more clips as time goes by. And feel free to criticize, we’re open to it. It helps sharpen our message and consider how it is received.

  • http://www.joyfulmother.blogspot.com Chris

    I like you guys. :) You have your convictions. You share your joys and love like it’s the best thing around. But that is it….it’s your convictions and you don’t push anyone into being like you guys. Yeah, you say it is wonderful and couldn’t imagine life without a large family but you aren’t saying things like those who choose to have less are “ungodly” or “unbilical” as some might say. (Well I hope you don’t LOL)

    My husband and I have eight birthed gifts from the Lord and we don’t feel like anymore. Trust me we have come to the Lord with this lack of desire and have asked Him to change it but there is nothing that has changed. Then the decision was placed on my husband because I don’t want to “run” the home with my desires or lack thereof. He said “no. I’m done!”.

    I dont think we are done with brining children into our home. I truly see us having a huge family through but this time through adoption. The Lord has been giving me a heart for this lately. And you know what??….It’s exciting and I can’t wait to see how many the Lord adds into our lives. Especially children of all races!!

    Oh, and I hope I don’t get any slams for our choice and convictions. It truly does hurt to be judged and I guess this is what I like to stress to those Godly families who go on to have many more. We can’t judge a family for stopping, because we don’t know what they are going through in life. We can’t flippantly say “they are selfish or wrong”….that is wrong!!

    Thanks for letting me share! You guys are a great blessing on this earth! :)

  • http://www.joyhomeliving2.blogspot.com Vicki

    Wonderfully put! Very encouraging! Thanks for sharing cant wait to read the book.
    Vicki

  • http://www.showmehaiti.blogspot.com Vicki’s DH

    We’re pretty sure that we ARE crazy, but that’s fine. :)

  • Valerie

    I can’t wait! I will be one of the first to order. All of your products are top-notch.

  • jasmine

    we’ve gone back and forth on the idea of how many children to have and had decided for 3 years that our little girl would be our only child. and then after a couple of years of reading your blog and watching the shows, we decided to just let it happen. i’m 9 weeks along with our 2nd and i am almost in tears after reading your post. its so selfless to give your lives to God and just take each child as they come. already we have comments about letting this one be our last. i’m so relieved that we have decided to just let God take over. if He wants this one to be our last, then it will be, but if He decides for us to have more, then He will decide that too. i pray that we find the same bliss that you have found, it is so inspiring.

  • Deanna

    I praise the Lord everyday as I look at my youngest and think upon your earlier book. My hubby and I were struggling and just not at peace with trying to convince ourselves different of what we already knew…just give it to the Lord. Since then, we have our dear #8 one year old little guy, along with his 7 siblings that fill our lives with adventure everyday. What will the future bring? I don’t know. But this I do..God will always be there for us and guide our steps as we serve Him. We are not better than others with a smaller number of children, but we experience the blessing and peace of having what God has given to us, with an open heart. P.S..we praise Him for helping us get out of debt this year!!! Hoping to buy a motorhome free and clear next year and make a trip to CO to visit family, old friends, and hopefully new ones too!!! :)

    Much Blessing to you all, the CA crazy Tonns

  • http://www.ronstauffer.com Ron Stauffer, Jr

    That’s funny–like someone said earlier, we just need to have 4 or 5 more and people will stop asking! :)

    We have somewhat of a different problem–it’s not that we have so many kids, but apparently, it’s strange to have 3 kids when you’re in your early 20s. That’s what we get the most comments on.

    “You have how many kids? You too young!”

    -The Stauffers

  • http://www.losingtheworld.com Jessica Brammer

    We will have been married for 4 years by the time our third baby comes this summer. I was thinking about how this is probably the last baby people will really get excited with us about (It is our first girl) now that we have boys and girls and three. We were once scared about the prospect of a lot of kids, but now we are excited about it. It is definitely freeing as well to not have to “plan” your family.

    We are thankful for your family and the ministry you have in encouraging others. Please keep it up.

  • Stephanie

    Chris and Wendy,

    Do you realize what an inspiration you are to people? Thank you for stepping out there and trusting God, and telling your story no matter whether you get critized for obeying your convictions. Amazing.

    I can’t wait to read your new book. I’ve been a big fan of you and the Heppners ever since I saw you on TLC’s Kids by the Dozen.

    We are parents to 9 beautiful blessings, and have struggled through the years with giving our fertility wholly to the Lord. Control issues, I suppose. But when we really thought about it, how can we not? How can we ask God to bless us with a new home, or new car or whatever else to provide for our daily needs and then turn around and say but please don’t bless me with more children, because I just can’t handle it.

    I think what we tend to forget that God has already told us in His Word, the Bible, that He is in control of the womb, He’s the one that opens and closes it. I’m living proof of that. Many times I should’ve been pregnant, but wasn’t. His timing, not ours.

    Blessings to you. Mayb God continue to richly bless you for your obedience to Him.

    -The Neujahrs from MI

  • Amy

    We are currently pg with our 7th, and, while it’s nice that family/friends aren’t coming at us with the ol’ “don’t you know what causes that?” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) it is somewhat hurtful that no one (barring our close friends) asks about the baby, how I’m feeling, etc. There is little joy from them about a new life. I’m very thankful for our church and other friends, who embrace life and support people in child bearing.
    We scientifically spaced our first three children, then became convinced that the Lord could plan our family better. I remember feeling scared and excited about having many, many more children. That was 10 years ago. Since then, we have added only 2 children to our family. (Baby #6 died at 2 hours old.) Provided the Lord sustains this pregnancy, and allows us to raise this baby, we will have been blessed with 6 (this side of Heaven). I’ll be 42 when this baby is born, and have no idea if the Lord will bless again.
    There is no denying that the LORD opens and closes the womb. We turned our fertility over to God 10 years ago. Some families would have added 8 or 9 children in that time. For us, only 2. (three, with this baby) I don’t think any couple can set out to have 12,15,19,20 children. It is only by God’s grace that any of us have any children.

  • http://natedavidscott.com Nate

    I was just recently turned on to your blog by my wife. Reading this, I thought I was reading a transcript of our life. We literally had the exact conversation a night before we found this post. It is reassuring that we are not alone. We have six children, I am in school as well as working full-time, and we have someone (a mother-in-law to be specific) who has gone from the “You’re done, right” to “You need a break.” Progress, right? A break does sound good, but in so many other ways the attempt at controlling our fertility is taking the joy out of much of life and replacing it with stress. We’re praying that God would overcome our fears and worries with his peace that passes all understanding.
    Thanks for writing with openness and honesty.

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