Jan
16
2011

If You Couldn't Afford a Child, Would You? (Part 2)

Last week we stirred up quite a conversation talking about finances (Read “If You Couldn’t Afford a Child, Would You Have One Anyway? Part 1). We offered a logical syllogism to explain why we choose to have children though some may think we can’t afford them. We’ve got something more to say.

Family Pictures

Affording children is a concern for couples, but is God asking us to do the illogical?

Recall that the argument went like this:

  1. Children are blessings from God.
  2. We love to be blessed.
  3. Therefore, we welcome and love children.

Swapping the conclusion (#3) with “Therefore, we can’t afford another child” is a non sequitur, a line of thinking that “did not follow” (the word’s meaning in latin). To us this seems logical, and most of the comments that followed reinforced us.

Many couples, though, make their life decisions with this conclusion. To logically justify it, they replace one of the premises. Replace the first with, “Children aren’t blessings from God,” and it works. Or the second with, “We don’t want to be blessed right now,” okay. Or, “We have to get our student loans/house/second car/whatever paid off first,” and you have an equation that’s logical.

Logical, sure. But faithful? For us, when God calls us to do something, we do it. It doesn’t matter how outlandish it is.

But here’s the kicker: God isn’t asking us to be illogical or outlandish. Our conviction is quite the contrary. He’s calling us to believe something that makes a tremendous amount of sense.

Children are a blessing. We’ve been shown this time and time again. The more that have come, the more God’s logical argument is validated. God hasn’t abandoned us with our children. He has shown us blessings of frugality, opened our eyes to the harmful effects of debt, encouraged us with ingenuity and creativity to make things work out. Lots of things we write about in our books and on this blog.

As time goes by and children come, our fears are overcome by faith. We discover that our fears are just paper dragons: the joy of family tears them down and life becomes the fantastic, exciting life that God wants for us. We believe He wants the same for other young couples, if only they would tear through their fear.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Mary

    Reading these two articles has truly changed my life and the way I view having a family. I’m not married yet, but I have always dreamed of having a large family. I’ve always said four is my magic number, but that I could handle up to eight.

    Even though I love and want children, I was afraid to have them because I didn’t think I could afford them, but these articles have helped me see that there is so much more to having a family than dollar signs. The tips I have learned from you (Chris and Wendy), as well as the other commenters, will help me raise the family I have always wanted and teach them about what is really important in life.

    Thanks again!

    Mary

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Very thoughtful, Mary. Thank you…you made our day!

      • Mary

        Thank you for your wonderful, thoughtful website! I loved your special and reading about your family brings me so much joy. How old are all the kids now?

  • T. Gates

    Your statements are very true. We are expecting number 5, and God has shown us so much with each one He has brought into our lives. We couldn’t be happier, and while my husband says we will be done after this one, I pray that God’s Will be done and his heart will change. Thanks for your encouragement!

    • Mary

      Anytime, T. I have told my boyfriend about my desire to have a large family, but he would prefer to keep our family small and only have two children. Having grown up an only child for sixteen years (I’m 24 with an 8 year old sister), I think small families are incredibly lonely and would never subject my children to that. I have always wanted to know the joy of a large family, to raise a gaggle of happy, closeknit kids and spend all of our time together. My greatest wish is to be a stay-at-home mom so I can fully devote myself to my kids. We’ll see what happens, though.

  • Jeanette peterson

    Hi just wanted to say I agree children are a gift from above and we have been blessed eight times and never once did we stop to worry about a price. You can not put a price tag on children. No money in the world can add up to the most wonderful feeling children give you.

  • Janelle C.

    Wow you nailed that on the head! Fear is the main reason people justify not having more children. We have four kids and are in the process of adopting another. Though we haven’t been able to become pregnant again in over 6 years, we are thankful for what God has given us and will give us through adoption.

    We wish now that we would have started having our family sooner. We waited 5 years after we were married. Fear was our obsticle. How I wish I would have allowed God to cast out that fear sooner.

  • Laura (kidsmomofmany)

    Mary, if you truly desire a large family, I would suggest you find someone of like mind. Our biggest marriage struggle has been my desire for many children and my dh’s fear. We are now praying this baby will be our 7th living one and we have also come out the other side of a stillbirth at 34 weeks and a miscarriage at 12 weeks. 9 pregnancies in 20 years, 7 in the last 10 years. My dh loves each and every one but he was not always sure about having a large family and his family is NOT happy with us. So, again, if your desire is strong, I suggest not settling and finding a man that loves large too. :) I love my dh dearly but I wish I have been able to express my wanting a large brood much better and I wish I had never agreed to prevent. If I had a time machine, I would change those things. :)

  • Hailey

    Chris and Wendy,
    Thank you so much for the great posts.
    Like Mary, I too am 24 years old and very fearful of having children because of finances. After reading your book a few years ago, Love in the House, I started to realize I did not want to go on birth control when I get married and just freely have children.
    Besides from just being able to provide for a child, I have the horrible fear of thinking I couldn’t give my children what I had or live up to my parents expectations of raising a child (my parents make just under $300,000/ year). We vacationed in Europe every Summer and my brother and I had every toy a kid could imagine.
    My boyfriend has been wanting to get married for many years now, but I keep thinking “Oh no, if we get married, we could have a baby and couldn’t afford it”. So I just keep delaying saying yes. I have always wanted a large family, so I cant believe I actually have these fears now.
    I know these are all lies the enemy uses, but they are still hard for me to deal with.

    Your articles are very uplifting and are reaching people in their 20’s like Mary and I. I cannot express how thankful I am for this website and how it has helped me.
    Thank you so much again.

    One more thing…
    Mary, I can believe there is actually another 24 year old who feels the same way I do! I thought I was the only one! Thank you so much for posting!

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      We laugh at all those $300k/child studies out there. These “expert” studies suggest we should be making a bazilion dollars to afford our children. Still working on it (heh), but not feeling impoverished at all. Thanks Hailey!

  • Karen

    I think for me it’s easier not to worry about finances because I grew up dirt poor, and I don’t mean a little – I mean can’t afford flooring poor. And you know what? It was ok. At the time I was mad I didn’t have the brand name clothes and nice house, but now looking back, the only thing I wish was different was that we had loved and looked out for each other more. I’ve gone through some pretty horrible postpartum depression and I admit, fear is a huge factor right now, and it really is nothing other than fear. It’s more dangerous to drive a car than give birth in this country.

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

    Great article.
    “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

  • http://mckeenfamily.wordpress.com/ Darlene

    I found these two posts to be a sweet reminder of why we do what we do. My husband has been without a job for 6 weeks. Our newest baby, #7, is due in 11 weeks. I have moments when I am tempted to worry. After all, we just sold the vehicle that we were counting on to pay the midwife, and are instead living off of the proceeds. But our faith outweighs the temptation to worry. We owe the midwife $2400 by late February.

    I have no doubt that it will all work out somehow. And, I would never trade the life of a child for my own physical/emotional comfort. I read through the argument you presented and realize that it’s not for me to determine whether or not I’m ready for the blessing. And there’s no doubt in my mind that I love to be blessed by God! It’s only for me to trust, and be a willing vessel for Him. And, I could tell story after story after story of provision that could only be attributed to a living God who cares about His children. It doesn’t make walking this path any easier (we’d still rather my husband find a job sooner rather than later), but we’re faithful that God will provide, in His way, in His time.

    In the meantime, will you add my husband, David, to your prayer list? He’s open to just about anything, he only desires to follow God’s will and humbly take care of our family. We live a small town and the options are slim. Thanks!

  • Christina

    I have noticed that most people who make the deision to not have children, or not to have more are choosing not to because of fear, but because of selfishness. They choose not the change their lifestyle. They “need” their third car, or “need” their cruise vacation every year. They choose material wealth over the wealth of children. Needing to blend in with everyone else on the block, or at work, or where ever is a driving force behind these “needs”. I know my husband gets a lot of sneers and comments about the fact that we are having our 7th child. They make statements like, “Why don’t you get a new truck instead?” My husband and I understand the worth of our children, and we do not view them as burdens, as some do. But it has not been my experience that people I know have chosen to abstain from having more children because of fear, but rather because of their desire to be able to eat out every week, or month or somesuch nonsense.

  • http://www.LargeFamiliesOnPurpose.blogspot.com Erika

    I’m uplifted and encouraged to read your thoughts and those of people above who are like-minded with us on giving God Lordship in the area of children, just as we do in every other area of life! We learned that the Lord desires this of us about 9 years ago, after our first 2 children were born, and we’ve had 7 more children since! It’s been a journey of increasing faith in the Lord’s provision financially especially as He’s given us more people – and the Lord has been so faithful! He’s shown us many creative ways to make our small house of 1100 sq. ft. fit us just fine, and enabled us to buy a vehicle large enough to fit us all. I am excited for those people here who are just beginning this wonderful journey of surrendering and blessing from the Lord.

  • Misty

    My husband and I have 12 children (9 living) and all I cansay on the subject is this: The Lord has provided for us, one way or another, after the birth of each of our children. Larger vehicles…larger home…always came after, never before.

  • jojo

    We just had our third baby (my fifth pregnancy). Overwhelmed by the cost of medical insurance and maternity bills, we became stressed, worried, and frustrated. I took one look at these bills and told my husband, “You know, if someone told me that I could hand my baby over to them for keeps and they would tear up these bills, it wouldn’t even register in my head because she is so priceless” . Suddenly those bills didn’t seem that important anymore. Well, the hospital has allowed us to set up an affordable payment plan, praise God. (And just to let you know, we can’t qualify for Samaritans because I have a pre-existing condition -ulcerative colitis)
    Your blogs really help us put things into perspective and just to keep trusting that the Lord will help us find a way. Our children are all such a blessing!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Right on, Jojo! You understand. And just to let you know, we finished paying a $15k hospital bill last month after 3 years of payments. It feels good to get out from under that burden, so we’re rejoicing with you!

      • jojo

        Glad to hear you got it paid off…I’m sure that is a nice feeling.

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  • Rickandjess

    I’ve been looking for answers regarding this for a long time. My husband and I have four children. I love them all more than words, and I would love to have more. But at what point is it actually irresponsible to have more children? We are on state help right now. Foodstamps, state insurance, cash assistance. My husband is struggling to find work. He works about 25 hours a week right now, $10/hr. We live in a small 3bdrm mobile home on a rented lot. I want more kids, because I, as you, believe that every child is a blessing from God. A wonderful, beautiful gift. I am not using contraceptives, because I do not like the fact that they can cause abortions. For now, we are using condoms. I can’t turn back time and wait until later in life to have children, and our finances, frankly, are horrible. I am only 23 years old, my husband is 29. 3 of our children are not biologically his, they are from a previous relationship. We have an almost 6 year old daughter, 2 1/2 year old twin sons, and an 11 month old son. I don’t know what responce I am looking for exactly. Maybe just some encourgment. I’ve been thinking about posting a comment for a long time but didn’t dare to I guess. I just don’t know what to do. Would it be wrong for us to have more children right now? We honestly truly cannot afford it without state assistance. If I was not on state assistance, we wouldn’t be able to feed the children we have now. What is your view on this?