Apr
14
2011

What Would Life Have Been Like?

Last month we posted about a 40-something mom who challenged us, “We Had Two Kids. Were We Wrong?” This mom asked a good question, and while we gave it a good try to come up with an answer, we couldn’t come to one. “We don’t know” was our conclusion.

The question has gotten us thinking more and more about our personal conviction to love another child. We’re quite transparent about that conviction. We write about it in our books and all over this blog. I suppose this is our unique “testimony.”

While we are pressed with this uncomfortable question of “Were we right back in the day?” it’s not the most troubling inquiry we hear. Here’s a more disturbing one: Parents “back in the day” were called to love another child, perhaps even their first. They went with the flow, followed the cultural norm, resisted the conviction and avoided the blessing of children. Today, past their child-bearing years, they regret their decision.

Their inquiry is more quizzical. More “What would my life had been like?” than “Were we right or wrong?”

We don’t have an answer for the second question. The 40-something mom has to figure that out for herself. Are these the questions people ask in their 40s? Maybe we’re just noticing this question more because we’re in our 40s. Our decisions, too, are in our past, and we have our share of regrets. With bearing children, thankfully, we sided with conviction rather than culture.

Here’s the people we want to touch: The young couple struggling with their conviction to love another child. They want to have another, but are whipped around by a hostile world that challenges their conviction. Our book (Love Another Child) ventures into rebuttals for all the arguments, some complete bunk, some heartfelt and genuine.

We’re not out to convince the 40-something couple they were right or wrong. Frankly, these are our friends, and we are not going to judge their decisions. We’re out to convince the 20-something couple that they can follow their convictions. With confidence! They can love another child. That conviction follows with beautiful blessing and a houseful of love.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

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

  • TAMMIE E.

    I have often thought back about similar circumstance. My kids seem to naturally space themselves about 3 years apart. I have a 19, 16 and 13 year old – then we have a 6, 3 and 6 month old. There is a 7 year space between the 13 and 6 year old.. and I have often thought back about what I was doing or thinking those years when I should have been having another child. What would my life be like ? How would it be different now ? I have so many thoughts come flooding at me that I dont know if I honestly have an answer for that. We were doing so many different things during that time and getting over our youngest at the time who had some special needs. I thought for sure we were done.. set and as the world puts it .. complete.

    Then in 2003 (I think it was) just after we moved and after watching an episode of 14 Children and Pregnant again on Discovery, I felt as I did as a child. At home. I was raised with strict baptist beliefs and left that lifestyle .. however, the Duggars made me feel like I didnt have to be ashamed of that anymore and could be me again, Raising a family and doing things the way I was brought up to believe. Without having watched that, I dont know that my opinion would have ever changed. I just followed what I thought the ‘world” wanted for me and not myself.. and even though I have whole heartidly believed NEVER to use birth control for many reasons, we had used condoms a few times during those years.

    I find sometimes that my heart feels as if I have a child I missed, it IS something I have thought about, but I think everyone thinks the ‘what if’s’ for any circumstance.. we just have to be happy with what God gives us and learn from those experiences. We can’t all be the same – God made us all to follow our own paths, and be different. Sometimes it does help to have our dreams pushed by destiny though :)

    Blessings to you !

    • Anonymous

      Wow…your story is excellent. Thank you for sharing! Wow.

  • Peggy

    How do you justify your conviction to someone who believes living the words of the Bible is ridiculous? One of the things that attracted my significant other and I to each other is the fact that we both wanted a large family, but I already know my family’s opinion on large families, as the subject of the Duggars and other large families comes up at every family get-together. I try to reason that the Duggars are a wonderful family and their children are very well behaved, but the subject always turns to affordability and how they were foolish to have “more than they could afford”. My family is not very religious, so trying to explain that children are a blessing would not get us anywhere. And trying to tell them “God will provide” would be met with a scoff and a head shake. How do you reason affordability to people who are very money-minded? My mother told me I better not have another child because I shouldn’t have more than I can afford. We’re not rich, but we’re not poor either. I guess what I’m wondering is how you would justify your decision to have another child to someone so extremely money-conscious?

    • Jennifer Mom of 8

      Peggy, I would suggest (as a mom of 8 who also had money-minded parents) that first you should decide if you really need to justify anything to anyone. You and your husband ultimately only have to answer to God. It really doesn’t matter if your parents understand… it would make it easier, but it doesn’t actually matter.

      Because, when it comes down to it, what does matter is what God is speaking to your heart and your willingness to obey His call. I can tell you that there is really no way to “justify” it. People who are not Spirit-led cannot understand. It is hidden from them.

      What I can tell you from my own experience is that each time the Lord gave us another child, He also provided for that child. You can’t budget in God’s Provision. He has blessed us abundantly, even as my husband lost his job 1 1/2 years ago not long after our 8th child was born. We have made it because the Lord provided a severance package, unemployment, a year with good health…. people would stop by and give us money, food, clothing, or even furniture.

      My husband (an architect by training and education) took whatever jobs he could find, which meant painting a friends rooms in their house, taking a job cleaning apartments and fixing them up. (In cleaning them out, we were able to keep all kinds of things that truly helped us…. pots and pans, a sofa bed, 2 recliners, a table, a stereo, pencils, cups, plates, silverware, even a huge Spanish/English dictionary…. toilet paper and paper towels, a crockpot, a steamer/rice cooker, the list goes on….

      He was blessed with a job at the local university, and is now doing farmwork– manual labor and is also working at Menard’s. Wherever he has gone, he has been blessed, and I believe it is the humility he has learned in doing whatever it takes to care for his family. Just last week, we were given a huge chicken and pork loin by a friend who just wanted to bless us. You can’t factor in these gifts from God in your budget.

      And, truthfully, I really wonder if we would have more if we hadn’t had our children? Maybe there would be more money, but if priorities are not right, it can be easily squandered. I know plenty of people who say they have no money or have great debt who have no children or only a few.

      We can’t know what God will do tomorrow, next week , or ten years from now. I didn’t want to think that I missed out on a child because of a fear of not being able to afford college– a common excuse for some families to stop having children. I believed with all my heart that if my children were supposed to go to college, God would provide for that, and He has. My oldest two are attending a community college and a state university. One has a trust fund that is paying for it. The fund was set up by his grandparents, not us, but it is God’s provision. The other has had grants and his trust fund as well. Without God’s provision, they would not be able to go.

      My children have been to Jamaica, Guatemala, and Mexico through mission trips they have taken. The funds were raised each time even though I thought there was NO way we could do it. True, we have not done family vacations, but I love the experiences God has provided for my children.

      You simply can’t know how He will provide, so there is no way to really argue this with non-believing parents. Seek Him and get to know within yourself what YOU really believe about this. Because when you know that you know that you know what you believe, it will not matter what others think. He uses “the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”

      • Peggy

        Thank you Jennifer :) This was really helpful to read! I suppose I am just worried about the relationship between my family and me going south. I am still young and I know I am still trying to win my parents’ approval on everything I do, but I know they will never understand our calling to love another child. Hopefully they will still accept us, even if they don’t agree with our family size! :)

        I can understand where my mother’s concern comes from though. She grew up as a poor farmer’s daughter. One of nine children. She had two outfits and a doll growing up and that was it. They didn’t have materialistic things, and unfortunately, they didn’t have love either. So my mom vowed her children would never have to live in poverty like she did, and she held true to that promise. She and my dad worked very hard to have nice things. I appreciate the nice things my parents gave and still give me, but I will always wish I could have had more of their time. Over time, I forgot a lot of the things they bought me, but it still sticks that my dad missed a lot of my birthday parties growing up, or that when they weren’t working, our “family time” was watching TV. Now, I am vowing to give my children love, rather than possessions. As you can see, my mom and I have very different views about what it takes to raise children. I just hope she’ll understand someday. :)

        • Anonymous

          Your attitude is awesome. Keep loving your mom, and it is encouraging to see you understanding her point of view.

    • Anonymous

      Good questions, Peggy. Wendy and I are going to work on a blog post on this. At the risk of sounding like a slick-oil salesman, here’s a quick answer: Give them our book. The arguments in Love Another Child are tough to refute.

  • Sheri Hepworth

    Being a mom of 6 and now newly turned 50, it is such a blessing to still have ‘children’ in the home when so many of my peers are empty-nesters. Like a previous poster (Tammie) I have three close together (25, 26, 28) and ten years separating them from my second set of three (11, 13, 15). In that span of ten years however, we lost three. How very different our lives would be had God let us keep the middle ‘family’! Yet, I will be mid 50’s and still homeschooling and perhaps (hopefully!) welcoming grandchildren at the same time.

    It is easy to be overwhelmed with little kids when there are more ankle biters than adults in the house. But, that time passes far far too soon and in a blink, the children are taller than Mom and not quite so needy. I would suggest that the biggest encouragement to young mothers is to be supportive of however few or many blessings they have so they can truly enjoy their children. Perhaps a kind word of encouragement to an exhausted mom of two will cause her to ache for yet one more wee one. It sure made me all warm and fuzzy whenever I was patted on the back for having my hands full!

    • Anonymous

      VERY good advice!

  • Margaret

    Well, I know what my life could be like if I had “waited for a reasonable time” to have children (had them at 20, 22, and 24).

    It could have been miscarriage after miscarriage (ages 25-almost 29), like I’m having now. Only with no living children to ease that sorrow.

    I am glad I do not have to look back and wonder, as I have known someone else who did. We cannot go back in time, and we can only guess at what really might have been, we must move forward, of course, and deal with what’s presented to us.

    But pointing out the falsity of our “control” over these things is a valuable service y’all do. Guess what, just because ya’ use birth control doesn’t mean you actually have the determining power over when and how many children you will have. Too many young folks think that, and I know quite a few of my peers now who, as we are approaching 30, are finding the blows that reality deals very painful. :(

  • Roberta

    I am so glad I had only my two kids. I love them to pieces, but I’m glad God told me when to stop! We could not have properly parented any more.

    Thank you for respecting those of us who choose to restrict their family size. We are all called by God to do different things. It is good to find a blog that recognizes this.

  • Roberta

    Perhaps the 40-something mom that you speak of could have a child through adoption. That is an excellent way to build a family. It is never to late to love a child.

  • http://www.shandees-journey.blogspot.com Shandee

    Wendy,
    I have a question for you about taking care of the home and children when you have several young ones. Do you have any advice?
    It would bless me if you could visit our blog@ http://www.shandees-journey.blogspot.com to further understand the circumstances we are dealing with.
    Thank you for your time!!
    Blessings.