The term “quiverful” is somewhat new in Christian circles. The idea comes from Psalm 127, a beautiful chapter from Scripture, that highlights the heart Wendy and I have in family life. Here it is, raw from the Bible:
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Personally, Wendy and I love this chapter. We have it hanging on the wall above our piano, introducing the long line of “arrows” in our family’s yearly pictures. It is a beautiful explanation of children — “a heritage from the Lord” — as assets to the family, blessings of the greatest degree.
We’re blessed with 16 children who, without any doubt, bless us and those around them beyond our imaginations. With every child that is welcomed into our home, we realize more and more their incredible value in the world. The birth of a new life is a celebrated miracle.
A most common misunderstanding of this chapter in Psalms is that parents should race to have as many children as possible, as if Wendy and I are out to “beat the Duggars.” I know parents with a quiverful mindset who have just a couple children. The point is that God does the “family planning,” not us. We just make love without worries, and God takes care of the “choosing.” If He chooses to bless, we’ll gladly receive, and that’s the way it is for millions of “quiverful” couples.
But let’s be honest. Today, most parents choose to restrict their blessings. The conviction to just let the children come, allowing God to pour His blessing into our family life, is a conviction that has grown on us over the years. (To really dig deep into this conviction, get our book Love Another Child.)
So, if you’re okay with the next pregnancy and will enjoy life free from the myriad of contraception gimmicks out there, you’re on the same track as the Jeubs. It doesn’t matter how many children you have. You and we have the same convictions. Children are blessings. No exceptions. The unborn, the unwanted, the out-of-wedlock, the empoverished, the one or two, the couple dozen — every single child on the planet — carry tremendous blessing. The world may argue to give up on the child — avoid, abort, whatever — but we say no way.
Children. They’re blessings. Always.
I hope you resonate with this message. The trolls don’t. They cringe at large family living, ridicule the faith it often requires, and despise people like us. They often post on this site, more so on TV gossip sites, spreading vitriol that is aimed to hurt and destroy family living.
We were on a CBS news broadcast in 2010 (see here). We were interviewed alongside an author (single with no children) who wrote a book on the quiverful “movement,” painting the picture of us as hyper-dysfunctional, emotionally abusive zealots. I bought her book and read it. I dare say it is an expose against religion, not large families, as she ceremoniously attacks Christian ministries who promote the quiverful idea, even others that don’t.
I believe her book misses the mark – big time – that of the wonderful blessing children are to families. She tries to explain what a healthy view of children is, but she comes across like a typical single-woman-with-no-children does. It turns out she is an avid pro-abortion advocate, even writing fondly of abortion media campaigns encouraging young women to be proud of their abortions. What a lifeless message.
But what about the quiverful “movement”? To be honest, there is a hideous side to it. The CBS episode also interviewed a mother of seven who used to promote an ugly side to quiverful living. Few large families I know ascribe to the legalistic standards she placed upon herself and, worse, her children. She has since abandoned it, and when she described her previous life on the show, Wendy and I were sort of thankful that she did walk away from it. Allowing God to bless her life had, it appeared, little to do with love. It had much more to do with a twisted, legalistic religion that she came to realize was ruining her family.
I’m going to go into that next time. This post already has a lot to talk about. What do you think about the quiverful “movement”?