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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

How Many Kids Is Enough?

Updated: Feb 5

how many kids is enough

Every Christ follower I've met has an opinion on what they believe to be the "biblical command" on receiving the blessings of children. I've heard godly spiritually strong people say, "we decided to have two kids and I'm able to give them so much more love and attention than my sister who has four kids." Ouch. I've also heard wise and godly people say, "children are a blessing so we shouldn't reject God's blessing on our lives and we should allow God to give us as many children as He wants. If we choose not to, then maybe we don't really trust God." Ouch. So what the heck is the answer?! To be honest, I've been on both sides of the fence throughout the years, and here's where I've landed--grace.

grace when determining how many kids to have

Witnessing Grace Upon Others

I grew up in a family with three of us kids. I watched my parents lead us, neighbors, neighborhood kids, and a mega-church family spiritually in truth so gracefully. They treated friend's kids like their own, and to this day I believe they still might even be guardians for a dozen kids (if their parents were to parish). They loved kids unconditionally and yet had a peace about being done after having us three girls.

I've seen some people have serious health issues and learn that it was not wise for them to continue to have children. Years ago one of my ministry volunteers lost his sister this way--she was told that if she had another child she would die, but being so legalistic about having as many kids as possible she did not listen to wise medical advice and then died--leaving I believe nine kids behind. Did this family honor God by continuing to have as many children as possible? Maybe, maybe not. I think God's grace reaches further than my human mind can see in both choices.

Now that I've been living in the homeschool world for several years I've met several large numbered beautiful families. Families we look up to. Families we learn from. Some of these families have decided to be open to receive every blessing of a child that the Lord has decided to send them. For the families in a very high income bracket there is not much financial pressure. On the other hand I've watched other families drown in debt and not be able to pay basic bills because of this commitment. Should we only be open to receiving children from God if we are financially stable? Is it ok to decide to trust God that He will provide even though it might mean some seasons of debt and going without? I think every couple has to decide this for themselves and pray diligently about it. It's hard to hear from someone preaching to you that you should have as many children as possible when they have substantial income, perfect health (especially during pregnancy), and tons of family living close by to help raise their children. It's another message when this "trust God and be open to more children" comes from a mom who has had their utilities turned off, seen hunger in their children's faces, and has decided that health insurance or other common standards are not essential. Yet, I know God has met their needs. What a journey of faith! I truly admire both families for trusting God and braving the unknown, allowing Him to truly control their family size. God knows what we need and He CAN be trusted in this area--let me be clear on that! Since family size is not a salvation issue we MUST believe that there is so much grace surrounding each family, and only God knows what's truly going on in one's heart and what He has called that specific family to.

God's word trumps all and helps us know what's right for our family

God's Word Trumps All When Asking, "How Many Kids is Enough?"

Which family is more godly--one who receives unlimited children freely or the one that chooses to "stop" after a certain number? Which is more obedient to His Word?

I believe we have God's Word AND His Spirit for such discernment. Here's what God's Word says:

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Psalm 127:3-5

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.

Genesis 49:25

because of your father’s God, who helps you,

because of the Almighty, who blesses you

with blessings of the skies above,

blessings of the deep springs below,

blessings of the breast and womb.

I could share over 100 verses about the value of"motherhood" in scripture! If you really want to be challenged in your ideas and beliefs regarding biblical motherhood you should check out

Power of Motherhood Bible study

Nancy Campbell's, "The Power of Motherhood." (She's the mom of the Trim Healthy Mama girls). This Bible study is IN DEPTH and very challenging. While there are several ideals in it that I don't agree with I gained SO MUCH encouragement and wisdom for my role as a mother--not just to my own children but in the relationships that need nurturing around me. Definitely be prepared for spiritual warfare if you choose to read this one!

If we truly have freedom in Christ then we can believe that children are a blessing and feel content with however many He sends our way, and also be content in choosing to only have a few kids and invest heavily in a few of His blessings. We can also choose to stop having biological children and focus on adopting and serving orphans. (I can see our family walking down this specific path in the future.) Feeling at peace with "stopping" after a certain number is also okay. There is freedom in Christ, not legalism. The fact that children are a blessing should influence us in how we interact with children in EVERY facet of our lives--not just our birthing rate. How we treat our wild and unruly neighborhood kids looking for love and grace is a testament to our belief about children. ALL kids are in need of unconditional love and grace, not just the ones that we birth. Maybe we should start there--asking God to give us a heart for His children that He has placed in our lives! We need to ask Him about HIS PLANS for our family and be obedient and grateful for how He blesses and provides for us.

walking in truth and grace when deciding how many kids to have

Walking in Truth and Grace

Some things to remember:

We are each on our own journey with the Lord.

You never truly know what another couple has gone through--thus, judge less, offer grace freely.

His grace is sufficient and flows freely.

We are blessed to live in a generation with so much medical knowledge and we can use it wisely.

Being in agreement within your marriage regarding this issue is of great importance.

Children ARE a blessing, whether adopted, fostered, or birthed.

I've been a mom long enough and engaged with others intimately for years to witness other parents change their beliefs regarding this topic. Some families USED to believe in having a billion kids, but now find themselves at peace with being done having children. Others are regretting only having a few children and wished they would have been more open and trusted God differently in this area. That's one of the blessings of having friends that are a little bit older than you and have gone before you down this path. I love gleaming from wise and older women, when asking, "How many kids is enough?" If we are pursuing Christ through the Word then we are always growing and maturing in Christ, and that means that some of our opinions and non-essential salvation beliefs may change over the years as we look more and more like Him! I want to seek truth passionately, and at the same time be gracious with myself and others as we grow on this life-long journey!

grace and humility

Land With Grace and Humility

Whatever you and your spouse decide, it's most important to arrive there with grace and humility. This is NOT a salvation issue. If it was we would all need to accept Jesus AND have as many children as possible. And we'd all need to be married--which also isn't biblical. For some it's best to live single and serve Christ in a different way than a married couple with kids can. Having a teachable spirit to learn more, be challenged, and possibly be open to a different belief in this area is what I see God wanting. He wants us to be fruitful in how we live our lives, and how our hearts and minds are renewed day by day while walking in step with His Word and His Spirit.

Unfortunately I've seen pride on both sides! Pride that "we have X amount of children." Like they've done everything on their own. (We know that ALL good and perfect gifts come from the Lord so we MUST boast in Him, not just our decisions!)

I've also seen LOTS of pride on the opposite side, "we have two kids and that's perfect." I've heard a self-righteous attitude in having fewer children from some. Other judgmental and prideful statements I've heard are:

"I can't believe some people have so many kids, that's so weird and there's no way they can have a close relationship with each of their kids. "

"Some people have too many kids for me to be friends with them."

"It's not wise to have so many kids--most cars are made for four people."

I think we HAVE TO speak encouraging words and words of affirmation no matter where we personally are. Maybe we could say...

"That family is gonna have such a cool and different story than so many of us!"

"What a blessing to be able to birth so many children!"

"That's so great that you're at peace with your family's size."

We must offer radical grace with a humble spirit towards one another remembering that only God knows the heart and our job is to pursue Christ, not trample others on our path with fierce judgment and hurtful comments. We should be cheering one another on, sharing our testimony, and studying His Word while pointing others to His Truth in a loving and graceful way.

grace upon grace when determining how many kids to have

Where We've Landed

Grace upon grace.

A few years back I was in The Power of Motherhood Bible study and felt completely challenged and on board with not trying to control anything anymore and just fully trusting God to give us however many kids He wants. We have never had trouble getting pregnant immediately so this is actually really scary because I am fertile myrtle lol! It was such a great and intense Bible study and I learned so much! However, a few years passed and I began to feel a certain darkness surrounding the legalistic views I began holding onto. Wrestling with God's Word and His Spirit I realized that I, again, was looking for another way to make myself righteous before the Lord--but there's only one way, and that is through Jesus Christ. My own pride in my beliefs and opinions was starting to take me captive instead of me being able to boast in the Lord. What I realized is that whether or not we have a large family, I really LOVED what The Power of Motherhood Bible Study taught me about the value of MOTHERHOOD! It wasn't just focused on receiving as many children as possible--it was focused on the value that God created women with--to be life-giving nurturers whether we had children or not. (More on this another time).

I LOVE having babies! So much so, that I love to soak in the time with them and nurse way longer than most and enjoy the first few years of their life (hence why our kids are all about 4 years apart). I also LOVE seeing my husband become a dad again over and over. He is so gentle and steadfast! I have a few health issues that are truly hard to navigate through during and after pregnancy, so we felt there was grace to allow my body to fully heal before trying for another baby again throughout the years. So many factors. This pregnancy feels different though. Maybe it's because I'm older, but I feel a different peace (as does my husband) that this is most likely our last biological child. I've never had that before. I don't want to rule anything out for sure, but I am truly excited to see how God completes our family in the coming years. Right now He has us focused on this little blessing growing inside of me and we agree as a couple that it's not the time for us to foster or adopt or expand our family in any other way right now.

Children ARE a blessing. That doesn't mean that we HAVE to have as many as possible. It DOES mean that we should share God's heart for kids regardless of how many kids we have of our own. I've felt the lack of valuing God's kids from so many "godly people" and it pains me. They are missing out on sharing in this part of the heart of their heavenly Father. Most everyone has surprisingly been very encouraging and affirming this pregnancy, while a few Christians have been cold and made hurtful comments. That's on them though and their journey with the Lord. Maybe those people are jealous cause their spouse didn't want any more children, maybe they are annoyed because they value their freedom and life without young children, who knows? Life should be celebrated and loved at every point--in the womb, making messes in your home, walking through the teen years, and knocking on your front door at the most inconvenient time. Children are a blessing and we are so blessed to have them in our daily lives!

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