The Quiverful Question~ Are We Crazy?

I am sheltered.  I admit it. 

I have heard the term “quiverfull”, mostly relating to my own perusing of scripture.

I am very well aware that large families are not for everyone.

I am glad we trusted our instincts on wanting more children than most of our family and peers preferred.

and admittedly, at times I twinge with wishing we would of have had more children, I certainly trust ‘that nudge’ that Lord gave us every 3 years.  6 biological children is what we were meant to have.  It for us, it is a beautiful gift.

Although others think we are a bit crazy; good, bad, or otherwise…

I had no idea how much anger and hatred the “big family” concept attracted.   After all, I do not think it is crazy when a beloved cousin chose to have only 1 child.  or that a good friend was adamant to have the perfect 1 boy, 1 girl, and a dog family.

*note:  I do realize there are exceptional cases of drama and abuse;
as that risk could be found in any family setting…
regardless of race, schooling, income, or spiritual beliefs. 
I am not here to dismiss or undermine others pain, confusion, or anger,
but rather to explain our views that seem to correlate similarly to the “quiverfull movement”.

What is Quiverfull, and does it really relate to us?

I find it fascinating that we don’t follow a particular ideology on this, but have naturally come to some similar conclusions.  Such as:

Family Planning~

We have not used birth control in our marriage.  Are we crazy?  We decided it was not healthy for my body.  I know when I ovulate, we know when to be careful, and honestly a surprise would not be a bad thing.  Interesting enough, our one and only “surprise” was after I was having trouble hemorrhaging and the doctors had wanted to perform a hysterectomy on me.  I declined the offer, and they put me on birth control for 6 months to regulate the bleeding in the hopes that I would change my mind.  Well, 6 months came and “surprise”!  #5 came about 1 year earlier than we would have “planned”.  and we are oh.so.blessed to have Andrew!   We then again planned #6; and I have not had a hysterectomy, nor have any female problems at this time.

Patriarchy~

To trust the man to lead his household.  Now, I get this.  I understand why especially women will cringe at this concept.  Trust me, after having a drug addict dad, an alcoholic step-dad, and being raised around men who were jerks, I was taught to never trust a man.    But God has different plans.  Will real men please stand up!  You know who you are.  The one who works hard for his family.  The one who is exhausted after a hard days work, and will still play with his kids.  The one who lovingly declines his wife’s opportunity to work part time to help with the finances because… he sees how much she gives of her self here, in the home, and that is enough.  The one who does the “man” work like change oil, clean gutters, unplug toilets AND will still give a helping hand to do dishes, clean toilets, and grocery shop!  The one, who, when given the chance to step up and be a man (aka is trusted) chooses to do so!  Oh wait!  That’s MY man!  and he is not perfect, just willing.  Am I crazy?

Courtship instead of Dating~

We raise our boys to treat women respectfully.  Part of that respect is to gain the parents permission to “see” their daughter.  We are not in control of the relationship, but have expressed basic moral expectations.  We recommend ‘not being alone’ for extended periods of time.  We are open about s*x, and that the greatest love you can share is letting her know she is worth the wait (yes, for marriage).   Are we crazy?

Sheltering Children~

Children are to be protected and sheltered.
I do believe that is a basic fundamental right of a child.

We are to nurture the young child,
give them guidance through the middle years,
and be available to mentor the young adult (and beyond).

This does not mean you do not prepare them for the world (both beautiful and ugly) as that is simply naive thinking, but to equip them to be prepared at the age appropriate time.  Is this crazy?

Biblical Manhood vs Womanhood~

Let’s face it!  Men and Women ARE different.  We are wired differently, we are gifted differently, and we compliment each other.  That is the beautifully created design of it all by our loving Lord.  Why people are offended by this I honestly have no clue (cept maybe pride).  Mostly the rage is for us women to be *gasp* submissive.  To care, to trust, to honor, to love is not a bad thing.  In my reality, the more I trusted my husband the more loving he became.  In our earlier years (when marriage wasn’t such a beautiful thing) I literally showered him with kindness.  I was not perfect, but I loved on him as best I could.  God told me to trust Him to trust him… and I am ever.so.grateful I did!  So is that crazy?

Debt-free/independent of government programs~

Why is this a bad thing?  I honestly am trying not to laugh at this one.  This is something that is listed as a “quiverfull” concept.  really?  Shouldn’t it be an American concept?  One about being a responsible part of society?  This is NOT to say we don’t have are hardships.  We certainly have.  Family and friends have blessed in the worst of times, and we ourselves have felt led to bless others.  Why does government HAVE to be needed?

The flipside of this is that people assume that it is impossible to have all.these.children and not need government assistance, as, afterall, we must live in financial hardship and deprivation otherwise.  Well, finances are tight, but we are by no means “deprived”.  I willingly gave up having a car when I first became a stay-at-home mama.  I willingly am cautious about how I spend the hard-earned paycheck that my husband provides.  I don’t need fancy things.  Things don’t fulfill my purpose, and certainly doesn’t fill my heart.  Hand me down furniture and medium sized TV’s are perfectly fine with us.  It is far.more.valuable to me to be able to raise and educate my own children.  In reality, the love of my children is priceless!  Is that crazy? 

Home church/Family Integrated Church~

aka children are not age-segregated, but a part of the church as a whole.
Although we do not go to this style of church, I certainly can see its beauty.
As it is, some of our kids “go” to class, and some stay with us in the sanctuary.
We actually have several families at our church who choose to have their children in the service with them.  My kids have a choice, and some will choose to quietly sit alongside me (at 4 yrs of age).   Is he crazy?

Modesty~

*gasp*  Now that is just wrong in our day and age, eh?  Isn’t this just really about respecting yourself?  To value your beauty and your body?  Every girl has boobs and butt cheeks, it is a natural part of who we are… but it doesn’t mean it need to be flaunted.  Going the bathroom is natural too, but I don’t want to see it!  …just sayin’that we might be crazy!

I founded this above outline of what “Quiverfull” is based off an anti-quivering site.

Big families are not for everybody.
Homeschooling is not for everybody.
Not everyone is going to choose Christ as their Savior.

But that does not mean it is wrong… or that we are crazy.
It is simply what God has called us to do, and yes, we truly believe it is a blessing.

1 Tim. 1:5
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

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12 thoughts on “The Quiverful Question~ Are We Crazy?

  1. Oh sweet sister . . . YOU are not crazy . . . but I think you have no idea what really goes on in the Quiverfull (and ATI) movement.

    Because of your last post, I just spent the past who-knows-how-many hours going from link to link. We were probably reading the same blogs and posts, but with completely different thoughts and insights.

    I jumped on here to respond to your last post, but will just share a few of my thoughts here . . . or maybe more than a few. Hmmm . . . maybe I could write a guest post for you, sharing some of my thoughts. Let me know . . .

    We have known far too many families who are over-the-top “quiverfull” or involved with Bill Gothard’s ATI (are you aware of this organization?). SCARY things are going on in the name of the “conservative Christian large family homeschooling movement”.

    Large Families * Yes. We have 12 children. But, we CHOSE to have 12 children, because we WANTED an extra large family. Many of these families are having more and more children because they are being TOLD that they MUST have “as many as God will allow”. Just between you and me (wink), we used birth control (NOT the pill) quite a few times . . . it just didn’t always work. (smile) These families are teaching that ANY kind of birth control is SIN. Period. Even if/when the mother is nearing a mental or physical breakdown because of the stress.

    Patriarchy * This is so NOT what YOUR marriage is about. These families have such domineering husbands/fathers that the wives are hardly allowed to even think for themselves. I.Am.Serious. I KNOW many of these families personally. The wives are puppets for their husbands and the children are performers in their daddy’s show.

    Courtship * How about “Do not even think about someone of the opposite sex (don’t say that word, either) until you are 25.” Many of the dads even see it as their job to “find” the “right” husband for their daughters. Yes.They.Do. Yes. “Arranged Marriages” are taking place in the good ol’ USA.

    Sheltering * Hello?!?! YOU have a television and an xbox in your house?!?! You sinner!!! (not my thoughts . . . but definitely the thoughts of many of these families) Have your children ever gone to a movie theater? Bad! Bad! Have they ever stepped foot in any type of public school program or classroom? Definitely going to hell.

    Submissive * Honey . . . you just have NO IDEA how some families and churches would define that word. So NOT the type of submissive that you and I are living out with our dear, godly husbands. These women have completely lost their own identities in the name of “submission”.

    Home Church * yea . . . I’ll have to tell you about our personal experience with this one one time (lasted 8 or 9 months maybe). Yikes!

    Family Integrated * can be good, but can also be that Daddy & Mommy will just NEVER allow “little johnny” out of their site.

    Modesty * sorry, but you just sinned by even saying (writing!) the words “boobs” and “butt cheeks”. Horrifying to some. (I’m serious.) Yes. I definitely have an issue with Christian women (and their daughters) who flaunt their boobs and butt cheeks (Oh no! You have caused me to sin.) ATI has “uniforms” (remind me to show you pics of my girls in their navy blue jumpers). Yep. Personal experience . . . we homechurched with other ATI families. These families believe it is a SIN for women to wear pants . . . or shorts . . . or swim suits . . . or skirts above their calves . . . or sleeveless shirts . . . or short hair (buns are what they deem fashionable). I was so “rebellious” that I wore jeans to homechurch one day. Oh my! My husband probably got into trouble for having such a rebellious wife. (side note: I read an NIV Bible instead of King James, too. So rebellious.) (side note #2: hubby was required to shave his beard in order to even join ATI, because “beards are a sign of rebellion”.)

    Sorry I just wrote a novel, but these articles/blogs/”organizations” that I read about tonight are so heartbreaking because I KNOW what goes on . . . I have SEEN it with my own eyes . . . I have been JUDGED harshly by these families many, many times . . . I have taken teens into my home when they have “escaped” their own homeschooling houses of horror.

    YOU are NOT CRAZY . . . but YOU are NOT the “conservative Christian large family homeschoolers” that these young adults are talking about.

    LOVE YOU!!! Keep up the good work, Mama!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. LOL, I love you and your beautiful passion. No wonder we get along so well. Ummm, yeah, I would LOVE a guest post about this topic OR I could simply copy and paste this reply into a post ;^) *hee* Yes, I have met some folks like this too; but obviously not to the extreme that you have (no make up, no haircuts, no jewelry, etc). I just didn’t like how vague it all sounds to make all of us seem to be lumped into some crazy cult if we had large families, homeschooled, and were Christians.
      Regardless, you make me smile. =)

  2. Your “doctrine” may be the same on paper, but practically speaking be light years apart. What I hear you describe are philosophies carried out in your family with love, care, and concern for one another. What I hear about QF is the same philosophies carried out in legalism and law-abiding requirements without concern for the heart of the child/wife/member. Just keep the rules and obey the laws. *obviously* this is a generalization and perhaps all families are not like this, but those damaged by the QF movement may be speaking out more on this point – the heart attitude the philosophy comes from. Elizabeth Esther has her own blog, and talks about her “Fundie” experience. It was bad.

  3. Yes all crazy concepts by today’s standards. But you’re so right. People seem so bothered when a family tries to make right (Biblical) choices. We actually had a big family with no real conviction either way on family size. It is always funny to hear “you sure have your hands full” and then remain gracious while thinking “if I SERIOUSLY had a dollar for every time I hear that I most certainly would be rich” no joke! When we are getting out of our van my husband always says “let’s go get counted!” It’s hilarious to watch people’s heads bounce as they count. It is a crazy life though and certainly not for everybody. Nice post.

  4. I didn’t even know this went on. Very enlightening!

    My sister has six kids, but then she always wanted a large family. She gets the comment, ‘Are they all yours!’ or ‘Y’all must have been bored’, etc.

    One time while walking in Walmart, a lady, nicely dressed, was there with her six kids who were neatly dressed too. They were ahead of me in an aisle and I was strolling behind patiently. They were all little and well behaved. They reminded me of my sister, so I asked her THE question! Are they all yours. 😉 She probably heard it a lot, but she nicely answered yes. I then said, ‘My sister has six kids. I think it is so neat.’ This might have caught her by surprise because she turned around and said, Thank you, with a smile.

    I do think large families are neat, but I didn’t know many felt they HAD to keep having kids. Interesting, and sad. I never thought of it as a movement.

    Loved the post. 🙂

  5. Amen.

    Mamadozen’s comment is EXCELLENT! I’m wondering though … how did either of you and your families ever find a place to “fit in” …

    Sheri, you know we are what you wrote. Almost verbatim. But we still are looked at here like we’re aliens. At the conservative churches/groups … because we’re not conservative enough. At the less conservative churches/groups because we are not “less” conservative enough.

    1. Indeed, isn’t that the question amongst us Christians; too conservative or not conservative enough? just.be.you. We chose our church because my husband liked the sermons. Personally, when we began there, I thought the worship too dry. But I wanted my husband to be spiritually fed so he wass better equipped to lead us. After 9 years there, some folks love us, and some folks probably think we are bit strange, lol… and honestly, I probably only know a third of the people at our church. People, in general, seem to keep to themselves; and I… I just keep smiling at them. =)

    2. Glad you liked my response to Sheri’s post. 🙂

      Sadly, we have never “fit in”. Even though we have 12 children and have homeschooled for 22 years . . . we do NOT (thankfully) fit into the “box” of “the conservative, Christian, extra-large, homeschooling family”. Our young adults say the biggest compliment they get is when people are shocked to hear that they were homeschooled. Sad, but true. They do not have any desire to fit into the stereotypical “box”.

      We have walked a very lonely road for our 30 years of marriage, but we know that, ultimately, Christ did not call us to “fit in”. He called us to follow him on a radical journey, unlike our peers. But, he did not call us to follow any “movement” . . . he did not call us to follow a set of “rules” . . . no, he called us to follow Him . . . he told us that He would lead the way . . . he told us that He would be with us, each step of the lonely journey.

      At our evangelical church, we are looked at as “very conservative” because:

      1. we expect our children to dress nicely for church (no shorts and t-shirts)
      2. we homeschool our children
      3. we haven’t watched network television for 20+ years (but do watch dvds).
      4. we don’t allow our teens to date
      5. we don’t allow our teens to go to prom
      6. we have guidelines for the styles of music listened to in our home
      7. we have guidelines for the types of movies allowed in our home

      However, in the Conservative Christian Homeschooling Community, we are thought of as quite liberal because:

      1. we don’t read the King James Bible (we prefer the NIV).
      2. we allow contemporary Christian music (not just hymns)
      3. we allow our children to participate in public school sports
      4. we allow our daughters (and mom) to wear jeans (even to church).
      5. we allow our daughters to be driven in cars by teen boys
      6. we allow our daughters to invite boys to our home
      7. we actually can talk about S.E.X. in our home (it is not a banned word)

      Nope. We don’t “fit in” . . . but we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the life that the Lord has called us to. We have found a middle road between the ultra-conservative Christians and the little-to-the-left Believers, and we kind of like this road that He has called us to.

  6. Amen. Well said Sheri…what a blessing you, Fred and the kids are…in our hearts and prayers always.
    Loving you-
    Julie

  7. I feel so sorry for the children now adults that are reacting to the strict upbringing they had in the quiverfull movement. They have such a hard time acclimating to the society outside of the family that sheltered them, that they throw the baby (a relationship with the Lord Jesus) out with the bathwater. We who are Christians and have loving families should reach out to re-educate them about Gods love and forgiveness. They seem to be on a pendulum that is swinging way way out on the other side. They do not get Gods love at all!

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