And yet that was not the case. As our family continued to grow, I continued to hear the same belittling banter about kids I’d heard for years – only now it was on my church steps:

“I don’t know how you do it!  My two are enough to drive me crazy!” 

“I’ve finally got all the kids in school. I can’t imagine having to deal with another baby!”  

“I wanted more but my husband put his foot down.”

“How can you afford it?”

My heart would ache for any children in earshot. My heart would ache for the missed opportunities. And finally, my heart would ache for the misunderstanding of how it all must sound to God – who certainly never got the memo that children were a burden.

As an ex-feminist I knew where this all started, but still I wondered: how could the church have so mindlessly absorbed ideas from the popular culture rather than looking to God, whose truth never changes?  In 1997 in an article titled “A Call to Arms,” I wrote:

Still, I wonder what the church would look like today if we were influenced less by the culture which sees children as invaders – who will rob us of our freedom, status, beauty, wealth, and sanity – and influenced more by Scripture, which steadfastly affirms children as God’s reward, as in Psalm 127:

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from Him

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Hold that thought. Then consider that while our current national birth rate is 1.8, in many Muslim countries the average mother has five or six children.

It’s been ten years since I wrote those words, 22 years since Tripp and I made our commitment. We have 12 children – 9 by birth and 3 by adoption (in addition to our 8th child, who has Down syndrome, we’ve adopted 3 more). Our two oldest daughters each have five children and are expecting their 6th – Jasmine by birth, Samantha by adoption. I’m grateful that our hard work has given us such a sizable stake in the future.

And what an unexpected joy it’s been to find – through the Internet – that Tripp and I were never alone! All along there were families like ours, who somehow came to the conclusion that it might be best to buck popular wisdom – and even church culture – to put God in charge of their family size. 

Now we are being taken seriously: Laura Ingraham’s new book, Power to the People, extols the potential of big families to transform the culture, and reporters from Christianity Today, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal try to capture what makes us tick. 

What makes us tick is as different as the families themselves.  I’ve rounded up some personal narratives from readers at MommyLife  – which will certainly resonate with any Christians beginning to question their personal status quo vis a vis children.

Among younger Christian moms, many report going on The Pill before their wedding day as a matter of course – expected by their parents, their in-laws, and everyone else. Some report paradigm shifts set off by side effects: depression, weight gain, lack of sex drive.

Others discovered to their horror – since they considered themselves pro-life – that the pill can act as an abortifacient.  They gave it up immediately.