Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Loving Large Families

Phoebe Elizabeth Winderweedle, my maternal grandmother known by her nickname "Bettie", was one of 12 children-- six boys and six girls. I never knew her, but she has always been a vivid person in my thoughts, since I was named for her. I have always been called Bettie.

My mother would recount to me all my grandmother's virtues and talents, chief among them the ability to look at a picture or design of a dress and copy it to perfection. She was a self taught seamstress who would make fashionable clothing for pennies during the depression. She had an unfortunate accident with a pair of scissors and lost her sight in one eye, which slowed her down not a whit!

I have a photo of Grandmother Bettie with nine of her siblings. (Two children died very young.) I can instantly spot my grandmother in the photo, as she is the only one of the girls dressed in a "Titanic" era dress, while her sisters are wearing black skirts and white blouses!

When my parents married, and after I was born, they went to Brazil as Presbyterian missionaries and my mother never saw her mom again. My dad was one of three children, and my mother was one of eleven. When Dad and Mom talked about having children, their goal was to have 12! They ended up with six children, but by the time the six of us were all married, my parents could say they had twelve children!

Because of a lack of faith and in conformity to the Christians we were around, my husband and I decided to stop at three children. We bitterly regretted that decision later, but the deed was done. We confessed our sin to our children and lamented with them that there would never be any more siblings. For years I dreamed about having another baby, and would wake in tears of regret.

God is so merciful to the repentant! My three children have given us 24 grandchildren in 13 years-- and my children are still young enough to have many more. Praise God for willing hearts who believe God's first commandment to "be fruitful and multiply", and who trust Him to provide all they need. My second husband's daughter has given him a granddaughter, after waiting on the Lord for many years-- that makes number 25 for us!

Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128:1 ¶ Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.


  1. "....and in conformity to the Christians we were around, my husband and I decided to stop at three children."

    Wow Bettie I see this all around me in the church. I make it my God given duty to befriend young mothers and offer them encourage. Even encouraging them to let God control their womb. I had one young lady tell me that I was the only older women who's ever encouraged her to have more children.

    Thank you for sharing :)

  2. LOVED this post!
    I'm so happy that there are some other families out there that wouldn't call me crazy. :-D We are waiting on the Lord to add to our family and meanwhile fostering in hopes of adopting. God is good, and I LOVE reading what other people have been through as they follow the Lord's leading!

  3. It is indeed rare to be encouraged to have more children, even in our families (my husband's and mine). We have 4 children, our youngest is 2 and I know that many family members would look at us like we're crazy if we even mention having more. Unfortunately through all this negative thinking by others my husband would rather not have any more. I know if we had family members who would have encouraged us in having more we would have. I am sad to think I may not have anymore children, so I'm just trusting in the Lord, that He will change the hearts of my husband and those around us. Thank you for your post, and for all you ladies that encourage moms to have more.

  4. Thank you for sharing such encouraging words on having children. I am a mom to six children and a grandmom to 1 and 2 more on the way. I will have my first 3 grandbabies 1 and under this May. Lord willing...

    I look forward to following your blog.
    In Christ,

  5. I am a man in my mid 30s who became a follower of Jesus Christ over the past 2 years and I have only just discovered all of these kinds of websites in the past few days and it is so mind-blowing. I had no idea there were any women left in the USA (is this in the USA?) who even want husbands at all and I had completley given up.

    I have found a tremendous number of websites and books encouraging single women and helping them know how to be functional and healthy and preparing and so on while single and waiting to find a husband. I would love to know if there is anything like this for men as I would like to learn and implement everything I may so I can at least try to live a more productive and Godly life while I am still single.

    I am also curious where all of these women are who want husbands and children. Most of the women I meet in and out of church behave as if they either mistrust, disdain, or are indifferent towards men and I have utterly lost hope for a family or children myself and could not be much more discouraged or frustrated. My impression has been that we can choose between celibate singleness or sexual immorality these days. I have been to many churches in four states and have never once heard marriage or child bearing encouraged at all.

    Thank you for your help and God Bless. You can email me at ajushi825 at gmail