Love Another Child
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Love Another Child
Children. They're blessings. Always.
Published:
1/20/2011
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
148
Size:
5.5x8.5
ISBN:
978-1-44971-063-7
Print Type:
B/W
Family is a fortress. Parental and sibling bonds are unshakable. The flourishing of loyalty and love is the desired blessing of every man and woman. But that perspective got lost somewhere. Family is trivial. Children just a consideration. They disorganize a couple's tidy life. They're messy, harmful to the environment, financially and physically exhausting. Chris and Wendy Jeub invite couples to reconsider this skewed perspective toward the blessing and heritage of children. They grapple with modern arguments like population control and the environment, but turn quickly to root hesitations like fear and family dysfunction. And they encourage you to following God's prodding to have and love another child, a most excellent calling indeed.
Life at our home is never boring. Activity is the rule of our day, and we thrive on it. We’re busy, but it isn’t a dysfunctional brand of busy, like a workaholic who dives into his job to avoid deeper issues in life. We’re busy because there is life going on in every corner of our house. Right now, the baby’s starting to stand up, the toddler is into spontaneous dancing, the preschooler is reading the alphabet, the boys are growing like weeds and the teenagers are preparing for speech and debate tournaments. There is never a boring moment in our home. Children are our life, and family is who we are. Perhaps this is what people find fascinating about big families like ours. Children are dynamic, full of unique personality. The social norm is approximately two children per couple, a nuclear family composed of, everyone hopes, one boy and one girl. I can imagine what they think of families like ours. “Wow, our family multiplied eight times. That’s insane!” And they watch popular television shows about large families with extreme interest and curiosity. We didn’t have the benefit of popular shows about large families early in our married life. When Wendy and I were married, we wanted to have a family, but 15 children was never—never!—a consideration for us. Honestly, we had difficulty with the idea of letting our children come one after another, because no one in our social circles was doing anything close to what was on our hearts. When we hit No. 5 (our first son, Isaiah), it was time to stop, it seemed. I (Chris) was a school teacher with more children at home than any of the other teachers in the entire district. Opinions rolled in—usually unsolicited—from doctors, co-workers, neighbors, church friends and extended family members. We didn’t have a family of a dozen kids next door encouraging us to have another child. We were alone in our conviction. On our hearts during those years was a simple prodding: Have another child. It wasn’t “have 15 children” or “have more children than anyone else.” Just another. Our conviction was, we had thought, unique from other couples. Our personal relationship with God was healthy, and this conviction—shaped for our lives and our hearts—was one we couldn’t simply shake off. As husband and wife, we prayed and studied the Bible together. We reasoned through our weak moments when we doubted our calling and questioned our sanity. And when serious doubts did creep into our minds, our fertility won out. Despite a fair amount of effort to avoid pregnancy, we proceeded to have three boys in a row: Isaiah was followed by Micah and Noah. Bing, bang, boom! There was hardly a year between any of them. So by 1998 we had seven children. We were still in our 20s. And we were feeling incredibly healthy and blessed. A funny thing happened at seven children. The social pressure disappeared. Family and friends stopped dropping those annoying comments like, “Aren’t you done yet?” or, “You do know how that happens, don’t you?” When you have two, you’re extremely normal; at four or five, you’re in the same boat as many married couples, wondering whether or not to cut the line and stop having children. Once you’re at seven, though, you’re in Looneyland—you’re “out there” and there ain’t no persuadin’ you. Something happened to us, too. The pressures to conform began to roll off our backs. Instead of doubting our convictions, we would reflect on how great our life was. We laughed the wisecracks off. “You do know how that happens, don’t you?” Yes! And we’re really good at it. Here’s one that I told a newspaper reporter, and it ended up in the local paper: Wendy knows, but she won’t tell me. Even the most cynical laugh with us. We’re now in our 40s, have two adult children, two grandchildren, four teenagers, two tweenagers, three grade schoolers, two kindergartners, two toddlers ... and we’re expecting our 16th child. We look back on our early 20s and think, how petty our anxiousness was. We wrung our hands and struggled with our convictions. For what? To avoid this life of limitless activity, joy and love? We are so happy we can hardly stand it. When we sit back and reflect (it rarely happens in our busy life, but we manage to find the time now and then), we are incredibly thankful that, when we were young, our faith triumphed over our doubt. Perhaps this is why families find lives like ours fascinating: We are carefree about our reproductive lives, open to how God will plan our family, refusing to dwell on the negative point of view our culture delivers about children. We’re still young—we will have more children, Lord willing—and we live a life free from the burden of worry that we may have another child. Controlling conception doesn’t fill our thoughts and discovering a pregnancy is, without any hesitation, joyous news. We make love without worrying something will “go wrong.” This freedom is wonderful. This family life is liberating. Deep down, couples wonder, “What would our life be like if we just let children come?” Is the “dangerous” antithesis of family planning to live on the edge like the Jeubs? There is something underneath the fascination and curiosity. Is it envy? Regret? Does the normal couple who birthed the average family, got the vasectomy or tubal ligation, and had the “perfect societal family” ever stop and wonder what it would have been like with a dozen or so children running around the house? Or at least one or two more than they had? Over the years, our desire has turned into encouraging couples who share in our original conviction, the conviction we had thought was unique to us. We’re not big into condemning others for their choices. We have several friends, in fact, who do not subscribe to some of ours. But having children is one of those biggies in life that couples should consider seriously—and the earlier the better. So we’re becoming more and more vocal about how our personal convictions make a tremendous amount of sense. Our “live and let live” motto has changed to a more direct, “Are you sure you want to live that way?” We talk with several 40-somethings who regret either pushing children late into their lives or cutting off their childbearing years early. They’re older, they get tired, and their 20s can’t be relived. These folks are the ones to whom young parents should listen when they say, “We sure wish we had children in our 20s rather than waiting so long.” Seldom (never?) do we hear regrets from those who did have children while young. We’ve decided we need to push a little harder when we meet 20-somethings who instinctively blow off the advice of their elders. We want to prolong the conversation with those who hear our message of Love Another Child and laugh it off—or grow angry with it. It is much easier to flow with the popular culture which encourages young people to have as few children as possible, maybe even none. If you are in your 20s, turn your ears toward your elders who share with you their regrets. You’ll find that they never regret the travel, material possessions or career opportunities that family life inevitably restricts. Instead, they regret their preconceived notions that kept them from having, raising and loving children.
Chris and Wendy Jeub are expecting their 16th child. They've been featured on television and international media as spokespeople for reinvigorating love in families. Their premise? If children are blessings, then love them. Perhaps a lot of them. Chris runs a publishing business and ministry while Wendy is a homemaker. Both may be reached via their website www.jeubfamily.com.
 
 


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