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My Quiver Full

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God told me in 1999 that I am not supposed to have children. I can’t tell you what a relief this was to me. I hadn’t even been praying about it—all I was doing was sitting in the living room at my aunt and uncle’s house holding my three-week-old nephew. When I’ve shared this with people over the years, Christian women who have children argue with me that God would never tell me that. They will quote all of the scriptures about quivers full, blah, blah, blah, and how those mean that anyone who can bear children but chooses not to is sinning, or that I will never know what it’s like to be fully mature as a person or a Christian unless I have children.

Well, when God revealed to me that I wasn’t supposed to have children, He brought this particular passage to my attention:

      “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
      . . . . . Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
      . . . . . For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
      . . . . . Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.
      “Enlarge the place of your tent;
      . . . . . Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
      . . . . . Lengthen your cords
      . . . . . And strengthen your pegs.
      “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left
      . . . . . And your descendants will possess nations
      . . . . . And will resettle the desolate cities.
      “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
      . . . . . And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
      . . . . . But you will forget the shame of your youth,
      . . . . . And the reproach of your widowhood* you will remember no more.”
      (Isaiah 54:1–4, NASB)

      *I have read a few commentaries that say singleness could be substituted here.

It’s no coincidence that I “accidentally” received a brochure in the mail about the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference almost exactly a year after God gave me that message. That I joined ACFW (then ACRW) right after Blue Ridge in 2001; that I started getting together with three other local ACFW members in 2003 or 2004; that ACFW had an annual conference here in Nashville in 2005; or that Middle Tennessee Christian Writers grew out of that conference because it was an idea I wouldn’t let go of (now more than thirty members strong and still growing); that my greatest joy at the 2010 ACFW conference came from watching my friends and mentees (my “minions” ;-)) succeed so dazzlingly.

It was God’s way of showing me why He’d told me I was never going to have children—because he’d prepared a different family for me, different “offspring” to give me to care for and to train and to watch grow and blossom into what He’s called them to be. And those “spiritual children” He gave me are every single person I’ve ever helped with their writing, everyone who’s ever sat in one of my classes, every contest entrant for whom I’ve ever done a critique, every author whose books I edit, everyone for whom God uses one of my books to touch their lives in a special way.

And I just want to thank all of you for the opportunity to do what God has called me to do.

  1. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 5:29 am

    Oh Kaye. I got all choked up reading this post. Not because I’m sad that you won’t have children in the physical sense, but because I feel like I am one of “minions”. I feel like you have encouraged me and taught me in so many ways. Not just your backlist of writing posts, but the little things you do…like send me a blue eyed Jocelyn…sharing your knowledge about OneNote and Powerpoint for Character Books…and leaving comments that encourage and motivate.

    Seriously, your comment on my blog yesterday–it was like an epiphany moment for me. I am going to print it out and place it in my writing spot to encourage me to just write. Nothing else matters…just write. Your comment really moved me to tears and it was something I needed to hear.

    So thank you, Kaye, for knowing God’s call on your life and sharing with us all that He has entrusted you with. You are a tremendous blessing to so many. (((hugs)))


  2. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 8:16 am

    There have been a few people that I would never have met but for writing, that have had an impact on my life. Kaye, you’re one of them. You are an encourager and a natural teacher. Whether you have children or “minions,” it’s the same thing. You nurture, you feed, you care for, you love.

    Personally, I have a problem with anyone who criticizes out of hand the calling or decision of another individual because it’s different from their own. Some people fill their quivers differently from others. You, with mentees and “minions,” others with adopted children. I have friends who decided, instead of having children naturally, that they would adopt a baby from Ethiopia, and are planning to adopt a child from China, as well. Would you believe they’ve been criticized for that? Who ARE these people, anyway?

    I read what you wrote on Sherrinda’s blog post. I needed that, too. Thanks, Kaye.


  3. Elizabeth permalink
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 8:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I am also someone who will never have children….. not so much because of a decision, but rather, the passing of years. By the time I finally met my husband, I was in my mid-thirties, he had high-school aged children and really did not want to walk down that road again. Ten years later, I know we made the right decision in not having children….. but we definately live in a world where being childless is not the norm. So thank you for sharing your story.


  4. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 10:29 am

    Proud to be one of the minions. Isn’t it wonderful that God speaks to each of us so we don’t have to rely on others to hear Him? Thank you for sharing your story, and for sharing yourself in the many ways that you do.


  5. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:22 pm

    I love that you accepted God’s words and the way He is fulfilling it. And you didn’t even have to change any diapers.


  6. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 3:25 pm

    Kaye ~ I can’t even begin to imagine how this would be to put this out so publicly and open yourself up for criticism ~ so a HUGE kudos to you. 🙂 I have friends from all different walks in this area, and if you have heard God’s voice in it, it is the business of NO one else.

    So thankful for the time and energy that you pour into others in sharing your knowledge!



  7. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 3:41 pm

    Hi Kaye,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I needed to hear this today. I am the oldest within a quiverfull family; I have ten brothers and sisters (all of whom I love very much). However the way I experienced life was much different than my siblings; I struggled with serious depression and the repercussions of a spiritually and emotionally abusive environment. It took years but the Lord healed me, and about two years ago called me to minister to those who come from a similar upbringing.

    Everything you wrote really resonates with me because not only do I not have a quiverfull myself, but I’m actually unable to have children. Some from this background consider this to be a judgment from God but I find comfort in the verse you quoted, and God has given me another family…a spiritual family. His grace has taken and transformed every pain from my past and every heartache I feel now, and He has brought life and peace and joy through doing His work.

    But I don’t often find those with a similar understanding. So thanks for sharing this…


  8. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 9:51 pm

    That’ll preach.

    You’ve really made an impact on the lives of many folks and I’ve been honored to sit and watch some of your minions blooming. You’ve left a legacy that many women who’ve had a litter haven’t done.


  9. Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:00 am

    Amen to that, Kaye. I had only 1 son, but 2 step-children. I’m so glad God didn’t call me to writing until my nest was empty. Now it’s full again with mentees and crit partners. I couldn’t be happier. 🙂


  10. Wednesday, October 6, 2010 1:19 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. In a similar way the Lord revealed to me that I was to be married even when that seemed impossible, when I was dealing with the abandonment of my second husband. I didn’t understand it at the time it made no sense, but then He restored to my first husband to me in a miraculous way, even when I had relinquished the idea of being married at all. We all have our path and it is wonderful when the Lord makes these personal insights known to us. I am so blessed by your dedication to helping and encouraging writers. It is a ministry that you have and I’m so glad to be one of the arrows in your quiver.


  11. Daphne Webb permalink
    Friday, January 7, 2011 7:33 pm

    I completely believe you. Right before I knew I was pregnant with my daughter, I dreamed. The Lord told me that I would not be allowed to have her, but I will be given one more child and no more. My daughter was stillborn four months later. Yes, I grieved. Then four years later I conceived (yeah, I know the exact date 🙂 ) my son. I know Blake is my last. I was given two sons and even though I long for one more, I know it isn’t to be. So, if the Lord says no or no more, then who am I to argue?
    He lays down the path before us. We only need to trust and walk it. Keep on walking, no matter what others say.


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