Home large families Why Did You Have So Many Children?

Why Did You Have So Many Children?

by Kelly Crawford


Faith is an oddly phenomenal thing. I remember reading the biography of George Mueller as a child, and wishing deeply, I could have that kind of faith.

Faith believes what we cannot see.

That’s it. So early in our marriage, we wanted to trust God and we wanted to be consistent in our belief in His sovereignty, not just in the easy places. It seemed, then, that included the area of life–especially that, since we believed God is the author of all life. Plus, it seemed such a sacred area–much bigger than buying a house or car, and I didn’t even feel adequate for the decision of if/when.

If we had waited until we could afford children, we would never have had any. If I had waited until I was more patient, a better mother, etc….no children. (Raw Uncensored Thoughts of a Mother with Ten Children)

But that’s not really faith, by definition. It is believing that He will provide for our needs, when those needs arrive and not a day sooner. We pray the Lord’s prayer, but none of us really wants to be tested on that “daily bread” thing. Yet, that’s where God wants us.

It may seem strange that we gave our fertility, all willy nilly, into the Lord’s hands. But I can say this: I’m so, so thankful for each of my children, for what each one teaches me, and for the exciting journey of walking in faith, seeing God fulfill His promises every step of the way, and knowing, without a doubt that God is who He says He is; otherwise, we wouldn’t have made it.

We’ve even had some mind-blowing, marveling at those “nothing is impossible with God” moments. We have peace seeing God’s eternal hand in our family in this short life.

How will we pay for college? Ha. We won’t. But if they need to go to college, there will be a way. How do I know? Because He hasn’t failed us yet.

Our earthly treasure may be stretched thin (and only by American standards), but we are very rich. I wouldn’t trade that to be a little more comfortable. My children have been more loved, not less, because of the numbers in our family to love them.  They have gotten to witness His faithful provision. They have learned that each of them is intrinsically valued, even though in our society, their value decreases with birth order.

We like to be in control. A lot. But I wonder what we miss (I’m talking to myself) because we don’t completely trust Him? The joys, the beauty, the wonder and miracles of a life totally abandoned to His leading? I still have so much work to get to that place.

I’m not saying limiting your family size is wrong. I’m offering my personal perspective on the joys of closing your ears to the typical responses against more children. There are hard things in life; I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about simply believing God, welcoming children and knowing that He will meet your needs when they come. He always does.


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Bonnie April 7, 2018 - 10:47 pm

Hi. I’m wondering how you keep your body healthy as well as the babies’ without becoming deficienct in nutrients. I have 4 kids 9y & under and my teeth have suffered greatly. I am still sleep-deprived, and foggy-brained too. How do you thrive and not just survive?

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 1:55 pm


I would definitely have a thorough checkup and try to figure out your deficiencies. I haven’t dealt with that, specifically, but I try to make sure I’m taking plenty of vitamins and eating nutritiously.

acts238willy April 7, 2018 - 11:17 pm

Hi, Bonnie!
Does your food all come from a store? If you have
a small garden that will help with good, nutrient-
rich food. Are you a vegetarian? That hurts in ways,
especially having children. A calcium shortage will
hurt your bones (invisible) and teeth (visible).
Do you home school? Let the children study nutrition
in their class work!

Ann April 9, 2018 - 7:25 am

Just to clarify, vegetarians still drink milk & eat eggs, so I don’t think that would be harmful to teeth. Vegans don’t drink milk, but there’s so much concerned calcium & magnesium in nuts, beans, & greens, plus the vitamin k to bind them into bones, that whole food vegan diets should be fine too. I would think if there is a problem with diet, it comes from eating too many processed foods and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables.

High vield, low effort gardens are great with big families. We planted Seminole squash 2 summers ago and had enough for 2 years, not even canning! It’s another way the Lord provides. <3

Margit April 7, 2018 - 11:35 pm

Amen and amen. I often have to remind myself to look around. I have a home, husband, 7 blessings on earth, 2 in heaven, dishes, laundry, discipline issues, am short on sleep, etc. But Jesus never fails. He has walked with us through some very dark days, He smiles on our sunny ones. Back to basics. He will provide because He has in the past…perhaps not the way we anticipated but He is faithful. Thanks for this.

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 1:55 pm


Heather April 7, 2018 - 11:37 pm

Kelly, I am always so encouraged whenever I read anything from you. We currently have 7 children, 11 yrs and under. I am still sleep deprived, lol, but I am finally starting to see glimpses of relief in many areas as my older girls have begun to help out more happily. Thank you for your example. I agree with everything you said, and I hope many more Christian Mama’s decide to trust the Lord in this area too! Hugs!

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 1:56 pm


Sleep deprived with you. 😛 After 24 years of getting up with babies I was looking forward to sleeping again, but apparently, hormones and pre-menopause has different plans for me at night.

Denise bennett April 10, 2018 - 12:22 pm

I have found 400mg magnesium very helpful with hormone related insomnia. I also listen to the BBC world service – very soporific

acts238willy April 8, 2018 - 12:10 am

If you home school, the chemistry course includes
the periodic table – the elements that make up God’s
creation. The Russian chemist, Mendeleev, unlocked
this secret of the order of the elements. God’s plan
also included Mendeleev himself – he was the youngest
in a family of….
17 children.

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 3:01 pm

I LOVE these kinds of stories. This is one I haven’t heard. Thanks for sharing!

Layne R. April 8, 2018 - 12:57 am

Thank you. I so needed this. ❤️

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 3:06 pm

I’m glad it encouraged you, Layne.

Diana April 8, 2018 - 12:58 am

Thank you for this lovely post! Yes!!!!!!!

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 3:07 pm

You’re welcome Diana!

Heather April 8, 2018 - 11:18 am

Thank you,Kelly. Timely as usual! God has been “re-teaching” me about His daily bread. It doesn’t always come before we need it but it never comes too late either! He provides everything He knows we need in His perfect timing.

Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 3:04 pm

Yes he does!

Kristen Koehler April 8, 2018 - 4:03 pm

I literally was thinking this thought of
God providing and trusting him with a “whole heart “ not bits and pieces of it … but a lot of ppl like to think God should give them so much etc in order to be taken care of by God ….God only promised he would supply every need …. clothing shelter food … the problem is with our American minds we think supply our every need means a cable bill a phone bill an internet bill a $900 car payment eating out expensive clothing iPads iPhone watches the list goes on ….. no He still supplies our every NEED!!!!! We just need to change the needs to His definition !!!! Then maybe we could afford the children God wants to give us ( and I’ve been guilty of these things so I’m speaking to myself as well ) God is willing to show and teach us it’s if we listen ….love your article !!!!!!

Caroline April 8, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Hi Kelly:

I enjoy reading what you write because my life is very different from yours. By nature I am curious about how others think, believe and live. My husband and I married quite late and had our only daughter quite late too. However, I really enjoy children – my friends’ and really any children I meet in my daily life. This is why I’ve been a teacher for more than three decades. I’ve had the privilege of learning so much from the many children I’ve taught, and hope that I’ve made a positive difference in their lives too. Of course, my own child has probably taught me the most, and there is no relationship that compares to ours. However we live, I believe it is our duty as adults to influence younger generations to do the right thing and to be kind to all.
It’s fun to read your insights. I hear from my friends who are now grandparents that it’s an awesome experience. Hope you’re enjoying that role as well 🙂


Kelly Crawford April 8, 2018 - 3:03 pm

I agree with you Caroline!

D. April 10, 2018 - 12:00 am

Kelly, I couldn’t agree with you more that when God puts us in circumstances that seem out of our control (and beyond our natural capacity), we can learn to rest and trust in HIM. But I don’t think leaving our child bearing numbers is the only way we can learn how to trust Him or to be content with less.

I truly believe God has given us the freedom to enjoy having a family and that while others feel there is no limit to how many kids one should have, I don’t feel guilt for feeling my cup is overflowing with just four. I have no issue with couples who do chose to have large families, but I don’t believe God calls every woman who can bare children until they are 45 or 50 (or older) to keep going, regardless of their health, mental state or even spiritual struggles. Some mothers love being pregnant and couldn’t fathom not having a newborn around and that is obviously God’s calling for them to continue. Others are thankful for the children God has given them and they do not feel called to continue bearing children, though they are every bit as committed to raising up a godly heritage.

Some think we have a large family with four kids; some feel YOU have a large family with eleven 🙂 and some yet have close to twenty! Where is the time to stop bearing children without feeling guilty that you have stopped allowing the Lord to decide? I’m not sure there is enough evidence in Scripture to support that a women should continue to have kids until her body won’t let her. We do know from Scripture that children are a blessing and a heritage. It’s true that our society would do well to think more carefully that children are NOT a drain financially and that they are indeed a precious gift.

While we do not feel convicted to have as many children as my body would let me have, we still chose to live more simply for the sake of not wanting a materialistic lifestyle to take over. We want our kids to see that you CAN be content with less than what your neighbor’s have and that money does not have to be the deciding factor of having an abundant life.

I love reading your blog and I love your heart. I know you’ve dealt with lots of criticism for having a larger family and to me, it’s not about how many children you do or don’t have. It’s about walking with the Lord and trusting Him in ALL things. Think about how many areas we still try and control, even if we’ve given our child bearing over to Him. I’m thankful that there are eleven kids being raised in your godly home and there are four being raised in my (desire to have a) godly home.

I hope you will not take my comments as being argumentative, but I’m all about having support from Scripture. I see God valuing a human’s life and therefore could NEVER, EVER support abortion, but I’m unaware of any Scripture in support of creating a large family (and really, what number is large enough?), other than being reminded that children are a blessing and blessed is the one whose quiver is full of them. Looking up on google, a quiver full could be 20 and way more!!! Thanks.

6 arrows April 10, 2018 - 9:57 am


I, personally, don’t see your comment as argumentative, but one of respectful dissent.

Kelly Crawford April 10, 2018 - 10:57 am


I don’t feel you are being argumentative either, and I appreciate your comment. And, it has never been my intention, when writing about this subject, to cause a feeling of guilt. My intention has always been to dispel the cultural opinion that 1. God has no role in the area of conception and life, 2. children are not gifts to be welcomed, but liabilities that make large families a freak show 3. God can’t be trusted to take care of His children…and I could go on–I hope you get the point. It’s never been about numbers, or having as many babies as one can, etc. but about a heart attitude that welcomes children and sees them for a higher purpose than our own enjoyment/fulfillment. If the starting place is right, the details work out.

D. April 11, 2018 - 11:55 pm

I should clarify, Kelly, that your posts don’t leave a feeling of guilt. I understand that you’re not expecting every other family to have the same number of children, but you want the world to see that God will take care of physical provision, regardless of a large family (and a small income).

Where I still am unsure (especially with Scriptural support) is the idea of leaving our conception up to the Lord, in terms of how many children we have. I believe the Lord gives freedom in these areas and He will convict and lead accordingly. We could also leave our health up to the Lord and not seek out doctors or medications or anything that could potentially take away from our unwavering trust in His plan. Yet I’m sure most agree that we do trust God, even in seeking medical advice and we acknowledge that God can also work through doctors and medicine.

I understand your point about wanting to dispel the notion that God has no say in conception (gender, health, how many, etc…), but He has also given His creation the freedom to pray about how many children He may want for them and that would also mean being more careful to “work around” those times of conception (without being too explicit). 🙂

Anyhow, definitely not worth a major debate, just some food for thought, since I’m mulling it all over. Thanks again for your boldness and love for God. I truly enjoy all your articles. Keep the posts coming!!!

Glenda April 10, 2018 - 11:24 am

Thank you for this! I have 12 living children under 21 and 4 in heaven. I still find myself occasionally questioning our faith in this area. This was an excellent article. I was especially helped when you said, “… we wanted to be consistent in our belief in His sovereignty, not just in the easy places.” I love it!

Glenda April 10, 2018 - 11:33 am

Thank you for this! I have 12 living children under 21 and 4 in heaven (miscarriages). I still find myself occasionally questioning our faith in this area. This was an excellent article. I was especially helped when you said, “… we wanted to be consistent in our belief in His sovereignty, not just in the easy places.” I love it!


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