Destiny In Bloom

I Know What’s Causing That

I Know What’s Causing That

posted on June 18th, 2010 / by Zach Neese / 50 Comments

Going out to eat with six children is always an adventure, not because the children misbehave (they are good children), but because everyone seems to feel they have the right to share their opinion about the size of our family.

If you are one of the 5% of American Christian couples with more than two children, you have probably had some smirking witster approach you with this question: “You do know what causes that, don’t you?”

In fact, we know full well what causes children to be born into our family, and we are well-practiced in the procedure.  Children are the fruit of attraction, intimacy, potency, and passion.  And whether these are found in a church or in a home, they are designed to result in reproduction.  Multiplication.  Childbearing.

Why is our culture so constipated about kids?  Why do professional women look down their noses at us like we are exceeding our oxygen quota by spawning so many Neeselings?  Do children emit greenhouse gasses?  Are they consuming more than their fare share of resources?  Are they inconveniences to enlightened, independent adulthood? Are they hindrances to marital happiness?

When did we become allergic to parenting?  When did children stop being blessings and become obstacles to fulfilling our dreams and destinies?  When did America decide that children were no longer honored guests in our homes, but unwelcome parasites in our wombs?

Once great grandmothers felt that God had entrusted them with children.  Now God has burdened us with brats. When did our attitudes shift?

If the typical “large” American family were to name their children based upon their honest feelings about them, an introduction would go something like this: “This is my son, Trophy-Child.  My daughter, Fulfilled-American-Dream.  And this is little Inconvenient-Deviation-From-Our-Plan, but we call him Oops for short.”

The Church has bought into the popular theology of politically correct family values, which is more accepting of homosexuals than children.  A modern family can be a dad and mom, two dads or two moms, or any combination living in perverted relationships with one another.  As long as there are not more than two kids.

Our perspective is screwed up.

We think large families are the result of irresponsible stewardship of resources and poor reproductive planning.

The Biblical view of childbearing is absolutely contrary to that position. From a Biblical perspective, being able to reproduce and raise children is the proof of a godly man’s power.  Jacob called Reuben, his firstborn, the FIRST sign of his strength (Genesis 49:3).  He went on to prove his strength twelve more times.

Interestingly, we measure God’s strength by the same standard.  We all agree that God is OMNIPOTENT.  The word potent means powerful, but it also means “able to reproduce”.  In other words, God is all-powerful, but He is also a Father who is “all-able-to-reproduce”.  His power is demonstrated in His creation of life and in the formation of His children into His image – the reproduction of Himself in us.

What if we are most like God when we are reproducing children and discipling them to maturity?   What if our marriage best represents Christ’s relationship with His Bride when the power of our intimacy (worship) is proven by our fruitfulness (creating disciples).

Sadly, the decline of the American Church is due in part to our negative perception of childbearing.  In contrast, the global rise and spread of Islam is not due to the superiority of its religion, economics, or military strength: it is due to the superiority of their potency.  In our day Islam is more potent than Christianity.  Not because its God is more potent, but because its people are more potent.  They have embraced the inheritance of childbearing [1].  And they are literally taking over the world through superior multiplication.

Christian couples need a paradigm shift – a return to the perspective of God.

According to Psalm 28:3 a righteous man’s wife is like a fruitful vine.  Psalm 127:3-5 asserts that children are a reward from God and evidence of His blessing upon a righteous man’s life [2].   So here’s a perspective change: children are God’s badges of honor.

The world says that children prevent us from accomplishing our goals.  God says that children are our heritage.  As couples, we can forsake parenting and focus upon the transient success of our personal goals, or we can invest our lives in success that will succeed us.  As for the Neeses, we believe that the only things worth doing in life are the things that will outlive us.  Parenting is investing in generations of success.  Our children will be greater than us.  Their children will be greater than them.  And our great grandchildren will prove the power of our lives as they carry on our heritage of godliness.  True success is proven through succession.  So here’s a second perspective change:  children are God’s plan for our successes to outlive us – part of our eternal reward.

You may be thinking, “Yes, but parenting is so hard, so expensive, so time consuming, so inconvenient.”  Well, of course it is.  “But,” you might say, “the Bible says that children are a blessing from God.  Isn’t that a contradiction?”

Not at all.  Our confusion is in our misunderstanding of the word blessing.  A blessing is not something God gives us to make life easy.  When God blesses us, He is catalyzing destiny in our lives.  A blessing pulls calling out of us.  It shatters our mediocrity and sets our feet upon the path of greatness.  Children bless us because, in parenting them, we embrace an essential ingredient to the fulfillment of our own destinies.

We (Jen and Zach) are not just parents, but being parents is essential to our becoming the people that God designed us to be.  And each individual child contributes something to who we are – they contribute to the fulfillment of our created purpose.

So, though they are a blast to make, children are not a blessing because they are always easy to have around.  Children are a blessing because they train our hearts for destiny and equip us for our Armageddons.

How do they equip us?  God says that children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior.  In other words, when we are raising a child, we are fletching a shaft.  We are sharpening an arrowhead.  We are practicing our marksmanship.  And when the day of contention comes (as it does each morning), We knock our children on the strings of our bows, draw them back, aim them at our foe, and we let go.  Those children will fly straight to the heart: they will pierce him and break his charge, topple his minions from the walls and cause confusion in his camps.  Our children will thwart the devil’s plans and pulverize his resolve.  Why?  Because that is what they were born for.  And they will sense the pleasure of God as they do it.

When we have family prayer time in the Neese house, we are firing flaming arrows into the enemy camp.  And it scares him to death.  Arrows don’t see their targets and flinch.  They don’t doubt the archer’s aim.  They just fly and strike.  That is the blessing of a godly man and wife.  As we raise these children we are promoted from the ranks into high command.  Zach becomes the general, Jen the field marshal, and the children are the troops.  The eight of us are a more formidable opponent because of our numbers, training, and discipline.  We are pack, and we are powerful.

So allow us to introduce you to our family.  We know exactly what caused them, and we are honored to have the privilege of parenting them.  If we were to rename them according to our feelings about them, it would sound something like this:  “This is my son, Vanquish.  My daughters, Javelin, Morning Star, Trebuchet, and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.  And this is the baby, Beloved, but we call him Kick the Devil’s Tail Up Around His Ears for short.

You’ve probably heard of them.  If not, you will, we assure you.  They are the proof of our potent intimacy.  They are our reward from God.  They are our blessing and our inheritance.  They are daily catalyzing destiny in our lives.  And they are going to conquer the world.

Zach and Jen have been married for twelve years and are the parents of six bright, good-looking, godly children.  Jen is a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations (a full-time mother) as well as the Principle of the Hawley Institute for Gifted and Talented Children (a homeschooler).  Zach is Pastor of Worship Development (a working musician) at Gateway Church and Assistant Principle at the Hawley Institute for Gifted and Talented Children. They love long walks, good books, date nights, kids who are kind to each other, and occasional moments of silence.

[1] According to the Office of National Statistics Muslims have more children and fewer divorces.  25% of Muslim families have three or more children in the United States.  In contrast, only 5% of Christian households do.

[2] Psalm 127: 3-5 “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 who’s quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

Zach Neese

Zach Neese

50 Responses to “I Know What’s Causing That”

  1. God did not choose to bless me with children for he has other plans for me and I have long ago accepted this. My cousin and her husband have EIGHT children, whose names all begin with the letter E because she says E is for excellence and her children prove her right each day. Each is different though all are sometimes hard to tell apart. Two of them have blessed my cousin with grandbabies. Their “Papa” as he is called is a godly man and teaches both his sons and daughters how to have self-respect born of God and their Mama home-schooled them into unbelievable levels of self-sufficiency. She made a game out of making bread to teach her children that they need never go hungry and offering a home cooked loaf of fresh bread to a neighbor is an act of godly relationship. These kids have talents to numerous to mention but their strongest talent is that they love the Lord because Mama and Papa taught them to. Her children will never draw foodstamps because they know how to garden and bake and can vegetables and share the bounty. And even when they are alone, they shine. Each child is perfect and created in the image of God and can bring God to a lost soul with out 7 siblings and 2 parents as back-up. Mama and Papa did not have the same example they have provided for their kids. They went to the Bible to learn to be good parents and they do not measure that success by the important jobs or college degrees or accomplishments. They see it when they see their children share Jesus without flinching. Being all together is good but each child can stand alone if need be. My cousin is blessed and all of God’s people are blessed because she chose to go to the Authority for direction in raising wonderful talented children, not one of whom was a “mistake” but a “wonderful blessing” from God. I don’t mind being barren as I look for my purpos in God’s word, but if I saw some Neeses in a restaurant, I would approach the table and ask if I may offer a prayer of praise and thanks for their blessings. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart, speaking the truth and sharing about your family. You always encourage me, cause me to think and look at things in a way different than I might naturally do. Forwarding this to my husband!

  3. WOW! This is an amazing perspective. I love the truth that you are proclaiming. Our children are a gift from God! It's also a very eye-opening reality when you compare the procreation rates of Muslim families vs. Christian families. I wish I had understood more about this when my husband and I were making choices about reproduction several years ago.

  4. EXCELLENT! Loved every bit of that! You go, Neeses!!!!

  5. Tremendous! As someone who works with children regularly I love seeing families who get what parenting is. It breaks my heart to see families where the child seems to be an annoyance and not a blessing. What an awesome honor from The Giver of All Life to steward these hearts toward their destinies and release them to fulfill all that He has – yes, wreaking havoc in the enemy's camp along the way. May God continue to bless the Neeses!

  6. LOVE it! you have the sweetest family. And I love to hear parents speaking well of their live's with children.

  7. This is a beautiful post. I too am barren but I am a mother! God blessed me through adoption. I have three beautiful blessings! Sometimes the fruit comes by other means.

  8. Shout out to all the large families in America!! Woop woop!!:)
    You mentioned, Psalm 127:5 "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full." This is one of my husband's favorite verses that he lives by and evangelizes to the world! And I believe our quiver is full!!:)
    We love you guys and love how you expressed that we are the reproduction of our Omnipotent Father in us. So good!!
    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  9. Thank you, Carrie. You know, I notice that the most blessed women in the bible are the ones who were once barren. May the Lord bring beauty from your ashes.

  10. Thank you for writing so beautifully what’s in my heart. People often question why we have 4 children and will always be open to having more. The answer is plain and simple: Children are blessings from the Lord. For me, this is easy to claim in the big picture of life but more difficult to act out of in the midst of changing diapers, cleaning up messes, mounds of laundry, hours upon hours of correction and repeated discipline. I am a work in progress but your words above sum up my heart. Because with all the above groanings comes the endless hugs, constant kisses, and the “I love you Mommy!” every morning and throughout the day. All totally worth it! Bring on the blessings!!!

  11. Love it!!!! The Jarrellites look to be more than a thousand strong in just a few generations – not bad when one puts a thousand to flight and two ten-thousand! We have the enemy on the run!

  12. Zach and Jen – There are so many things that I love about this blog.

    First, I'm glad that we're not the only ones who understand that our large family is not the result of irresponsible stewardship of resources and poor reproductive planning. It's easy to feel alone in those beliefs sometimes. Thanks for the moral support.

    Seoncd, I love the reminder that my God is POTENT and that attraction, intimacy, potency, and passion produce fruit – in a home OR A CHURCH! That'll preach. I'm going to be sharing that several times in the days ahead.

  13. Zach and Jen – This is amazing!!! Thank you for taking the time to write this. It's EXACTLY what I needed to read today. I do not have any children yet, but my view of having children has shifted into a very worldly view and not a godly view … thank you for helping me realign my thinking and for reminding me that children are a blessing! I can't tell you how much this meant to me.

  14. Amen!

  15. LOVED it! "Our children will thwart the devil’s plans and pulverize his resolve. Why? Because that is what they were born for. And they will sense the pleasure of God as they do it." I love it, love it!!
    We love you guys!!

  16. YES and AMEN! Thank you for putting into words what has long been on my heart! It truly IS a form of warfare, raising Godly children. This article has encouraged me so much today. Many blessings to y'all as continue to raise your family and and scare the devil!


  17. Can I take a guess at which one is the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile?? :)

    Thank you for the encouragement! Nick and I are so excited about this new territory the Lord has trusted us with!

  18. Wow – I'm one of those people who can never exactly put into words things how she feels about things. If someone could read my heart – this is what it would say about my beliefs about children and families. Thank you for posting this!

  19. Thank you for sharing this! All I can say is AMEN!! As some of your commenters have already voiced, we have struggled with secondary infertility. We were blessed with two "proofs" of our intimacy early on in our 8 year marriage, and back to back at that! And since then we have lost 4 sweet angel babies who were born into heaven much too early. We have two failed adoptions.
    We are two of the most "open to life" people I know. And we long for our quiver to be full. On bad days, I wonder, what have we done wrong that our love is not fruitful? That is a lie from Satan.

    May you and your family be blessed.

  20. This is a wonderful post! I am one of 11 kids and my husband is one of 8 kids, we have 1 daughter and pray we are blessed with lots more! I love the heart this is written from and they perspective on children, it has changed the way I view my daugher. Thanks for putting this in words for others. I will pass this on to many and know your family is making an impact for the kingdom!

  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have helped me define why it is that I want- have always wanted- a large family. What a blessing to read… Every day I strive to look at our two children as the Lord's children entrusted to me to raise up in His ways in order to fulfil their destinys in Him. And this gives a new perspective to my efforts. Thank you.

  22. Hallelujah!!!! “THEY WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME” Just because the eyes of people’s hearts are not open to God’s truth does not mean that we do not walk in it!!! My husband and I received a word when we were just pregnant with our first son that we were “called to raise an army of Godly men”! What a calling! At first, I thought, “WOAH, wrong couple!”, but as we walked together and with our Father, we asked Him for all that He had for us to love and raise in Him! Each time, He has spoken that He is entrusting us with another miracle from His heart! He often equips us for them AFTER they are born even! The world and every randomness person that can’t see God’s calling for our family looooves to comment and contort their face(which I’ve decided will make them wrinkle early anyways), but we’ve seen in 14 years to hold our heads high because God’s calling just isn’t always popular! I choose His great calling of love over random approval and popularity! Oh and it is even so much more hilarious to watch the “I just ate a lemon” face when you tell them that you LOVE to homeschool and your kids test out beautifully!! WE are called to be a peculiar people and what a badge of honor it is! Thanks, Zach, for this and, for the record, your wife glows with youth that the world would not think a mother of six would!! I love raising a Godly troop for the Kingdom and seeing the beauty of our brothers and sisters in Christ doing it too! It’s just the best dream life ever even when it entails diapers, mountains of laundry and sharpening!!!;)

  23. Wonderfully written. 30 years ago we embraced God's plan for our family and He has given us 8 wonderful arrows. We have 5 grand children too! So thrilled to hear the next generation proclaiming the news that "Children are a blessing from the Lord!"

  24. While I agree with most of your entry, I wish you'd reconsider your statement… "Why do professional women look down their noses at us like we are exceeding our oxygen quota by spawning so many Neeselings" I am a professional woman and also a good mom of 2 (working on more) and I don't feel like the generalize nor the insult is kind.

  25. I agree that it is a lie from Satan. I think it is our job to be open to parenting and trust God, it is His job to give whatever arrows He chooses. May the Lord grant you the desires of your heart as you delight yourself in Him.

  26. Certainly not all professional women raise their noses and roll their eyes. We apologize for offending you. It was not meant as an insult. We have nothing against working women. But that is definitely the typical response we get from many of them. From veiled disdain to open rudeness.
    I'm sure your attitude is different because your perspective is that of Jesus, not the world. May the Lord grant you the children you pray for.

  27. Zach and Jenn~ Thank you for this inspirational post! My husband and I are Children's Pastors. One of our biggest pet peeves is when people see kids as an inconvenience. "Uh, hello..what, did ya think this was going to be easy?!" But I love how you write about children, as a 'blessing' and like little arrows, powerful in the hands of the warrior. Thank you for you heart, Celeste =)

  28. Mother of five from a mother of six from a mother of nine from a mother of seven. What a blessing! I know what a loud and loving imperfect family looks like….thanks be to God for such a rich heritage through Christ.

  29. Zach and Jen,
    Your family is an inspiration, and I love to watch you live out the things you have written here. I know some days half the battle seems to be having enough energy to keep the ship on course, but you guys have your eye on the right prize, and you are raising world-changers. I think your "quiver" has doubled since I first met you! You have incredible children. Muellers love the Neeses!

  30. Zach & Jen!!!

    Loved it! Thank you for sharing your heart and passion for families and purposeful parenting. I too have a crew of history makers … "Stars" … called to shine for the Lord and the integrity of His name! :)

    It was refreshing to think on parenting a lil' differently through your words … I enjoyed the challenge!

    Thank you for writing for Destiny in Bloom and blessing our readers!
    With GREAT love!

  31. As a lover of His children, thank you… Sharing with my parenting class. Blessings, Neese Friends!

  32. What a great post. Everything was so right on. Thanks for sharing and for taking a stand for larger families. As a father of 5 I can relate very well. May God Bless you and your family.

  33. Excellent! Thank you for your wise words!

  34. Man, excellent blog, guys. One section reminded me of how orthodox Jews believe that in the act of sex, man parallels God as Creator. Thanks for providing everyone with a healthy, Godly, marriage-oriented view of a couple's love life.

  35. Well done! What a beautiful introduction of your family. On behalf of all large familes who have been asked 'the question' and wanted to give a detailed answer in IHops, foodstores, and at family reunions all across America, THANK YOU! You have a lovely family! In His love, Linda

  36. I love this so much! I have LOVED joining your family in the shooting of those fiery arrows! You all bless me so much! – Jillian

  37. I loved this post! This is one of my favorite blogs so far. Thank you for this inspirational, beautiful word!

  38. This post came as a tremendous insight to parenting. I love kids and though I’m not married yet and don’t have any kids, I’d love to have them someday. I know so many people who look at babies as an obstacle in their path. It’s almost like something they want to have when they reitre… lol … coz they spoil the fun! I’m so blessed reading this… am going to forward this around!

  39. When people used to ask my husband and I that question my husband would always say, "As soon as we figure out what's causing it, we'll put a stop to it." That usually shut them up! :)

  40. AWESOME post; so well written. Thank you for sharing; hope to follow in your steps – as God wills – some day.

  41. What a wonderful article, Zach. I'm so glad you and Jen are my friends. I love your family, and I agree with you.

  42. Wow! That brought tears to my eyes … praying (not because of this article, but already have been praying) that God gives us more arrows! Thanks for such powerful truth. Exactly how we feel!

  43. As I read your bio, I thought it was funny how you list yourselves as Principle and Assistant Principle of the Institute. The funny part, I was wondering if you spelled that wrong and meant Principal. But either way, Principal-in charge, or Principle-part owner, they are very correct in this application. Thank you for your insight today. I have three kiddos and we are thinking of adopting more. God has blessed us and I know we are supposed to give back.

  44. What a great blog. It is so true and I really enjoyed reading it. Godd Bless you and your lovely family. You are an inspiration to all.

  45. Zach and Jen,

    Thank you for posting this. It actually excited and frustrated me because I feel this way and my husband feels another. I keep praying that the Lord will unite us. Any advice? We have a one year old and have been married six years. We just got through a rough patch in our marriage and it concerns me for the future children we could have. I am almost afraid to have more kids because I don’t know if we can “handle” it.

  46. Guys, I am sorry I didn't read this article sooner. This was a wonderful explanation of parenthood and children. I would love to have a quiver full, but will currently be quite blessed with my two. Your article adds a renewing to our call to parenting, and you are a true inspiration.

  47. Well said, well written and well lived! I heard about this article and had to check it out. So refreshing!
    In our society, families like yours are a glimpse of glory. Bless you!

    Someone told me recently they rarely saw anyone who seemed to enjoy their children – I'm passing them your article – evidence to the contrary!

  48. Amen =great article – I would love to have lunch with your husband – my wife and I have 11 children and have a heart to encourage and connect with those who "receive" children.
    Thanks for writing what so many of us think

  49. Thank you so much for writing this. My husband and I first child is about to turn 1 and when we 'got' pregnant *smile* we researched scripture, the exact verses you spoke of and more, and had a major heart change about our life's 'plan' Since then we have been sharing this same message. It is so encouraging to know that someone else out there got the same message and is sharing it too! God Bless you and your whole family!

  50. Beyond awesome!!!