Why We’re Not Deciding How Many Kids to Have Based on How Many College Educations We Think We Can Afford

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First of all, if you feel convicted to plan your family size based on how many college educations you think you can afford, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that! God will accomplish His will no matter what. High five for being responsible and providing well for your children!

I have a slightly different perspective on this matter.

My husband and I do aim to pay for our children’s college educations as we are able. Our parents did this for us, and it was a significant blessing to start our married life with no debt.

However, this goal is not a measure we use to direct how many children we will bring into our family. Instead it is an intention we are entrusting to God.

There are many different factors in play in our thinking on why paying for college is not a determining factor for us as it seems to be for so many people.

For one, we honestly don’t know where we’ll be financially in 18 years. We have lots of income-generating endeavors, otherwise known as bread cast out onto the water, and we’re watching to see how God will provide.

For two, it seems that the value of a college education has diminished. My husband and I both have undergrad and graduate degrees, none of which either of us are using in our current life situation. Ultimately we chose to learn new trades on our own, which was not difficult to do. We understand the broader possibilities.

However, the ultimate reason why we are not basing our decision of how many kids to have on how many college educations we can afford is this:

A college eduction and a successful career are not the be-all end-all. God’s kingdom is.

This life is a blip on the scale of eternity.

As much as I love having a college education and know that it has served to accomplish good things in my life, I also know that my degrees and learning, along with all their benefits, will go to the grave with me. Education, importance and worldly success don’t last, nor do they matter one iota when compared to that which will endures past this life.

Souls are eternal. God’s kingdom and His word are eternal.

If I bring children into the world, with no guarantee that I’ll be able to give them an all-expense-paid ride through college, but I know that I have everything I need in Christ to lead, shepherd and disciple their hearts to the foot of the Cross, isn’t that worth doing?

Although they must make their own choice to follow God, and I cannot make it for them, God has ordained the home to be a means by which children are raised up in the faith, and His power and grace are available to those seeking to accomplish that!

If my children never got college degrees and ended up as laborers, or if they found themselves at a community college rather than at big university down the line, is that truly worse?

By eternal standards, no.

In fact, the least among us now will be the greatest in heaven (Luke 13:29-30Matthew 13:10-12). It is this heavenly reality that will endure forever.

God’s Kingdom is advanced when we simply know and love Him, and as an outflow obey His commands and love others.

Am I saying that Christians should have loads and loads of children? No. Every family looks different, and that’s good. Perhaps you feel conviction that you could do a better job discipling two children rather than six. Or perhaps there’s room in your heart and home for more. Often God’s agenda does not look like ours.

Let’s be willing to step out of our comfort zone to follow God as He leads us.

Consider what it would mean to trust God with your family size, and open your heart to make adjustments as He calls you to do.


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  1. Jenna says:

    Hi Katie! My hubby and I were going to let God determine how many children we were to have, until my first labor. The pregnancy was difficult and expensive (I needed daily injections that turned into multiple injections daily = huge $$$) and my first birth was very difficult. I’m actually scared to go through the process again because I’m lucky to be alive after the first one! I know this is not 100% relevant but do I just let go and see what God has planned? I know in my heart that if he brings me to it he will bring me THROUGH it. I’m just scared and don’t want to leave a little one behind if the worst should happen. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Jenna, oh my goodness! Wow, what a difficult decision to make. I don’t have any insight, but I certainly don’t think this is a one size fits all answer. I know many godly women choose not to have children if there are serious health risks, and I do not fault them one bit! I would be right there with them in fact. I am praying that God would give you wisdom for His plan, but I certainly don’t think you should feel any guilt if you decide to be done having children. Maybe God would call you to adopt or foster or mentor? There are so many ways to use your mothering to serve Him!

  2. Aimee Hadden says:

    My husband and I like to say “we exercise wisdom as we trust God.” God gives us wisdom to know how many he wants us to have and how we are to provide for them. As much as I hope (and plan) for us to help our children financially in the college years, paying for college is not ultimately our responsibility.

  3. Bethany says:

    Yes! This is how my husband and I feel, too. I would hate to miss the blessing of motherhood because of a fear of the future that may not even come to pass. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yes!!! I so appreciate this post! It’s so important for us to prayerfully discern the Lord’s will for our openness to life rather than making the decision ourselves based on “foreseeing” what we can’t foresee instead of just trusting in Him every moment! 🙂

  5. AKEELAH BREW says:

    Amen, Katie! I love this! Eternal perspective, yes ma’am. Only what we do for Christ will last.

  6. Laura says:

    I really appreciate your perspective on this. Earlier this week I was thinking about how the only thing that I can take into eternity with me is my child (assuming he comes to know the Lord). Mothering has so much value, even if we don’t always recognize it from our limited perspective.

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