Chapter 7: Lies Women Believe About Children
Day 1: The Blessing of Children
Lie #27: It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
If we have any hope of raising godly children, we must first start with a godly perspective on children. God’s heart is very clear on children – he treasures them and sees them as a priority. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to have the right priorities with our kids, and at times we may even struggle to see them as blessings. But regardless of how we feel, children are beautiful blessings from God, entrusted to us to raise, to teach, and to train to follow Christ – and then, much like an arrow goes farther than we can, our children can carry on our legacy to places we can’t even dream of reaching ourselves.
The world has a different perspective on children. It’s particularly clear right now amidst all of the turmoil of the political season. What we see is people using children as pawns; we see people who dismiss children, and we see people who manipulate children. There’s a prevailing mindset of children existing for their parent’s personal pleasure and comfort. We see children as a blessing when they’re convenient and as a curse when they’re inconvenient. Thus we have seen the rise of abortion pre-birth and abuse post-birth. The root of it all is extreme selfishness – the mindset that children for me and my personal pleasure.
I see this time and time again in my work with women in crisis. The majority of women who come into our program that have children cry and moan over missing their children while they are here – they say how much they love their children, they’d do anything for their children… but in reality, they have (and many will continue) to use their children to benefit them, whether through getting services, or even just having their love. These women love their children because of how their children make them feel; how the kids look up to them, how they love them unconditionally. The sad truth is, eventually the kids grow up and see how messed up their mom is and inevitably begin to despise their mothers, as they begin to understand that the affection the selfish nature of their mother’s love. The mothers care little for what’s best for their child, and care far too much what’s best for themselves.
To gain a godly perspective on children, we must first understand that our children belong to God and that He has allowed us to have them in order for us to raise them to follow Christ. This is a great responsibility – it is serious, important work. And we must, in turn, take it seriously.
To raise a child is to be more than just present, it’s to be strategic. One day this child that you have been entrusted must make his or her own decision to follow Christ; and in the few years that you have with your child, your job is to prepare him or her to choose Christ over self and over the world.
With these truths in mind, let’s consider the results of each mindset when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
A couple that has a worldly mindset might respond with anger and frustration. They may have the child but become resentful. Or they may opt for an abortion. The greatest tragedy is that the child pays the price, not the parents.
However, a couple that has a godly perspective can learn to rise to the occasion, however unexpected, and see it as a blessing and opportunity, not a curse or a problem to be dealt with.
Family planning is a very sensitive topic in our day and age. We see women and even, at times, men, caught up in their selfish lifestyles to the point where they are unwilling to grow up and be responsible for another life. We hear of couples who are determined not to have kids, no matter what; so when they’re surprised to discover they’re pregnant, they panic and take matters into their own hands. We hear of others who simply get an abortion to avoid the issue, thinking that will solve the problem, when it reality it causes great grief, shame, and regret.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute tells us that 43% of aborting women identify themselves as Protestant, while 27% identify themselves as Catholic. If these numbers are accurate, that leaves us with the shocking conclusion that 70% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on women who claim the name of Jesus Christ.
It’s a dangerous thing to plan out our lives apart from Christ, and this is nowhere so true as in family planning.
It’s not just about abortion, though. I also see couples who are determined to have kids but are in no way, shape or form able to support children. The adults are still children themselves, they work minimum-wage jobs, and live in a studio apartment. But they want kids, and they have kids – and the kids suffer because of the parents’ irresponsible choices that were rooted in personal pleasure and instant gratification.
Are kids meant to be convenient? No. Are you going to be 100% prepared to be a parent before you have a child? Probably not. But neither should you make a decision to have children rashly, without making sure that you are spiritually, emotionally, and physically prepared to care for a child. Because if you’re not, you’re being unfair not only to yourself but to your children.
At the same time, to not have kids simply because you’re waiting to feel “ready” may be just as dangerous. Ultimately, we must surrender this area of our lives to Christ. Does God want you to have kids? Some couples, yes. Some, no. But the determining factor can’t be based on our selfish wants, needs or desires, whether for or against. We must be committed to seek God’s will for the size and direction of our family and be willing to follow where He leads, whether that means no kids or 5.
When you began your relationship with God, you came to Him on His terms, which meant total surrender. Let me ask you now: would it be safe to say that total surrender includes when you have kids and how many you have? God has a purpose, even and especially to do with children in your life. But in order to receive his plan, you have to let Him have complete control.
Most women have a great desire to have a family; and that desire has been placed by God. God made women to be nurturers by nature, and it is in that context that many women find their deepest calling fulfilled. However, a desire does not necessarily mean that we have a right to demand and therefore take out of context the desires God has given us. We must still surrender those desires to God’s timing.
I also want to point out that a woman is not insignificant or incomplete if God does not give her children. Again, this is dealing with surrender – if God gives you children, rejoice! If not, rejoice! He is the one in control. You do not have to have children for him to use you.
There is a danger of idolatry with our children; believing that we are only complete when we have children can cause us to worship our children rather than God. If something happens to our children, or if we miscarry, or if we are unable to get pregnant, we can quickly become angry at God, feeling that He has failed us and mistreated us. However, this anger simply reveals that we’ve been worshiping the created rather than the Creator.
I do want to point out that I know women who don’t desire to have children at all. Some, I know, feel that way for selfish reasons, but others, I believe, feel that way because God has given the a different purpose and calling in life. There is nothing wrong with that; so long as it is the result of a committed, total surrender to God.
It’s time to stop making decisions based on what feels right and instead choose to surrender our will to God, and let Him have control of our lives – even the deepest and most personal desires. God is good; He loves you. He wants what’s best for you. Will you trust Him?
Key Points to Remember:
- Children don’t exists for my personal pleasure.
- I have a responsibility to raise children to follow Christ.
- Having children is a great responsibility that requires commitment and strategy.
- I must trust God to direct my life, including the size of my family.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.