Choosing Children

UPDATE: There is a good discussion going on at Mommy Life about this question. Barbara posted it for me - I asked for her input - and others have weighed in on the topic.

A friend recently told me that she and her husband are thinking about not having children. She asked for my input and below is my response to her. (This is what you'd call ranting and raving, hence the name of this blog.) If you are a couple who has chosen not to have children I am sure you have very good reasons for your decision. But, I have yet to come across Believers who can in good conscience choose not to bring life into the world.

I'm assuming my position is obvious. Are you thinking of adopting or just no kids at all? Is this something you believe God has told you or is this your plan? I firmly believe that God created the institution of marriage for the express purposes of 1) helping our spouse fulfill the plan God has for him/her 2) to raise up an army of little God-followers. (Like arrows in his quiver....) Choosing to not have children once you are married is like choosing to travel to a tropical island, but opting to stay inside the airport the whole time. What's the point? Don't get me started. Oh, wait - you already did. The main reasons I hear couples choose to not have children is because of a) money, b) the desire to keep things the way they are/fear of the unknown, c) careers are first priority, d) ministry opportunities aren't family friendly, e) fear of failure

She responded..."Our main worry is that we are too selfish to be good parents, and that our ministry isn't well suited for children."

I agree that ministry requires a lot of time and effort. You have to decide if this is what God is calling you to do for this season, or for your lifetime. I tend to believe we live our life in seasons. Rarely are we doing the same thing 20 years from now - if so maybe we aren't growing the way God wants. If you choose ministry over children and go so far as to prevent pregnancy what does that say about the level of trust you have in God. Can't He give us the provision to do both? If God wants you to be so commited to this ministry that you shouldn't become parents then maybe He'll prevent pregnancy?

Also - the selfishness factor. We are ALL too selfish to become good parents. That's the work of grace in our lives. Being a parent is the closest resemblance to the love God has for us in that He gave us His only Son. (I would venture to say that adoption is an even clearer picture of what God does for us.) When you become a mother something spiritual happens. You are totally given over to another human. You care about them more than yourself. You think about their needs more than your own. It is agape love at it's best human definition. I fail daily. My selfishness creeps in daily. It is hard - it is very, very hard; but there is no greater joy... and that is an understatement.

When I read the Bible, there are dozens of scriptures which assume that women have children. I have never read Paul say, "If you decide to become a mother." It is an assumed role in that is how God created women.

I know there are thousands of Believers who desire children but are experiencing infertility. I pray for those families and hope that God chooses to expand their family either through pregnancy or adoption. It is not these families that I am addressing, but rather those who have chosen NOT to expand their family beyond the husband and wife relationship.

What's your feeling on this?


Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me.

Then, there are those of us who have more than the obligatory two who get questioned that in trusting God for our family size that we might need to help God out so that we don't get too many.

I think someone once told me that there are 13 quivers on an arrow.


Kristin said...

I think Kim means 13 arrows in a quiver ;)

Anonymous said...

In your opinion, would it be wrong for an infertile Christian couple NOT to seek adoption, and to settle for life without children?

Kristin said...

That's a great question. No, I don't think it would be wrong. But, as my many adoptive friends point out...adoption is not Plan B. I know God has plans for us and they are plans for our prosperity, not for our harm. I think this would be an area where the couple could seek the Lord and follow His leading. Is He drawing their heart toward adoption or toward a ministry that would make it difficult to raise children (perhaps a volitile country, a lot of travel or contact with substance abusers)? Does God want them to wait on Him for a season and allow Him to open the doors either for adoption or pregnancy? In this case they wouldn't be "settling" at all.

I realize there are dozens of factors to take into consideration before becoming a parent. If you were abused as a child, or if you have health issues to consider - those things are important and need consideration. I am just saying...for healthy couples who are enjoying their DINK lives to choose NOT to have children in order to not disrupt the good groove they have going - it's pride. It's easy for me to point out b/c pride is the issue I struggle with day in and day out.

I'm just thinking out loud, and this is just my opinion.