Blessing, Burden or Bondage?

I'm a bit sad about the general attitude towards having babies these days. It seems that the concepts associated with having children are burdens, bondage (lack of freedom), expense, trouble, crazy and my personal favourite: something to 'do' or 'get' after you've 'had a life' or 'got yourselves sorted'.

I think it's a pretty nifty trick of Satan to build a lie around a little thread of truth. Yes, children can be seen as those horrible things listed above. But only if you go by the standards of the world!

God's standards or expectations of family life are ALWAYS referred to in the Bible in very positive terms (Psalm 127:5). 'Blessing' and 'joy' are two words that spring to mind off the top of my head. The Bible sees having babies as top priority for a family (Jeremiah 29:4-9). The Bible looks upon getting married and having a family as life, not a thing on the 'to do' list when you've finished doing all the other important stuff like drinking coffee and making money. (Not that there's anything wrong with those things!)

It breaks my heart that we all sit around and agree that children are "Such a blessing...", but no one (and I include myself in this number, as someone who waited for three years of marriage before falling pregnant) sees having babies as something to enjoy as soon as we can. I mean, to be quite blunt, we're all keen to enjoy the blessing of sex, the blessing of spiritual gifts, the blessing of God's presence. But babies - bringing fresh, new life into the world? Hmmmmmm....not so popular.

To be clear, I am not discussing numbers of babies or family size, merely the concept of 'having a family'. It's so disappointing to see that most christian couples have an attitude towards babies, children and family that is contrary to what the Bible says and therefore what God thinks.

Yes, babies are hard work, but hard work is good for us. Yes, life is not always easy, but enduring develops our character (Romans 5:3-5). Yes, children may be expensive if you prefer to pay someone else to care for them all the time and you insist filling their schedules with ballet lessons, piano lessons, gymnastics, etc! Yes, children challenge us in every possible way and sometimes relentlessly, but is this not a perfect reason to practise those things that we read in the Bible and talk about almost every Sunday - love, patience, kindness, grace, teaching, growing, learning?

It all comes back to attitude. One of my favourite sayings is, "Attitude determines your altitude!". Meaning, if you treat having a baby as a dreary, 'gotta get it done' attitude, then you won't enjoy it. If you treat having a baby as a blessing on you and your spouse, your extended family and even community, then you will, on the whole, enjoy it.

It's only recently that I've worked out how to see my children as true blessings and decided to see them as a beautiful gift from God, rather than looking at them and seeing more washing, more work, more discipline. I've also given myself a bit of a break, to be honest. Just because I get frustrated with their behaviour, doesn't mean I don't love them. I just do my best with what I've got! My heart is lighter for it and theirs is as well.

Babies are a precious gift from God, to be enjoyed by everyone around them. Mother Teresa once said, "How can you say the world has too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers!". Amen to that.

Comments

  1. Great post!
    We were married just after I turned 18, and I fell pregnant about three months after that. I got out of bed the other morning, after another night of very little sleep with our newborn and thought to myself, I'm 21! Every other 21yr old I know gets to sleep in, eat pop tarts for breakfast and complains about starting studying. For me, getting the chance to study without two kids on my lap has become a privilige. But I LOVE my kids!
    We have always thought waiting to have kids until you can afford it was a bit silly. Kids need love and time way more than they need toys and fancy birthday parties.
    But they are hard work. And I do get tired. I have no idea how I am going to finish this degree, which I know God has called me to, while still keeping my family first. I've been working on it this semester, letting go of my perfectionism, letting the house get messier and not getting high distinctions for every assignment. It's all worth it though.
    I was a teenage mum, but we did the right thing. It's hard for people to understand that we actually wanted kids young, that we were actually married. I find myself constantly feeling as though I have to justify myself.
    For us, surrendering to God means letting Him take charge of our family, including babies. Thats such a big part of life that I think a lot of people struggle to keep a hold of.
    That's my ramble for the morning.

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  2. Thanks, Sara. You're an inspiration.....yes, it is hard for people to understand the desire to be a wife and mum - the judgement from others can be really harsh sometimes! Hope Elisha's not pulling all-nighters every night for you. Take care x

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