Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Just a thought"

No, I'm not saying I have a thought. Rather I'm quoting others. You know, people who make a commentary on your life choices by saying, "Have you ever considered (....) You know, just a thought" in a way that is just a bit too casual sounding. Generally the impression which is given is, "I'm trying to be polite but I really think you need to do it this way and I'm sure if you haven't thought of this before because if you had I'm certain your sense of logic would prevail and this is how you would do it."

Where I hear this happening most is with family size and spacing. I will say, I have a lot of patience for non-Christians and new Christians who have a diminished view of children. People who are/have been heavily under the influence of the secular view that children are fine, maybe even great, in small numbers and at the exact time you decide that they enter; but in large numbers or at the wrong time it is your prerogative to do whatever you feel necessary to get things back on schedule. Unfortunately though I think many solid, mature Christians have bought into this lie as well. Not that we're not solidly against abortion and maybe even chemical birth control (although that is more rare) but rather this hesitation to just relax and realize that plans are OK to make but ultimately that they are needed to be surrendered to God and He may have different plans. I think we too often look to outside circumstances like health, money, current place in life and give these things the greatest weight in our "family planning". I think we're also often afraid to do any different, and even a little afraid of people who have decided to take a different path. I'll be blunt- to hear a Christian sister say that they believe children are a blessing and that they want as many as God will send them and they trust Him to provide for all blessings sent their way is rather intimidating. My mind goes to the years I was (now regrettably) on birth control, the months more recently where I've wasted time worrying how I was going to physically keep up with our demands. But other areas of faith aren't as scary. My safety, the safety of my family, a roof over our heads, food on the table, money for the doctors- these are all things I'm good at trusting God for. And areas I've seen many Christians good at trusting God for. Why are so many of us hung up on the baby issue?

I'm certainly not saying that everyone needs 10 children, or to be pregnant as soon as they get married and stay that way until menopause. But we definitely need to have a Biblical understanding of children, to make our choices based on a solid Biblical world view, and to not think that other families who are doing things outside of the cultural norm have taken all leave of there senses.

I fear I'm not making much sense here. And I know that at the moment I am overly sensitive to this topic. However, I'm not certain that an over sensitivity to the joy of children is such a bad thing. I'm deeply concerned that Christendom is becoming simply anti-abortion, not pro-life. When I hear people who have been Christians longer than I have been alive dismiss views on the goodness of babies as "too catholic" or look like they are are so shocked they might faint when told that someone prayed they might not have a child with perfect health, or scoff at the idea of adoption being something that as many people as possibly can should do....well lets just say it concerns me as to the state of the church. My hope is that my exposure to these attitudes is simply the exception rather than the rule, but I'm rather pessimistic as to that being the case.

What I don't want to do is tell people what they need to be doing with their lives as if I had everything figured out. After all, that is what I start out this post rallying against. I don't want though the Bride of Christ to be infected with something which isn't of Christ. And I think I can state pretty confidently that the secular view of children, marriage, and family is not of Christ. So, perhaps that is my point in all of this. That although looking to what our current life situation is can be a good thing when considering things like marriage and babies, that it can't be all that we look at. God has given us the gift of making choices for our lives and has given us (as is so often pointed out) the opportunity to be good stewards of the things in our life. We might need to re-examine the filters through which we make our choices. Who knows? We could end up at the same spot as the person who was giving us unsolicited advice on our family size wants us. But no matter where we end up we must know that we got there by the leading of God, not because we bowed to our fears and outside pressures to conform to what was expected of us by a society that has largely come to hate children and makes choices based largely out of selfishness and very little else.

I hope all of this made sense. I hope what all of it says to everyone else (as it reads in my head) is that God does have opinions about children and that His heart needs to be our heart. And that isn't going to produce the exact same family for each person. I want the church to love children. I want Christians to rejoice when they see a family open to more children in their home, whether by birth or adoption, even if it is a different path than what they took. I want Christians to realize when they have had unbiblical attitudes about children and to repent of that even if it is painful or uncomfortable. Did it say that? Is anyone still even reading this crazy, rambling post? If so, thank you for bearing with my wednesday afternoon, it is dark and gloomy outside and I fear maybe in, and I'm putting my thoughts out there for everyone else to read post. Are my observations more universal? Is the church becoming less and less in love with life and the gift of children?


At April 04, 2007 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of marriage and Christ have you read Princess Bubble?

At April 05, 2007 11:01 PM, Blogger Leigh Ann said...

I like where you said you are afraid that we are becoming "anti-abortion, not pro-life". Some people would consider them one and the same, but as you have pointed out there are miles between the two.
As always, great thoughts.
And did I miss something, are you expecting?

At April 08, 2007 6:49 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Annon- I have not read nor heard of Princess Bubble.

Leigh Ann: The distinction is one that I first read Barbra Curtis making and I think she is spot on. It isn't something I really thought about before I had kids. Just always had taken for granted the idea that you don't have children until you want to, then you have them right when you want to, and then you decide you're done and that is it. Just really re-thinking that. I wouldn't put myself in the QF camp persay, but I just keep encoutering this mindset in Christendom that really startels me, ideas I wouldn't expect to find in the church.

And no, we're not expecting. We actually just lost a baby. This post was inspired by a comment from a family member (who was aware of the lost baby) to the effect that maybe we had pleanty on our plate right now and shouldn't have any more children for awhile. I know they meant well, but I found their whole mindset to be one that was rather unsettling and I fear far too many people have.

I've never entirely sure about putting my thougths out here like this. I mean, I don't think we all need to go around telling people what to do with their lives as if we need to be everyones own personal Holy Spirit. But by the same token, not everything is this nebuless grey area that we can just say "yeah, whatever works for you" and leave it at that. It is figuring out which is which and when to say something and when to keep silent that I am still working on.

At April 09, 2007 3:03 PM, Blogger Leigh Ann said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. I know it is hard.
I was just thinking the other day what the reaction will be when we get pregnant again. I know there will be many who will think and say that we are crazy because we already have one with autism and we might have complications again with the birth. But unless health forbids we want more blessings.
I am not in the QF camp either but I agree that too often the mindset is wrong. Like "we can't affored more kids" when they are driving nice cars, live in a nice house, take nice vacations etc.. I think there will come a time when Christians will come to realize that they have made a horrible mistake.

At April 15, 2007 4:09 PM, Blogger Kendra said...

Tiffany, I just found you blog via Femina and I really like what you have to say. Let me first say that I am so sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage a few years ago and I remember how heartbreaking that is. May he be your comfort during this time.
By God's grace, our hearts were moved to have more than two children. We are now on our fourth in seven years. I think that some of our family worries about us. Some have openly expressed how crazy we would be to go past four. But, we are thankful that the Lord brought us to a truly pro life position.
I think that people like you and I who are joyfully receiving new babies and truly enjoying the ones that we have make all the difference to the culture around us. I can't be certain. But, I have recently had a couple of friends who were definate 'stop-at-twoers' decide to add to their families. And, I can't help but wonder if the Lord used our families attitude to possibly move their hearts as well.
I believe it was Mother Theresa who said that the greatest thing we can do for the pro life movement is to have children.

At April 15, 2007 5:33 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Thanks Kendra and Leigh Ann.

Kendra, I think and hope you're right about influencing others. Not necessarily to have lots of children, because I don't think that is where everyone is going to end up. But to hopefully realize that having lots of children isn't something horrible to be feared, but is rather a wonderful blessing regardless if it is your life or not. Did that make any sense?

I fear that I am often rather emotional on this issue, and I don't want to make a fellow Christian sister feel like I think she has to have X number of kids in order to be godly when I don't think that is the heart of the issue at all.

Glad to hear about other families though that want lots! Thanks for coming over Kendra. Good thoughts.

At November 26, 2007 1:09 PM, Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have ever visited your blog, but you have written what has been on my heart for some time now. We just had our 9th child in 13 years of marriage, and by all wordly standards we should be done, or should have been done 7 children ago! And then, even in some Catholic circles (we are Catholic) we get the 'you have been open to life enough, don't you think it's time to slow down or stop now? This mindset is saddening to me. I do accept and realize that not everyone is called to have 10 children (or whatever arbitrary number) and that our Church okays NFP as moral child spacing, but if we as a couple feel God calling us to more, we are not being irresponsible, or giving Catholic a bad name!
I am so sorry for the slight rant, this hit a sore spot for me and I have been spending time in prayer trying to figure out exactly why this spot is so sore, and your post here is helpful to me.
I am deeply sorry for your loss, I have suffered this myself and it is very hard to deal with the comments that come while we greive. I look forward to browsing around your blog a bit more! (I came here via Holly's "Seeking Faithfulness" blog!) God bless you.

At November 26, 2007 8:33 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

joyfulchaos- thank you for the comment! Rants are welcome. ;-) I understand the soreness of this subject, it really is disheartening to see those who are Christ's have such attitudes towards children. It really baffels me.

Come around anytime, but I make no guarantees on how much I'll post. I can't believe how slow I've been about it recently. Ok, so not the past years. *sigh* The best laid plans I suppose...


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