Monday, October 25, 2010

Children: Blessing or Burden??



Recently, a sweet young mother emailed me for encouragement, as she and her husband are in the early stages of trusting God for the number of children in their family.  This precious young mom has three little children, very close together, and is already receiving an abundance of negative feedback about her "large family."   Unfortunately, most of the comments are from family and friends.


We live in an era when children are definitely thought of as a Burden, rather than a Blessing, and couples who dare to have more than two of these "hindrances" are considered to be ignorant, foolish, and totally out of touch with reality.  Our society considers children to be inconvenient, a nuisance, unruly, expensive, dispensable, and a threat to an already over-populated world.

Would you agree???  What is your view of children??


Frequently, even as Christians, we have the same view as the secular world around us.  We no longer realize the value of a child.  We've been indoctrinated into believing that the world is over-populated.  In additon, our own experience seems to validate the fact that children are sometimes inconvenient, irritating, expensive, unruly and annoying!!! 


However, the Bible teaches that children are a Blessing and a Reward!  That means, it is our duty to adjust our thinking to align with what the Scripture says, not to reinterpret Scripture to match what the world says. 

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."  -- Psalm 127:3.


So, why don't we view children as a Blessing?? 

The main problem is that we look at children from a temporal, earthly perspective.  It is easy to see that children cost us money (sometimes lots of it!), get sick at the most inconvenient times, embarrass us in front of our friends, arrive in this world with their nights and days mixed up (and often revert to those primitive behaviors in their teen years!), and require years of education, training and sacrifice.  So, how is that a blessing again???  ;)


The key to understanding the blessing of children is to develop an eternal, spiritual perspective.  God sees children as as blessing because they advance His kingdom.   The Psalmist compares children to arrows in the hand of a warrior.  Scripture teaches that we are in a spiritual battle, and our children are our weapons, who will one day wage war against the enemy and his strongholds.  (Refer to Ephesians 6:10-18.)

"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." -- Psalm 127:4-5


 
A second reason that children are a blessing is that they force us to grow up and to develop character.  It is a baby that causes a carefree girl to become a caring, nurturing woman and an irresponsible lad to be transformed into a dependable man.  Not that this metamorphosis is automatic or guaranteed, but being entrusted with the care and destiny of a living soul is such a sobering responsibility that many have been transformed by it.  Also, we are so prone to self-centeredness, and it is our children that cause us to get over ourselves and to learn the blessing of self-sacrifice.  As one mother of a large family confided to me many years ago, "With the birth of each new baby, I die to myself a little bit more."


And of course, children are a blessing to us just because they bring us pleasure, joy, and even entertainment!  We enjoy their cute antics and clever little sayings and take much pride in their accomplishments.  We enjoy being with them and doing things to bless them.  We even take pleasure in the special way they say, Mommy or Daddy!  If we will look a little deeper, we will see that this pictures the relationship that our Heavenly Father desires to have with us.  He enjoys spending time with us, in giving us good gifts (Matthew 7:11), and He loves to hear us cry out to Him, saying Abba Father!



So, if we believe that children are a blessing, why don't we want more of them???


A wise man once said --
"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing; but in our culture, we apply for a curse and reject blessings."


When we begin to see children the way Jesus sees them, we will desire more of His blessings in the form of children.  Matthew 18:5 says, "And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My Name receives and accepts and welcomes Me."  (Amplified version).  Not that it will always be easy . . . or joyful . . . or pain free.  Sometimes there is sacrifice in obedience, and tears mingled with joy as we walk a path of faith.


Back to the young mother I was corresponding with.  She was worried about family members that were already upset about the number of children they had and would not welcome the news of another pregnancy.  I encouraged this young mother not to worry about pleasing her family, but to just worry about pleasing God. 

With this advice, I was transported back about 21 years (!!) when we announced that we were expecting our third child.  I remember my mother-in-law being so distraught over the news.  She just couldn't believe that we were going to have three children!!!  Remembering how horrified she was at the thought of three grandchildren, I dreaded telling her about number four . . . and five . . . and well, I guess she got used to the announcements by the time we got down to number ten!!!  ;)

But, this is what I really want to share in this post.  Those same babies that my dear mother-in-law was so unhappy to learn I was expecting, were the very ones who drove her to the store, to the bank, to the pharmacy, to doctor appointments and hair appointments these last years.  They also mowed her lawn, planted flowers, killed various pests for her (including setting mouse traps and catching and disposing of mice!), hung pictures for her, mopped her floors, helped her up when she fell . . . and even discovered her when she had breathed her last.  And those babies that came on down the line, they were the ones who ministered cheer to her daily with their irresistibly cute antics, their childish stories, and their unconditional love.   They may have seemed like a burden to her in the beginning, but they were a blessing to her in the end!!


The world sees children as a burden . . . . God sees children as a blessing to help share the burdens of life!
   

37 comments:

Kristi Lea said...

This was such a joy to read, Elizabeth! So beautifuly written, and so touching. I'm thankful you were able to minister to this young lady, and I hope many more or touched by this post!

Children are indeed a blessing, and I couldn't of said it any better! Thank you for this..

Jessica said...

Thanks for sharing this story!

You have a way with words for sure.

Mrs. White said...

This is absolutely lovely!!!

Blessings
Mrs. White

Rebecca's Refining said...

What a blessing!

Im so glad you were able to minister not only to this young lady, but to the many that read this post.

Thanks for the encouragement! I often see my faults and failures in the lives of my children, and that is so discouraging. Thanks for reminding me to keep that eternal perspective, and to be more diligent!

Tara said...

Thank you for this!

tlmalcolm said...

Beautifully written! Babies are a wonderful way to start a person!! Children are a blessing whether you choose to have just one or a dozen! Deciding on the number of children to have is a very personal decision for each family. Had we had another child I would have been thrilled but I am just as blessed and fulfilled by having two as well. I admire large families (my mom was from a family of 12)but I enjoyed my quiet life being an "only child". I loved that I married someone with a large family but as we started our family we knew that we'd never strive for so many. So isn't it wonderful that a family is a still a family whether large or small!!??

Briana said...

Beautiful.

As a mother of eight I am often tempted and sadly succumb to the temptation of seeing my children as a burden. I am trying to change my bad habit, for it is just a habit.

Thanks for your reminder!

Tara said...

It is so easy to succumb to the lies of the enemy! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm hugely pregnant with number seven and we have two with special needs. My attitude has needed a bit of adjusting lately. :)

Happy Busy Mama said...

Thanks for the eloquent reminder, especially in the throes of some major character building. ;-)

Noel said...

So well said, it's sad to live in a society that doesn't value life. You are an inspiration to me :)

Jules said...

I cried as I read your last paragraph. The whole post was well written but that paragraph really touched me - just as the lives of your children touched your MIL's life.

Anyone with more than 3 children has had to weather the stares and comments of not just family and friends but strangers also. How blessed we were that my husband had come from a large family and his parents were excited at each announcement of a new life. I always knew there were at least two people I could count on to share our joy!

I hope my own children will always sense that same excitement and joy and celebration in me when they tell me their wondrous news. It's exciting now to see my own grown children viewing children as a blessing. Even those not married get very excited at the news that their married siblings are to become parents.

As with everything, Satan has taken what is meant to be good and twisted it so that we no longer view it the way God intended.

Dean B. said...

I work at a church as a Children's Pastor and have 5 kids. (We also HS them - well my wife does most of it.) I was talking with a fellow staff member that many large families have left or feel uncomfortable at our church b/c of comments made to them about how many children they have, the fact they HS, etc.

Most of it is said is jest as a joke, ("You know what causes that don't ya?"), but the underlying message behind that is "Wow, you MUST be stupid to have that many children. No one in their right mind would every do that on purpose!!" And yes, these are from Christians who supposedly have a Biblical mindset.

As a church leader - it simply breaks my heart! All you wonderful SAHM and HSing moms - WAY TO GO!!!!!! Just remember the eternal disciples of Christ you are making!!! God Bless!!!

My Way Home said...

Thank you for this. We have 5 blessings and we get the same worrysome questions from family and friends. We have learned to shock them with humor by letting them know we're only have way there! But it still stings when the ones you would think would support you the most try to protect you from yourself.

Abby said...

What an encouragement. I found your blog via a friend's link on FB. Thank you for sharing the truth about the blessing of children, as well as your own great experiences!

God bless you and your family~

Stam House said...

This post was a blessing to me! Plus it feel like you wrote it to me!!! I too have 3 little blessing very close in age and have the same comment etc...

Thanks for the encouragement!

Renee

Greg and Donna said...

Wonderful post. Children are a blessing, unfortunately some of us realized the full implications of the steps we took years ago and have regreted them ever since. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Jaime Lynn said...

The first two years of my marriage I was on birth control. My husband I were "waiting until we had enough money" and all sorts of other excuses to try to be in control. God began to speak to me and show me that I was not living by faith. I was reading a blog one day where a woman mentioned a book called A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ. I ordered it and my husband and I read through it. It changed my life. I threw out my pills and 2 months later was pregnant. I now have a beautiful perfect 6 month old little girl who has brought more joy to my life than all the earthly possessions in the world combined. I hope the Lord will bless us with many many more children. My husband works for a ministry and we have little money and possessions but we are not in want of anything and our cup overflows.

God bless you in your ministry of encouragement!

"...without faith it is impossible to please God..." Hebrews 11:6

Have A Sweet Day! said...

Thank you for writing this. We are a blended family with 6 children and people think we are crazy for adding one more. We understand that out children are blessing from God and are each amazing and beautiful in their own ways. People make snide comments sometimes but it is because that do not understand the true blessing of having a big family

Nancy @ momjustlikeyou said...

Thank you for encouraging mothers of big families! I have 8 children and our families have been less than supportive. I always say that the only Father I need to please is God. I will answer to Him in the end and that gives me the strength to endure the negativity that we can so often get. I am so proud of my large family and can't wait to share it with others.

Michelle said...

That's so beautiful and brought tears to my eyes (your children blessing her in her later years).

My in laws DO NOT want us to have more children. They love the ones they have they just can't imagine more. But my kids always look forward to another.

Anonymous said...

thank you ....I know without a doubt that it was not by chance that I stumbled onto your blog...what a reminder to me. I am struggling with postpartum and have 4 little ones close in age..all unplanned....your blog touched my heart...they are indeed blessings and not burdens... our big God has great plans for our children and he will provide for all our needs.

Amber said...

well said, I really liked that last paragraph

Anonymous said...

Such an encouragement! I'm in the hard stage with 4 under 5 including toddler twins and often lose sight of the eternal picture as I plow through daily life. We've also started homeschooling this year and sometimes I just don't know how I can get everything done. I have to constantly remind myself to trust God and not lean on my own strength. About our family size, we have been told, "Don't you know how to prevent that. You're educated people." We've also dealt with people who assume we're uneducated if we have 4 children. My husband and I both have graduate degrees and know exactly what we're doing. :) My family thinks we're crazy and my mom has said, "You better not have any more." Fortunately, we answer to a higher authority and would count more children a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! Can I post a link to this on my facebook page? Thank you.
Heather

busymomof10 said...

Yes to Heather -- or anyone else who comes along! Feel free to share this post with friends or post on Facebook! My hope is that it will be an encouragement to many young mothers! :)

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

I found your blog when I was googling how the world thinks of children...as a commodity, annoying... all those things you wrote.

Thank you for writing it!!

I'm following you now.

Velain Todd said...

Wow! So needed to read this today. I have been struggling with this here lately. I have 6 kids all two years or less apart and my youngest is still breastfeeding. I don't have much time to myself and I get a little flustered at times. I am hs as well and I don't get many dates away to regroup. I was sharing my thoughts of fighting through and refusing to look at my kids as a burden with a friend

Velain Todd said...

Wow! So needed to read this today. I have been struggling with this here lately. I have 6 kids all two years or less apart and my youngest is still breastfeeding. I don't have much time to myself and I get a little flustered at times. I am hs as well and I don't get many dates away to regroup. I was sharing my thoughts of fighting through and refusing to look at my kids as a burden with a friend

Jennifer Mull said...

Well said! I am the mom of 8 myself, and was just thinking this morning about the need to encourage younger mothers....

Marguerite Campbell said...

Beautiful story. I agree wholeheartedly with you. I am one of eight children, and I used to hear from the young men I went to school with, "You are not going to have a whole bunch of kids like your mama, are you? They were out of touch with God's word then, and it is even worse now. Just look at who the octomom was and is still treated.

Rebekah said...

Thanks for this, and also for your comment, Dean B.. We are in the throws of this ourselves, having the largest number of children in our church. At the risk of being misunderstood as though bashing on people in our church, I have to say how disheartening the stares, eye rolls, and caustic remarks are, & being told in all ways from 'joking' to 'concern' over 'a seeming lack of self control & forethought' in this area. It is so discouraging to hear things like "You know, every time you have another child you set yourselves back in getting to the ministry God has called you to!" If ever we need counsel or have any problem to ask about, the answer is always prefaced by some form of "Well, you did this to yourselves by having all those children..." and usually ends with some sort of "you better not consider having more unless you want heartbreak, because there is no way you can raise them all for God." (We have 6, which we don't consider to be a huge family.) Friends & family have become so hyper - critical, about many aspects of our life & notice teeny things like if one of our girls are having a bad hair day - as if they are 'unkept' or whatever. Anyway, it is nice to read some encouragement on the other side of the coin.

Sherry Francis said...

I was into fashion designer business, but it was not working fine the way it was supposed to, life was not what living cos things was very bad for me financially, i have a beautiful wife with three kids to take care off. i sold my car and some of my fashion design property just to keep a living and still things was not going easily for me. so i complained to a friend of mine Ann who said he knows a powerful spell caster called Dr Orissa who can help me with money spell, good luck and automatic promotion in office, spell to bring back your ex lover, spells to bring close one in jail lost back home,healing spell.that help straightened his brother life from taking hard drugs. At first i was confused and doubtful, then i decided to give a try and did what Dr Orissa told me to do, to my greatest surprise 12hours later things started working perfectly well for me, i got what i ever bargained for, my business was flourishing like never before, i now have enough money to take good care of my lovely family and now we are living happily,I say thank you for bringing my source to hope and joy with his powerful spell,well if you want to be a living testimony like me or interested in any spell casting you can contact Dr Orissa via email: orissatemple@yahoo.com

Sherry Francis said...

I was into fashion designer business, but it was not working fine the way it was supposed to, life was not what living cos things was very bad for me financially, i have a beautiful wife with three kids to take care off. i sold my car and some of my fashion design property just to keep a living and still things was not going easily for me. so i complained to a friend of mine Ann who said he knows a powerful spell caster called Dr Orissa who can help me with money spell, good luck and automatic promotion in office, spell to bring back your ex lover, spells to bring close one in jail lost back home,healing spell.that help straightened his brother life from taking hard drugs. At first i was confused and doubtful, then i decided to give a try and did what Dr Orissa told me to do, to my greatest surprise 12hours later things started working perfectly well for me, i got what i ever bargained for, my business was flourishing like never before, i now have enough money to take good care of my lovely family and now we are living happily,I say thank you for bringing my source to hope and joy with his powerful spell,well if you want to be a living testimony like me or interested in any spell casting you can contact Dr Orissa via email: orissatemple@yahoo.com

Comevelyn Pangowon said...

I was truly amazed as I was reading your post. I am a new catechist teacher in a public school and now our formal class is to begin but I always come to my thought that I Give Up because of the unpredictable and unexpected attitude of these children. I am relying to God's grace but I am really hard up on how will I address myself to them. I honestly love children because I am an elementary teacher by profession, general education, but since I also studied religious education I need to teach catechesis. Its just that when I see unpleasant behavior, I am easily disappointed and embarrassed. the reason also why I can easily get angry though I do not shout at them nor raise my voice nor show that I am angry. I still feel that I want to get rid of them already. Please I need your help... Thank you very much and God Bless You always for sharings thoughts of inspiration to us...

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