“Why on earth do people have children?” About a decade ago, newly married, I posed this question to my minister’s wife. I wasn’t being snarky, or anti-family. I am one of 5 kids in my family, and I positively adore and cherish each one of my siblings (and we are all different!) Now, I positively adore and cherish my two little ones.
But I am having flashbacks to that season in life when I honestly posed that question. I mean, to me, back then, having kids seemed to slow church productivity and efficiency….because when so much of your time goes to raising kids, how on earth can you also advance God’s Kingdom? I’m thinking of bible studies, courses, concerts, and events that all tick along on the calendar and I am home, rocking, feeding, changing diapers, bathing, consoling, reading, mediating. Now, I certainly don’t mean to have a mommy pity party, after all, I wholeheartedly asked for these two little beings. And yes, I get it, intellectually, that raising kids helps to build God’s Kingdom in the long term….its that pesky short term sense of fulfillment that leaves me lamenting, just a bit, those days of constant church attendance and high involvement.
In hindsight, now, I completely appreciate how the minister’s wife responded. She didn’t roll her eyes and retort “Duh! God tells us to populate the earth!” She didn’t call an emergency marriage counseling session because I was being selfish with my womb. Instead, she asked me to think about the church leaders, the elders, the deacons, the people I respected because of their service to the church. In almost every case, they were parents (not in anyway to negate those who serve God and are single). She explained that it was through the love and heartache of parenting that God gave them wisdom to be able to serve his church in a larger capacity. Their experiences from parenting gave them deep wells of wisdom to draw from and serve.
That gave me something to chew on. It was about 6 years later that we had our first child. And we took her everywhere. Oh, yes, she was a good party baby, she could hang in there and fellowship late with the best of them. I would tote her to bible studies or hold her in my lap while I hosted them in home and she sat still like a champ.
And then we had a second one. And I love the second one. But, different personality. This one melts down if he misses his regularly scheduled bed time. He likes structure and schedule, while fostering a healthy curious streak. Sitting still in my lap while I explore the Word? Not feeling it. (He would rather be parachuting off the couch).
I chose to believe God is near and God understands. He can be found in church, and in my home when I am lysoling toilets. He is present.
I pray for wisdom, for that balance between loving my own little ministry that makes up the four walls of our home and the greater fellowship and world at large. I have to ask for wisdom and trust His guidance, and hold onto His promise that I can do both – I was designed to do both – to have children and advance his Kingdom. And advance it now.