Once upon a time we were a young, married couple.
Young, married couples in the 18th century knew that a decision to get married meant you were signing up for the marriage -> sex -> children package. The three came together.
But these days, the decision to get married, the decision to have sex and the decision to have kids seem to be regarded as three separate (and not necessarily related) decisions.
Being in the Christian camp, we knew that marriage and sex ought to go together. But what about whether to have kids?
And so this young, married couple did what we had been taught to do when making hard decisions: we made a pro and con list.
The con list looked something like this:
* we haven’t been married for very long.
* we have almost no money.
* we know nothing about raising kids.
* what if I don’t LIKE my children?
* what if that means we won’t be able to do ‘ministry’ anymore?
It was a scary list of cons. Looking at the list, it seemed that perhaps all we had heard from other lets-wait-to-have-kids couples was right: to have children would be irresponsible and unwise.
But as we thought and prayed and thought and prayed, this one thing appeared in the list of “pros”: God says children are a blessing.
“Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD.” – Psalm 127:3 (CEV)
I was undone. Who was I to be making lists of pros and cons, when God had directly said they were a “pro”?
When I revisited my list of pros and cons, it began to look suspiciously like a “fear” and “faith” decision:
Cons (i.e. Fears):
* A fear that we would have less fun and miss out as a married couple (i.e. an underlying belief that children DETRACT from fun and fulfillment)
* A fear that we wouldn’t have enough and that God would not provide.
* A fear that we wouldn’t know what to do and that God would not give wisdom.
* A fear that ‘ministry’ as I saw and valued it, would be lost…
Pros (i.e. Faith):
* Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.
As I stared at my list again, Mark 4:40 came to mind:
“He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
We scrapped the list, took a deep breath, and threw away the birth control pills.
And you know what? Six years down the line we could fill that “pro” list up with 500 things and still keep counting. Children are a blessing. Indeed.