Sunday, August 19, 2012

Children: Blessing or Burden {repost}

by Elizabeth of Yes, They're All Ours
Posted: 17 Aug 2012 05:11 AM PDT
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.

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 aresometimes 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.
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.
"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!

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. Something is wrong with this picture." 
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!

Elizabeth is married to her wonderful husband Allan and a very busy mom of 10 children -- 6 sons and 4 daughters.  She has been homeschooling since 1990 and am on the downward slide with just five children and twelve years to go! They are currently enjoying the delights of coastal living, while learning to deal with the challenges (sand gnats!). You can find her blogging at Yes, They're All Ours.

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