Allow me to get on a soapbox for a moment, may I?
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward." - Psalm 127:3
I'll be honest. I'm not even sure where to start this post. I have so much to say and can't find the words or the organization, or something. So, as much as I try to keep things clean and fluffy, this may all just spill out of me.
Undoubtedly - I believe parenting may be one of the most demanding and exhausting responsibilities a human being may ever hold. There is just so much vested in the task. Our greatest priority, growing our children spiritually to know and love Jesus is followed by the responsibility to physically and emotionally meet the needs of our children, to raise them in such a way that they are upstanding contributors to society, can adequately care for themselves, provide for themselves, and if at all possible, like us a little bit during the process. The need for spiritual leadership alone (which requires our walking out our faith physically, verbally, and visually and nurturing theirs to the point of allowing them to own their own faith) in and of itself is demanding. Add on the stressors of living together with several people in a household, dealing with laundry, meal preparation, tantrums (can I get an 'amen') and spit up - and you've got one major task on your hands. Not to mention that every failure and every success made by your offspring resonates with your heart. You're emotionally attached in such a way that it's almost frightful to allow our children to fail.
All of that said to say this:
The enemy is stealing the family. He's stealing the idea of family. He's thieving from us the rewards of family, and he is instilling within us self-centeredness and greed.
You'd never think these two paragraphs would be interconnected, but they are.
Somewhere, our children have begun to be perceived as an inconvenience. Where once, not long ago, there was a time where men and women married young and started families, now there is question as to whether couples even desire families now. (And I'm not knocking you if you are one of those - but the point is this is the day and time in which we live.)
There's an idea of 'sowing ones wild oats' while they are young and waiting until later in life to have children so that children don't interfere in their happenings.
It becomes a problem when people have children and still perceive them as an inconvenience. For myself, something changed in me immediately after holding B when he was born... a major priority shift that leveled me down on the hierarchy of importance. God, marriage, and this new little boy were priorities, not only because I consciously thought they should be, but but because my driving 'gut' and motivation felt that they were. This makes it hard for me to understand the need many parents have to get away from their children. I've seen too many girls in the youth group raising the babies of older friends of theirs, because they had 'better' things to be doing.
I'll be honest... dvr is a great thing in our home during The Biggest Loser - because it's the one show I care to watch on tv... ever, and I fear I'd view my kids in such a way if they were louder than the tv while it was on. Sad. Thankfully - my perspective is shifting.
And we don't just do this in our home. We carry this perception everywhere.
Snarling looks from the couple in the neighboring booth when a baby is whimpering tells us our children are an inconvenience. The yelling mom in the grocery store who is ripping her crying kid through the aisle tells us our kids are an inconvenience. People in our churches even tell us our kids are an inconvenience, directing us to the nearest nursery to drop off the talking toddler, some even expecting the church itself to do the spiritual nurturing of our kids. (This is not the soapbox I want to get on at the moment, but let me just leave a few scriptures as food for thought: Exodus 10:2, Exodus 12:26-28, Deuteronomy 11:19, Joshua 24:15, Psalm 78:5-6, Proverbs 22:6, Luke 1:17, Ephesians 6:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:5)
And God tells us they are a gift... our heritage from the Lord. God designed the act of parenting as one of the most difficult and thus the most rewarding responsibilities a person can encounter. God promises there will be fruit in our laboring through the development and discipline and tantrums of life, but many parents aren't up for the challenge. They can't see the blessings being worth the investment. We live in a society where we want blessings handed to us on silver platters with little work involved.
No wonder our children face the challenges they do today. Society and parents show kids through words and actions that they get in the way of the lives they really want. I don't know about you - but feeling like I was more of a hindrance than a blessing would leave me bitter, rebellious, and looking for another god or religion that loved better.
And being that this is all being brought to the surface in my life, seeing that parents are still the driving force and influence in the lives of their kids (studies have shown this to be true), I want my kids to know, undoubtedly, regardless of circumstances that they are loved more than they will ever realize, that our discipline and instruction are bi-products of that love, and that they are our greatest blessings, a gift to us from God.
I don't know about you, but to genuinely feel like I was a gift from God to anyone, would dramatically and positively change the way I viewed both that person and God.
-Praying for a shift of perspective for our society...