Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I want to have (several) children

I considered titling this post "Why Christian couples should want to have children", but I don't want to make it sound like I have it all figured out for everyone. Because I surely do not. Yet I've been thinking about this topic a lot, as I've come across so many women lately who say they've decided not to have children (while I'm standing there holding my wonderful, beloved daughter). So I decided to figure out exactly why I want children, and I've come to the conclusion that a desire for children is a natural result of being in a loving relationship with God. There, that didn't sound law-like, right? Let me explain.

My "epiphany" came, strangely enough, when I was reading The Shack. I had a hard time getting past the first few chapters of this book. Actually, I had decided to quit and put it off for another time because I couldn't handle the pain of Mack's loss -- at least not so close to the birth of my own daughter. But my mom told me it was worthwhile to continue, so I picked it up again. Without giving too much away, I'll say that one of the main themes of the story is the importance of relationship to God. Why did He create us, after all? Because He wants to live in relationship with us. His desire for this relationship with free-willed beings is so great that He allows sin and pain (consequences of bad choices) in the world. And for us humans, the greatest, deepest, most satisfying joy in life is to love God. I want to bring new life into this world because each child is one more person who will have the opportunity to know the wonder of that relationship, to know that God is good and marvelous and beautiful. 

Yes, I also want to share this gospel, this good news, with the people who already exist around me. But there is a special joy in the creation of a brand new life to share this knowledge with, and I personally can't imagine deliberately choosing a life without children. Does God sometimes call people to a life without marriage or children? Yes. At least, I believe so. Are those couples who are physically incapable of bearing children doomed to a life that is somehow less fulfilling? I believe not -- God has special graces for each of us. Or as Papa says in The Shack, He is "especially fond" of each of His children. Each life is entirely unique, and in a reflection of God's nature, I look forward to getting to know each of my children, even through the pain and sorrow that are bound to come along with the joys. 

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