It's fall y'all! This is one of my favorite seasons. September is the ninth month of the year and it's always held a special place in my heart. It's not just the beginning of fall, but it's the month I became a mom for the first time twenty-two years ago. A woman never forgets that day and mine was quite “eventful” to say the least! I'll share some of what happened later, but first let's talk about having children. “How does a couple know when the time is right to have a baby?” Or “How does a couple decide whether they should have children at all?” In order to find answers lets explore some of the misconceptions of our day on the matter and examine what God has to say about it.
Let's be honest, today's culture is not very interested in children according to recent statistics. I would even go as far as to say we are not living in a very “child friendly” world. Could it be we've lost our perspective? In Psalms 123:7, God gives His perspective on the matter. He says, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” Even if they scream and cry, create sleep deprivation, and scatter toys all over the floor, they are unquestionably, exceptional, one of a kind blessings. I can verify that it's all worth it. God even goes on to say in the same Psalm that a man is blessed if he has a “quiver full of them." What's a quiver? It was the holding place where warriors held their weapons until time for battle. In that same scripture children God calls them arrows because they are the weapons meant to be held in the quiver.
Unfortunately, many couples today are choosing to forgo parenthood. One reason is “fear of the unknown”. Realistically, life is full of the unknown and if we're honest with ourselves, isn't that what makes life memorable? Without the unknown, life would be mundane and purposeless. Another reason prompting couples to remain childless is the pursuit of careers and a desire for no inconveniences. Based on my experience, as crazy as it may sound, I got better at what I did once I became a parent. Choosing to have a baby brings a whole new level of understanding, maturity, and education to your resume'. Now that we are pushing towards our older years, it's easy to look towards the end of a great career and realize if there's no one to share your later years with or to leave all you've worked for behind to, then what was the point? As far as inconveniences go, the experience of birthing and pouring into the future is not an inconvenience but an incredible opportunity to impact culture on a whole new level.
Finally, many couples are choosing not to pursue parenthood because they have been told the world is over populated and overpopulation is creating all the problems in the world. The overpopulation myth is just that, a myth. In fact, studies show cultures thrive when they are highly populated versus sparsely populated. The mathematical numbers show the real truth about the population. Did you know if you took every single human being alive today and put them in the state of Texas and gave them each 1,500 sq feet to live in, the rest of the entire globe would be completely empty? Over populated? Not at all.
On the flip side of that argument, if we stop having children and raising them to be responsible, productive, moral human beings there would be complete chaos in the world. If we choose to do our job well, children are our one opportunity to leave behind a legacy that can change the future for the good of mankind. They are the weapons of good we can launch to help glue the world back together. Don't get me wrong, having and raising children isn't always easy, but God never promised everything he calls us to do would be easy. Instead, he promised he would be with us and help us through it all. Not to mention he promised to bless us if we fill our quiver full as stated in Psalms 123.
Choosing to have our three children was the best decision of our married lives. It is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things we've every done. It changes your perspective on everything. In fact, I often say it's like being color blind and putting on a new pair of glasses and suddenly the world goes from being black and white to being full of a whole rainbow of colors. So if you're pondering whether you and your spouse should have children, then maybe I can encourage you to pray about God's timing and trust him with the details.
Here's my story....When I got pregnant with our first, I was an aerobics instructor. I optimistically believed I would be able to do labor easily, and there was no doubt I would go all natural. I developed my birthing plan for how the process would unfold. I knew what I wanted from the time we would arrive at the hospital to the labor music I wanted playing during the pushing phase. I determined to have no drugs, and I knew the doctor I wanted to deliver my baby based on the on-call schedule.
By now, if you have had a baby, you are probably laughing your head off at my birthing plan. The reality is, nothing in labor goes exactly as planned, no matter how much we prepare down to the last detail. In fact, I believe the labor process is a part of God's last hour of preparation to help us embrace the “unknown” and the reality we will be dependent on Him from that moment forward, for the rest of our lives.
The first sign that my plan was in trouble came as I handed my doctor a copy of my birthing plan and she laughed. I wasn't sure what was humorous, so I didn't ask. The next surprise came when my friend, who was due on the same day but went early, called to say “Go ahead and make your sign “Epidural NOW!” because when you get into labor you will not be able to speak and believe me you do not want to give birth without drugs.” I shrugged her off because I was in such great physical shape.
My baby was due on August 23rd, but during my prayer time one morning I kept seeing the number 9 in my mind and I knew it had something to do with our baby's birth. I assumed I would deliver my baby on August 9th. I was excited, the sooner I could lose the weight the better. When that date passed, I thought maybe it meant I would only be in labor for 9 hours. When the due date arrived and I showed no signs of going into labor, I began to do everything in my power to help my body along in the process. I even took castor oil because my mom had taken it when she was pregnant with me. Never mind this wasn't a part of my birthing plan, someone should have told me it was a laxative.
When day eight of being overdue rolled around, the doctors started discussing intervention. They chose to give me something the night before that would calmly kick-start the process so I could go in early the next morning to be induced. No induction needed! That calm kick-start came in like a hurricane with contractions starting at five minutes apart. I was screaming, “Wait this was not a part of my plan!”
They insisted I go to the hospital immediately. Unfortunately, I was trapped in “no man's land” all night. They couldn't admit me because I wasn't dilating, and they couldn't let me go home because contractions were too close together. I spent the next 9 hours walking the halls and laying on a hard gurney as an out-patient. The next morning, after I calmly threatened the doctor with bodily harm, I was admitted. I was desperate. I had reached the end of my rope. I didn't think I could hang on any longer. When I let go, the Lord took me by the hand, and took over. My plans went out the window and his came rushing in. I realized he was there when the doctor told the nurse to put me in room number “9”. Our son was born 9 days late, in room number 9, weighing in a little over 9 lbs. on the first day of the 9th month of the year. God had been faithful. He had tried to prepare me, but I had my own agenda. His agenda was so much better than mine. I needed him there for the emergency C-section that was never a part of my plan.
After coming home with our beautiful son, the failed plan was forgotten because it had all been worth it. I soon began to ponder the meaning of the number “9” so I looked it up in scriptures. The number 9 means “the end of God's judgment, the end of a matter as far as God is concerned.” The birth of Jesus was a gift to us and he was the end of our judgment as far as God was concerned. He was the weapon God launched for our future. When we choose to receive the child God sent us, we are choosing to grab hold of one of the greatest gifts God has to offer. When we choose to become parents ourselves, we receive the next best gift he has to offer. When we stop controlling birth and give birth to life, God offers us the opportunity to take part in helping him create a small tiny life than can change the course of history. We have the incredible privilege of raising up children with love, peace, honor, and integrity so we can launch them into tomorrow like arrows.
Our children have turned out to be the most amazing blessings we've experienced in our lifetime. As we have taught them, they have taught us what it really meant for God to give up his one and only son. Our Father gave us everything he had so we could experience everything his love had to offer. There is no perfect pregnancy or labor and there is no perfect time to have a baby. If you wait until perfection, you'll never do it and before you know it, it could be too late. As the creator of the entire universe, God clearly says in his word that there is “a time to be born” and his timing is always perfect. If we let go of our own agenda, we get the honor of watching him bring forth a new life, and He calls the miraculous experience of childbirth a glorious gift!
To learn more about what God has to say about the topic, check out “Chaos in the Castle or Peace in the Palace?” where I share in greater detail what I learned when I suddenly found myself pregnant with an unplanned, surprise third baby in mid-life. It was quite the journey, but it taught me the truth of God's heart toward birthing life.
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