Mar 17, 2010

Things People Say

This is a train of thought that has been on my mind, churning about for some time now. There are things people say to couples who do not have children that, I believe with my heart, they think are encouraging.  To tell you the truth, I'm probably only speaking for myself here, but these comments are not encouraging and in all honesty feel more like salt in a wound.

Thankfully, I can't think of any specific examples (I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm calling them out specifically), but the gist of every such comment is...
You're so lucky, you should be thankful for all the time that you have now with your husband all alone. If you had kids your life would be more complicated and you wouldn't be able to do the things you can do now. You should be glad that you don't have kids.
Hearing these comments often arises a sarcastic response in my head, but I nod, smile and feebly agree. The truth is that I really do want to have children - it just hasn't happened for us yet. So these comments, although meant to make us feel better about not having children, often make us very cognizant of the absence of our child. 

Often my internal sarcasm points to the fault in the speaker, rather than to the sinful discontent in the hearer {me}.  In recent months, I have been convicted and challenged to consider the fact that God has, in fact, given me the grace I need to be joyful and grateful in this time of being childless. A verse that has just made an impact in my life again is Philippians 4:11b-13, quoting from the Message (since that is my devotional Bible):
"I've learned now how to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.  I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."
This verse has always been special to me, but recently I heard a Sunday School message that accentuated what I had already liked about the verse.  It was pointed out that often we just think of the positive side of what Paul is saying. However, half of what Paul talks about is considered suffering - having little, being hungry, empty hands. God gives us the grace we need in whatever circumstances he has placed us in.  Therefore, God has given me the grace I need to not know my child right now. For me, that was a light bulb being switched on in my head.  I'm still exploring this space that I didn't know about before.

When the time comes,  I know that he will give me the grace I need to get up multiple times during the night, multiple nights in a row and still make quality decisions even though I proably won't be able to string two words together in a sentance after a while.  I love how the Message states verse 13: Whatever I have [or don't have], wherever I am [or am not], I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. It is beautiful for me to think of it this way, and I have such an intense desire to abide with the One who made me who I am.

Blogging is a funny thing, I planned to have one train of thought but in the midst of thinking through it I was reminded of this recent conviction and I have arrived at a different ending.  Things people say may often remind me painfully of what I do not have. However, now I know that I do need to be thankful - whatever my circumstances because God has placed me here and given me everything I need to do his work while I'm here.

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