Friday, August 6, 2010

children are the fruit of marriage!

Seven months ago, on January 31st, our lives were changed forever. We remember the exact moment we found out that our firstborn was on the way, and we remember just how we felt. It took weeks for the reality to set in. Don't get me wrong -- we were overjoyed, excited, elated, but things are hard to grasp when your child is the size of a lentil bean.

Since that day, we have grown on so many ways. As our child continues to grow (for which we are so thankful!), so do we: our marriage, our sense of responsibility, our understanding of our purpose and roles as husband and wife and children of God. We definitely "planned" this pregnancy as much as humanly possible, but of course it was ultimately up to God. And, evidently, God saw us fit to raise one of his little ones. And so our roles as mommy and daddy began in January.

The vast majority of married couples I know have an idea that they would like to "wait a long time" before having children. Even couples that have secure careers, own homes, have been married for 2+ years, etc. still wish to "wait a little longer." And we really aren't sure why this is. If you ask my husband, he will gladly tell you (with enthusiasm!) that this child is the best thing in our lives. Parenting, to us, has been nothing but pure joy from the day we knew of her existence. Yes, even the vomiting, back pain, heartburn, frequent urination, and restless nights. It's worth it in countless ways. And I can't even begin to tell you how much more I love Mark, and how much more he loves me, now that we are not "just" Shannon and Mark, but now we're Shannon, the mother of Adalyn, and Mark, the father of Adalyn.

If you were to ask your great grandmother why she had children, she would probably respond with something like, "Because that's what we did!" There was no "planning" your family and waiting for the "perfect" time to become a mom and dad. Marriage meant that you would (likely) have children. And with the "intellectual" revolution came means of preventing children. We have gone from a people group of viewing children as the most precious and wonderful blessing from God, to viewing them as a burden, a financial strain, an added stress to marriage, and something to put off until you were "ready."

The following is a quote from Start Your Family:

Instead of seeing children as a threat to the other blessings of marriage, we can embrace the fact that God created all the good things of marriage to work in harmony. Dr. Mohler encourages Christian married couples to "reject the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than as gifts to be received, loved and nurtured." Not even the most creative couples among us can improve on God's design for fruitful marriages. We can trust that His purposes for marriage are good and can satisfy our desires better than any alternatives our culture offers. "The estate of marriage and everything that goes with it in the way of conduct, works, and suffering is pleasing to God," Martin Luther wrote. "Now tell me, how can the heart have greater good, joy, and delight than in God, when one is certain that his estate, conduct, and work is pleasing to God?"

Our culture has convinced us that everything good in life happens *before* you start your family: creating a large savings account, owning a home, pursuing your career, having a romantic and fun marriage, traveling the world, etc. But that is NOT what God has called Christians to do. "The best reason to have kids -- the one reason that will last beyond mere sentiment -- is so simple that it may not seem very profound: God commands us to have children (Genesis 1:28). It's His desire that we 'be fruitful and increase in number,' and this fruitfulness includes raising spiritually sensitive children who will serve God and work for the glory of his kingdom on earth. Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78 expand on the Genesis instruction by telling us that not only are we to love by the Lord, but we are to raise children who will love God and obey his commandemnts. In other words, having kids isn't about us -- it's about Him. We are called to bear and to raise children for the Glory of God." --Sacred Parenting

I seriously wish that, if you are a believer, you would look to what God has to say about children and the blessings that come with parenthood. In Psalm 127, Solomon writes: "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 128 follows with, "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord."

Unless we are stone-cold spiritually -- virtually spiritual corpses -- the journey of caring for, raising, training and loving children will mark us indelibly and powerfully. We cannot be the same people we once were; we will be forever changed, eternally altered. Spiritually speaking, we need to raise children every bit as much as they need us to raise them. --Sacred Parenting

(Now, I realize that some couples are unable to have biological children - and this is where I *FULLY* believe that adoption should be an option! Even for families with biological children, adoption is a wonderful thing. But I do believe that every married couple is called to parent a child in one way or another, since it is a command from the Lord.)

Children are the fruit of marriage! We are so, so very thankful for the blessing of our little Adalyn. She is the light of our lives, and we couldn't imagine our world without her. Though she isn't born, we have learned so much about parenting already. I can't imagine the joys she will bring to our lives in October. Parenting is truly the greatest gift (other than salvation) that God has given!


I highly recommend the book Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies by Steve & Candice Watters! It's a great book, recommended to me by MckMama!



    Love this post!

  2. Yeah, so I cried! haha! But really you're right. We did a bible lesson in our couples' class over this. Also I heard a quote once "If we all waited until we were ready or could afford a child, no one would ever have one!" :)
    And while we have one child that we "planned" and one that we "didn't plan", I can see the purpose to why God put each of them into my life exactly when and why he did! (or atleast why I think he did)

  3. Ah...maybe it's the emotions already stirring within me, but this brought tears to my eyes. This is how my husband and I feel as well and while we are still in the first stages of realizing our little one is growing and it is actually in is so neat to read how things develop. I am truly amazed at how perfectly God orchestrates the miracle of a baby. p.s. We found the book you recommended about husband coaching yesterday at a local used bookstore!! My husband is loving the info!