Tuesday, August 29, 2006

To be or not to be...a parent


A question from a dear friend prompted this post. As I sit, in the thick of motherhood, sleepless nights, household chores left undone and beckoning, I thought what better time to answer the question, "is it worth it to have children?" You must know from the get go that I will answer this question in all honesty. I do, after all, pride myself on being real and vulnerable. I actually have three friends who are about to embark on this journey of parenthood, two of which have a healthy dose of doubt as they enter this phase in their lives due to their nannying background. Travis and I were driving home the other evening and we noticed some college girls going for a walk together. I noted, "ah the days when I was at the center of my universe and I determined all the activities of my day". I remember when bedtime was a time of my choosing, when I got to sleep a full eight hours without interuption and often wake up when my body felt it was ready to. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss those days. But to answer the question, "is it worth it to have children?" I can answer it simply by rephrasing the question, "Is it worth it to offer ourselves as vessels and stewards of God's most glorious creation, human life?" The answer? A resounding YES! Don't get me wrong my friends, I'm not saying that life will be easy when you become a parent, in fact, it can and most likely will be the most challenging role of your life. But I also know that anything worth anything often treads the most challenging path. Life becomes much richer, much deeper, much more of what life was meant to be when we are challenged. When you become a parent, you are forced to look into the clearest, cleanest mirror and take a good look at who you are without the masks we become so accustomed to wearing. You are forced, not only to decide what's really important, but to make daily life decisions based on those beliefs. Suddenly, being genuine in your walk has more consequences than it did before, little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. And your need for the Lord's provision and wisdom and strength becomes blazingly apparent, not that it was any less before you were a parent, but parenthood tends to humble us in such a way that we see our need more clearly. Yes, after reading all kinds of books and listening to all kinds of advice, you will have to make hard decisions about discipline and raising and you will constantly doubt yourself, wondering if you are doing what is best. Your children will be born sinners, just as you were, and it will be no easy task to tame and guide that sinful nature and hopefully point them towards the saving grace of Christ. No, you will not be able to take off on a whim to travel the world and no, you will not be able to sleep in for many years to come. Yes, you will have to work at nurturing yourself and all your relationships, especially you marriage, more than you did before children and no, your stomach won't ever be the same ladies. All this said, if you choose not to have children, you will never know the beauty of beholding a precious little person who is an intricate blend of you and your mate and yet completely their own person. You will never know the joy of hearing "I love you" come from the mouth of your child, and knowing that it's still true even when they're giving you their worst behavior. You will miss out on the closest you will ever come to understanding God's love for us. Nope, their are no guarantees they will "turn out" the way you hope, they are not yours after all, they are the Lord's and they must choose Him just as you did. Your heart will break when you see them struggle or make bad decisions and it will leap with joy over their triumphs. My friends, I can't make the decision for you, nor can I predict the future of what your parenting experience will be. All I can do is speak from personal experience and my heart when I say that I would never trade a minute of the challenge and blessing of parenthood for a lifetime of living only for myself. Don't lose yourself or become child centered, that won't serve you, your children or your spouse at all. You need to nurture your spirit, make time for the things that bring you joy and stimulate your mind, body and soul regularly, and put your marriage and your spouse before your children. But, don't miss out on one of the greatest of human experiences. Whether you become a parent by blood, adoption, or through your love of the body of Christ, don't miss out! That's my opinion, take it for what it's worth.
All my love,
Sarah

1 comment:

Munchkin Land said...

Amen sister, amen! I'm so glad that I get to call you friend, you are one wise woman!!