07 December 2010

What if everyone just stopped talking?

The Elephant's Child recently posted her frustration regarding the harassment received by couples who are given few, if any, children. She's right to be frustrated. And she's right to expect kindness from her fellows who confess as she confesses that Christ is Lord; that He has died, risen and ascended; that He is coming again.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky once wrote, "To love someone means to see him as God intended him." This simple notion is anything but simplistic, for what God intends is often beyond what makes us comfortable. There are those of us who have and continue to receive children as a matter of faith; there are those of us who cannot receive, also as a matter of faith. It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good to Him. From thence, might we His children receive one another in peace, and speak what is True in kindness and love, for all have fallen short and our time is not long upon this earth. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

That is all.


another Rebecca said...

My husband and I were married later in life and struggled through five years of infertility before we were blessed with our daughter, who is now nearly three. We have long been hoping to conceive another child, but that has not yet happened. I thank God that He has helped me be content in our current circumstances while still open to His possible provision of other children. (God knows how I stress and obsess about so many other things, so the ability to chill out about this is truly a gift from Him rather than anything good about me.)

These days we frequently get questions whether we're "done" (grrr...) or whether we're trying to grow our family (as if every woman can just snap her fingers, conceive, and carry to term a healthy baby on her timing). These nosy questions can be an irritation, but at times they can also provide opportunities for real dialog about birth control and the value of ALL human life.

The snag is how to gently express these thoughts without being a complete hypocrite! How easy and convenient it is for me, a mother of an only child, in comfortable circumstances, to wax poetic about trusting God's timing and will when it comes to family size? The words mean far more coming from moms with large families, whose next pregnancy may not be "convenient" but is still a gift from God?

So, as the title of this post hints, perhaps it is better for me to just keep my mouth shut!

another Rebecca said...

I should also have shared that I am a relatively new "convert" to the viewpoint of procreation expressed in your blog. Have been reading your blog for several months, slowly chewing on the ideas expressed in it. As I've awakened to the consistency of your viewpoint with Scripture, I've also been appalled at how I (and most of my Christian mom friends) have been so deceived by the current worldview of procreation and birth control.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I ask people I meet about their family situation because I appreciate knowing where someone is struggling...and I pray often for friends who struggle with infertility. It isn't to pass judgment, but to share in their sorrows (or joys).

Gauntlets said...

Another Rebecca: God bless you, sister, in your humble motherhood. :) I hear you that the ability to chill is so a gift from God. I'm still just playing with the ribbons on that package. One day, I hope to be smart enough open it all the way. :D

And, yes, isn't it amazing how really insidious the lies are? :P

Anon: Sure! Neither my nor Elephant's Child's post were talking about folk like you. The trouble arises when people tease shamelessly and stupidly, neither knowing nor caring what an individual's situation might be--you know, the jokey poking that ends up leaving bruises. And when such teasing is motivated by senseless politicking, well, it's just plain wrong.

On the other hand, it is the work of Christians to carry each other's burdens. You'll never hear me disparaging prayer. :)

Untamed Shrew said...

Trouble also arises when one says something in love/support and the hearer chooses to put the worst construction on the speaker's words-- inferring a jokey poke where it was intended to be light-hearted and free of Law's weight.

another Rebecca said...

Untamed Shrew, you are quite right, and I am guilty of too often taking offense at a harmless comment. I am also guilty of well-intended, but still stupid and thoughtless, comments towards moms in other circumstances.

I look at mothers of larger families and am in awe of how they manage it, since I constantly see my own failings taking care of just one. And in poor attempts to express my admiration, I've probably irked more than one person! At least by reading this blog I'm trying to learn some of the things NOT to say.

Anonymous said...

Add to the list of hurtful comments, the number of things said to single Christian women on the topic of why-haven't-you-settled-down-yet. "She's just too focused on her career"; "she's commitment averse"; "she must be ..."

The number of times my room mate (or another friend) has come back from a baptism in tears because some well meaning mother gave her a lecture on the dangers of putting marriage off "until it was too late"...

We KNOW it's a danger, and we have to trust God we won't get to be a statistic! (Now, if you said "I know a really nice young man who's interested in classical music too, maybe I could have you both over for dinner... Well, that would be another story.)

Untamed Shrew said...

Bridget Jones has the perfect response: "Well, I suppose it doesn't help that underneath our clothes, our entire bodies are covered with scales."