Our society is eons away from Old Testament Bible times, but our hearts I fear may still be learning the same lessons that the Israelites did so many years ago when they entered the promised land. God paved the way for his beloved people to live in an abundant land. He asked them to honor him and follow his ways. He commanded them numerous times to never worship other gods. He made his point clear by telling them that each person’s sin will affect his family for generations, but if they chose to love and honor him that they would be blessed for exponential generations because He loved them with a covenant love! He did this to preserve them and create safe boundaries so that they would remain close to their Creator. But you may already know, that God’s beloved Israelites fell prey to Satan’s schemes. They heard their enemy whisper that what God says isn’t everything. “Take your life into your own hands,” he hissed. One by one they exchanged the truth of God for a lie. They began doing things that the people who didn’t know God did. Detestable things that would cause outrage in America today! One of the most horrid acts was throwing their children into a fire to appease a man-made idol with no will and no power.
How could their beliefs have become so distorted that they believed killing their beloved children was a holy sacrifice? What lies had penetrated their souls, that allowed a loving mother to inflict agonizing death upon her firstborn? Romans 1:25, says “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”
One truth I believe our society exchanged for a lie is the blessedness of children. In Genesis one of the first things God asked us to do was have babies and make families and generations of people to know God! What a beautiful intention God had in his original command. He wanted to bring more people onto this earth to love! Not only that, but a united man and woman were the means to which God brought life onto this earth. What I was pregnant with Lydia, I had an amazing realization about how precious her life was to God. In Ephesians 1:4 it says “even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” That means that God has us in mind, even before he made the world. He’s known about Lydia for thousands of years, but He wouldn’t be able to meet her until 2013! The anticipation for a mother over a 9-month pregnancy brings immense joy when the baby arrives. Imagine that over thousands of years! Truly our God is abounding in divine joy when one of his created enters this world.
I often times wonder at how often God looks upon us just as a mother stares at her small infant. A mother and father find joy in just watching their little one. Think of how much joy God feels at watching this little one! It’s his intentioned creation that looks, acts, smells, moves and functions just as He decided. And think of the delight God has as this little human chooses and thinks on their own!
Such a vibrant picture of life! Somehow this beautiful truth has been squashed to conform to a selfish, tainted society where children are no longer the fulfillment of God’s command and a treasure, but rather they are a burden, time-consuming, and something that should be delayed so we can make more money. Yes, in small ways we still celebrate new life, but it’s lost most of it’s luster under the burden of lies that topple over us. Children are secondary to jobs, success, time and personal pursuits.
Just as God warned the Israelites, let me blow the shofar. “Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2. In my quest to hear God’s will for children/parenting and to not conform to our society’s beliefs, I have learned a few key things.
The first is in regards to the question of birth prevention. As Christians, we know that abortion is wrong. But let’s dig deeper into the entire realm of prevention of birth through contraceptives. God honors parenting as a sacred role, so I think we should start by asking him what he wants for our life. Then, we need to get the facts straight about types of birth control. An incredible resource that every person should read is “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortion?” by Randy Alcorn. He tackles this controversial question with unbiased facts and clearly concludes that synthetic hormones can cause abortions. Alcorn did extensive research into multiple types of birth control and sought out pharmaceutical companies, research studies and physicians for appropriate evidence. Alcorn states that, “These birth control methods (birth control pills, NuvaRing, IUD and others) are often referred to as “contraceptives,” but they are not exclusively contraceptives. That is, they do not always prevent conception. Either sometimes or often they result in the death of already-conceived human beings.” Check out this video and Alcorn’s website as well. I know this information is heavy, but the burden of truth can feel heavy at first, but over time will bring joy and freedom! I heard a few times that birth control may cause abortion, but many people also dismissed that it does not. Not until I read Alcorn’s book did I feel like I had the proper evidence to draw my personal conclusion that birth control is outside of God’s intention for us. Aren’t you ready for a straight answer on the subject?
The second is that our minds need to be transformed to carry out the Biblical call of parenting and valuing of our children. Our culture carries an unspoken belief the children are burdensome. An article in Life magazine this past summer entitled “The Childless Life: When Having it All Means Not Having Kids,” describes a growing belief that choosing not to have children means having more from life. The truth is that children do change everything, but God never intended us to live selfish lives. Jesus walked this earth to show us we were intended to give and love. Life is better and more fulfilling when we give our lives for another. A lovely book on the topic of the sacredness of parenting is “Beyond Bath Time” by Erin Davis (www.beyondbathtime.com).
Third, parenting is not easy. Sometimes I feel like throwing the towel in! I wonder if I have what it takes to raise kids who love and honor God and are responsible. But parenting is not about me finding fulfillment through my children, rather parenting is a self-sacrificing journey of loving, training and discipling someone from birth. It’s a perfect opportunity to trust Jesus every moment! It has also been one of the best vehicles of spiritual transformation that God has used in my life. I grow as my children grow.
I pray God transforms your mind in the area of children and parenting. For those of you who are already parents, I pray you have a source of encouragement and mentoring as you carry out this sacred role. For those who are yet to be, this truth is no less valuable for you to know.
No recipes today, just some food for thought, prayer and action. Will you join me in spreading God’s truth about the things you learned today?