I have crocheted more pairs of baby booties than I can count since we moved to Georgia, and loved on more sweet bundles of joy than I ever have in my life. It’s no wonder that the thought of children is never far from my mind.
In the urban area I work in, it seems completely normal for a married couple to be childless in their twenties . People tend to get married later, and wait to have children until well into their thirties. They typically have small families–two or three children–and four children is considered a big family. In the rural area where we live, however, young people still tend to get married early, settle down early, and have children early. The families can be quite large–seven and eight children is considered normal. In fact, in our church, I am fairly certain that we are the oldest married couple without children. And by oldest, I mean we are both 29 (not for long, but that’s beside the point).
In the town where I work, I don’t usually feel out of place for not being a part of the “mom club.” In the town where I live, though, I sometimes feel like I’m on the outside looking in at the rest of the young women, whose lives are centered around babies, baby things, baby conversations, jokes about raising children…all of the beautiful pieces of that life. Most of the time, I love these conversations! They are funny, educational, and just good girl talk. There are days, though, where I wish I weren’t sitting on the other end without anything to add to the conversation. Sure, I can add words of encouragement or discernment, but I can’t add any stories of my own. On those days, my heart grieves for the children we don’t have.
Many people get the idea that we don’t have children because I’ve chosen a career over children. If they really knew me, they would know that this is about as far from the truth as it can be. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my job, and I am thankful that I have it, but having a job doesn’t mean I’ve chosen to not have other things. Others will say, “well, they are just being smart and waiting.” Here is the truth: My greatest desire in life is to raise up children in our home, as God would have us raise them. We are not “waiting” as some see it. So, why no kids?
I’ve struggled with that question for a long time. I used to think that maybe it was because we weren’t being good enough followers of Christ. Well, if that were true, then none of us would be having any children. We all fall short of the mark. Thank goodness for God’s Grace on our lives. Other possible issues were ruled out, which I won’t go into, since I’m a little old-fashioned. Finally, after a teary-eyed conversation after Sunday School one day, my husband reminded me of the Truth. There is Truth in why he and I do not have children yet.
He reminded me that the picture of God’s plan is so much bigger than we could ever perceive. It is so much bigger than us, today, and what we think we need or want. Finally, he said, “Our friends have children because those children were meant to be alive today, so they could fulfill God’s purposes that he has laid out for them at the right time. We don’t have children yet because our children aren’t meant to be alive yet. If we are meant to have them, they are meant to be alive later, so they can also fulfill God’s purposes at the right time. They are meant to influence people at a specific time, which will influence other people, and their children, and their grandchildren, and right on down the line.” (This is why I married him, people.)
We had this discussion about five months ago, but those words that God spoke through my husband have completely changed my heart on when we do or do not have children. I haven’t stopped thinking about it, but I have stopped worrying about it. If I think about the times God has used someone to minister to me, or me to minister to someone else, I should remember that those times were pre-ordained, long before either one of us existed. If we are to be blessed with children, God already has a plan for those children, and that time just hasn’t come yet. Of course I am aware that there is a science to conception, but God being the Creator, He created that scientific process, and He is in ultimate control of it. There is so much comfort in knowing that it isn’t up to us; knowing that His plan is perfect, and when we seek after it, it will be for our good.
Truthfully, I know that God has been doing some serious work in my heart and mind the last six months. I am a changed woman who is seeking after Him more strongly than I ever thought possible. When I step back and think about it, I am so very thankful that the changes He has brought about in me have begun before I have ten little fingers and ten little toes needing me to care for them. God’s timing is perfect, whether it is for the woman who has seven children at 29, or the woman who has no children at 29. God’s timing is perfect.
*Disclaimer: I do not pretend to have all of the answers. This post is a reflection on my own life, faith, and heart. I cannot pretend to answer the choices and outcomes of every decision made by every person, nor can I pretend to understand them. I do know, however, that every child is a blessed child from God.