Generation Cedar

“We are childless by choice”, an old acquaintance–a believer–told me. “We just love our lives.  We travel a lot and enjoy going out and we’ve never really wanted children”.

I replayed the conversation.  I’m not supposed to even think anything of it. Children are now in the category of “option without stigma”. That is, it is politically incorrect to even suggest that parents *should* want children.  After all, we all have the choice.  Choice is King.

But something nags me…

And I realized what it was.

Before the socially acceptable option of choosing life, children were in a category of “spiritual, supernatural, miraculous”.

And rightly so. The Bible calls them a “heritage from the Lord”.  A heritage is an immaterial, intangible gift passed down.  It’s an inheritance the GIVER chooses and over which the GIVER has control.

But now that we are in control of this once supernatural gift, children have moved to a category of “possession”–things that can be acquired or not. And not just that, but possessions often seen as liabilities.

A possession is altogether different from a heritage.

A possession is temporal and usually measured by its immediate value. Decisions about acquiring possessions are mostly based on short-sighted variables and measured according to their benefit to the possessor.

A heritage can only be received, at the benevolence of the one giving. It is thought of in far-sighted terms.  Long-term vision causes us to covet a heritage, even if we must share our resources to maintain it in the present.

Our children, though plenty valuable even in the present (if only we could see it through all our distractions), are gifts only properly understood with a far-sightedness–inheritances that gain value over time.

We have lost our long-term vision.  And we have stopped seeing children as part of that vision.

I don’t think God ever meant for us to think of His heritage so flippantly, to refuse, altogether, the eternal gifts He would give in exchange for more vacations and a richer lifestyle.

He desires godly offspring.  He longs to give us a full, rich inheritance. Let’s not allow our short-sighted ability to control rob us of our heritage.

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59 Responses

  1. It truly is a tragic perspective held by so many. Not only is our heritage such an important part of Him accomplishing His Purposes for His Glory long past our lifetimes, but it is through children that He expands our understanding of His Father Heart. It is through having children that we truly learn to live for others. It is through children that He is able to grow and mature our perspective to really become “adults”. Married couples who “choose” not to have children miss out on indescribable blessings and gifts. It is only through being emptied of self through the service that so many of us learn through parenting that we can have our spirits enlarged to receive so much more of His Spirit. What a diabolical deception perpetrated on us by the enemy. It is because of the incredible potential for spiritual fruit that the evil one works so hard to distort the Truth about children, about a godly heritage, about parenting. We must pray that the Truth about His Blessing of children be loved and sought today. Thank you for declaring it so powerfully.

    1. YES! My children are still very small, but already I am seeing how the Lord is using them to bring me (and our whole family) closer to Him. I read through the entire Bible for the first time while I was pregnant with my second child, because I know how important it is that we teach them about God at home…and how can I do that if I haven’t read the Bible in full?

      He’s bringing me through the Bible again and most of the time my daughter (the one who was in my belly during my first read-through) is in my arms, nursing or sleeping. I’m looking forward to reading it aloud to them when they are a little older 🙂

      Hearing my two-year-old sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” is so precious to my ears, and I’m sure it sounds sweet to the Lord as well 🙂

    2. “It is through having children that we truly learn to live for others. It is through children that He is able to grow and mature our perspective to really become “adults”.”

      We can and should do that without/before kids. Marriage teaches us to be for others (if no other love before that has) and adulthood should come naturally with its own responsibilities and autonomy.

      1. I agree, Jennifer. Personally, although I’ve so far been unable to carry a child to term, I’m a real adult with a mature perspective. Ask anyone. However, I have had friends who have entered marriage as very immature people who have matured greatly through the process of having children…so I guess, just like in every situation, God uses different processes in his sanctification and transformation of different people. He, the Master and Creator of all, knows best how to bring each of His creations fully into what He created them to be. Children can be a part of that process, but obviously, He is accomplishing His purposes in some of our lives without giving us children.

        I will note that it is usually the very immature and selfish among us who are afraid of having children and so would desire to avoid having them. Thus, extended delay of childbearing after marriage through birth control (I’m talking more than a few years here) may very well be playing a negative role in the maturation process of today’s young Christians.

        1. Excellent points, Lori. I have more sympathy for those who actually fear having kids, for whatever reason (rather than holding them in disdain).

          1. I’m not saying I don’t have sympathy for them. I have great sympathy for people who have been scared/deceived/whatever into believing that children are too much of a burden to bear. But what I am saying is that their choice to avoid childbearing for a long period of time probably delays their maturity somewhat.

  2. I hear the groans from family, friends, and (gasp) church members that too many children is a non desirable thing. When I had my first child a year ago, it was in that moment that I realized how much God loved me. He trusted and blessed me with this precious child. If I would give my life for my child and loved her so much, how much more did God love (us) his children? When asked how many children me and my husband want I reply, “as many as God will bless us with”. The usual response is a simple thats nice, or what if you have 12? Children are NOT a liability they are a blessing. I cant wait to raise more God fearing children for Gods purpose. Thank you for standing firm on God’s truth!

  3. Oh man, that is so true! When hubby said (2 yrs ago) that he didn’t want any more kids, he explained that my being tired for 9 months and then the first couple months when baby’s not sleeping thru the night yet, was just not something he wanted to go thru again. I said: So, we’re making an eternal decision based on 11 months of possible difficulty?
    God did an amazing work in his heart and we had another baby.
    Now that baby is 1 year old, hubby has recently decided to trust the Lord w/ our fertility. All glory to God.
    The Lord can do amazing things in sinners like us. 😀

  4. Amen, what a lovely post!

    You are so right about children being a gift from God, and taking charge of our fertility (more so since the pill) give us the feeling that we are in control, and that “control” can easily become a Idol!

    children as possession, like you said,often seen as liabilities, or in some case PRIZES as you can see in the “tiger Mother” type of parenting!

    I think we should really see and take our view of children from God and not the word, sometime we mix the 2 and we get confused!

  5. YES!!! My husband and I used to be terrified of having children and not all that interested in them. God changed our hearts completely after 6 years of marriage and we now have four precious blessings -so far. I am humbled that God would bless us so much and by what we would have missed out on. much love with your new little one

    1. Thank you, Susan.

      No baby…interestingly, up all night with regular contractions (and holding a sick baby–seems the stomach virus has decided to make a timely appearance), but now they have stopped completely. Trying to rest in the Lord….

  6. Kelly,

    When I first started following your blog, I looked forward to it every morning. For some reason, I’ve not read many blogs at all the last few months. Yesterday and today, I opened up the email from your blog and have been blessed both times. You truly hear from the Lord and are such an encouragement…thank you for taking the time to minister through your blog!

    Sarah

  7. I know this post is about couples who choose to forsake the heritage God would give them, and not about people who want children but can’t have them (for whatever reason). But just please pray for your Sisters in Christ whose hearts were radically changed **after** their bodies were butchered in the name of family planning. My heart and my womb are separated by two plastic clamps.

    1. Jen,

      Your words are heart-wrenching. I have friends who share your grief…I am whispering a prayer for you today. This, among other reasons, is why I talk so much about the issue. It’s not to “defend my choice” or make people feel bad. But my friend who had a tubal years ago says, “we have to tell them before it’s too late”. The family planning message screams at us…why shouldn’t we try to counter it in the name of love? *hugs* to you

      1. Amen to you and your friend, Kelly. Those of us who have known the pain of realizing our horrible mistake usually end up with a heartfelt need to warn (and beg and plead) others to never-ever travel this road. Even though we have had our mistake reversed, there is still no guarantee that that which we took will be restored and it’s heartbreaking.
        Both my husband and I have had several couples in our paths since our eyes were opened that we have shared our story with in the hopes that they never fall in the way we did. God is using it, thankfully.

    2. Yes that is so true Jen. I know the post was written from the viewpoint of helping other women have the right viewpoint, so as to save the heartache that you, and I, and many women go through. My husband had a vasectomy when my son was two weeks old (he just turned 7 yesterday). We later (about three and a half years ago) were greatly distressed by a conviction from God that what we had done was done from a view point of fear and a false understanding of children in general. We had his vasectomy reversed. We were so excited, and a little nervous, to hand all control back over to God. The greatest, and hardest lesson, was soon to come. After 2 years and no conception, I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with PCOS. It is the leading cause of infertility in the country. My husbands reversal was a success, but now I had become barren. The best we know is that because PCOS is progressive with age, I missed the only years that I was fertile due to the vasectomy. I was probably barren by the time I was 27. I praise God that we had children very early (I had my two children at the age of 19 and 21). I am blessed to have my precious two children. But my husband and I mourn over the fact that we could have had at least a couple more beautiful children before my syndrome robbed my body. Thank you to Generation Cedar for sounding the alarm on our false thinking, and in some way saving some women from making the mistake of putting off for tomorrow (or never) what could be done today. For we never know what tomorrow will hold. For some of us, it will hold infertility. Children are truly a gift, not something we can just “make” happen.
      That’s why I appreciate this blog. I wish someone had told me this before our decision (Even if I may not have listened, I still wish someone would have told me the truth. At the time all Christians that I knew celebrated our choice for a vasectomy 🙁

  8. That couple you posted about (the one so smugly happy with their choice) will end up like the elderly lady we met in a hotel elevator 25 years ago.
    We were holding our first baby and this affluent looking 70 year old addressed us (strangers) with, “You are so very very blessed. My husband and I chose not to have children. We wanted to travel and have ‘things’ and we did but now he is gone and I have no one.
    I am here attending the wedding of a nephew who I don’t know at all but I traveled clear across the country to come because I am so lonely.”

    As you can imagine…we (the young parents) listened to this lonely lady and stepped out of the elevator humbled and hugging our precious girl close to our hearts.

    Jill Farris
    http://www.generationalwomanhood.wordpress.com
    http://www.jillcampbellfarris.com

  9. Wow Kelly! There is no way I could add anything to what you’ve written. You’ve definitely hit the nail on the head, and this was challenging and yet encouraging to read today.

    We continue to pray for you and the soon birth of your son. I do have to tell you…last night I reached for the computer and my husband said “Are you checking again to see if Kelly had that baby yet?” I smiled and replied “yes, of course!”. He said, “You need to tell her to go ahead and post the pictures of that boy. We all know she’s done had him and she’s just trying to get more hits on her blog.” Of course he was totally teasing! 🙂 I am “due” next week and we are both so excited and anxious. I was “overdue” by a week with my last baby, so I know right where you are, and we truly are remembering you in our prayers! 🙂

    1. LOL! I sure wish I had news to give you! (I guess you read my earlier comment–contractions all night and then nothing this morning? UGH! This has been a very hard wait…the Lord is trying to teach me patience, I’m sure. A virtue I seem to have been born without.

        1. Well, it’s been different every time, and I’m wishing I had journaled exactly how it went with other pregnancies. I was 2 weeks over with my 1st two. But after that, it seems I’ve only gone over a couple of days, maybe one right on the due date, and maybe one early.

          I just had this horrid thought that maybe they missed my due date by a month…eeek…Lord prepare me if that’s the case! (If you’re nursing when you conceive, it can be more iffy.)

          1. (Even though you are probably huffing and puffing through contractions as I type this…)
            Oh, Kelly, I hope you aren’t right about missing the due date; don’t entertain those thoughts! You are right about the nursing thing and my due dates have always been a little iffy to pin point because of this as well. This time I am seeing a different doctor since we moved across the state during this pregnancy and when trying to determine the due date during my first visit, because I couldn’t tell them when my last cycle was since I hadn’t had one, I was actually asked when we “did it”! (Huh?? Do people keep track of that??? I wanted to tell them that “it” wasn’t so rare with us, that we had to write it down to remember! 😀 )

          2. Charity,

            ROFL!!!!

            Hilarious. And no, no contractions. This baby better not be this stubborn the other side of the womb…we’ll have issues.

          3. Haha! Well not sure how in the minority I am, but yes some people do keep track of *that.* Now on pregnancy #3 I know down to the day of when two of them were conceived and the third I know within a three day range.

  10. You know what’s weird? When “childless by choice” couples have dogs or cats and call them their “babies” and call themselves Mom and Dad to the animal.

    I’m not a pet person so maybe I don’t fully get it.

    This doesn’t really have much to do with the post (sorry) but it has been on my mind lately.

    Hope you have a safe, smooth birth soon!

    1. I know of a lady who talked about her “grandcats” because her daughter was childless and her son wasn’t married. How sad!

  11. This is a great post! I’m glad someone asked about the baby because I was wondering! 🙂 looking forward to the post announcing the birth!

  12. I love this post!!

    Several years ago an elderly member of my church was talking with me about her children. I asked, “How many did you have?” She replied, “Twelve.” I said, “That’s wonderful!” She was about to walk away, then stopped in amazement and told me, “In my entire life, you are the ONLY person to ever say that to me. Most people say such awful things. But we believe children are a gift.” Fast forward to about ten years later, this sweet lady could no longer live alone in her apartment and needed a little help getting dressed etc. I’ll never forget that she had her choice of who she wanted to live with and where because several of her grown children were willing and eager to take care of their mother. How many elderly people experience that kind of love and care?

    My husband had a vasectomy about seven years ago. Last January I had a change of heart I can only call a miracle, and realised we had made a terrible mistake. When I apologised to my husband he had no doubt in his mind that he wanted reversal surgery. We found a wonderful Christian specialist (Dr. Finnerty in Tacoma) and six months after the surgery I was pregnant!

    I was very frightened because I have had hyperemesis gravidarum in my past three pregnancies, but my husband promised to do whatever it took to look after me. God has also blessed me with a Christian Dr. who takes it seriously (finally!). It’s taken two medications to keep the vomiting under control but this is the first pregnancy I’ve had where I’ve actually GAINED weight in the first trimester. The nausea is calming down now (YAY!) and I’m getting really excited about having more children. When we told our children I was pregnant they literally wept with joy.

    1. So beautiful! Speaking of children to take care of you in old age, I read the most infuriating article today about, basically, how horrible children are and we’re silly to have them for emotional and financial reasons. A line from that article actually said:

      “Some economists have argued that having kids is an economically silly investment; after all, it’s cheaper to hire end-of-life care than to raise a child.”

      The whole article is equally appalling, if not more.

      1. That post was equally horrific and idiotic. It made me tear up/ May Christians be a voice in the darkness and not let darkness evelope us!!!!

    2. Ok, Amy, this is a little off topic, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting about the time it took for you to become pregnant after your reversal. We are 4 months post-surgery, and although I realize that’s not as long as some, it’s really hard not to become discouraged thinking it will never happen for us again. Sometimes I wonder if our purpose in this obedience was simply to be used as an example of what to never do (which, if that’s what He chooses for us, it is well).
      Anyway.. thanks. 🙂

      1. I too went through hard times of discouragement. It’s a fine line between really wanting such a wonderful gift, but at the same time learning to be content with God’s will and timing no matter what happens. Sort of like walking a razor’s edge at times 🙂 I spent a lot of time begging for more children alternating with “but please, please help me to be content and never bitter if this isn’t Your will.”

        My hubby on the other hand, had absolute confidence that we would have another baby at the end of all this 🙂

        Just to encourage you, the “odds” (not that I believe in those) were stacked against us. The length of time since the first surgery, the fact that I’ll be 35 this year, the type of surgery my husband needed for the reversal (VE both sides)…if I focused on all that I felt like it was hopeless. We call this our miracle baby.

  13. Whoa!! I have NEVER thought about it that way. I mean, I already agree with you, but what a post to pass along to others who may be critical of welcoming children as a blessing. As always, you said it best, and this will be my go-to post for this issue. Great job, Kelly.

  14. Kelly, I really enjoy your encouragment about the blessings of children. I always read them with a mixture of hope and a twinge of sadness for my own situation. We have four children ages 4-11, 3 via c-section for medical reasons and 1 through adoption. I want more and my husband who is over 40 says he is very done and feels overwhelmed at times with the ones we have. I have prayed about my own attitude possibly contributing to his and so seek to make our home,family,and my heart a place of peace and refuge for him. I am praying for more children while trying to have peace. Surely I am not alone. Maybe you have even posted on this before. Sometimes I need some encouragement in this as I seek patience and godly submission. Thank you for saying the hard stuff for the sake of the gospel.

  15. This post really spoke to me. My husband had a reversal and it took us 1 1/2 years to become pregnant. But it was all Gods timing. We now have 3 more little ones and are expecting our 6th child in Aug. We have struggled with how many more children are we going to have. I am 43 years old now. This last pregnancy came 6 weeks after our 5th was born. I was talking to my doctor about these topics when he said to me “God wants you to have this baby”

  16. I think this post is great, and it applies very well to those of us who want and do not have all the children that we want.

    If they are a heritage and inheritance, we don’t get to tell the Giver “I want that gift, and I want it now, and then I want 5 more!” It is easy to objectify children and despise the Giver in that way too. 🙁

  17. Could you give us a pregnancy update? Anything? Do you think maybe your due date was off? Any upcoming appointments?

  18. Kelly,
    Do you know of anyone who has had a vbac after 3 c-sections?? I would have more babies but I’m so afraid of multiple surgeries!

  19. I have just one small thing to say about your article… I have recently lost one of my blessings due to miscarriage. IF it were my choice and not my blessing, I would not have miscarried my child.

    1. Could you clarify what you mean? First, how do you know you wouldn’t have miscarried, and second, what does that have to do with receiving from God’s hand what He has foreordained…I may be completely confused.

    2. I am so sorry for your loss Sara! I have been right where you are countless times as all but one of my blessing went directly to heaven and bypassed my arms. (Not that it matters as pain is pain but I have had over 12 miscarriages. My one walking breathing miracle is 6 and so precious to us!)

      The pain is excruciating and hard for those who have not experienced the loss of a miscarriage to understand. There really is no way for them to understand.

      Know that God is with you! He cares for you! In fact during this time He is carrying you in his arms. He is wiping the tears from your eyes and comforting you.

      It may seem like a very lonely and empty place where very few people understand. I urge you to talk with your husband. Share with him your feelings. Do not shut him out! He is your companion given to you by God. He is your covering! Your sanctuary here on earth. Rest in him and his care. Do not stop sharing your life with him. In the long run it will help!

      I know that this was not your choice. Your choice would be to hold your baby in your arms! I understand that! Time will make the loss easier to swallow. Oh, it will still be hard but the bitterness will not be so strong. Through time you will see God’s hand moving in the lives of you, your husband and the rest of your family. He will not leave you or forsake you! He loves you too much!

  20. Great article! BUT…..as one who has had countless miscarriages, I would caution you to speak carefully to those who have lost their babies. It is very painful to hear that babies are a blessing and so wonderful when your arms are empty. No matter ones spiritual maturity one can begin to question “what is wrong with me? Why is my baby gone? Am I not good enough?”

    Saying that maturity can only be achieved by having children is VERY hurtful and painful. You do not know the reasons why a couple may be childless or have made the choice that they have made. Seeing a childless couple or even a couple with only one child, you might assume that the decision was made because of some “immature” reason. But you don’t! Only God knows the heart of man. Let us not forget that.

    Maturity comes as we submit ourselves to God’s plan in our lives. We all make mistakes. God uses all of those mistakes to grow us. If a couple chooses not to have children, we need to be careful not to judge them. God is their judge. He knows the true condition of their heart and their decision.

    Having said all of that, I agree that children are a beautiful and wonderful heritage from the Lord. The world has so completely tweaked out “the choice” of having children. It is refreshing to hear the reminder that children are a blessing. Until you cannot have anymore because of reasons that are completely out of your control, I believe you do not fully understand what a blessing they are.

  21. I am in complete concurrence with the fact that children are a blessing, a “heritage,” if you so desire to call it that. But what is most striking to me is that the fact that the couple mentioned in the argument–the ones who were childless by “choice”–seem to be being judged. Maybe there is more to the story than the author/the commenters here seem to realize. Maybe the fact of the matter is that some couples are just not called to have children, just as some people are just not called to marriage. Perhaps a couple’s calling is better served because they choose not to have children.

    1. The problem with your logic (perhaps they aren’t “called” to have children) is that one has to actively make a decision (or not) to get married. It can’t just happen, supernaturally, biologically, without a deliberate effort.

      Not so with children. God gives life. He creates the miracle of birth without our deliberately choosing it. The only thing we can do is to unnaturally alter our biological function to prevent the miracle of life.

      The couple in this story told me why they didn’t want children–because they enjoyed their lifestyle of traveling and freedom. No one had to judge their motives–they were openly expressed.

  22. My apologies–I should have read a bit more closely.
    But it does feel to me like judging is going on. Is it for us to judge the fact that they are childless, or should that be strictly between them and God?

    1. I have actually written a post on “why it matters” that will be more efficient than trying to restate it here. http://generationcedar.com/2008/11/is-birth-control-churchs-business.html

      Since I write to believers/for believers, understand that while some subjects are certainly individual choice, I perceive that the issue of birth control affects us all as a body. At some point, we have to “judge” what is right…for the Bible says we must.

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