Points to Ponder: Pondering Parenting: A Divine Appointment
Points to Ponder
Pondering Parenting: A Divine Appointment
When I watch my four year old sleeping in the security and comfort of her own warm cozy bedroom I often reflect on all the children who are not so fortunate. My daughter totally trusts in the security of our presence; that we will be there in the morning, that Mommy and Daddy love each other and her, and that when she wakes up crying over a bad dream, one of us will hear and come.
I often wonder if people who bring children into the world truly realize how vitally important they are to these little ones. Some unfortunately do not even think about it. Do you realize that your kids depend on you to keep your marriage strong? If you are considering the attractions of someone other than your spouse, are you feeling the pain with which you are about to stab your child's heart?
How about you workaholics, and those of you who are addicted to T.V., sports, or other activities, are you aware of all the hours of precious time you are sacrificing? You are a hero to your kids until you give them enough reasons to withdraw the nomination.
Look at your kids closely today. Engage in their lives. Appreciate every little detail while you still can. You mean more to him/her/them than you have probably taken the time to realize. There are thousands of children tonight whom no one will be looking in on. Ponder how blessed your kids are to have you; and how blessed you are to have them. God has a purpose for that little life and He chose you to play a key role.
Solomon writes: "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalm 127:3 NKJV)
Frankly I never thought I would ever apply that Psalm to my life. When Marcella and I started out, we did not want to be parents. At first (at least for me) it was out of my onw selfish desire to keep my life in relative order, the way I wanted it.
Then, as I reflected on my call to ministry and the direction in which that was leading, I pondered the lives of great spiritual leaders like John Wesley and Frances Asbury who were able to accomplish amazing things because as single men they had no family responsibilities. Again, it was still a somewhat SELF-centered perspective on parenting.
As I began pasturing families and dealing with children and youth, my reasons for not wanting to be a parent evolved. As I poured through the scriptures and began to understand the sanctity of life, I realized more than even before that being a parent is an awesome, divinely appointed responsibility. Every child is unique, and God knows each one. God formed them Himself (Psalm 139:13-16), and He knew them before we knew they were coming (Jeremiah 1:5). Even if a pregnancy resulted "by accident", as one may perceive it, God's word does not record anywhere that something was created without His knowledge or His involvement (John 1:1-3).
So the idea of becoming a Father evolved from a selfish "no way, not me", to "O God, I'm not worthy of such a responsibility." I'm often disturbed by the rather cavalier attitude some people have toward babies. I recall one woman who had a baby boy with her boyfriend saying to Marcella and me, "when are you guys gonna have one of these?" It was on the level of "Hey, when are you gonna get a new sofa?" A few years later the woman abandoned her son to pursue other interests. He became one of the many children out there being raised by devoted, (and tired) grandparents.
As I write this, our second daughter is due to be born any day. To be honest, we did not "plan" to have children. Having children was not necessary to make either of us "complete" or to fulfill some ideal of what a couple ought to do, or be, or whatever. Years ago we simple confessed to God that we initially were not interested in parenting; in fact the idea kind of frightened us for various reasons. But, God is God, and He knows us better than we do. So we went before the Lord and gave ourselves to Him. If parenting was to be part of our call in serving Him, we were open to His lead.
All of this may sound weird to some of you because of your own beliefs, family background, or past experience. But remember the psalmist's words; children are a "heritage", a gift from God. No one is entitled to have children. They are not property to be acquired, nor are they extensions of their parents. God has made each one individually. Every one of us has been in a certain place at a certain time for a certain reason; to know the Lord. (Acts 17:26-28).
Being a parent is not about you. It is not about fulfilling your needs or your goals. It is about God. Children come from Him and He elects to whom He will assign them. If you have not received that assignment though you desperately long for it, seek God's direction. Maybe you are called to adopt. Or perhaps you are being called to mentor some young person whose parents have failed them (or abandoned them).
However, if you have been chosen for parenthood, take a good long look every day at that one in six billion whom God has lent to you for a time. They naturally trust you because God Himself has placed their soul in your care. Ponder carefully and prayerfully the awesome stewardship with which He has entrusted YOU.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, Maryland. www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.