Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Purposeful Pareting

I'm going to try and dive into a post that has been on my mind for a long time and I'm not sure I have the time to really tackle it this morning, but here it goes. I have the need to get this out whether its entirely coherent or not. A few weeks ago my friend Christin sent me a link to an article in Newsweeek - Does Having Kids Make You Happy? http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792?GT1=43002. This article piggybacks onto recent thoughts I'd been having anyway so it really opened up a line of thinking for me that I've been mulling over. The gist of the article is that martial happiness decreases markedly after the birth of the first child and doesn't increase again until the kids leave home . . . and that parents are happier sleeping or grocery shopping then they are when spending time with their kids.

My first thought is not one of surprise. As with most issues we face in today's culture I think the answer lies much below the surface. Its not a band-aid fix and, unfortunately, I don't think issues like this will ever get better because of the direction our world is headed. Where is that? As far away from God as possible. To find the root to this problem you can't try to find what is wrong with today's culture or what possible cultural influences are causing this or do kids just plain suck. You have to go back to how incredibly far our world has come from God, from His plan in creation, for His reason for giving us life and breathe and allowing us to be on this earth . . . for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever (which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me).

So, instead we are living these lives focused entirely on ourselves, desprately trying to find something that will give us meaning and happiness. And when we don't find it in ourselves rather than looking to God and realizing HE is where we should find meaning, we start adding. We add a college degree, a job, a spouse and then children. And these things are all good but we are trying to make them fill a hole they aren't meant or made to fill. And by far children are where we are going to see and feel this the most. Like a big blinking neon sign saying NOT RIGHT because children will suck the very will to live out of you at one point or another and if the whole reason you had them was to complete yourself you are going to feel screwed.

But those who believe in Christ don't have to fall into this trap. Because we can search scripture and know we DO have a higher calling and purpose for having children. I truly believe I am called to train up the next generation to serve and love God and to continue to spread His name on this earth. I do a horrible job of it but when I'm losing my mind at least I know that there is a reason WHY I had kids and it was NOT for me. Bottom line is that I am called to by God and I'm obeying Him and fulfilling His plan for my life in this way. But blessedly I think my kids are the bees knees (and I think this is how God designed it) so even on my most frustrating, pull my hair out day I wouldn't trade them for all the tea in china.

Thanks for indulging me.


Susan said...

Excellent post. If we would all just focus on God more we'd all be much happier and the world would be better. Why is that so hard?

I, too, know I was called by God to be a mother. I mean, I wasn't even going to have any, but prayed about it and now look at me :-) I just hope he isn't using me as an example for how not to parent.

ckuretich said...

This is absolutely beautiful. I LOVE your perspective on this. You thought about it way beyond what the article said and fought against the worldly inclinations. I also love that you're an obvious Piper lover (either that or you've read the Westminster Catechism, both ok with me!!! :)).

I think you're absolutely 100% right, and filling the hole doesn't just apply to kids - it could apply to finding a husband (which some make their goal in life) having a career (again, same) AND having kids, and like you said that's the toughest one of all of them as far as completing oneself.

you're amazing.

David and Red said...

Well said. This would be an interesting topic for fracturedsaints. It's always so interesting to see how folks, Christian or not, respond to truths they struggle to believe...

I love this: "You have to go back to how incredibly far our world has come from God, from His plan in creation, for His reason for giving us life and breath and allowing us to be on this earth . . . for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever (which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me)." It's often hard to remember this in the world we live in, but so encouraging to be reminded of, anytime.

Stephanie & Gabe said...

GREAT post Lacey! My perspective is this: what akes us unhappy in life is thinking about what we think we want. I joke often about boxing C up and shipping him to Grandma. However, when I get the occassional couple of hours away, I can't wait to see him an hug him.

We think we want the big house, then we're unhappy when we have to vacuum the big house, or when the big house needs a new roof. If everyone could thank Him for what he has given them at this exact moment in time, we'd all be a lot happier.

Another thought I've had is this, C went to VBS twice this summer. He's been singing bible songs all summer long. He is so IN LOVE with "Jesus and his friend God" (in his words). I keep thinking, "At what point is it no longer "cool" to worship? What happens between this age and big kid age that God is no longer "cool"? I for one feel it is my privilige to make sure that doesn't happen with my kiddo.

Amanda said...

Awesome, Lacey, just awesome! We are so encouraged by our society to WANT. So we seek just what we are told to, when we NEED to seek Him.

Anonymous said...

Lace, so true and honest. This is what I'd like to be able to tell people when they notice I have 3 plus a baby on the way. Their comments are always. . . "OOO, your brave" or "How do you do it?". You know what, I don't. God has blessed me with these souls for a short time and luckily he equips me with everything I need to raise them (if I keep my eyes on Him).

BTW not a bit preachy, just convicted!

ramblings said...

Lace you did such a great job conveying your thoughts and I agree with you 100 percent. You have an amazing strength as a mom to raise three young babies, esp. during the times Ryan has been gone. So, I admire you and wish I could just give you a big hug.