I really don’t like this picture.
Let me tell you why….
In this picture, it is depicted that the only way to have a family is to get pregnant and have a baby! Yes, one of life’s greatest blessings is to have a family….but what is a family?
According to our nice friend, Webster, a family is a: group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head.
No reference to children, no reference to being pregnant, no reference to procreating…..just the blessing of a group of individuals under one roof
“I personally felt in my heart that I want to experience the joy of giving unconditional love. I still believe having children is blessing, and at the same time not having children is also a blessing. The key is to follow your heart…” -Sahar
I consider Paul and I a family unit. There are 2 of us….we are a family. That’s it. I am blessed today more than yesterday and everyday our relationship grows….are we anymore of a family than we were 7 years ago when we got married? I don’t think so. We were a family on May 13, 2006, and we are still a family. We just don’t have kids.
And that’s our choice.
It seems the questions “Are y’all going to have kids?” or “Are y’all dead set on not having kids?” have come up over and over the past week or so. It just seems every time I’ve turned around this week, someone has been asking me about kids.
I’m not annoyed with (and I don’t think they are being rude by asking); I just want people to be OK with our answer. Our decision. Our beliefs. What’s best for us….as a married couple. As a family.
I think sometimes it can be difficult, for a woman, to decide in her heart, what is right (for her and for herself and her husband) when our society bombards us with the idea that ALL women want children and it’s just part of being a female.
For some woman, the idea of having children is fulfillment and for others the idea of having children is like ending one’s life as they know it. I don’t think, for me, either one of those ideas is what drives me to have children or not to have children…..I am very fulfilled with my life now, but I also think that if the Lord wanted us to have kids, I would be OK with that, too. My life wouldn’t end–it would just be different!
One day, about 6 months ago, one of the little girls from our church asked me if we were going to have kids….I told her I wasn’t sure (probably not) and she was so worried…..that we wouldn’t have grand kids! Not that we wouldn’t have kids, but that we wouldn’t have grand kids! 🙂
So, if we don’t have kids, what about leaving a legacy?
A legacy is defined as a gift…left to someone…and anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor.
What do all of these people have in common?
- Mary Magdalene
- Mother Teresa
- Florence Nightingale
- Joan of Arc
- Rosa Parks
- Henry David Thoreau
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
- Helen Keller
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Salvador Dali
- Emily Dickinson
- Emily Bronte
- Annie Oakley
- Harriet Tubman
- Lily Tomlin
- Diane Sawyer
None of these people had children. Although famous and “legacy leavers” none of them had children…..and yet, here they are. They left their legacy, their blessing, and their footprints in our lives forever.
One question that a woman does have to ask herself, though, is, “What kind of legacy am I leaving, as a whole, if my husband and I decide not to have children?”
But, I can answer that question with another one….”What if we decide to help improve the lives of hundreds of children in this world instead of bringing one more into the world? What if we created a world of comfort and education, through ministry, for other people, rather than bringing one more into the world?”
(Paul and I both agree 100% that if we do end up having children, we will adopt. There are too many children this world–and especially in our local community–that don’t have families, why would we bring one into the world when we can love, bless, and support a foster/abandoned child?)
As a married couple, we owe it to ourselves to examine what is right for us–and honor what is true for us.
Perhaps some of us were born to give back to the world in a way that doesn’t involve having children. While reproduction plays a vital role in the continuation of the human race, I feel that we each have differing parts to play in that continuation.
Just as we all are parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-27) and all have different gifts and abilities, maybe for Paul and I our gifts for the Kingdom are an opportunity to serve young people in a way that we could never do if we had our own children. Our life would no longer be our own. Our schedule would be different. Our children (as an extension of our family) would come first. So, consider it a blessing, church kids, that we don’t have children of our own because we would not be able to be as flexible as we are now.
It has been said that children spell love T-I-M-E. And, I think the children of our church (both BIG “C” and little “c”) and in our faith are starving. Starving for love (starving for T-I-M-E), and we would not be able to give what we give and be as involved as we are if we had our own.
In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit. –Margy Kennedy, The Single Parent Family