Are Vasectomy Parties Wrong?

viThe new parenting trend is not to parent. As the new slogan goes, “Cats, Not Brats.” Increasingly, husbands and wives are celebrating being ‘child-free.’ These couples are posting child-free announcement on social media, are hosting vasectomy parties, and are asking their friends to help them name their new boat. In short, couples have declared themselves free from the traditional family narrative.  As their Pinterest boards make clear, they have left the narrow road of societal expectations and are seeking to celebrate a narrative that is indicative of their experiences. And now, it’s cool to employ ‘birth announcements’ to celebrate the arrival of our new car coming in at 3,460 lbs.

As Christians, we should be deeply troubled by this trend. Our God values and loves children. And he designed marriage to be a place where children could be created, loved, and discipled. As John Piper says,

Marriage is for making children. Yes. But not absolutely. Absolutely marriage is for making children followers of Jesus.

Couples can have good and healthy marriages without having biological kids. But no couple should want to be kid free. Even couples that do not have their own biological kids should be diligently seeking for ways to reach and care for the next generation by coaching, helping with nursery, or participating in foster care. As Christian couples, we must not flee from the presence of children. We must embrace them as Jesus did.

And such an embrace is actually quite natural. Our whole understanding of the empirical and spiritual world is built upon the ideas of marriage, birth, and family. Christ was born. And we are to called to embrace Christ through rebirth. To be human, we have to work within this frame. Kids are not something we can simply write out of the human experience.

And the conversation around vasectomy parties makes this fact abundantly clear. To celebrate their childlessness, couples have to employ child rearing terms on their Instagram feeds. They talk of birthing businesses, of taking family photos with their dog, and of vasectomy reveals. To have a meaningful discourse with their neighbors, these trendy couples have to work within the bounds of nature. Every person celebrating their sterilization was born and raised. And their friends and neighbors also share this experience. To be human is to be born and raised. For this reason, Jesus came into the world as a baby. He did not appear as an adult. No one enters the world fully grown. At the end of the day, birth is not a societal construction. It is a biological reality within which we all live, move, and share.

We cannot escape the world of babies. But at the same time, we must recognize that true life is not found in deliver rooms. Nicodemus could not reenter his mother’s womb (John 3:4-5). True life is found in Christ by being born of the Holy Spirit.

Couples that seek to escape the burdens of child rearing so that can celebrate sex, homes ‘filled with sharp furniture,’ and increased spending power will be unable to find true life in being child-free. Instead of building our narratives around our view of babies, we need to return to the narrative of the Scriptures. We need to realize that true meaning and joy are found in Jesus. And as we do, we will find the ability to value both birth and our adult lives without making either of them into our means of salvation.

Does the Bible tell me to have children?

april-and-lukeAuthor: April Witkowski  

How do you decide when or if to have children? If you have a child, how do you decide whether or not to have more?

It’s a basic question. If you are young and married I’m sure people ask you some form of a child question on a regular basis. It might be asked by family members, friends at church or a stranger in Wal-mart. People are curious about this basic idea of family and everyone has their version of an opinion.

So is it really just a question that each couple comes to an answer on their own? Are there guidelines to help us? Wisdom that culture provides that must not be disputed?

It seems the prevailing advise I hear around has to do with being “prepared.” “Don’t have kids right away, enjoy just being married first.” “Save up some money and buy a house, car, etc. before bringing children into the picture.” “Parenting is hard work, make sure you are ready for it!” And then there are the awful stories told designed to scare mostly women of the horrors of childbirth and motherhood.

On top of the prevailing wisdom of our time, we have our own internal thoughts about the subject of family planning. I will speak only to the woman side of things since I understand that better. We like to think. And we have a host of ideas about whether we are willing to risk our bodies for the sake of bringing one or more babies into the world. What about the weight gain, the labor pain, the postpartum depression? What about my job? What if I’m a terrible mother? The list goes on.

I get it! I’ve thought through many of these angles.

Why have children? I mean, really, why? Is there a way to know?

Let me ask you a question… Have you ever prayed about whether or not to have kids? Have you ever opened your Bible to help you make this decision?

3 Questions To Consider

1. Are we willing to submit to God and His will for our life, and not be selfish?

Most of the reasons we have for delaying or not having children are ultimately selfish. And most of that comes from the fact that we aren’t interested in asking God about the decision before we make it. It’s all about heart attitudes.

brothers-457234_1920I committed my life to the Lord Jesus Christ over two decades ago. I’m still finding sin in my life that needs to be repented of. I’m not perfect so I know I need to continually submit myself to the Lordship of Christ. It is through the Bible that we grow in knowledge about God. So for any and all life decisions I need to first and foremost look to His Word to guide me.

I don’t think the Bible says you should have as many children as you can possibly have. The more children you have does not mean the holier you are. But the Bible does have a lot to say about what our families should be like.

Are we willing to look to the Bible for answers and obey them if we find them?

 

2. Are we going to value what God values? He loves children.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. – Genesis 1:28

Ok, so whether you think this command to be fruitful and multiply is still in effect or not, you at least have to agree that God values children. The next generation is always important to Him.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

Some people say we don’t need a lot of kids today because we aren’t farming and need the extra help that seven plus children bring. But I don’t see where farming or any economic incentive has a place here. God just says children are a blessing, i.e. kids are good. Period.

but Jesus said,

Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. – Matthew 19:14-15

Jesus took time to hug on children. When others thought they were a bother, He took time out of His schedule to talk to them. If Jesus made it a point to teach His disciples the importance of children, then shouldn’t His followers today make it a point to be known for loving children?

Search the Bible and see that children are always equated with blessings and good things. Maybe the smartest most mature decision isn’t to “wait of few years” to have kids after all. But you search the scriptures and decide.

 

3. Are we committed to trusting God to provide for all our needs (physical, financial, emotional)?

Physical Needs

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. – Genesis 3:16

The physical demands of pregnancy and motherhood are real and ugly. They have to be because they are cursed. Cursed things are not all nice and rosy. But God has promised to provide grace to believing women who have children.

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. – 1 Timothy 2:15

Here Paul writes that Christian women will be “saved” or delivered from the curse of childbirth. Is it hard? Yes, definitely yes. But God has not forgotten women. He walks with His daughters through the pain. So as we continue in the faith (and love and holiness with self-control) God helps us endure labor and delivery. He is with us through the depression and weight struggles. We can trust our awesome God and not let fear talk us out of having girl-1250679_1920children.

 

Financial Needs

We are on a take-a-calculator-to-the-grocery-store-and-put-something-back kinda budget. So believe me when I say I know children take a toll on your income. Children cost money. But Proverbs 10:3 says,

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry.

And you know what? We haven’t gone without food yet! Things are tight but God continues to provide for all our needs. God knows we only have one income and we still need to buy diapers.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:31-33

 

Emotional Needs

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children – Titus 2:4

I think the fact that Paul tells older women to train younger women to love their husbands and children means that sometimes they don’t! Sometimes you don’t feel like being a wife and mom and loving your family. Does it help you to realize that the Bible addresses that? It does for me. God knows that motherhood is emotionally taxing. He hasn’t called us to the great task of motherhood to preform some cold duty. His word provides the answers to having joy in the midst of potty training! God even realizes the importance of “girl time” since He says that these older ladies should be coming by to talk to these younger ladies. He knows what we need. Look to His Word and trust God to provide for your emotional needs too.

I don’t know what size family each should have. I don’t think the Bible gives a number or a timetable. But the Bible does give us knowledge about God, wisdom about life and principles to guide us. Will you commit yourself to God and obey what He shows you in His Word?

 

 

Should We Be Quick To Buy Things For Our Kids?

should we give our kids stuff blogMost every parent has been there. You are walking down the store aisle minding your buisness when your child spots a brightly colored new toy. You feel the tug at your heart strings. You love your little guy and can see that the yellow ball with an odd bumpy texture is bringing him unlimited joy. But at the same time, you had not planned to buy him anything. But then you look back into those little eyes, and his kindly, sheepish grin breakouts. What do we do?

Well if you grew up in a situation similar to my background and to my wife’ background, we simply tell him,  “N..O… no.” Our parents had no quandary when we asked for them stuff because they had no money. “We can’t afford that right now,” was a common mantra for both of us.

But what if we do have money, what if we can afford to buy our kids a new toy or video game when they ask? Should we do it?

On the one hand, God says it is good to give gifts.  And, we should seek to imitate our heavenly father by giving our kids good things (Matt. 7:11). We should seek to loving care for our children by sacrificing our wants for their needs.

But before we rush to the checkout line with our kid’s new ball, we also need to think about what our new purchase will teach our child. Often when our child becomes fascinated with a new ball, video game, or pair of shoes, she is coveting. She is seeking satisfaction in something other than Jesus. And when we buy our kid the latest copy of Madden or the new pair of Nike’s, we are helping him pursue his latest idol. We are enabling him for a brief moment to find his happiness and identity in something other than Jesus.

And of course our kids will love us when, we give them what they want. They will try to reward us with hugs, complements, and an occasional day of good behavior. They always like it when we help them achieve their idols.

But often giving our kids the things they want is not the most loving thing a parent can do. Satisfaction, happiness, and joy are only found in Jesus. As Psalm 73:25-26 says,

Whom have I in heaven but you?

    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

Consequently, we want to parent in such a way that our kids are taught to find their satisfaction in Christ. We should not throw money and time behind their every desire. We should rebuke a greedy, covetous heart and redirect it to Jesus.

And here is another thing to remember. Even if our kids get everything they want on earth, they will not be happy. Life is found is God and not in video games, shoes, or travel teams. Earthly things will eventually disappoint. Games will become outdate, shoes wear out, and travel ball eventually becomes boring. If you doubt me, just think about how many of your kids’ toys you’ve already gotten rid of.

Now I am not saying that you should never give your kid a gift. And I am not saying that we can always prevent our kids from misusing the things we give them. What I am trying to get at is this: the decision concerning whether or not to buy our kids something is bigger than the size of our budget. It goes to a heart issue. We should be willing to lovingly deny our kids things for the sake of the gospel. Love is not fulfilling our kids’ dreams. Love is pointing them to Jesus. Are we doing this?