After Friday’s post last week, “Help Wanted: Mother’s Needed”, I had an interesting question posed to me. What if a woman decides not to have children? Is that ok?
First of all I want to acknowledge that this is a sensitive and emotional topic. I don’t want to deal with it lightly or brashly. But I do want to answer as truthfully as I can, in love.
In my own home I have had to examine a lot of my ideas and compare them to the scripture because of the “baggage” I started this gig with. No matter where we are in life we have baggage that influences our choices and actions. The thing we have to decide is if we are willing to let go of our preconceived ideas and let our God shape us or not. It should be our goal to get our belief system inline with our Creator.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
I also have a thing about directly answering questions. I don’t really think it’s my place. The best I can do is offer God’s words as direction for your own spiritual journey. I also believe that the Holy Spirit is given as our guide. Jesus said, “when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13). The word of God coupled with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a submissive heart is bound to find truth.
One more disclaimer before we dig in: this isn’t dealing with infertility, only the choice to not have children as a married woman.
So here it goes, my journey into the empty womb.
The first stop, Eden. The more life I live, the more I see that it all goes back to our created purpose. Why did God make us in the first place? When I struggle in my marriage or in life in general, it is usually because I’m not living out my created purpose. God created women unique, feminine, and glorious to fulfill a special need that nothing else could.
When we see Adam after the creation of animals, we notice that Adam’s loneliness pulled God’s heartstrings. God created male and female among the creatures, but hadn’t created a counterpart to Adam. So God puts the finishing touches on six, glorious days of creation and fashions Eve, specifically for Adam. I can’t imagine how Adam felt seeing her for the first time. I remember when I came around the corner to walk down the isle on my wedding day. Daniel’s eyes were fixed on me. The awe Adam must have felt in that moment had to be overwhelming. He is in unblemished fellowship with God and has been given the most perfect companion.
In the moment God himself extends his hand of blessing to them and says, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…” (Gen 1:28 NASB). The CEV reads, “God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control…” The TNIV translates the same verse, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it… ”
After the flood this call is repeated to Noah and his sons. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1).
God’s original design calls for women to be life-givers and for marriage to bear children.
God also made a habit of speaking to people by giving them children. Dt. 28:11 establishes that children are a gift from God, “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children…” Women like Sarah (Gen 21), Manoah’s wife (Jud. 13) and Hannah (1 Sam.1) were rewarded for their righteousness, after a period of infertility, with children. They birthed Isaac, Samson, and Samuel, all men who fulfilled their purpose in God’s preparation for the Messiah.
On the flip side, the scriptures only tell us specifically of one barren woman who remained childless to her death. Michal (2 Sam. 6) was punished for mocking the worship of her husband, King David.
The scriptures also say:
- The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing (Ps 37:26).
- Children are a gift from the Lord;they are a reward from him (Ps 127:3).
- For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Israel. They will stand in awe of the God of Jacob (Is 29:23).
I love that last verse from Isaiah. God tells us that we will recognize his holiness through the children he gives us. Through the gift of children, God draws us closer to him. We may limit our awe of God when we stand at the shore of the ocean, gaze at the stars, or glimpse at the scene from a mountain summit. But God himself says that we will stand in awe of HIM when we see our children.
After the captivity, God uses Malachi to reiterate his word to Israel after the rebuilding of Jerusalem. In an effort to restore the ways of Jehovah, part of the message Malachi delivers is this, “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart…” (Mal. 2:15).
So do I think it’s “wrong” to not have children? I can’t say that because God hasn’t. But I can say that our refusal is an incredible missed opportunity to see the face of God. There is no earthly treasure that beats that.