Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Why Have Children?

So I was just reading a book that asked why people were not given good reasons to have children as well as all of the reasons to avoid having them.  (If you're wondering why this topic appeared in the reading of a still-single girl, I understand.  But reading good advice concerning relationships and financial questions about three moves beyond your current status really isn't such a bad idea.  You should try it!)  But back to all of the reason people are given for not having children.  It is quite evident that the majority of young people have bought some or all of these rationalizations for intentional childlessness.

An amazing number even of young Christians will say, "Oh, we're not quite ready to have kids.  We like our freedom/sleep/time/money too much to have children just yet."  Unfortunately, many of those who have ill-defined reasons for avoiding children will continue putting it off until the possibility no longer remains.  (Of course, the best parents are not those who selfishly put their needs before those of their children.  But that is another question entirely.)  Last summer, it seemed that all of the young married couples who were my age or a little younger had decided that they might have children and decided to declare it to the world.  It hurt!

You see, the first "career choice" as a child was to "grow up and have a hundred children."  Well, I have grown up.  And reality has checked my ambitions somewhat as to the number.  But I still believe that my childhood dream wasn't such a bad idea in principle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Getting Them Together

How strong will our churches be in fifteen, twenty, thirty years from now?  About as strong as the Christian families formed by the marriages of today . . .

How many young Christian couples do you know today that are likely leaders for the church of tomorrow?  How many will even be members of the next generation of the church?

In my experience, there are far too few individuals who marry their spiritual match.  More times than I would care to count, I have seen strong young men with solid convictions and a heart for God yoke themselves to young women concerned only with how they look to the nearly man.  I have seen good women concerned with serving God purposefully in their lives with young men who would put the cross to shame.

Here is how the scenario generally works out:
Good boy has been taught to respect girls; good girl has been taught not to be forward.  Good boy takes this injunction very seriously and respects girls so much that he hardly dares speak to them.  Good girl, in her attempt to avoid being forward, refrains from speaking to guys much at all.  As a result, good girl and good boy might live next door and never even improve upon their acquaintance despite their mutual respect.

Bad boy comes along and charms good girl by acting like the good boy or as if she has turned him into a good boy.  Bad boy and good girl eventually marry.  Good boy then despairs of there being any good girls who will really like him because the one good girl he knew just married a bad boy.  Bad girl comes along and flirts with good boy, flattering him and appearing to improve ever so slightly under his continued influence.  Good boy eventually marries bad girl.

The trend of mismatches in my social circles has become one of my greatest concerns.  How do we remedy this situation?  How do we get the good ones together?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

3 Ways to Comfort the Grieving

1. Companionable Silence.  A couple of months ago, my best friend asked me, "How do you really comfort someone?  I just sat there and didn't know what to say."  My reply, "Honestly, that's sometimes the best thing you could do."  There is nothing more comforting than a friend or acquaintance being there with you in your pain and caring for your well-being.

Grief entails shock and a review of memories.  It's a private thing, in a way.  And there is nothing that can be said to make the grief go away by itself.  Being nearby and willing to listen, when the time comes for talking, is worth more than all of the heartfelt condolences in the world.

2. Physical Touch.  Sometimes, a gentle touch on the shoulder can comfort.  Other times, the context demands more.  Hugs are wonderfully healing.  It can be difficult, while in the middle of grief, to recognize the loving care others offer.  A hug can break the barrier-haze that shuts others off from sight.  (But beware:  Hugs have been known to open a flood-gate of tears.  Do not attempt this unless prepared to hold them tight while they cry.)

3. Pray.  Eventually, it comes down to this . . . .  You cannot heal their heart and make their world right again, but God can.  Commend them to His care--not once, before moving on to enjoy your life that remains sunny in the midst of their loss, but continually.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter in the Book of John (15:26 KJV), but His work takes time.

But why am I telling you this, right?  I would never want you to have the pain I experienced in learning this lesson.  Painful lessons change us and teach us the really important things about life.  Unfortunately, I've lacked the trust necessary to share my lessons with others.

It has been a little over fifteen years now--more than half of my life.  My older sister died when just barely twenty.  That was the ultimate tragedy of a horrible, horrible six months in our family.  She had been married a short time earlier, and her unborn baby did not survive either.  I never got to know either one of them very well, but I think we would have been good friends.

Do what you can for those who are hurting and then leave them in God's hands.  And may you be blessed with the joy of comforting those whom God loves.