I’m leaving tomorrow for 10 days in Maine, followed by 10 days in NY. I’m not packed, the house is not clean (quite the opposite, actually), and I don’t even have a list of what I need to have with me when I board the plane. So I shouldn’t be sitting here, posting to my blog, but I am anyway.
Because after reading this earlier (I’ve got the link in the sidebar, too, so yes, you may have already read it), I’ve been stirred afresh to value life.
I’ve heard my dad say it countless times when explaining his plethora of children, or, more accurately, his heart towards having a plethora of children: He came to a realization 20 years ago that, while the Church was growing increasingly active and vocal in what they called a pro-life stance, they were really only anti-abortion. And God calls us to be pro-life. It’s one thing to not condone mass murder; it’s another thing to love children.
I loved what Jess said in her post — that the most important action you can take in the war against abortion is to begin valuing life. All life. I was challenged again to go out of my way to cherish every person I encounter, and to be the strongest voice of enthusiasm to every newly-pregnant mom I meet — regardless of how many they already have, how young their previous is, and how much their husband brings home.
I have so much in my heart on this subject, and am so glad that the Holy Spirit brought it the surface again, to challenge me and take me higher.
Jess also linked to Randy Alcorn’s top 50 things you can do as a pro-lifer. Read them and get stirred again to be active in the war against abortion.
But even more, be stirred to be active in valuing life.
P.S. There is so much more to be said on this. I’ll try and revisit it. In the meantime, share your thoughts — I’d love to hear them!
can i add one thing to that list you haven’t made of things you need to bring? my body is severely dehydrated. want to know why? yes. i left my nalgene in san francisco. please please please could you bring my green companion home when you come.
So do you think that loving children = having as many as one’s body can produce? I have thought a lot about this topic, and also as the oldest of 9 kids (my parents don’t believe in using BC), I am still somewhat up in the air about it. I can totally see where people like our parents are coming from, however, I also know people who don’t use BC and don’t have huge families and yet totally love the ones they have. I also have friends who use natural means to avoid getting pregnant for various reasons, and I have a hard time saying that they do not value life or love the children they have. I agree with loving life, but I think taking it a step further, to loving a hypothetical life (that is, a life that may or may not ever be created) is a little more debatable.
Anyway, I hope you don’t mind my leaving my random thoughts! I’m not trying to be critical or judgmental of you or your opinions. (I did this to another lady once, and she went off the deep end on me!) I just love thought-provoking discussions as well as a good debate, so I was compelled to leave my two cents. That’s it! :)
Thanks for commenting! I, too, enjoy thought-provoking discussions that stir me and make me consider that God may have more for me.
I think the issue of children and family planning is one that must be considered honestly before the Lord — and has to be made based on your faith. Obviously, that leaves a lot of room for differing results! Personally, these issues have led me to a similar place as my parents (and yours, I take it!)
BUT, one thing that upsets me to no end is that our culture does NOT consider family planning with the weight and sobriety that ought to accompany discussion of human life. “Should we get a pet? A car? A baby? Or a boat first?…” And Christians need to recognize that pattern and not have any part of it.
Regardless of the end decision, what really needs to be asked — with honesty and a willingness to be changed — is, What is God’s heart towards children? Is my heart the same? And our ideas on family planning and all of that need to be made in a place of fear and reverence, acknowledging the eternally significant partnership we have with God in bringing forth life.
A last thought: I don’t think I’ve made a decision to love hypothetical life, as much as I’ve made a decision to approach God with my hands open, so to speak… and, like you said, this is definitely where it gets debatable. :)
Thanks for your response! I agree with everything you said. :) It pains me to hear moms say things like “I wish we could have had more, but we just can’t afford it.” or the whole “should we take a vacation or adopt a child” type thoughts. Children should be valued so much more highly than our society as a whole has chosen to!
I don’t mind AT ALL people taking the as-many-as-we-can approach to having kids, but what I dislike is when it turns from a personal decision into a judgment that everyone should believe/ act as they do. I completely respect people wanting to devote their whole lives to raising large families, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that everyone has to do so, as a rule.
It’s definitely a topic worthy of much prayer, discussion and thought, though! Thanks again for your thoughts.
PS: In case you are wondering where I came from, my brother attends Clarkson and CFC. I found Brietta through him, and then you through her. :)
Danica, this post made me cry. It is our hearts desire to have a plethra of children. As we go to our adoption classes we hear the lack of TRUE love for children. It breaks my heart to hear the stories. Please pray for us. When there are new first time moms and the every season having a baby moms I’ve noticed it’s getting harder and harder to not have “green eyes”. I’m excited for them yet I have this desire to have my own min-van full too. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish. It’s hard to understand our Heavenly Fathers plans sometimes. If I want children so bad and we understand His plan for family why doesn’t He just say ok? Well that’s where my hearts at right now. I love you D and miss you LOTS. I hope to see you while your here!!!!!
I just wanted to say hi and thank you for posting updates about Aubrey and the Paladin’s when she was born. I found your website through Brietta’s and visit it often. It is fun to look at and see how you all are doing. I need to learn how to do something like that. I am not very techy tho!! You all seem to be doing very well and that is wonderful. You mentioned you are coming to NY for alittle bit. You must be anxious to see your family and friends. We are back here for another school year, possibly our last. Who knows!! Maybe we will get to see you at CFC. I can’t believe your little guy is one. I look at Asher and say, “Where’d my little tiny baby go, have you seen him?” He just laughs.They sure grow fast don’t they? Jameson is so cute from the pictures I have looked at.
I am also partially writing in response to your post. I agree totally that human life in our society is not given the value that God has placed on it that we should mold our thoughts and actions after. Whether Christian or not a child should not be considered the next “thing to have”, “item to add to the list”, “luxury to own” and so on and so forth type of mentality. However,I guess what gets me is the whole faith issue,which really can be just a conviction,on the the whole birth control mentality. What is a conviction for one is not necessarily a conviction for another. One who would feel that using birth control would be wrong for them or jepordize their faith on the whole simply shouldn’t use it. It would probably be a stumbling block for them and their faith and their personal walk with the Lord. Those people are probably meant to have large families and are called to do so.
What I don’t agree with is that everyone needs to have this mentality on having alot of children in order to fulfull God’s will for having a family and really “loving children”. I think it is sad for someone who feels this pressure and gives into it for the wrong reasons. I think He wants us to love the ones we have with all of our hearts, and wants us to be able to be there for them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. For someone that might mean 9, for someone else it might mean 3 or 4 or 2. Doesn’t God give us wisdom and discernment to know our own strengths and the same to recognize what could be a weakness and something we maybe haven’t been called “ourselves” to do??
I guess I am interested to know how your definition of “loving children” plays out in a situation where commercialized birth control is used?? Also, at what point is the use of contreceptives different than the choice to have or not to have intimate relations between a married couple at the “time” when the option to “love children” is possible???
Just some questions. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Really, I am interested in this whole subject matter and what peoples’ views are.
I don’t ask questions to prove a point or debate. I am genuinely interested in this mind set/view. It certainly has it’s debatable opportunities, but that is not what I am interested in.
Hope you guys are well.
Say hi to Ryan.
P.S. sorry this is so long, maybe I could get your email address the times I just want to say hi and not have everyone else see :)
Thanks so much for your comment and questions. I’m very eager to share any thoughts I have (although I may move to email?) Anyway, I’ll be in a plane tomorrow, with Jameson, heading to Maine. So I’ll be back online the following day.
(And pray for me, if you think of it, as I travel all day with an active baby!!)
It’s actually very interesting that you are posting on this topic, because I recently joined a Christian anti-abortion group (I’ve always been anti-abortion, no excuses) and they are about to embark on a 40-day fast, in which I am joining in on, after much prayerful consideration.
BTW-I am both pro-life and anti-abortion. :)
Thanks for the link~
I have enjoyed reading through the comments here… it is interesting to me the way the comments here reflect how, inevitably, once you start delving into the issue of abortion, you don’t have to scratch the surface very hard to get into issues like birth control, family size, adoption, and many other issues… they’re all intertwined. Anyway, interesting discussion.
Jess @ Making Home
From the sophists in the NJ Supreme Court:
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 14 /Christian Newswire/ — On September 12, 2007, the New Jersey Supreme Court struck a blow to the right to informed consent of pregnant women. [Rosa Acuna v. Sheldon C. Turkish, M.D., et als. (A-15-06), argued February 20, 2007, decided September 12, 2007.] In a 5-0 decision the Supreme Court held that there is “no legal duty” for a physician to inform a pregnant woman that her six-to-eight-week-old embryo was “a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being.” The plaintiff in this case holds that the abortionist told her that what was in her womb before the abortion was only blood.
Every standard embryology text admits that from the moment an embryo is conceived, even before implantation, a complete new member of the human species has been engendered with his or her own unique genetic makeup and an independent organizing principle of life. Yet, Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the New Jersey Supreme Court, “There is not even remotely a consensus among New Jersey’s medical community or citizenry that the plaintiff’s assertions are medical facts, as opposed to firmly held moral, philosophical and religious beliefs, to support the establishment of the duty she would impose on all physicians.” In contrast to this position, Justice Anthony Kennedy in writing the majority opinion in upholding the Congressional ban on partial birth abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart, 127 S. Ct. ) stated, “By common understanding and scientific terminology, a fetus is a living organism within the womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb” (1627). Justice Kennedy was speaking of a fetus (usually so termed at eight weeks of development). However, as stated above, science tells us that from the moment the human embryo is formed a member of the human species exists. Later, in the decision Justice Kennedy refers to the being in the womb as an “unborn child”.
The fact that an embryo and fetus are members of the human species is a scientific fact, not a moral, philosophical, or religious “belief.” Our legal system has made the unthinkable morally acceptable by redefining terms–and even rights. More than one human being’s right has been violated in this decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court: both the right to life of the unborn child, and the right to informed consent of the mother. Should a pregnant woman not have the right to be fully informed regarding a procedure to which she is asked to consent? Apparently, only if the facts being presented are sanitized to secure her consent. Unlike the New Jersey Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart has affirmed the right to fully informed consent by stating that government has an interest in assuring informed consent for women who have abortions “ensuring so grave a choice is well informed.” This is the law of the land, but it is being violated in New Jersey.
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If you know anyone in NJ, tell them to write a letter to the editor about this insanity. And enjoyed your post. I think your dad it exactly right! Have a good time back home, I’ll wave to you as you fly over Chicago.
So let’s apply some basic logic to this argument.
If x, then y and y=x.
If not x then not y, right? (something like that, it’s been awhile!)
X = completely love children, y = have as many children as possible. So:
If I completely love children then I have as many children as possible.
If I have as many children as possible, then I completely love children.
So what about the negatives?
If I do not completely love children, then I do not have as many children as possible.
If I do not have as many children as possible then I do not completely love children.
So are we then telling people, even subconsciously, that if they do not have as many children as they possibly can that they don’t love children enough? That they aren’t truly pro-life? How does that benefit the Church at large? Are we creating unity or strife?
Something I learned from our time in Ogdensburg is that it takes all kinds of people to make up the body of Christ. We don’t all need to fit into the same mold. Convictions are a lot different than black and white issues. To me, this is one that’s a conviction. And I can’t tell someone if they are right or wrong on a conviction area. That is up to the Holy Spirit.
This subject certainly stirs up the comments! And so I’ll add mine…for whatever it’s worth.
First of all, I’m not sure you intended your post to become a to use BC or not to BC discussion, but it seems to have turned into that, so I shall add my bit to the discussion. Beyond personal convictions, whether one has enough faith or love of children, is that God is omnipotent. He can give us children whether we try to control the natural consequence of sex or not. He can choose to keep us from harm when we aren’t wearing a seatbelt, He can choose to take us home to Him even if we are wearing a seatbelt. He has absolute power. We ask Him for His wisdom in our lives here. Having as many children as possible isn’t a sign of great faith. He gives each one a measure of faith. And who cares how we see it displayed in others (our admiration is of God and Jesus’ work for us, not on other’s faith). As a successful businessman (actually one of 10 children whose parents didn’t believe in BC) put it, as Christians whose faith rests in Jesus, we try to control every other aspect of our lives (think about it), from what we eat, how much fat we allow on our bodies, our hairstyle, how stained our clothes become, how we invest our money etc etc, why not, with God’s wisdom try to control how many children we have? And with God’s wisdom and love, raise them to love Him and His wisdom, loving every inch of them.
As for being pro-life, as you put it Danica, it goes way beyond just being anti-abortion. Doesn’t it also extend to murderers and rapists and Sadaam Hussiens? Can we say we only value the lives of children and law-abiders and be pro-death for the others? I’m not sure we can as sinners saved only by God’s grace.
There. I shall leave this anonymous because I am a coward.
This is fun. You should post more hot topics or ones that turn into them more often apparently. I’ll be honest I keep checking back to see what everyone says.
Birth Control obviously is something that people view differently for whatever reasons they have. And rightfully so, everyone has there own choice and view to make on it. With that in mind we need to be careful not to judge others or “come across” that we judge a certain way for whatever view they have, or view we ourselves have. One way is not “right” and the other “wrong”. One more faith based the other not. One more pro-life the other not. If it is, please correct me if I am wrong.
If those are the statements we are trying to make are we really striving first to edify and build one another up?? And if those are the statements we are trying to make (personal choice and opinion ones) what good are we really doing anyways???
And I am not saying this to you. I say it to myself. So sorry if I offended anyone by what I have said. All I really wanted to say was we need to be careful because there are differing views on this subject matter and who are we to judge. Gabe is laughing at me because I have never even replied to anything like this before.
My goodness. Well i guess this si certainly one way to get comments, hey?. Sorry to spoil it, but i’m not commenting on topic. just a q. are you really going to be in Potsdam? really and truly??? going to shoot you a quick email.
I like what your dad says, too, Danica. We want not only to embrace life but to promote it! “Thou shalt not kill” is telling us so much more than simply not to terminate life. It has a proactive side as well: nurture life, protect life, do all that you can to cherish and honor life. It is difficult to say that the “evangelical church” at large even embraces children wholeheartedly, let alone desires to promote life. I know I’m probably stepping on some people’s toes by saying that. (which is why I’m doing it here and not in a post on my own blog … )
Consider God’s design of the male and female reproductive systems – they don’t appear to be designed for an average of 3 children per family, do they? There’s an awful lot of preventing that has to take place in order for most couples to limit their family size to three. Science shows that women who have breastfed for long periods of time and who have ovulated less often throughout life have healthier reproductive systems (significantly less incidence of cancer). That speaks volumes to me. We were created to bear children. And even more than that, the process of raising children forces us to mature, to become self-sacrificing, to let go of ourselves and invest in others. These are the blessings that God works in our lives through children!
That being said, I do not propose that in order to truly be “pro-life” a person must reproduce at every possible occasion. It’s most certainly not a competition to see who can have the most children. But what is the heart motivation behind preventing or delaying a pregnancy? I have to examine myself and I must answer honestly. Am I more concerned about man’s opinion of me than God’s? Am I anxious about how we will afford another one? Do I think that I “deserve” a break?
I would argue that those people who are thoroughly “pro-life” will ultimately reach the same conclusion: Lord, we welcome another blessing if You see fit. (they may wrestle through it and approach the situation in different ways, but…) I would rather err on the side of one “too many” than one too few.
Hey this is kinda fun. :) (Poor Danica, when she finally checks this, though!)
Regarding the above statement, “I would argue that those people who are thoroughly â€œpro-lifeâ€ will ultimately reach the same conclusion: Lord, we welcome another blessing if You see fit”; I think this is really stretching it. Look at all the un-wed moms who have babies! Are those babies blessings? Yes, of course. But if the moms would have lived according to God’s standards, those babies would never have existed. Period. The blessing would not have existed. It is the same principle when married: if you abstain or use b/c during “that time” of the month, you are preventing something from (possibly) existing that does not yet exist! Are you preventing a blessing? Maybe, but I would argue that this is the same as keeping your two pet rabbits apart once a month. You are smart, know how things work, and keep them separated when the time is right. More rabbits would be a blessing, yes, but so are the two you already have! (I know human lives are on a different level than animals; it’s just an illustration. :)) So, does this mean you don’t love the two rabbits you already have, or are any less in favor of their lives? IMO you CAN be thoroughly pro-life, and love and cherish the children you do have, without being guilt-tripped into believing that in order to be thoroughly pro-life, you must have as many children as you possibly can. You can be pro-life and anti-abortion, and not have a giant family.
Ok, well that was (again) my two cents. Anyone feel free to call me out or reply back!
So, does this mean you donâ€™t love the two rabbits you already have, or are any less in favor of their lives? IMO you CAN be thoroughly pro-life, and love and cherish the children you do have, without being guilt-tripped into believing that in order to be thoroughly pro-life, you must have as many children as you possibly can. You can be pro-life and anti-abortion, and not have a giant family.
Yes! Exactly. It is not our job to guilt people into believing they must have as many children as possible. We do not know life situations, health problems, etc. And to say that one who chooses to not have as many children as possible is not truly opening their heart and life up to God is incredibly judgmental. What strife and terrible division has such a mindset caused in the church already?
And I love this discussion, too! Thanks, D!
Wow! Yes, Sarah, what a surprise I was in for when I checked my email today! I’ve enjoyed reading all of the conversation happening over here (kinda like walking into a party in your own living room or something! Hope everyone has made themselves comfy!) Certainly this is not an attempt to respond to every thought, but I did have a “two cents” to offer!
First, as Jess and Renee implied, I’d like to point out that really, I didn’t post about birth control! It’s really funny that it immediately spun off in that direction, although I certainly understand that the most personal way that valuing life comes into play is with our own children. I’d like to write more about the value of life, and how we challenge ourselves to live in a way that speaks of that value — ways other than just how we use birth control. More on that later! (Although I’ll say that our good friend Tim is not yet married, does not have children, and is pro-life as anyone I know. Way to go, Tim! Jameson loves you!!)
To Jackie’s first comment: Thanks for tuning in! I’ll admit to being much fuzzier in my logic than you are, and those x’s and y’s throw me for a loop this many years out of school! But I do know what you plugged into those x’s and y’s are definitely not things I said. Lest I be confused or credited with any of the “guilt-trippers”! If that was construed from what I said about my dad, I’ll re-stress that my dad’s heart is what I want to emulate — and yes, that heart led to a large family, but it’s not the number I’m after, it’s the heart.
To anonymous: No fair that you get to comment anonymously! :) Thanks for your thoughts; don’t ever feel bad about disagreeing. I’m fully aware that I don’t agree with everyone — and vice versa!! Just a thought: You mentioned using wisdom to control pregnancies, just as we do with other things. Yes, employ wisdom, but whose wisdom? God’s wisdom regarding money, for instance, is tithe and give, even out of your lack, and then you shall receive. Perhaps His wisdom regarding children is just as “backwards” by worldly wisdom? I’m not trying to make a black and white statement about what that wisdom is for everyone across the board, but I am saying that we should ask those questions.
To Sarah’s last comment: Yes, we know ways around conception. And there are certainly ways to prevent conception that are not black and white sin. But does that mean it’s what we’re supposed to do? One attitude I try very hard to cultivate before the Lord is, instead of asking, “How far can I go and still be okay?,” asking, “How far can I go in embracing Your heart and pleasing You?” I’m not saying that anyone who asks that will hear, “Have as many kids as your body can create,” (!) but I am challenging us to make sure our motivation is pleasing Him and not just being “okay.”
And lastly: Anyone who would like to discuss this further, please feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to pursue further conversation with anyone interested, and I think a personal level of interaction can help bring clarity. In the near future, I may post more thoughts on this subject specifically, although I will give warning: No debate will ever bring a decisive end to this conversation! What this [weblog] is good for is to simply share and hopefully open our hearts to greater expectation for what the Lord wants to do in our lives.
Thanks, everyone, for your contribution to the conversation! This is fun!
(Wow! Sorry for the loooong comment!)
I was in tears as I read through your post. I see and fully agree with the difference between securing our anti-abortion stance and choosing to really love and value life. I could weep just looking into the eyes of my little Avery and Riley. Will they ever know that the physicians tried so desperately to have them aborted? They called my husband a fool to his face when he said for us it would not ever be an option. I know so many women who would have given way to fear in those moments (when the scare tactics were being so cleverly and convincingly presented). Even I, forgive me Lord, turned to my husband in fear at one point. He shook his head and said what I needed to hear…”Seriously, Lisa. What are they thinking?” I quickly shook off the worry and was like, “Oh, yeah- that’s right- we’re dealing with professionals here who value the textbook solution over a heart for God and children. So, not to foster a negative attitude toward the ones who just don’t know truth, but if I can say so, I HATE the sin. It’s so awful. And to look in the eyes of my boys and see their precious little faces, smiling and laughing. Where are those physicians now? Can I take my boys in for a visit and confront them with their mistake? At times I have felt like doing it, just to say, “Who is the fool?” But instead I pray. And forgive. And respond with boldness when sharing their story. Thanks again for the link to that post. It was interesting.
Someday we need to sit down and discuss what we ( meaning me), as feminists ( I am wholeheartedly an ex-feminist!!!) did to the valuing and CHERISHING of human life in the 60’s and 70’s! We protested Vietnam on the one hand because it took countless lives and yet fully supported abortion. Abortion was touted loudly and boldly as a woman’s choice (my body-my choice thinking). The thought that it actually killed a beautiful little child, a wonder of God, a GIFT, never entered the forefront.
I fell prey to fear and feminist thinking and made crucial, damaging and deeply wounding errors in my own life. And…it took years for me to even accept that God would forgive me, especially because I could not forgive myself. In fact, if the truth be told, my transformation occurred a mere 5 years ago, (after being saved since 1969!). Ezekiel 36:26-27 says it all!!!!
I admit to the horror of it all. There is nothing as greusome as an abortion clinic with women lined up like cattle being led to the slaughter. Tears of loss and gripping, searing emotional pain are etched indelibly into the hearts of these women forever—unless they find Christ! Their eyes are full of the pain going in and empty and hollow, almost life-less (literally and figuratively) coming out. It’s like God has been ripped and stripped from their hearts…they are completely broken.
I, too, shed tears when I read this. Every life is a gift from God, a precious, NON-mistake gift to be cherished and adored, loved and taught, led and trained up. God makes no mistakes—ever. Regardless of the circumstances of the conception, (accident, rape, etc), God makes no errors. He can sustain us through it all.
Sorry that I stepped on my creaky, old soapbox.I have an profound interest in the sanctity of human life and it’s preservation!!!
I know this is way after-the-fact, but I enjoyed watching this chain of comments appear, and it took me a while to formulate my comment. ; )
I really, really appreciate what you wrote. As a 20-yr-old woman who is unmarried and is not actively seeking marriage (and probably even IF I were married and a mother!), my culture tells me that family is unimportant, that my life should be focused on ME alone and that children are nothing more than problems and inconveniences. But, I long for a biblical view of children – both for now and for when I do eventually marry and have a family of my own. I’m continually shocked by how distorted God’s design has become, but I’m grateful for your committment to biblical truth regarding children.
Being a Christian means valuing human life (and, yes, it’s not about # but it’s about the heart and priorities). Being a Christian woman means cultivating practical skills of child care and homemaking – no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in!! Being a single Christian woman means focusing my attention on becoming a more biblical woman, in purposeful preparation for marriage, even in the midst of fulfilling a calling which does not include marriage.
And that’s the reason that this little chemist can withstand the constant encouragement to abandon all plans of marriage, to resolve here and now that she will never quit work for the sake of eventual children, to look down her nose at any woman who values her family more than herself.
And, oh yeah…I think it’s really cool that God has given all of us different convictions and callings regarding the way that our families will “look”…the way we’ll school our kids, the number of kids we’ll have, the specific activities we’ll participate in, etc. It was so kind of him to give us specific, unique priorities and values with regard to these “secondary” (or maybe even “tertiary”) issues. ; )
So, in sum, thanks for writing this and for encouraging the kingdom back toward the home and the family. It’s so desperately needed in our culture!! It’s always great reading your posts, Danica!
So glad you got to be with Daniel and Brietta and beautiful miss Aubrey recently!
You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I obtain this topic to be actually something which I think I would never recognize. It seems as well complicated and extremely broad for me. I am seeking forward for your next post, I will try to have the hang of it!
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