Blessings and Curses

by Cindy on January 23, 2013

Any time I speak of the general blessing of children, someone will pipe up to provide a particular instance in which this seems not be true. Since God is not a liar, and He says that children are blessings, there is simply no way you’ll ever hear me say anything to the contrary. However, we live in a fallen world, where things can and do go wrong. There’s no contradiction in admitting that.

I have a heart condition.

I’m so scared of the pain of labor that I can’t even have normal relations with my husband because I’m afraid of the end result.

My postpartum depression was so bad that I was incapable of caring for even myself, let alone a newborn.

I’ve had a bunch of cesareans and my uterus is simply too mangled to do this anymore.

I’m taking life-saving medications that would kill a child in the womb.

These are a small sample of a long list of real situations that have been presented to me, many times by readers asking me what I think of these issues. (Sometimes they just want to tell me off.) I have avoided answering any of them publicly because these are very touchy situations, and I am neither doctor nor theologian. I’m just a hillbilly with an internet connection. Y’all do realize that, right? If you could hear my accent, you’d probably email someone else with these questions.

I certainly don’t have any authority to say what should or should not be done in any individual’s life, but I would like try to answer these in a general way, just to be thorough. We really can’t have a discussion about having babies without addressing the fact that having babies is not without risk.

I do not want women to suffer and die. (Yes, I and many others who agree with me have been accused.)

The rising lifespan of women in the last century is proof that we can lengthen the lives of women by intervening medically while remaining well within the bounds of respect for new life. Longer life is a very good thing, and I am please to see women’s health so improved. However, my hunch is that our increased life spans are every bit as attributable—perhaps much more—to better life-saving technology as to life-preventing technology. (I’ll research this later, if I have time, but if any of you are good at that sort of thing, here’s your chance to write a guest post!) In fact, given the likely health risks of hormonal birth control, life-preventing measures could be dragging life-spans down. Research seems to be inconclusive on that question, but it never ceases to amaze me that many of the same people who worry about artificial hormones that are virtually undetectable in their food and drink think nothing whatsoever about popping synthetic hormones daily in order to prevent their bodies from behaving naturally. In any case, I am all for long, healthy lives for both women and their children. You’d think that would go without saying.

What about those hard cases, though? The ones where a woman has a pretty near certainty that carrying another child would be detrimental to her health? Well, they are hard cases! My insistence that children are a blessing isn’t a refusal on my part to face “reality”, as some have said. I am simply enabled by the Holy Spirit to distinguish between blessings and curses—a distinction that isn’t so easy for the natural mind to make, sometimes.

Children are a blessing. Death, disease, and suffering of all kinds are a curse. In fact, they are THE Curse, and I believe we have license to do many things to try to mitigate the effects of the curse–within the boundaries of grateful acceptance of the blessings, of course.

When I write about these things, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that I’m holding two conversations simultaneously—one with Christians, who know exactly where I’m coming from, and one with seculars and Christians lacking a Biblical worldview. Many of the latter group seem to take me to be saying that all interruptions of a woman’s reproductive abilities are a sin. I need to clear this up: I have never said that. I never will. In fact, I don’t believe that the use of medical intervention is a sin any more than I believe it is a sin to swing a pickaxe. The question is, what are you swinging it at?

Some things really are curses.

If a hysterectomy is needed to ease the suffering of endometriosis, to give one example, then not having any more children is simply an unpleasant side effect of that. There is a big difference between treating a disease (the Curse), and rejecting the gift of a child because of short-sighted worldly concerns.

God is God.

I’m sure this is where those who disagree will stop reading and rush to the comment box. Here is where I start to go a little bit radical compared to even most Christians. Unless I find a doctor who is willing to do a VBAC, I’m looking at a third c-section should I get pregnant again. Most doctors would advise having a tubal ligation due to the dangers of scarring after these surgeries. I have no intention of purposely ending my childbearing years, in spite of that advice.

You see, I’ve handed every aspect of my future to Christ. If I live, it will be because He wants me to live. When I die, that will be at His choosing, also. Unlike nonbelievers, I know this, and so I don’t worry about what might happen to me. As Pam Tebow says so sweetly when she describes how she was told in no uncertain terms that she needed end the life of baby Tim in her womb, “If I die, God will still be God.” (BTW, you can hear Pam Tebow live at the Teach Them Diligently conference this May!)

It isn’t irresponsible for me to have more babies knowing that my life might end in the process, any more than it is irresponsible for me to do any number of other things I need to do every day that might end badly. I drive on highways (at safe speeds) all the time, pursuing blessings such as groceries and dental appointments. These are far less important missions than that of bringing new life into the world. I trust in God to keep me safe in my car, or take me home to be with Him if worst comes to worst. I even wash dishes during thunderstorms sometimes, though I admit I probably shouldn’t do that, dishes being considerably less important than babies.

The bottom line for me is that the worst thing that can happen to me is the BEST thing that can happen to me! I’m saved! I’m going to be with Jesus! I don’t want to die yet, though, because I’m pretty interested in seeing how my kids turn out, and I desperately want to be their mother in this world. I was built for life on this planet, and it would be very wrong indeed for me to desire to leave it before I’m finished. Because of that, I am free to make use of every good medical intervention that mankind has come up with. Modern health care is another blessing that I’m happy to avail myself of. In the end, though, God makes the final call.

Blessings, and not curses. There is a bright line between the act of preventing life (blessing) and attempting to prevent death or disease (curse). This seems to me to be the Biblical place to draw the line of proper medical intervention in reproduction, as well.

Did you like this post from Get Along Home? It’s part of the ebook, Deceived: Little Lies the World Tells to Keep Christian Families from Growing, which can be downloaded or read online for free here:

Deceived .

{ 19 comments }

Rebecca
Twitter: momsmustardseed
January 23, 2013 at 11:35 am

I wish – I had educated myself more – before my husband and I made a decision that ended our child-bearing abilities 6 yrs ago. I’m thankful God is God – that he can and will forgive me – in my folly. I am thankful for my friends who looked to Him for wisdom and guidance and who love me in spite of my own sinful and selfish ways. This journey of mine is not perfect. God is God – and this post – I love it. I pray that many read it and it reaches into their hearts and helps them see – being a Mom – it’s a Blessing. It’s not something we need to survive. It’s a blessing.

Ashley
Twitter: oliveonandon
January 23, 2013 at 11:57 am

This is a great post. You put what is a very messy subject into stark and simple terms. And AMEN, God is God. Thanks for the perspective!
Also,
” I’m just a hillbilly with an internet connection. Y’all do realize that, right? If you could hear my accent, you’d probably email someone else with these questions.”
Have I told you I love you!?

Cindy January 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

You are, without a doubt, one of my favorite PWLIMC! I love you, too, lady. (PWLIMC=People who live in mommy’s computer.)

Chantel Fourie January 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for an interesting read, this may be a little off topic, but I believe you don’t have to bear children in order for you to have them as blessings in your life. I used to feel that I am in an very unfortunate position because I have endrometriosis and I’m not able to conceive. But God had other (bigger) plans for me and my husband.

We have been foster parents to our girls for the past three years and was so lucky to be blessed with two little boys this past December as well. A lady one day came up to me and said that I should remember God intended for all his Children to have the Blessings of children and although I am not able to have my own biological children He always intended for these children to be ours!

So if God gave them to us, if you hear how they came live with us, you would also believe He gave them to us, who are anyone to say that they are not our Blessings from God?

Cindy January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Absolutely! I was just talking with my son about adoption this morning. As Christians, we are all adopted by the Most High!

Melissa January 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Dare I take it a step further and say that God is God in spite of modern medicine? I have very difficult pregnancies, and many of my “rational” friends and family think we are crazy for not using birth control. Like, why wouldn’t you stop at two, and not be pregnant with #7? But God has shown that when I throw myself completely upon him, and lean not on my own understanding, he is faithful to heal and protect and deliver. IMO, we make our God very small by thinking the advice of a man supersedes the exceeding power of the might of the One who created us and is creating blessings through us. I am becoming more firmly convinced that the more we strive for blessing-yielding obedience, the more God will bless our obedience with faith that is based on the experience of his faithfulness. And no, I’m not QF, or part of any movement; I simply believe that God is the opener and closer of wombs, and that he is the One in whose hands our lives must rest. All the parts of our messy lives.

Cindy January 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Yes, I think you should take it a step further. I certainly do.

Lindsey January 31, 2013 at 3:20 am

“I am becoming more firmly convinced that the more we strive for blessing-yielding obedience, the more God will bless our obedience with faith that is based on the experience of his faithfulness.”

This is seriously profound to me right now. I know that sounds silly, like maybe lol silly, but it really really made me think. It may not even be what you intended, but I often struggle with “Am I turning into some sort of legalistic person?” and what you wrote really spoke to me. Because even when I wrongly strive for “blessing-yielding obedience” God knows my heart, my intentions, and he will bless me with a stronger faith. Wow. Thank you for that wonderful thought!

sarah January 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Blessings, and not curses. There is a bright line between the act of preventing life (blessing) and attempting to postpone death (curse). Others may draw the line elsewhere, but this seems to me to be the Biblical place to draw it.

Wow. Well said.

Read more: http://getalonghome.com/2013/01/blessings-curses/#ixzz2IqG6hB9V

Diana January 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Cindy! You have once again hit the nail on the head! My goodness, you definitely have the gift of writing so poignantly and accurately what needs to be said, especially to the church. You are awesome!! If you ever mosey on down to Arizona, we simply must get together (and then you can make fun of my California accent!!).

I completely agree with what you’ve said. I have an excellent reason, from human standards, to end our reproductive years. But I’ve come to realize one important thing: God is not an idiot. I don’t have to tell him what to do. When I use birth control, I am saying, “God, I know you might want to bless me with a baby, but what You don’t realize is that this is NOT A GOOD TIME. So to make sure that you don’t bless us by mistake, I am going to use this chemical/device/surgery.” God is God, and he doesn’t need our advice.

I mentioned this before, but please do put together some sort of page with all the posts listed/linked on it – I want to link to your series from my blog when you’re done, and I’m not sure I could find all of the articles individually.

Love you, love the blog!!!
Diana

Cindy January 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I will definitely do that, Diana. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. <3

Kelly January 24, 2013 at 11:29 am

Beautifully balanced and articulated, Cindy…bravo.

Luke Holzmann January 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Very well put. I loved the bit about driving cars and such… excellent perspective.

~Luke

Rebekah Harvey January 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I am supposed to be induced tomorrow morning with my fifth child. There are a lot of complications that could mean losing my life and/or that of the baby. My husband and I have had to come face to face with this, but you said it so well: God is God. His plan is always better than our plans. I am not sorry that He chose to bless us with this child no matter what the outcome, because I have chosen to trust in His faithfulness. Thank you for writing what you did in this post. It was very encouraging to me tonight!

Lindsey January 31, 2013 at 3:35 am

This was a very good blog post. I am one of those people who carries a “curse” I guess you could say. Without going into too much detail, I am the carrier of a serious (and costly) genetic disease that I know I have a 50% chance of passing onto each child that I have. In my mind, the disease is a curse, yes. But I believe in a God who creates every life and He has chosen if my children will get this disease or not. I am fooling myself if I believe otherwise. I also firmly believe that God can, and usually does, use what we humans consider “curses” and imperfections to make us more perfect and in the likeness of Him. If our world were perfect we would have no need for God. He shines in the imperfect. Anyway, my husband and I have chosen to trust God with our fertility. Some may say this is foolish and selfish (my family included) but I feel it’s selfish to only want to allow God to give you a child you feel is “perfect” in your eyes and the eyes of the world. It’s nice to say this “out loud” online as I don’t in person for fear of backlash, but maybe I should. I sometimes wonder if my testimony to trust God even when we know we may not get “perfect” children could prove very powerful to others. *sigh* Maybe in due time. I’m still too chicken to talk about homeschooling in real life, let alone this!
If you could email me your thoughts on this – when it’s the child that you know may have a disease or “problem” vs the mother’s life at stake and your opinions I would be ever so grateful! None of the large family blogs I read have ever really addressed this because they haven’t ever had to deal with it.

Lindsey January 31, 2013 at 3:37 am

Edited to clarify: We currently have 3 children and our first child, a boy, does have said disease and we don’t know if our daughters are carriers as we haven’t had them tested.

Cindy February 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I might just have to write a blog post on that one. It sounds like you’ve already got a good grip on the issue, though. :-)

Celeste February 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Thank you so much for writing the truth. I am not much of a blog reader, but I stumbled upon this post through a referral from a friend. I feel sooooo alone in trusting God and His sovereignty over the womb. You have no idea how it encouraged me to read your post and the comments by all these dear ladies. God is God and He is good. 15 years ago He brought me to my knees where I had to admit that He is in control of opening and closing the womb. It is simply not something I should be meddling with. Since then I have become increasingly aware of the stranglehold that the “birth-control” mindset has on people, even believers, even pastors. The anger that fills people when I start to discuss what God’s word says on the subject, is still startling. I feel for Lindsey who commented earlier. God is in control of the curse as well as the blessing. What encouragement. Thanks again! And, did you put together a page with all the posts on this topic as Diana suggested? Thanks (I believe I said that a few times already!….but I’ll say it again, thanks). May God continue to bless you.

Cindy February 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I’m so lazy. I will, I promise. :-)

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