Friday, 5 April 2013

The Many Handed Serpent

I read this post on my friend Sarah's blog and it really struck a chord.  I've been meaning to blog on 1 Corinthians 12:12-26  for quite some time now.  Some of you will know that, having previouusly been of a mind to leave our fertility to God, my husband and I have recently made the very difficult decision not to have any more children.  I've posted before about my journey to and from the edge of despair.  I am sure I don't need to further explain how we came to make our decision.

Regardless of our circumstances, there are some who think we should carry on having children in the name of being obedient to God.  I beg to differ.  I don't believe that being obedient to God comes down to a single interpretation of scripture.  I believe that some women are called and convicted to make the very courageous step to become mothers of many blessings.  I admire them greatly.  I also KNOW that some women are scarred and broken, drug addicted and depressed, needy and dependent,... or maybe they are just single and childless.  Are those women any less in the eyes of God?  Are they less because motherhood is not for them, or because they can only physically or mentally cope with a smaller number of children.  I would say, most definitely, NO.  I have searched the heart of God on this issue so much recently.  And this is what he says to me:

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

We women are all different.  We are not all hands.  We should not promote feminity in one particular vein.  I am all for promoting motherhood and wifedom,... but I also think that we need to accept that some women will tread a different path.  And that is OK.  In fact it's more than OK; to be the person that God made you to be in all your fullness is marvellous,.. whether you are the mother of many, few or none.  BE the you God created you to be,... whoever that is.  A body with many hands would be a monstrous creature.  We need diversity,... and God needs YOU!!!

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Mam said...

I often feel a bit 'poked', like less of a woman, whenever I'm reminded such an opinion exists. That controlling your fertility is not ok, that is. It's something I've only come across in a small section of the home edding community. Anywhere else and people will look at you as if you're insane for mentioning it! Our churches are full of devoted Christians who have stopped at two or three kids, guilt free. I'd hesitate to condemn any of them as selfish, not proper Christians.

Thing is, it's a harsh fact that a lot of kids didn't survive until very recently. Reliable contraception was invented at about the same time as we could be confident that almost all our kids would be dependent on us for a very long time.

Life is different. Kids are draining. We have high expectations now of what we should do for each of them as an individual. We're isolated generally. It takes a whole village to raise a child - but the whole village is out to work all day. And the grandparents are miles away, or also working, or at the bingo/art club/carpet bowls !

When I see enormous families, and then hear opinions that they are the only ones doing what God wants, I have trouble marrying the two things together. If everyone did that, we'd populate the country a dozen times over in not many generations. Why would God want that??

There's a whole lot of stuff needs doing out there. Some of us are called to do nothing but mother or father our own kids for thirty years of our lives. But if all followers of Jesus who were married did that, who would there be to bind up the broken hearted, set the captives free, proclaim sight to the blind etc etc?? Yes lots and lots (and lots) of Christian young adults would eventually grow up, but they'd marry and it would start again!!

Plus with the tax system changing, how on earth would any single wage pay for food and stuff???? Child tax credits are going for all but the first two according to latest predictions.

This is getting a bit ranty. I had a terrible time with my last (fourth) and if I hadn't been sterilised I doubt I'd still be married never mind sane. And yet when I home edded I met people who thought I was less of a woman, was blocking God from sending me lots more 'blessings'. My four are doing ok these days but a couple more toddlers would be killing us.

Kay said...

After having come to the same conclusion for a number of very difficult reasons, I am heartened to read this. God gives us all certain challenges tailored specifically to us, and life has never been about one size fits all.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. I had never really heard of that extreme baby-making ideology until I met you and immediately thought it sounded loony. When I'm pregnant I want to kill everyone around me, a hormonal state I'm sure God would prefer to keep to a minimum!