I am facing the birth of my third child any day now. I have had the great privilege of being pregnant along with my best friend. She is having her eighth child. I
am the oldest of eight children myself. The outpouring of love, as evidenced by our friends at our joint Storybook Baby shower, is enormous and we are so grateful. But there are also some rough, crude and unthoughtful comments that people make when you are expanding your family. See my past post here on What Not to Say to Large Families. My thoughts have been on why people have anything rude to say about the personal choices of having children in the first place – especially when you see wonderful, well educated, clean, happy, well disciplined large families, like I am surrounded with. So what is the motivation for this negativity? I think the most common reason is selfishness. The speaker cannot imagine such a sacrifice. And our sinful nature, even though admiring the sacrifice, resents it.
Our selfish sin nature rebels against anything smacking of giving up something that we want. We even criticize it in other people. There was a book a few years ago, trying to prove French women are happier because they don’t do all of the things for their kids that we do. They do more for themselves. A recent study was trying to show that single women are happier. Of course, it was actually confined to Italian widows, but the headlines screamed an attractive generalization.
I found this quote thought provoking:
Our culture feeds our materialistic self-absorption, which rebels and resists anything resembling sacrifice. We often live to satisfy our appetites, and we surround ourselves with luxuries and creature comforts. We deny ourselves very few things. – Dennis and Barbara Rainey from Moments With You
Motherhood is sacrifice. Family is sacrifice. Relationships are sacrifice. And marriage is sacrifice (which so few people seem to realize, hence the ridiculous divorce rate in our culture). This is how we know what love is: That Jesus Christ laid down His life for us! This is our standard, as uncomfortable as it sounds. But our hearts know that this is true. We know love is not selfish. Selfishness drives us apart from our loved ones. The list of traits of love in 1 Corinthians 13 are all traits of sacrifice. They are the traits that make motherhood beautiful and marriage attractive. They are the traits that enable us to love through richer, poorer, sickness and health, til death do us part. We are uninspired by lives of selfishness. It is stories of uncommon sacrifice that resound with beauty. It is everyday moments of sacrifice that bring personal joy into our lives. Thank God for those willing to sacrifice and make our world a better place – A place filled with children not drenched in privilege and raised with the mentality that they are entitled to have their wants met. A place where sacrifice in understood to be a part of family life, respected and admired.