Parenting: Is it Worth it?
Before we had kids, people would tell Stephanie and I that we would lose 3 things when we became parents...
1. We would lose sleep. From crying babies to sick kids our sleep schedule would get out of whack. Older parents even told us that sleepless nights would continue as your kid becomes a teenager, and you stay up worrying about them.
2. We would lose money. From diapers to clothes to sports to cars to college, raising children costs money.
3. We would lose independence. Every couple used to tell us, "Take your time before you have kids because your life will never be the same." Having kids requires going to bed early and getting up at the crack of dawn. Parenting requires sacrificing your time and your interests.
I know that we weren't the only couple who heard this advice. In fact, I hear it all the time when couples raising children are talking to married couples who don't have children. After they give their advice, the parents always tell their friends, "Although we lose all these things, it's worth it. We wouldn't change it for the world." Whenever a couple hears this advice, it may make them think, "Why should I even bother having children? This doesn't sound appealing at all. Sure, it may be worth it, but do I really want to sacrifice my sleep, my money, and my independence?"
Well, I'm here to tell you that although there are exhausting days, more mouths to feed, and a tighter schedule, parenting has proven to be outstanding! I find great joy in being with my kids, playing with them, teaching them about life and about Jesus (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 11:19). I really wouldn't have it any other way. Life is not about our comforts and pleasures. Although Burger King tells us to "Have it your way", I would rather have it "God's way."
God tells us His way is for us to "Be fruitful and increase in number" (Genesis 1:22) and that "children are a reward from Him" (Psalm 127:3). God's way is not about being comfortable and entertained. God's way is about sacrifice, service, and selflessness. I have found more fulfillment and happiness after I serve someone than after I've been on a vacation. Playing is good, but serving is better. Being a parent requires commitment and an element of dying to self. Being a parent is often like being a follower of Jesus.
Jesus tells Christians that life will not always be easy. Life will not always be fun. Being a follower of Christ requires a cost: a cost to abandon yourself, a cost of living for Someone else and not yourself (Luke 9:22-23).
Being a follower of Christ means that life is not about me. Life is about Christ. Life is about serving others. Life is about investing in people's lives and sharing the love and hope of Jesus to them. What better way to invest in people's lives than to parent your own kids?! What better way to share the love of Christ than with your kids?
Like every parent I know, every Christian I know would say being a Christian is not easy, but it's so worth it. They wouldn't have it any other way. Having it God's way is the only way.
If you're a Christian couple, and you're debating about having children because of what you've been told, stop asking questions and start making babies. You'll be glad you took my advice:)
I realize some of you reading this may have a desire to have children are are unable to. I can't image what you're going through, and I'm sure this must be a difficult journey. My prayer for you would be that God would be the God of all comfort to you in this trial (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). My encouragement to you would be to consider helping your friends who have children, helping other parents teach their kids in church, or even consider adopting or fostering. You can make a significant impact on a kid's life through teaching, mentoring, or adopting.
We are all here for a short time. Let's do all we can to make an impact on as many lives as we can for Jesus Christ.