The following article was co-authored by Tom and Annie Washburn for an issue of Shining Stars Magazine. It has been revised and edited to be published here.
A MOTHER’S PERSPECTIVE
When Hannah mentioned the theme for this issue would be about children, I first thought it was a strange topic for a single women’s magazine. Then I realized how important a topic this is to discuss with single women. As I went back in time to when I was a single lady, I remembered when I first heard the idea that children were blessings and you ought not limit them. Just about the time my husband and I met, I came across The Way Home by Mary Pride. As I read that book, the whole way I lived my life came into question.
By the time my husband and I were entering into marriage, we both realized what a blessing children were. Thankfully, despite opposition from the majority of people we knew, we chose not to hinder our Heavenly Father from giving us any blessings which He desired. How we rejoiced when we were entrusted with the gift of Hannah on our honeymoon.
Having children is a wonderful adventure. I have to admit that at first I was somewhat terrified that if we did not use birth control, I would be overwhelmed with children I did not know how to raise. Thankfully, my husband Tom helped me overcome my fears. Our Heavenly Father has purposes and plans for each life He creates. If we allow Him, He shows us how to raise the blessings He gives us. All I needed to do was listen and obey.
Women are being encouraged to do anything but have children. I strongly encourage you to start preparing now to have children. Learn now how to take care of your body so that it will be healthy and you can enjoy a good pregnancy and natural birth. Help mothers with young children so that you can get an idea of how to care for them. Read Scripturally-based books on how to discipline your blessings. The best book my husband and I read was What the Bible Says About Child Training by Richard Fugate.
In closing I want to say – please start preparing now to be ready to receive whatever blessings our Heavenly Father gives you once you are married. Children have more value and give more joy than career, adventure, material goods or personal pleasure. Enjoy the adventure!
A FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE
Hannah usually asks me … “Do you have anything you would like to write for this issue?”. This time, the topic is something very near and dear to my heart. Some could say it is one of the ways we are defined as a family. As I read over what Annie wrote, I saw that it would be difficult to put twenty-some years of life experiences into a couple hundred word article, but I could add a few things that could be note-worthy.
One of the first and saddest memories I have of our preparation for marriage was that we received no instruction from any of our “brethren” concerning children. Anything that might be construed as “instruction” were actually just comments here and there but none of them encouraged us to HAVE CHILDREN!!! Please understand that we attended what most people would call “on-fire, spirit-filled, walk-the-walk” type congregations. We would feed the hungry; clothe the naked; street preach; do pro-life work; support missions; etc. But no one ever said that “Children are a blessing and you should desire every blessing that the Father has for you”. The most “encouraging” comment we received was from an older couple who had three grown children. They told us that if we waited until we thought we ready to have children, we would never have them.
Having been involved in pro-life work was extremely helpful for us in thinking through this situation. We would actually go down on the sidewalk and talk face to face with the mothers going in for abortions. It finally dawned on us that the girls going in for abortions were giving the same excuses to have an abortion, that the “on-fire, spirit-filled, etc” people were giving to not have any (or any more) children. We/they can always find a reason to keep a child from coming in this world. Too often, our reasons are the same as theirs. Could there be such a thing as a “spiritual abortion” … when we do not welcome the blessing that our Heavenly Father has in store for us?
Consider the way that words and phrases have been used to twist the actual meaning:
“Planned Parenthood” … such a nice sounding name for an organization … an organization that is responsible for more abortions than any other.
“Every Child A Wanted Child” … if it is not wanted what do we do … kill it?
“Birth Control” … think about that one. I have often said that if you want “birth control”, relax and push slowly when the baby is coming out. They are not interested in a “controlled birth” … they want to make sure that a birth never happens. On a side note, are you aware how many forms of “so-called” birth control or contraception actually cause a very early abortion?
Let’s commit to never use that birth control term again. What term could we come up with to replace it? “Child Prevention”? Can you imagine the conversation at a wedding shower for a friend … “So, what kind of child prevention are you going to be using?” You can probably come up with others. I have a friend who talks about the “Pew Babies” who are killed by “contraceptive/birth control methods” … often by people sitting in the pews of churches claiming that they are “pro-life”.
Is it not a heart matter? Doesn’t our Heavenly Father want your heart, your will, your desires … and conform all of them to His Heart, His Will and His Desires? He is a God of Creation … and we are made in His image. Who are we to say that we know better than He does? Is He not the One who opens and closes the womb? Then who are we to usurp His authority and take these matters in our own hands?
One of the main goals of Shining Stars Magazine is to “train up the young women …”. As Hannah has said, this is training. It is not something that happens immediately … overnight. A bride (and groom) need to be ready to receive every blessing that the Father has for them. Can you imagine someone saying:
“No more financial blessings.”
“We want to wait a few years before you bless us with Your fruits of the Spirit.”
“I have enough wisdom now … I’m going to take a break.”
“We can’t handle any more new believers in our congregation right now.”
Again, I’m sure you can think of some others.
I will leave you with something that some friends of ours send out with every email they send. I think we call it a signature … you know what I mean. It says this:
“The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing,
but in our culture we apply for the curse and reject the blessing.”
I encourage you … do not reject any blessing from the Father. Twenty-four years ago, Annie and I committed to that. Twenty-three years ago, Hannah was born. If we had been “wise” and listened to not only what the world was telling us, but too many in the church … Hannah would not be here. I give thanks to the Father for her, and all the other blessings that He has given us.