Sunday, March 30, 2014
Dear, Friend, your good intentions are very frustrating.....
Wonderful, sweet people, with the very best of intentions, are causing me and other girls around me to struggle with discontentment, and I wish it would stop... They mean well, but they are subconsciously tearing at our contentment, all in love. I'm not being sarcastic, I know that they mean it in love and kindness, but I wish I could take women (it seems like usually those that look at me like their child) and shake them. I don't think they understand the damage they are doing when they say things like:
"You're a senior in HS, where are you going to college, what are you going to study, what are you going to be? You don't know yet? Oh wow, that's really surprising. Everyone else seems to know...."
"You just finished your first semester at Bible college?! That's awesome. Any SPECIAL FRIENDS?"
"I saw you talking to so-and-so the other night
at church, are you guys 'a thing'?!"
"You have been dating that guy for over a year, is it going anywhere? Are you guys going to get married?!"
"You got engaged 5 minutes ago, when's the big day!?!"
"You've been married for almost a year,
when are you gonna have a child?!"
"You've been married for 5 years now,
do you not want children?"
You're doing something wrong, WRONG, WRONG!
Again, they mean these things in a loving way and they don't actually verbalize that you are wrong in what you are doing! They love us and they want to be involved in our lives, but....it never stops....and it's a harsh reminder, in a "kind" way, that we aren't living up to someone's standard for our life.
I thought the "future" questions would stop after I got married. After all, I graduated from college, have a good job, am married to a wonderful Godly man, certainly NOW people would agree with me that my life was wonderful and would encourage the contentment in my heart, but instead, after about 3 hours of being married, I got bombarded by the questions of when we were going to start a family.
We bought a house a few weeks ago; it has 4 bedrooms. The comments about the space and how well that will accommodate a family have been non-stop. Yes, we do want a family some day, and I'm excited about that point in our life because I love kids, but maybe we bought this house because we loved the house, the location, and the space it gave us to fellowship with our family and friends. Again, I can't reiterate enough that I know your heart is in the right place when you ask me about when I'm going to have a baby, but the truth is, we don't know right now, but it is well into the future. While we are trying to seek God in every area of our lives, including family planning, we still have our own ideas and plans, and unless God leads otherwise, that's the plan! Tim just started seminary, we just bought a house, I started a new job less than a year ago, Tim starts a new job anytime...there's a lot of change going on right now~let's not add in a baby! Would that be okay with everyone?
I don't bring this up solely to complain about my situation, but also, because of the field I'm in, I daily talk to women who cannot conceive. They range in age from 20-50, and they are devastated that they cannot have family. I have at least a dozen friends that I know personally who are trying to conceive and are struggling with infertility. I know you mean well when you ask her if she wants children, but I would challenge you to refrain. You don't know the women that go home and cry that evening because you reminded them of their biggest heartache. The woman who has one child and you comment about how they should have more...did it ever occur to you that they are trying? My job is surrounded with infertility...1 in 6 couples in the US are currently struggling with infertility, and that number is growing fast. No one chooses infertility, the healthiest of couples can have unexplained fertility issues. It's a real thing, and we need to be aware of it.
There's a few things I wish I could say to these well-meaning women:
1. Instead of trying to think about my future for me, could you ask me about my current contented state? I'd love to tell you about my hubby, my house, my job~things that are currently part of my wonderful life!
2. Before you say something, could you take one second and think about how the girl might take your comment about her lack of a family? Is there any possible way this could hurt her? Is it possible there's something you don't know about the situation? (The answer to that is typically, "yes.") AND NEVER EVER EVER ask someone else about that person's lack of a family. That's is entirely inappropriate and hurtful.
3. It's hard enough for us to be content, especially as Americans, I'd say it's something we ALL struggle with, so why not say things that encourage us to be content? Instead of asking me when I'm going to start filling up our bedrooms, something that would be so much more encouraging would be, "I heard you got a new house, that's such a blessing, God is really providing and I am so happy for you guys. Tell me about your house?!"
We (ME INCLUDED) open our mouths way too often before we think. We say things that are hurtful with the most kind and sincere intentions. But our intentions don't make the comment less painful to the recipient. This isn't a "feel happy" post and I don't like writing things that don't make me happy, but this has been on my heart for several weeks now, especially as friends have privately contacted me about their fertility struggles because of my job, and I wonder if we would just stop and think before we speak, if we could do what we are intending to do, and that is encourage those we love! I know that's our goal, so let's refocus and make sure we are doing it properly!
I truly hope that you can feel my heart in all of this, and I beg you not to be offended. I truly know you mean well, but your comment plus 30 other people's can really be discouraging and make me feel like I'm somehow failing at life. Yes, there are moments where I'd love to start a family right now, and then I realize: 1. I have Timmy and he's all I can handle right now ;) (love you, baby!) 2. Once you start having kids you aren't really alone for 18+ years, so I want to enjoy this time with my love, just me and him, getting to know my best friend. 3. Our desire is for me to be a stay-at-home mom and right now, especially with the uncertainty of Tim's future ministry, I need to work hard and save money so that when God calls us to the next phase of life, we are prepared. 4. I like to sleep in...I mean, I really like it. :)
So...in answer to all the questions, yes, someday, if God allows, we will be thrilled to have some kiddos running around, and no, I hope it's not 15 years from now, but for now, that's not where we are. We just got married, could we enjoy that for a bit, please? :)
Both you and I need to realize that our timing for our life or someone else's does not necessarily equate to God's timing. The sooner we realize this the more content we can be. Instead of worrying about your own future, or someone else's, let's relish in the moment and all the wonderful things that God has given us.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. I Tim 6:8
We have so much more than food and raiment, so it's an absolute sin for us to be discontent, yet we struggle with it! How sad and childish of us. I'm personally striving to live a life of thankfulness and contentment through this phase and all future phases of our life~I would love for you to join me on this path to contentment and encourage me along the way by pointing out my blessings, not what you think are short comings or just not "the best way" (aka your way) to do something.
And, if you really feel that you need to know or even that you have the type of relationship where it would be appropriate to ask, please do it in private. I know personally, if you ask me in private about starting a family, you are going to get a much less defensive response than if you ask me at a table full of people and I feel like I have to defend what we feel is best for our family right now.
So don't stop talking...that's not the point of this post! :)...just please think about what you are going to say to me or any other "daughter-like girl," and please let it be about our present (content) state, not about our life 10 years from now. We'd really appreciate it. :)