Listen, I have one daughter, who is only a mere 4 1/2 months old. So I am by no means a parenting expert. However, these are a few things that I have learned one should consider before having kids.
1. Is your marriage stable and healthy? Do you both love Jesus and spend time with Him daily? Are you and your spouse affectionate with one another and enjoy spending time together? These are things kids will see and take note of. Also if your marriage is lacking these, trust me, adding a baby will NOT help. It’s exhausting and stressful and challenging, (not to mention hormonal!) and if your marriage is not secure and set on a good foundation (Jesus), things will only get worse.
2. Are you financially stable? I don’t mean do you have enough money to have a baby–they are expensive by the way–I mean do you have a budget and are you disciplined with where your money goes? Trust me, we live on one income (which God has blessed us with amazing supporters who provide this income) and James is in seminary, so we don’t have a ton of money. But we diligently stick to our budget so we know where every dollar is going and we don’t waste money or spend it on whatever we want. We also don’t use credit cards and are committed to being without debt (aside from James’s school loans right now..) If this is an area where you struggle, I suggest going through Dave Ramsey‘s class or looking into Crown Financial Ministries before you take the plunge. We went through Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey) within the first months of marriage and it really revolutionized the way we think about and use money.
3. To piggy back off of #2, this one might be a little hard for some people. But I am going to say it. Women, are you willing to put your children ahead of your career or job? I really have no intention of offending anyone or making you feel guilty, but it really is best for your little ones to be raised by you and not a daycare or nanny. I understand there are circumstances where this is just not possible, but I will always stick with if we can do it, anyone can. God promises to take care of His children, (us), and I believe he keeps that promise. He doesn’t promise that he’ll provide cable or dinners out, but he provides what we need. There are always things you can cut out and live without. And women, it’s ok if you really love your job, but please take some time to think and pray about putting that aside for at least a few years until your little babies are in school again. I’ve only been home for 4 1/2 months, but each and every day I thank God for this opportunity to watch my baby girl grow and develop and raise her to love Jesus. There is no other job I would rather have! It is such a joy! (Even when she won’t nap and there are dishes piling high in the sink and stuff all over the counters and table…it is a treasure to be here and spend time that I won’t ever get back with her.)
4. Are you a servant? Is your spouse a servant? I’ll be honest, my husband is a HUGE servant, whereas I fall quite short in this area. I’m slowly learning (emphasis on slowly) that being a parent requires a lot of service to one another and especially to the new little being taking up so much of your time and space. You have no choice but to serve, but you can choose to serve with a joyful heart or a begrudging one.
5. Why is it that you want to have a baby? Are you bored? Lonely? Insecure? Unsatisfied? Before our daughter was born, some days I was all of these, but amazingly enough, having a baby didn’t fix any of them. Just like getting married didn’t end up causing me to feel completely satisfied or fulfilled. Only finding my true rest and hope in Jesus will satisfy my heart. Take a look at your desire to have children and ask God to line up your desire with his desire for families. Your children will be your disciples in whatever ‘god’ you worship, so if you worship them, they will worship themselves and you will have a miserable and unsatisfied family.
6. How much does the husband work? Will he be able to be home enough for the kids to understand that he is the head (as Christ is the head of the Church) and he is ultimately the leader of the family. If he is always gone or at work, ask yourself if there is a way he can cut back hours or cut out an extra-curricular activity that will allow him to be home more. Also, is the husband/father the spiritual leader in your family? Does he lead you well in this area? Does he regularly spend time with Jesus in reading his Bible and praying? Does he joyfully attend church with you and worship Jesus while there? These things will hugely bless the family and determine the foundation of the family.
There are several things that I thought would matter, but in the end didn’t. Like, we don’t have a house. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, and the world didn’t end like I thought it would. 🙂 We probably aren’t in the city we’ll settle in (unless James is offered a job by a church here in town…). Most of our friends didn’t have kids. Turns out we made friends that had kids, and our friends are now starting to have kids.
Having children is one of the purposes of marriage, and it is such a joy! We certainly didn’t have everything figured out before we got pregnant, but I definitely can’t imagine our life without little B.