Friday, March 12, 2010

Pruning Your Family Tree

**the pics & info are from a magazine I love to receive:  Above Rubies.  This is not about making people feel bad about their choices, especially if they didn't have a choice.  This is about taking a step back and really looking at how we view families & children.  And what is truly important in our lives.

Here is a family tree.  The trunk represents a patriarch.  Each branch, a child, grand-child, great grand-child.  Each twig is another blessing.  It's an amazing work of art, on many different levels.

Now, imagine someone coming along and pruning this tree.  Just a bit, mind you.  How about, let's say, only FOUR children per family.  I mean, four children, that's still a large family by today's standards, right?!  Ok, let's see:

Wow.  I personally was shocked by this pruning the most.  I mean, four children in each family....I didn't expect that much of a change.  Goodness.

And now, down to TWO children per family.  Many people today only have two.  For some, yes, medical reasons are involved.  Physical, emotional, mental.  Yet I would guess most are not "forced" into limiting their offspring to simply TWO.  This is a choice.  Here's what happens to your family tree at that point:

Of course, the goal is not "Who has the biggest tree?".  The point is, we - as a society - have changed our priorities, what we value.  Many couples have chosen an easier life (usually with more money) and LESS children ~ instead of MORE children and less *money*.  It's easy to see which we view as more desirable.  

So, the point is not to make you feel bad about a choice you & your husband have made - what is the point in that?!  I'm not going to judge another family based on their family size - I don't know them, their situation, their struggles, their walk with Christ.  The point is I hope people take the time to THINK about this subject.  I never really gave this a second thought until a few years ago (PTL for those who spoke with me, who were an example for me).  Children as a blessing was not a concept I grew up learning about.  People stop after 2 kids because....well....that's what everyone does.  That's normal, acceptable, smart.  Right?!

Yet what do we value?  What type of legacy do you want when you are old & gray & wise?  If you could only have 1 or 2 children, that doesn't mean your tree is "doomed" - you can still impact how those children view children - how your grandchildren view families & children.  

The point is, it DOES make a difference.  It *is* a choice, and it does have consequences.  Don't just quickly gloss over the decision to have or not have another child.  I pray my family tree is HUGE ~ not so I can boast about it's many branches, but so I can have the chance to impact many souls for Him.  So future generations will know how important family is to Him.  So many will come to know Him!!  

*Ok,'s also so I can snuggle up with the cutest grand-babies & great grand-babies EVER ~ of course!!


Amanda said...

This was certainly a thought provoking post. And here is something else to think about. Women are encouraged to postpone having children today. I feel so blessed to have had my three children by the time I was twenty-four, because those babies were followed by several miscarriages and years of infertility. If I had listened to today's "wisdom", I would be childless.

Tina said...

Thought provoking indeed. We had decided to have five kids. And we did. We got to keep two of them here on earth and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thanking God for them, even if that sometimes comes right after I've yelled at them for the umpteenth time that day. And they know how prayed for they are, and how precious they are, and they know about their siblings who didn't get to live here with them. I think one of the key things you said was to remember that we don't know what anyone else's situation is. I was just talking to my uncle this week about his impending divorce and he said, "When we weren't able to have children, we weren't able to form that sense of family and we just slowly drifted apart and our relationship died." Family comes in many sizes and shapes. Some adopt children. Some adopt children as single parents. All families are to be celebrated and encouraged.

*Michigan Momma* said...

Agreed - you simply never know someone else's FULL situation. Judging is a waste of time ~ there's plenty in my *own* life for me to focus on.

It's just *so* true....when older people come up to me, as a momma of 5 lil' ones, they almost ALWAYS tell me, wistfully, they wished they'd had more children. It's just a subject I pray people take serious, read the Bible & see what HE has to say on the matter and make sure GOD is a part of the conversation. I fear too many couples just follow society's "norm" on this one...

I believe my passion on this topic comes from years of being married to a Children's Pastor (and the Lord, of course). If you would have known me as a child & young adult.....whew, I was so NOT the "Momma" kind of gal....;)

*Thanks ladies, for seeing my heart behind this. I never want to judge another family - I just want the Lord's love of families & children known to all, especially in a world that doesn't much care for our little ones.

Holly said...

Your blog looks so pretty, Lori. :)

I think this is a dramatic "word picture," as well. More than a word picture, really, I guess.

I think that it is so good for EVERY Christian couple to deeply consider and pray about who God wants in their family. It's not something to just easily toss aside.

I am so blessed, too, to know that God can turn our wrongs into blessings. I am beginning to see that with God there really isn't only a Plan A. (Yes, our choices make a difference, but HE can also bring good out of our choices.) He can multiply our spiritual influence - even if we didn't have a whole lotta kids.

I read the blog of a young woman (age 21 now?) who moved to Uganda a couple of years ago. She felt called there, by God, for sure. She had a boyfriend, that she really adored, and he, her. She went anyway, though, and has now adopted 13 Ugandan girls and is responsible for the funding for school and feeding and clothing for over 400 children. She feeds something like 20,000 grownups every week, and sends them home with a bag of food, too. She puts together maternity kits for pregnant mamas who have *nothing,* has started a "chicken" program which is self-perpetuating and feeds families and teaches them to give to others too from the offspring, and has started a bead making program with the women of the community so they can take part in providing food for their families.

Goodness. I can't really question the spiritual impact and the the godly (yet non-biological) geneology she is laying down. God is using her to truly affect a nation.

There are some who say she shouldn't be there because she doesn't have a husband and it's not right for a woman to be a missionary without a husband -

You know, I'm with you...I am just not going to (or able to judge) another person's life. (Will be content to encourage them to seek God's plan and His will....) I hope that Katie (the girl I am talking about will be blessed with a husband who feels called to the same place - but if not - wow! I am blown away by what God can do that is outside of my box of normal thinking of how He works. It challenges me to see how He is working and to look deeper and to see what He desires from me - with the family He has given and with those outside of it, too. He is so not limited!!!!! :)

Love to you!

*Michigan Momma* said...

Thanks Holly ~ what a fabulous story! I'm heading over to her site later to read up on her!

I pray God is involved in ALL aspects of our lives - including how many children we have. I just think there are certain parts of Christians' lives today that God isn't really allowed into. Not purposefully excluded.....just not purposefully drawn into either.

Many of us grew up with God "in a box". The Sunday morning box, the Wednesday night box, the when-I-go-to-youth-group box.....but not really taught about how God wants to be in our lives 24/7.

When we *do* invite God in to our WHOLE lives....WOW!! Watch out ~ and watch Him move!

Thanks again, Holly
Luv ya~

Holly said...

I am on the same page as you, Lori. :)

Did you notice that in the tree graphic each branch has a name on it? Isn't that very dramatic and cool? That must have taken some time.

Some days, I try to count potential grandchildren....but who knows. :) I will love them all and try to do my best to be invested in each one.

And yet....STILL so blessed to watch how God can turn all things for good and how he can use a yielded heart. I love Him for that - love how he is granting spiritual legacies through even in ways I would not have previously imagined.

God bless you and yours -