Friday, August 10, 2007

Who Are You "One" With?

This one is for all you married folks out there: Who does your heart know better than any other? Who does your heart break for? Who do you empathize with more than any other? Who are you most knitted to? Your husband? Or your children?

This is something that's been on my mind lately... I fear that too many Christian women are daily choosing to become ONE with their offspring rather than with the man who they married. Too many women have their emotions and their identity wrapped up in their children. Too many women have their hearts knit to their children in a way that ought to be reserved for their husband. Which is why it is often the most difficult time of their lives when they have an "empty nest". They have spent more time cultivating relationships with their children rather than the relationship they share with their husband.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that we shouldn't invest in our children, nor am I saying that we shouldn't be emotionally tied to our children, or love them deeply and value them as the gifts that they are. As a stay home mom of three (and a fourth on the way), I completely understand the complete love and affection we moms have for our children. I understand the commitment we have to raising them well, investing in them, and delighting in who God is making them to be. I understand the feeling that this is "what I was made to do", or the difficulty of remembering at every moment that they are only ours for our time.

But, biblically speaking, children are not for keeping. They are a blessing. They are likened to olive shoots around a table... they are truly gifts from God. And yet, they are likened to arrows, to be shot out into the dying and unbelieving world. Additionally, they ultimately are to leave us and cleave to a husband or wife.

They are not things that we are to ultimately KEEP. We are not raising little persons who are primarily for ministering to US, in our hurt and broken places. We are not raising little people who are to become a shoulder for us to cry on, or a friend to us. They may become that. Prayerfully and with God's grace, they may become precious friends.

But the primary reason that they have been given to us is so that we might refine and help them to be sanctified so that when they time comes for us to shoot them out, as arrows, they will be ready to live for God's glory. Children are not for US, but for HIM.

Additionally, our marriages are not for US, but for HIM. However, there is one thing that differs about this relationship from ALL others in our lives: this one relationship is to shine and sparkle in such a way that others are more aware of the relationship that Christ longs to have with His Church, because of the way we are one in our marriage. Put another way, the Oneness of each marriage is designed to serve as a picture of the Oneness Christ will one day share with His Church.

Big responsibility on our part, really. As imperfect humans, there is no way we can successfully live out the perfection of the relationship the Church will one day have with Christ in eternity. But that is the picture our marriages are designed to give.

We are united with our husband; we are to cleave to our husband. We are not to be "united" with, nor are we to cleave to our children.

And yet instead what we have, all too often, I'm afraid, are Christian wives who give more of themselves to their children than to their husband. More of their heart and emotional investment to their offspring than to their beloved. More of their thoughts and attention go into their relationship with their children than any other relationship-- more than their husband, and more than God.

So, tell me- what do you think about this? Is this really an issue in the lives of Christian women? Do you see it in your friends? The women you know? Even possibly in your own life? Thoughts or comments are welcome!

(Incidentally, I've gotten several e-mails lately asking me how to comment- just click on the words that say "7 comments" or "0 comments" or "33 comments", and a pop-up box should appear. If it doesn't, you can click on the headline of the article you wish to post on, and scroll down and there should be an option for "Post a comment". Click on it, and you should be able to leave your thoughts!)


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