About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pondering “Gifts from God”

I’ve heard it from sappy people gushing over someone’s impending motherhood, and I’ve heard it as a bingo, so I have been pondering, “What point are people trying to make when they yammer on about babies being a gift from God? What is a gift from God anyway? And how do you know?”

Actually, most of this thought process has nothing to do with children but more to do with my search for objective reality, my desire to understand the nature of God, and my attempt to make sense of the spiritual and physical world. I often wonder, what is a blessing? What makes something a gift? What is the will of God? When X happened in my life, was that divine intervention or mere coincidence? Undoubtedly, some of these questions are unanswerable, at least in this life. And sometimes I wonder, does the objective answer even matter? Is there a meaningful difference between God doing something and me attributing significance to that something?

I think, for example, about the word “holy.” In some contexts, that word means “set apart” for a spiritual purpose. That is, something is not holy because it is inherently good or godly but because we have imbued it with some special significance. I have come to believe that some of what we call “spiritual gifts” are an example of this. Suppose, for example, that I have the spiritual gift of compassion. Would I not have that gift regardless of my religious persuasion? Do not many non-Christians have a talent for compassion? As I explored the idea that most of these gifts are the natural talents that we share with non-Christians, I wondered what exactly made them “spiritual” gifts. The only conclusion I could draw was that we (i.e., Christians) attributed this significance to our talents; we chose to see them as such and to devote the use of those talents to God’s work. I suppose those talents might be enhanced by the Holy Spirit, but still it was a choice to interpret them as gifts from God and to treat them as such -- that is, to see them any differently from the talents God gives to all people of all faiths. (I’m sure plenty of other people have struggled with these questions, but having rarely encountered people who like to philosophize about such things, these thoughts are all very new to me. Others probably now think I am a heretic.)

What about other things that we might consider blessings/gifts? I have always considered my good health to be a blessing/gift… precisely because it is good. Of course, this led me to other questions -- are all blessings good? Are all good things blessings? (Is the stability I have with my job a blessing because of its security, or is this good thing not a blessing because of the boredom and discontent it causes me?) If I consider something bad, does that mean it cannot be a blessing/gift? (Just because my mental health is not as good as my physical health, does that mean my mental challenges are not a gift?)

In an attempt to understand gifts, I began considering analogies. Imagine you tell a friend that your workplace is chilly and you could really use a nice sweater to wear at the office. A few days later, a sweater shows up on your doorstep. It may be a wonderful sweater, your favorite color and a flattering fit. Or, perhaps your wise friend knows that the bright yellow sweater you would prefer is not the best choice for your office environment, and she gives you a practical, professional, and versatile sweater that you don’t much like. You perceive one gift as good and the other as bad, but all the same, they are both gifts.

Or suppose you thank your friend for the sweater and gratefully wear it to work, but in reality a passerby found it on the sidewalk, assumed it was yours, and left it at your door. It wasn’t a gift after all, just a coincidence. Your belief that it was a gift might affect your attitude toward it but does not make it a gift.

What if you did not want or need a sweater at all? I would surmise that a friend who knows you well enough would not give you a sweater (good or bad) that you did not want… and a coincidental sweater would still be a coincidental sweater.

Going back to the cliché that prompted this post -- this insistence that babies are a gift from God -- I would have to say I don’t know. They could be like the good sweater, the bad sweater, or the coincidental sweater. Someone who wants a baby has reason to see it as a gift, whether it was truly a gift or whether the parent imbues the baby with that status. For others, a baby could be nothing more than a biological result (just as exercise produces sweat) or the consequence of careless or unwise decisions (just as one could get a blister from wearing ill-fitting shoes). For me, it would be the ultimate curse.

Regardless of whether or not it is a gift, not all gifts are meant for all people. This goes for spiritual gifts as well as physical gifts like wealth or enjoyment of our jobs. Not all of us want or value the same gifts (I don’t wish for the gift of evangelism, nor do I desire great wealth), and I can’t help but think that God knows this -- that God made us that way and that God will give to us accordingly. At least, that is what Christ said: “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)


  1. These are very thought-provoking ideas, and I'm glad to read them. I, too, am a childfree Christian, and I often am flabbergasted at the number of Christians who attribute all the good to God and all the bad to the world or Satan. We have multitudes of accounts in the Bible where God sends disaster in someone's life (sends it Himself, allows Satan to meddle to give us free will to act or react, sends someone directly into a potential disaster, or simply allows something to happen through the natural course of living and being a human being).

    People tell others that becoming a Christian will pour out blessings upon their lives, if only they believe. I think this makes God seem like Santa Claus or Tinker Bell. My nickname among my friends is "Jinx," simply because I have a lot of crappy things happen to me in my life. Big crappy things and small crappy things. Life rarely goes the way I envision it, even when I know I'm walking God's path.

    However, I feel I should admit that when I am walking God's path and have crappy things happen, very often an ending good will come eventually (months or years). Not always, but enough to let me know that I'm cared for and watched out for. Life hasn't been easy for me, but I'm glad I don't have a rose-colored view of God. I have, oh so many times, called out, "Why me? Why do these things ALWAYS happen to me?"

    The answer I usually receive is, "Child, you are human. Pain and suffering, along with joy and elation, are all a part of being human. Remember my Son."

    While this world was created for God-fearing folk, it didn't stop turning when those God-fearing folk turned away from God and forgot Him either. We all still have to live and love and learn and cry and fear and feel pain. I don't believe in coincidences and I don't believe only God's followers are rewarded on this Earth. Why? Because we have free will and we have our freaking, messed-up humanity to deal with, each one of us. But shouldn't that just make the good blessings that much more bittersweet? Shouldn't that just remind us that the bad ones can always teach us something we might need to know or might have once forgotten? Shouldn't we remember that we are all created as children of God, and He loves us all equally, even when we turn our faces and walk away? God loves each person, even when He hates the deeds we do. He doesn't withhold anything from anyone, I don't think. I think the world has made us forget that WE are the ones running the show down here right now, only for a "short while" until heaven restores us. Every now and then, I do believe God intercedes in what we call miracles, but those wouldn't be miracles if they happened all the time. ;~)

    We don't become some sort of Untouchable when we become Christians. We are simply better equipped to deal with the bad (or good) that comes our way with prayer and the belief that something better is always, always waiting for us in the end.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I loved reading what you had to say, and I agree with your outlook. Your comment about Santa Claus reminded me of an analogy one of my old teachers once made -- that God is not some magical vending machine in the sky, where you put in the right combination of prayers, good deeds, etc., and he dispenses exactly what you ordered.

      I am also greatly humbled by your attitude toward rough times. I have often thought that my life was comparatively easy and wondered if that was due to God's understanding and mercy for my lack of resilience, my frailty, and my weak faith. I appreciate your strength to see beyond the temporal.

  2. I was very happy to find your blog. I too am a married Christian woman (age 35) who is childfree and I do not have a desire to have children at this time... maybe never.
    On Sunday (mother's day), my husband and I were greeters for our church and a woman who I don't even know that well put her hand on my arm and said "you'll be a mother someday". It made me so angry that she thought that I wasn't fulfilled if I wasn't a mother and that she never even bothered to ask me if I wanted to me one. She - just - assumed... grrr. Ok rant over - thanks for your blog!

    1. Welcome to the blog! I can completely understand how annoying (if not infuriating) such a comment would be. It also seems like an extremely callous thing to say -- imagine how painful such a statement could be to someone who actually did want a child and was having difficulty conceiving. Empathy is not a strong point with many people.