Monday, October 15, 2007

The parenthood 100% guarantee

I've always been mystified by Saint Paul's statement in I Timothy 2:15: "women shall be saved by childbearing". Excuse me? Does that mean if I don't bear children I'm doomed? But now that I actually am a mom, (and without having done any scholarly research on this passage), I think I know what Saint Paul was getting at. The fact is, if making it to heaven one day is related to personal holiness, then being a parent will certainly help get you there because kids are the ultimate un-doers of selfishness.

Holding your child for the first time and realizing YOU have to take care of a living, wiggling human being is mind-boggling, and actually doing it is even more so-at least sometimes. I've had moments when I would've preferred cleaning a toilet, no--thousands of toilets, to being a mom because my baby was: A) Wide awake 3 hours past his normal bedtime, B) Preferring to touch at least some part of my body all day long, C) A newborn who allowed me to sleep for no more than an hour at a time, D) All of the above, all at once. And that's not even mentioning the bigger picture of how he has turned my life upside-down.

Motherhood has given me no choice but to sacrifice-bits of selfishness have gotten burned out of me by force! I know the Lord is a gracious God, but I've felt at times that for sure He must be pointing down from heaven saying something like 'HA! HA! YOU think you're holy? Look at you, you can't even stand to have one little morning given over to someone else's needs!'

I'm pretty sure sin is rooted in selfishness. Often it is cloaked in something else, but I think the things I struggle with in life are due to my selfishness: not giving up my own time to spend in prayer=selfishness. Refusing to serve my husband=selfishness. Etc, etc. Overcoming my selfishness seems impossible, but raising booga bear has given me a darn good way to go about it. I'd like to think that I am a more compassionate person now that I have cared for a completely helpless human being, and that my response to other people tends more towards mercy than annoyance.

After 18 months, 2.5 weeks of being a mom, I 100% guarantee that parenthood will give you many, many opportunities to work on virtue. If you're looking for a way to practice being merciful and loving, have I got a plan for's like a diet from self-indulgence without the possibility of a disappointing relapse! How can you go wrong?


Andrea said...

My thoughts exactly. I remember wondering how in the world children are supposed to be a blessing those first few months with Elijah because I was thinking of "blessing" as something that makes me happy and makes my life more fun. There is some of that kind of blessing thrown into the mix for sure, but I think ultimately a blessing is anything that helps you get to Heaven. Getting there does require holiness, and children certainly help in that area through the fun and the oh so hard. I can not even count the number of times and ways that parenting has given me to practice more virtue in my life, and hopefully helped me get closer to Heaven.

Andrea said...

And check out today for more on this topic.

Elissa said...

Thanks for the heads-up on DB's post (did you see all the comments on that one? my head is spinning)...Anyway, all this is prompting me to re-think the nature of 'blessing' as yes, something that brings us closer to God- although I'd also say things that cover our earthly needs (like unexpected income) are blessings. I guess it boils down to the fact that doing God's will is not all smiley-happy, but there is no better option, it is the best thing for us.