Ever since I started blogging over 4 years ago, my life has changed a lot. I graduated from seminary, worked as a college minister, got married, moved to Chicago, and began working on my doctorate. During that time, my blogging topics have shifted and expanded. When I was single I blogged a lot about singleness, and when I got married I blogged more about that. As I now think about having a family, the topic of motherhood is bound to appear more frequently.
I don’t want to exclude readers who are at different life stages than I am, and I have intentionally tried to be inclusive in my topics. Even so, if you are one of my younger readers who is single and not even close to thinking about kids, I hope you will still tune in on the days when I write about marriage and parenting. Here’s why:
Have you ever seen those commercials encouraging parents to talk to their kids about sex before they start dating? It’s usually a public service announcement, but I heard similar messages when I was growing up in church. Youth ministers exhorted us young people to think about where we stood on sex before we were ever confronted with the possibility of it. If we were committed to abstinence, we also needed to think about how that would play out in practical terms: What will you say to your boyfriend if he wants to have sex? What boundaries will you put in place to make sure you stick to your convictions?
I think that is great advice. Once you’re in a dating relationship, logic tends to go right out the window. It’s tough to think clearly when your hormones are raging and you think he *might* just be the one. That’s why it is wise to think through those questions ahead of time when you are able to consider them more soberly.
Unfortunately, many Christians fail to practice that same wisdom as their lives progress. Pre-marriage counseling is a wonderful exception, but there are a lot of life circumstances that Christians don’t think through until we are confronted with them. And by then, our fears and emotions have kicked into overdrive, thereby making the possibility of a reasonable and faithful conversation less likely.
That is why I encourage you young ladies who read my blog to take seriously my posts about future life stages and ponder them. Talk about them with your friends. Have those conversations now. Be thinking and praying about what kind of birth control you might want to use when you get married, what you will do if you struggle with infertility, and where you might one day put your children in school. Each one of these issues is fraught with fear once you are right in the thick of it, so do your homework now. Study these issues and think theologically about them. Know what you believe based on Scripture rather than convenience.
Speaking of Scripture, this concept of spiritual preparation for the future comes straight out of Proverbs. We are not to worry about the future but we are instructed to prepare for it by arming ourselves with truth. Just look at the first six out of seven chapters in Proverbs. Each chapter begins almost identically:
- Proverbs 1:8-9–Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
- Proverbs 2:1-5–My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
- Proverbs 3:1-2–My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
- Proverbs 4:1-2–Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
- Proverbs 5:1-2–My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
- Proverbs 7:1-2–My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye
Proverbs is all about wisdom in the present for abundant life in the future. Who you are becoming today is who you will be tomorrow. I explored this concept in another blog on Proverbs titled The Path Principle, and it’s an important lesson. Each one of us is on a path towards a very particular destination, and as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7 his way is a narrow one. It takes diligence and intentionality to walk the way of Jesus, so don’t wait until you reach a fork in the road to think through your options. Start thinking, studying and praying now. Life is messy and we can’t account for all the bumps and curves we’ll encounter, but we can do our best to be wise and faithful with what we know.