This week, the Practical Issues for Godly Women series turns from the topic of outreach to the poor and needy to consider a uniquely feminine trait: the ability to bear and nurture life. We began this series by looking at a question about the priority of a woman’s life. I will return soon to that direct question about home-making, but before we get there I want to explore what else is said in Scripture about a godly woman’s activities. I started with the Proverbs 31:20 verse about reaching out to the poor because it is something that is applicable to every woman, no matter her season of life or marital status. For the same reason, I’m looking at our responsibilities toward children–responsibilities which, I believe, are not limited to the children we can bear.
In our post-feminist culture, children are not always received with joy, if indeed they are allowed to live at all. I am grieved not only by our high rate of abortion, but by the increasing number of press reports where young children are horribly neglected or murdered. In recent weeks, Washington-area residents have been greatly disturbed by a story of a single mother who withdrew her children from school, held them hostage in the house, allegedly murdered them, and lived for months with their decomposing bodies. The situation was only discovered when U.S. marshals showed up for a forcible eviction. Or the steady stream of stories of men murdering their estranged girlfriends or wives and their children. Or the recent story of a mentally-ill woman in Boston who stopped her car and walked onto the highway carrying her young niece and nephew in her arms. They were all killed. These arehorrific accounts! But I would argue that most of these incidents are directly related to the idea that the life and rights of children are dictated by the personal convenience of those who conceived them–whether a pregnancy is “wanted” or not. If a child is disposable in utero, what prevents that logic from migrating outside the womb?
What I clearly remember as a new believer–after having lived many years as an unbelieving adult working in the media–was how surprised I was to discover entities such as crisis pregnancy centers and other ministries to families. The mainstream press rarely, if ever, covers how those with pro-life convictions serve women who choose to keep their babies. As seen through the eyes of mainstream media, pro-lifers are solely those who picket, march, and (wrongfully) bomb clinics. So as a new Christian, one of the first places I volunteered was at the local crisis pregnancy center. I was a mentor to four different women and their children over the years.
Now I am a mentor for a young woman in the foster care system. As I’ve previously mentioned on this blog, I am working with my church to create a foster care ministry. We’ve ramped up slowly, primarily by getting our members involved in a Christmas gift program over the past two years. Then a few of us went through county training to become mentors to teenagers about to transition out of the foster care system as they reach adulthood. I waited a long time to get matched, but now I have a new friend in a young woman who has had a difficult childhood. Due to confidentiality requirements (and common sense), I can’t say much more than that. But suffice it to say, her background is quite typical of the foster children who have seen the ravages of parental drug addiction, multiple foster care placements, and a lack of reliable adults in their lives. Her favorite movie is “The Pursuit of Happyness” because it gives her hope that she can overcome her circumstances, too. I am praying to be a consistent friend in her life and I hope it will last for a number of years, so that she has a sense of at least one permanent adult figure in her life as she transitions to being on her own.
Here’s the dilemma: There are a ton more children in this world just like my new friend. These parentless children are desperate for nurturing. Contrary to what many assume, these children don’tcomprehend why they are rattling around the foster care system. Even the most difficult, hardened children can be quite sensitive to the issue of abandonment. If a woman is fortunate, she may bear and rear children over a span of 20 to 30 years. But what about those years before and after? I would argue that the overwhelming need of the parentless in our midst is a good sign that our work is not done as women. (Men, too, but I’m not addressing them here.) Even if these children do not carry our genes, we can be the kind of women who so profoundly affect these unrelated children that they will rise up and call us blessed in the years to come (Proverbs 31:28).
How have you been involved in caring for children? The comments function is open on this post. Comments are moderated.
Article from Radical Womenhood