Friday, September 18

Agency Plus Biology Equals Babies

There is this idea floating around out there that as long as a woman is willing and righteous the Lord will provide just enough children to fill out her family.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

No really think about that.

We've all heard a variation of that. Heck, it's even sort of referenced in the Old Testament - just think Sarai. The undercurrent - unintended or not - of that idea is that women who are infertile are not righteous or willing or both. And I think I might take exception to that idea.

I have come to realize that procreation is not fully under God's control. Because we have this thing called agency. How else could unwanted pregnancies exist? If it was purely on a ready, willing and righteous basis there would be no such thing as abortion or adoption. And at the same time, this idea that there are more children 'waiting' to join a family just doesn't sit right to me. Too many Saturday's Warrior fans out there, maybe. My feelings about that are unresolved. Because how do you know, really. Is it agency or predestination?

I also realize that procreation is not fully under my control (I mean, obviously!). It happens or it doesn't. Based on biology. That's not saying there is no such thing as a miracle pregnancy. I've seen and heard that happen. But, those miracle pregnancies are not so much a product of righteousness or worthiness or need or want but rather a plan. The plan for each of us.

(And I realize that sounds a little bit like a contradiction right there.)

This puts me in an awkward frame of mind. Because for some years now I've been using the ol' miraculous conception route. You know, where I say "If I'm supposed to have a baby I will." I think a lot of women subscribe to the miraculous conception concept, actually. But the fact is, agency plus biology is usually responsible for babies (or no babies as the case may be). And while I might relish the idea of a 'quiver full of children', perhaps my quiver is just small.

Learning to accept the gifts we're given can be a winding and dangerous road just as easily as it can be rewarding one. There is nothing wrong with wanting more, unless it becomes our obsession. There is nothing wrong with wanting less, unless it becomes our crutch for doing less. And there is nothing wrong with believing that science is part of God's plan. That we all work within the confines of the laws of nature/biology/math. That those things work together for our benefit, if we let them.

And sometimes, just sometimes, faith won't move the mountain. Because it just wasn't meant to be moved.


Pam said...

I love this post. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I just got done visiting the fabulous Amy, and Kris! I sure miss you!

Anonymous said...

Interesting musings and you come to the universal answer at the end. It all comes down to faith - knowing that there is a loving God in charge of all things. This does not mean He bosses things around (as you point out He gave us agency - for a reason), but He knows us and how we will mess up and provides a way back if we will but choose it. We are all seeking joy, and we have some things that we relate to joy, but we (being the simple and often selfish - i.e. childlike) tend to zero in on the visible things to try and judge ourselves and others on the pathway of progress to eternal glory. Unfortunately, this is a folley that Satan is quite good at using because it is so easily turned to pride or discouragement.

These principles you outline really apply to any good gift/blessing: their apparent presence or absence do not indicate righteousness or love from Heavenly Father. There are reasons why we are simply encouraged to seek all the best gifts, but are not expected to have them all! Do we all need to be able to sing like angels, or dance, or have ideal families (mom-dad-kids-etc), or scrapbook, or give a talk on any subject in 5 minutes, or have food storage, or speak 5 languages, etc? Nope, we need to do the best we can with what we have - whatever that is. Is speaking more important than listening, leading than following, moms than dads, boldness than humility? Again, no - the head is not more important than the foot - all parts are important!

I also like your last sentance - sometimes the answer is indeed "no", and often it is "not yet". It is up to us if we sulk in the corner, or instead look at all the other things we do have and take joy in them.

Also, it is very clear that while you may not be blessed with that full quiver in this lifetime, it will happen someday after you do your part. You do not have a small quiver, you simply were one of those willing to wait a little longer to have it filled, allowing (and helping) others to have their experiences here and now.

It's sort of like Legos - they are awesome, but instead of buying them all up yourself right now, you moderate your purchase and allow others to buy them too until the next shipment arrives :)

Sarah said...

Miss you too Pam! So much!

And Cha-Cha, you really should have a blog so I can learn from you. That comment is amazing.

Heather said...

Not contradictory at all, I get it.