whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

what to do when you’re 30, married, and not a mom February 19, 2011

First of all, let me start off by saying I LOVE my friends who are moms. They are amazing. Nearly all of my closest friends are moms. I admire them and I am glad there are special groups, Bible studies, events, and blogs for them. Most of them probably feel lonely and stressed at times, and I totally understand that. They have a LOT on their plates. So, none of what this post is about is meant to be hurtful to any mommies out there. Some may struggle enough as it is with feeling inadequate (even though they are totally amazing parents).

Like I just said, there is a lot out there for moms. Especially for Christian moms. But at a certain point, especially in Christian circles, you start to get weird looks if you don’t have kids. You’re the odd one out, kind of like it was when you were single and all your girlfriends were getting married. If you’re lucky you might know of some books about infertility that someone told you about. But other than that, being an “older” young married woman in the church (and in the south no less) can be downright depressing.

The Mommy Clubbers. I know the women who do this probably don’t mean to, but some have a major Mommy Club mentality. These are those girls who ask you if you’re pregnant and tease you every time you have a stomach ache (or sneeze). They are the ones who totally ignore you unless they need a baby sitter. They are the ones who never talk to you anymore because they spend their time only with other mommies. They are the ones you thought were good friends, until they got pregnant and began to talk, blog, and tweet about nothing else but their pregnancies and children. These are the Mommy Clubbers.

The Condescenders. Then you have the older women who ask if there is something wrong with you since you don’t have kids yet. They seem to think you exist for little else and that your life must be dreadfully empty without the pitter patter of little feet running through your house. They tell you that if you would just “stop trying” you’d get pregnant, just like so-and-so that they know. Again, I’m fairly certain these ladies mean well. But they are the Condescenders.

The Concerned. Then there are the people you work with and for. They range in their feelings. Some hope you never get pregnant or adopt because you do such great work and they’re afraid you will quit. Some think you are working on your career because you are just killing time before the kids start coming. They can also be Condescenders, but for the most part they are just the Concerned.

The Torturers. And my, oh my. We haven’t even talked about the family. One individual family member can fit into all three categories, as well as the special category really only a family member or in-law can occupy: the Torturers. They meddle. They press. They pester. They hint. They offer advice on what worked for them or so-and-so to get pregnant. They are desperate for grandchildren/nieces/nephews. And of course they too mean well. But they are the Torturers.

The True Friends. And of course there are those amazing diamonds in the rough who invite you into their lives as parents. They answer your sometimes way too personal questions about pregnancy, labor, the adoption process, or all the special challenges and rewards that come with being a parent. They see parenting as a lifelong learning process and admit it when they don’t know all the answers. They continue to invest in your friendship regardless of your mom-status. They allow you to speak into their lives and enjoy having you around them and their kids. These are the True Friends.

What I find is that for many of us in this older age bracket, we live very fulfilled, happy lives. We have loving relationships. We have careers. We have LIFE, even if we haven’t technically brought life into the world. We may yearn for children, and others of us may not. The point is, while we may spend much of the time feeling put down and left out, we’ve got to learn to live with the Mommy Clubbers, the Condescenders, the Concerned, and the Torturers. We can choose to cut ourselves completely off from them, but I don’t think that is the answer.

So instead I just have a bunch of questions. 🙂

What if you don’t want to have kids?

What if you just want to wait to have kids?

How do you interact in a loving, Christlike manner with the above groups of people?

What are some loving responses to the questions and annoying put-down remarks?

What do you do when you’re the “last one” without kids?

What about dealing with fertility issues?

What if you CAN have your own kids but you’d rather adopt?

Does your husband feel any pressure? How does he deal with it, and how do you deal with it together as a couple?

Do you have True Friend moms in your life? How can we be an encouragement to them?

I guess more than anything I’m just hoping I’m not the only one who feels all this. Some days are better than others. Some days I don’t think twice about any of it. Other days it is all I can think about. So, is it just me?

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Grandma’s Bible August 19, 2010

Last night my mom gave me a gem of a keepsake: my grandmother’s Bible.

You can just barely read her name down there in the righthand corner: Ruth Kees.

Immediately I noticed my grandmother and I had something in common when it comes to our Bibles–we like to write in them. Pages were falling out in several places from wear, with theological notes like “Christophany here” and personal notes like “always trust.” The first several pages have what seem to be signatures from people with verse references; we think maybe these were friends or professors from Bible school.

"The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

On these pages, in addition to the signatures, she wrote several meaningful statements and a poem.

She wrote, “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you,” and “Adversity tests the value of a friend.”

I can’t find the original writer of the poem she has here, but it reads:

Were all the earth a parchment made
And every man a scribe by trade,
Could we with ink the ocean fill
Were every blade of grass a quill,
To write the love of God
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

"The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed"

These must have been from her days in Bible college. (Grandma had an invitation to be an opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York but decided to go to Moody Bible College instead; this is where she met Grandpa.) One inscription on this page gives the date of Grandma’s commitment to follow Jesus: July 1932. She would have been 10.

"To get the far away vision is the only cure for the creeping blindness."

On this page Grandma wrote,

A task without a vision makes a drudge.
A vision without a task makes a visionary.
A task and a vision makes a missionary.

This must have been around the time she realized she was going to be a missionary. She and Grandpa served in Costa Rica shortly after they were enrolled at Moody. A statement similar to this is found in a few different layman’s missionary guides and partially attributed to a “President Mullins” at the National Congress of Missions in Chicago in 1910.

I can’t find a source for the other statement, “To get the far away vision is the only cure for the creeping blindness.” Grandma was a poet, lyricist, and songwriter, so she may have written this herself. Will probably have to write a blog post on this soon.

Another inscription tells us how and when she got the Bible– her mother gave it to her on her 16th birthday in 1938.

I can’t wait to go through it more to see the notes she wrote in the margins and which verses she underlined. These may give me even more clues and glimpses into her spiritual life.

I have a very similar Bible that I can’t wait to have passed on to my kids and grandkids. I hope it will tell them a little about me and my walk with God.