Children: Burden or Blessing?

“Say goodbye to date nights!”

“Better catch up on that sleep now because you won’t be getting any.”

“You won’t have any free time, so use it now.”

If you have ever been pregnant, these statements might sound familiar. These are the types of remarks I received when I was expecting the birth of our daughter last year. I was amazed at the amount of negativity that was associated with having children. Along with the (unsolicited) advice I received came warnings of nightmares to come. Even now that my daughter is 15 months old, I still receive those warnings from other random parents in the grocery store: “Enjoy it now! Just wait til she starts talking!” Over and over the message I hear is this: children are a burden and an inconvenience.

How sad that one of the most exciting adventures we are privileged to embark on is often clouded with pessimism. I think the main reason children are viewed so negatively is they keep us from being able to do what we want when we want to do it. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I could pick up and go wherever we wanted to go at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter how late it was or if was naptime or not, we just went. If I wanted to go shopping for a few hours just for fun, I could do that. I didn’t have a heavy car seat to carry around, and didn’t have to fit all of my shopping into the few hours in between naptime. I could visit friends or work an extra few hours and it wasn’t a problem. Now that has all changed.

But as I look to the Bible, I am left with only one option as to how view children: they are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 says “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”


I think the very reason many people consider children a burden is actually the very reason they are a blessing! God is in the business of conforming us into the image of His son, Jesus, (Rom 8:29) who gave up His rights as God to serve and save mankind through sacrificing His very life (Phil 2:3-11). What better way to become made into the image of Jesus than to become a parent? This gift of a little child forces us to give up our right to what we want for their wellbeing. All those long nights of rocking her to sleep and the way she limits my freedom to go do what I want remind me that this life is not about me and what I want. She allows me to daily practice the command to “do nothing from selfishness, but consider others as more important than myself.” (Phil 2:3) As a follower of Jesus, I am grateful for how becoming a parent has accelerated the process of dying to myself.

In addition to practicing self-sacrifice every day, being a parent has caused me to depend on the grace of God in a deeper and more constant way. Whether Lively is screaming in the grocery store because she is teething, or struggling to fall asleep at night, I am forced to run to God in prayer for patience, guidance, and peace. These small inconveniences keep close to Him on an hourly basis. And anything that causes me to depend on Him more is a blessing. It is much better to do life dependent on God than on my own resources. That is why 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 tells us that we are strongest in our weakness because it is God’s grace we are depending on.

But more than anything, what most excites me about parenthood is the ability I have to change the world. No one influences a person more than his or her parents. For better or for worse, our parents have affected and influenced our lives in such a deep, profound way that it has shaped the trajectory of our life. Any therapist can tell you this is true. The most powerful and long-lasting impact I will make on this world is how I invest in and raise my children. If I raise them to be confident men and women who know the Truth of the Word of God and have their eyes set on Jesus as the greatest privilege and priority of their life, this world will be a different place. How I raise them will also affect what kind of parents they will be one day to our grandchildren, and then to their children after that. The impact is exponential! I see no greater privilege and honor than to invest myself in raising our children. And that starts with these early days of little sleep and little time for myself.

What an infinite blessing our little daughter is. Through her, God is bringing death to my self-centeredness, drawing me closer to Himself in dependence on His grace, and allowing me the opportunity of a lifetime to bring about world-change. Is it more fun to do what I want when I want? Of course. Is it easier to not have to depend on God so much? Sure. But I have the great blessing and honor of becoming conformed into the likeness of my Savior and True Love, Jesus, while making an impact on this world for His Glory. Not to mention the conduit of these things happens to be the cutest, sweetest, most precious little girl I have ever laid my eyes on. How could life get any better?!

Children: an inconvenience and a burden? Not a chance. There couldn’t be a greater blessing in my life!

21 Comments

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  2. Pat

    You are absolutely right!
    In the war between good and evil, Jesus and Satan, Satan won where people are unable to stay home from work for sick children, or are working so hard they cannot enjoy their children, and led to think of them as burdens, not precious; when humans allow other humans to erode the dignity of others, Satan wins!

  3. Jill

    Kelly, thank you so much for this biblical perspective! I am pregnant with our first and have been experiencing some of the very things you spoke of in the beginning. Because of my idolatrous heart that loves comfort, I have been filled with fear of what is to come rather than rejoicing in this blessed gift God has given to me and my husband. Finding this post this week was perfect timing. I knew I was in great need of a refreshed perspective….a biblical one! Blessed by the truth you shared!

  4. Adam

    Are children still a blessing if you don’t follow the Christian God?

  5. Debbie

    I am so glad to have read this post! I have never doubted that children are a gift from God and I could not agree more with everything you wrote. This is so true that my husband and I always talked about having 4 little ones! However, as people say : “it is easier said than done”. I got pregnant couple months ago (“planned pregnancy”), and despite believing on God’s plan, I kept finding myself worrying and trapped in so much negativity, as you said yourself.

    I ended up having a miscarriage! I was devastated to loose someone I barely had. God comforted our hearts in such a special way that I could only praise and thank Him for another chance of doing this in right way.

    What you wrote Kelly, were words from God to my heart! Thank you very much for sharing them and may God bless you more and more with words of wisdom!

  6. Heather

    Thank you for this post!

  7. Fran

    If you have to run closer to God each time to ask for guidance peace and patience, does it mean that you were indeed frustrated, stressed and burnt out. So is it still wise to have children?

  8. kimita

    Thanks for this blog entry – it was encouraging! I saw you used to live in Katy…I’m in Katy now at home with my two kids 🙂 Blessings to you and your family!

  9. I love this! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences and for speaking Biblical truth into the lives of other mothers!

    1. Thought it wouldn’t to give it a shot. I was right.

  10. This is wonderful! I’m 20 years old and I’ve recently been told that I probably won’t be able to have children, so I’ve not really thought about how I would respond to having children, but this has been really challenging even to think about how much I’m willing to give up for anything that God calls me to.

  11. Anonymous

    Wow!! This blog really blessed me!! Thank you!!

  12. Julie Muchlinski

    Well said! This was so helpful for me to read, as I do get caught up in the world’s view of children when we talk about having more…I love when you said that it reminds you that this life is not about you and what you want and related that to the scripture that proves this is true. I really needed this today, thank you!!

  13. Sheila Yeager

    I love your post and say AMEN to every word. Your daughter must have taken a long nap for you to be able to write your thoughts so well. God bless every day you have with your little one. I am now a grandmother and I get to enjoy my granddaughter two days a week while her mother works. Grandchildren are an even greater blessing!

  14. Wow
    I have always wanted to be a Mommy of many, but yes, those issues could be… issues! hehe
    Anyways, thank you so much for being such a godly woman resting your life upon the Rock, Jesus, and showing that God’s truth always prevails!
    It is inspiring! God bless

  15. Dawn C

    Very true!!! I like how Marl Driscoll says it, “Yes children are an inconvenience, but they are a glorious inconvenience!” you would probably love his sermon on Jesus and Children from the Luke series!

    1. Julie Muchlinski

      I attend Mark’s church here in Seattle, and that sermon is wonderful! 🙂

  16. “These small inconveniences keep close to Him on an hourly basis. And anything that causes me to depend on Him more is a blessing.” –not a momma yet in this season of my life, but this statement totally rocked my world.. love it! keep on pressing!

  17. Josiah

    Amen and amen. My wife and I have two little girls with the third is child on the way and we are so excited about it! They are not a burden but a huge huge blessing. They do take up time but time that I would never want to spend doing anything else. Thank you for this amazing blog and may God continue to use you both!

  18. Anonymous

    Convicting post. Thanks for the reminder when it’s so easy to dwell on the self-centered thoughts rather than the truth.

  19. Tracy

    Thanks so much for this post today! I have 3 kids, one of them is brand new and even though I’ve been through all this before you forget how hard it is to start again and get no sleep and stress. I had a rough night last night with my new one and this is exactly what I needed to read this morning!

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