Lifestyle is Secondary to Family

Lifestyle is secondary to family. – Dr. Tony Evans
Have you ever thought about the fact that God does not require a covenant for becoming a parent?
What is a covenant exactly you may ask? A covenant is defined as an agreement between two people involving promises on the part of each to the other. God made covenants with Noah, Abraham and David. There was the Mosaic Covenant and the Covenant of Christ. We make a covenantal promise to our spouse when we marry (see Malachi 2:14-16). Yet there is no place in scripture that I can find that parents are required to make a covenant promise to their children or a covenant promise with God prior to giving birth.
Why do you suppose this is?
I mean, children are precious gifts created by God. They come into this world completely helpless and are totally unable to take care of themselves for quite some time.  And, they aren’t just ours, they are God’s and each child is created for a specific purpose that has been planned completely by God. Why in the world then would God require two consenting adults to enter into a covenant relationship yet fail to require parents to enter into a “to death do us part” covenant with babies before or while they are in the womb? 
I’ve been pondering this issue for the past couple of weeks. Part of this was out of anger. I keep hearing story after story of young moms who have young mothers themselves. These young moms have repeated generational practices because the moms (and in some cases the dads) are completely absent during the critical years of these young people’s lives. I heard it again the other day and it made me cringe, “Girl, you better hurry up and get it together because momma is still young and she needs to have a life. I’ve given up so much already.”
As I was driving this afternoon, I heard Dr. Tony Evans preaching on motherhood. This is where I heard the quote, “Lifestyle is secondary to family.” I thought, has he been reading my mind?
My husband and I have been praying about adopting…okay, disclaimer….I’m the one praying my husband will get on board with adoption! As I struggle with the “call to help orphans,” I find myself faced with a slightly different type of orphan crisis.
A couple of weeks ago, I checked in on a young, single mother of four that I know. I wanted to let her know that I was thinking about her. She shared with me that she and her children were going to be kicked out of her home in two days if she couldn’t come up with rent. She has a job, but her hours are irregular sometimes and if any of you have children, you know that some months require more than others. Honestly, I felt stressed. Why was today the day I decided to check in on her? Why do I need this burden? We have our own life issues going on at the Olson house. I gave her some rental assistance resources and told her to let me know how that turned out. I prayed and paced…maybe even a little in my sleep. Did I really want to know the answer? As I spoke with her the next day, she said she had not been able to come up with anything. My heart sank. I told her to let me talk to my husband and I would get back with her.
Sometimes it feels like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound instead of a tourniquet or stitching it up completely when you find yourself in this type of situation. I have helped her out in the past, but nothing this serious…the brink of teetering between homelessness or a home for another month.
My sweet husband said, “Yes” of course and I told her to come by. As it turned out, I had taken the exact amount that she needed out of the ATM earlier that day…although she was not on my mind at the time.
Seeing her later that day was heartbreaking. Besides not wanting to make eye contact with me, I could tell she was trying to hold back tears. Here she was, a proud momma who was trying to make it on her own who unfortunately just fell a little short. We had been over and over about the children’s fathers helping out, but none of them are. Her last words though struck deep. She was deeply hurt, saddened and shocked that her own mother wouldn’t help her. Her mother didn’t hang out with her as much as her sister because she didn’t drink and smoke with her mom. She was trying to live a right life and because of it, her mom didn’t want to help her or even spend time with her grandchildren. Crushing.
These are who I like to call “adult orphans.” These are people whose parents are completely checked out (or sadly, deceased) and uninvolved and often problematic themselves.
As I shared the conversation with my husband that evening, he said, “it’s kind of like we’ve adopted her…but unfortunately, not everyone is going to be able to or willing to do that.”
Adult orphans. Was Job talking about these orphans too when he told us he took care of orphans (see Job 29:12)?
These parents have had babies, but aren’t parenting their children let alone biblically parenting their children. These parents want to have their own life now – find a companion/spouse, travel, be free….and any other number of things….often times when the child is old enough to dress themselves, not just when they turn 18. Lifestyle is secondary to family.
I think this shocks and saddens God. I believe, and this isn’t scriptural…it’s my opinion, God didn’t think we needed a covenant to raise a baby because of how much He loves each one of His children. I don’t think He expects us to love ours any less.
A couple years ago as I was seeking revelation from God about my calling, I heard Him whisper, You are a mother. You will be a mother to all my children who are hurting, sick, scared and lonely. He also gave me Job 3:12 which says, “Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?” The word prevent in this context means to anticipate, to go before; to go meet anyone in order to aid him in anyway. Our bodies know, by design, to anticipate the arrival of a baby and how to preserve him or her from perishing.
We may not all get the opportunity to birth our own babies, but we all have the opportunity to take care of God’s children….all of them young and old.

As I continue to pray for God’s guidance on the adoption front, I will be a mom to my three children and to any others who need a mother….in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad for as long as we all shall live.
I pray you’ve heard the same whispers.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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Gil - May 8th, 2013 at 11:07am

Beautiful post Erin. It had special meaning for me; I've been thinking and praying about the future of my family and children and the doors that God will open for us. I'm selfishly hoping one particular door opens; I can get what I want and still do good by family. But if it doesn't I'm at peace knowing God has the plan that's best for my children. And I'll know something even better is in store - God's dreams are bigger than mine! Praying for your adoptive adult orphan.

Joni - May 12th, 2013 at 7:46pm

Thanks for sharing Erin. Praising God for your love and mentorship to others.