Not everyone who hears the Start Your Family message is encouraged by it. We hear from people who've said we're overlooking a biblical call to be childless for the kingdom (more on that in another post), that we're insensitive to infertile couples and that we offer little hope to those couples who already have waited. That last concern came most recently in an email from Stacy. She wrote,
I just wanted to write and say that I read your blog and feel very discouraged. My husband and I are 33 and 35 and we just now feel as though we want to start a family. God has softened both of our hearts towards children just over the past few months after praying for a heart change. Everything you write in your blog is very true and I would encourage the same mindset to couples in their early twenties but what if, as a couple, we have missed that boat?
We are trying to catch it now but reading the information on your blog was disheartening, not to mention polarizing. Even though I’m sure it wasn’t your intention, it made me feel as though we missed God’s call as a Christian couple to start a family when we first got married (27 and 30). And by your standards we were too slow in tying the knot as well. I really think you are doing a good thing but can the couples who are a little behind not at least get a little blurb on your blog?
This blurb is for Stacy. And all the other couples who (like us) got married a little later.
I'm actually really glad to be able to address your concerns and agree that some posts on this subject would be very helpful. I think it's easy to misread our message, especially if you haven't read the whole book (or know our story). We, too, married at the average age of 27 (just a month before turning 27, to be exact) and didn't start to think about babies till we were 28. We have a lot of encouragement in the book for couples like you who have waited.
We wrote to young couples as well, hoping to spare them the heartache many couples face when they wait, but that wasn't the entire purpose of the book. It's our heart to inspire couples to open their hearts to the possibility of children, to extol God as the wonder-working, all powerful savior who opens wombs and blesses us with children. You have every reason to hope that babies will come and I pray that is the case! I'm just sorry you read our message to be a discouragement.
That's the gist of what I emailed back to Stacy. She's awesome. She wrote back to say,
Thank you so much for writing back. I really didn't expect to get a response! I really do not mean to come across as super critical and will admit that I didn't read every single thing on your blog. I just feel remorse that our desire for children is just now happening, you know? I wish I could go back and put in my 27 year old heart what's in there now. I feel so behind and like if I'm not able to conceive, its because I missed what God's intentions were for us at the get-go. I know that God is sovereign and that if He wants us to have healthy children (even 3 or 4!) that we will but in searching for encouragement in the Christian community, I mostly get dismayed.
If, like Stacy and her husband, you got married later or you just decided you weren't ready to have kids back when you first got married, there's still hope. Lots of it. That's a big part of why we're doing what we do.