Friday, September 10, 2010

Abraham, Isaac, and Me

It's often said in the church that we will all have to endure a test of our faith like Abraham's. I'm going to set aside for a moment the discussion on whether or not that is hyperbole. It got me thinking. I've always had concerns with the story of Abraham and Isaac. What kind of God would ask someone to sacrifice his child?

Then I realized that in a very real way, God has asked that of me as well. I'm unmarried and I have no children. This is not because I desire a single and childless life. It is because, despite my pleadings, God wants me to be single right now. He asked me to sacrifice family life when He called me on a mission. He asked me to postpone childbearing for a few more years when he called me into academia. I'm itinerant right now because of the nature of my vocation, and that rootlessness is not conducive to family life. There's a common saying among female professors that the time between tenure and menopause is the only time the system allows for pregnancy.

I've never desired to be a stay at home parent, but I do want to have children. God has promised me children, but He has guided my life in such a manner that children cannot be a part of the plan right now. With each passing year that that is the case, the number of children I can bear drops. I'm old enough now that absent medical intervention, I likely will not have as many kids as I want.

God stopped Abraham from completing the sacrifice. In the end, he did not have to give up his child. That made me realize that God will do the same for me. I don't know if that means I'll get tenure expeditiously, if I'll have a longer period of fertility, or if I'll have the opportunity to adopt. All I know is that if I stay faithful, God will allow me the academic career He has called me to, and that I won't have to give up my children.

Note: This post is not the place for the "mommy wars". Any comments vilifying stay at home parents, working parents, or non-parents for the paths God has called them to and the life choices those callings necessitate will be deleted. Keep it civil.