Saturday, October 1, 2011

First World Problems

I've been thinking a lot about my tendency to worry, over-analyze, and second-guess many things. I so desperately want to do what is best for Matthew, that sometimes I can really get overwhelmed. And I often find myself in a place of tremendous dilemma. God has really been convicting me this week about the nature of my "problems" with Matthew.

I grieved for a long time over how I gave birth.
I didn't have to grieve for my child. He was delivered safely in to my arms and sleeps peacefully in his bed as I write this. Many women around the world give birth to babies they never get to bring home. Others give birth in unsafe, or unsanitary places. Some give birth in secret, others in shame, still others in fear. None of those was my story.

I've been worrying about what and how to feed him.
I don't have to worry IF I'll feed him. So many parents around the world don't know IF they will feed their child the next meal, and they certainly don't have the luxury of deciding whether to breast feed or bottle feed, and whether their child will have sweet potatoes at 6 months or 1 year old.

I worry about the vaccines I've given him and I worry about the ones I haven't.
I don't have to worry that we will be able to obtain medical care for him if he does fall ill. I have the freedom in my country to do what I think is best for my child. No one makes those decisions except me and my husband. Some parents don't have that freedom. Other parents don't have access to that kind of medical care, even if they wanted to choose it.

I try to buy in advance the clothes he'll need for the next season and I pay careful attention to if I have enough for any kind of weather or circumstance.
I don't have to wonder if he'll be warm enough (or cool enough) or if I'll be able to provide the things he needs.

I wonder about how we'll educate him. Private school? Public school? Home school?
I don't have to wonder IF he'll get an education. And again, I have the right to CHOOSE how we want to educate him. Some people will never receive a formal education. Others desperately want one but have no access to one. Still others want one thing for their child but are forced by government or family or custom or religion to choose another.

I wonder if he gets enough quality time with his daddy.
I don't have to wonder IF he'll know or love his daddy. All around the world, children grow up fatherless, through no fault of the children, or even the fathers in many places. By God's grace, Matthew is not one of those who is without his daddy.

I pray that he will come to know Christ at an early age.
I don't have to worry that he will never hear the name of Christ or have the opportunity to receive Him. God has graciously adopted both Todd and I as His children and thereby allowed Matthew to be born in to a Christian home where he will hear the gospel from us. We are blessed to live in a country that allows us to practice our religion and share it with others. We have a wonderful group of friends and family who also know the Lord and who love our son and will share with him. And we have faith and trust in a Sovereign God who will call our son to Him if it is His will.

I think all of my questions are important, to a point. I am grateful for a mind and freedom and opportunity to investigate these various things. But I think maybe, just maybe, the "problems" that come to many of us first-world, middle income parents aren't really "problems" at all. Thinking through the macro of what these issues could look like in their most extreme forms has helped me mellow a lot in dealing with my teeny-tiny, microcosmic variations of them. We are blessed. And I am grateful.


  1. Wonderful post, Jen! It's easy to get stressed out about all these things but we have to keep it all in perspective. God has truly blessed us!

  2. I LOVE this post!!!! I wish more of us would be able to step back and really see how blessed we are. Thank you for writing this. I do this kind of thinking sometimes...but never enough. Thanks for the kick start!