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parenting, control, and obligations

November 2nd, 2018 | 1 min read

By Matthew Loftus

I very much appreciated this word from Hannah Anderson at Christ and Pop Culture about parenthood:

The first thing we should do is realize that the level of control we feel is not as defined as it seems. To us, the question of when and whether and how to have children feels entirely individual and personal. After all, children come to us through the most private uses of our bodies. But in another sense, the question of when and whether and how to have children comes to us bundled with a whole host of other questions that were and are outside our control. It rests, not simply on our personal choice to become a parent, but on ability and circumstance: Are you in a relationship (regardless of how tenuous) with another human being that would enable you to bring a child into the world? Does your body and your partner’s body have the capacity to reproduce? If they don’t, does your situation and finances equip you to adopt?

Like a mother asking her toddler whether he wants to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt, the choice to even consider parenthood has been delivered to us by an overarching Providence.

That’s why I prefer to use the language of vocation to speak of parenthood. I did not choose to become a parent so much as I was made a parent by forces larger and greater than I could ever fathom or control. In his sovereignty, God has called me to this good work of parenthood.

Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at