The USDA recently declared that the average cost of raising an American child is approximately $245,000. This number doesn’t include college tuition or take inflation into consideration, and any accrued expenses after the age of 18 were not tallied.
$245,000 over 18 years…I’m far from a math genius, but that’s well over $13,000 a year, or more than $1,000 per month.
Let’s get real. $245,000 is just the beginning of what it’s going to take to raise a child now.
As some women marched this weekend promoting their message in D.C. and big cities around the United States—all thanks to our nation’s awesome freedoms!—other women, such as myself, have stayed home and have been holding fast to our own beliefs.
I believe in Grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). I believe we all have the same Father in Heaven, and He alone can redeem any broken situation (Romans 8:28). I also believe that He calls on believers to be His workers (Matthew 7:21).
We are living in very divisive times, yet we cry out for unity. Oddly so, we still wish to identify ourselves by our differences as if they alone are our composition. I’m not just a wife, or mother, or nurse, or Christian. I refuse to simplify the complexity and uniqueness of who God created me to be. Rather, I’d like to be known more for how I live on this Earth, my optimism about the goodness in people, and how I may have helped others know Christ’s love. I take pride in the fact that I’m a female, a gender known for its nurturing capacity and humorous, yet impressive ability to change our minds frequently. I’m proud to be a Kentuckian; and while we don’t have everything right in our quaint commonwealth, we know that defining ourselves by our differences is dangerous. We know it so much so that we long ago adopted the state motto of “United we stand, divided we fall.” God’s Word warns us of disastrous division in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (12:25, 3:25, and 11:17, respectfully). Disagreement is not inevitable division, and actions will always be louder than any megaphone, poster, or protestor.
The most difficult part with disagreeing and dealing with differences is doing it gracefully (2 Timothy 2:23-24). I love grace. I’m crazy about grace—mainly the kind that Jesus freely gives to us sinners, but also the kind that exudes refinement. True maturity, strength, and understanding has always been “grace under pressure.” May we remember this now, as I have never felt times as pressing as these.
It doesn’t just take $245,000 to raise a child. It takes massive amounts of patience. It takes a shoulder to lean on. It takes guidance from elders. It takes discipline from and of the parent(s). It takes a village, remember? That daunting six figure number and all the other necessary investments into a child’s life should never be a reason to not choose that child, yet they should also never be the debts of any one desperate mother.
Satan has taken too many bad situations and made them worse with his ugly finger that points out guilt. Jesus did not come to condemn; He came to save (John 3:17)! And we–Christ followers–are to be known by our love for our fellow man (John 13:35). All of us have fallen short, and we all move forward with grace upon grace that our Father lovingly and freely extends.
If we truly wish to serve Him and be His workers, to radically change and save lives, then we need to become a people of unrelenting graceful momentum. We can’t merely tell these desperate women that God loves them and their baby. We are called to exemplify that love. We need to be their resources, and we need to build life-long relationships.
Depending on your translation of the Bible, Proverbs 16:24 says that either “gracious,” “pleasant,” or “kind” words are like honey: good for the soul and healing to the body. The only lucrative transactions are good, sweet words, words like honey. Call it invaluable “honey money.” Let your speech… and your actions… be gracious, pleasant, and kind. That alone is how we start rebuilding the house and healing the hearts.
- And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)
- And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)
- “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21 (NASB)
- And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25 (NASB)
- If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25 (NIV)
- Knowing their thoughts, He told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls. Luke 11:17 (HCSB)
- Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV)
- For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:17 (NASB)
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV)