Words are powerful. They are a sharp two-edged-sword. Words cut into the depths of our hearts. They can inspire and uplift us or completely destroy us.
As Christians, we are used to being counter-cultural. However, too many times I notice words being used that communicate half-truths regarding life and family whether it is in every day conversations, on social media or on a stage.
I willingly admit that I’m as guilty as the next person who used words/phrases that are widely accepted in our society but fail to speak to the truth we know about life and family.
Words that I know I have become sensitive to since our first child, Casey, came into existence at his conception almost four years ago.
Words that fail to recognize that a family begins at the altar when husband and wife exchange vows by saying, “We are going to wait to start a family,” or “We are trying to have a family.” Or referring to family as being ‘complete’ because they are expecting or once the child is born.
…instead say, “God-willing, our family will grow,” or “We are hoping to expand our family.”
Words that assume that children will be a part of one’s family by saying, “When we have kids…” or asking, “So, when are you going to have kids?”
…instead say, “God-willing, if and when we have kids…”
Words that diminish God’s role in the creation of new life by implying life is created by accident or some stroke of luck by saying, “She blinks and becomes pregnant” or asking, “Was this an ‘oopsie baby’ or ‘accident’?”
…instead be thankful that God has chosen the parents to be co-creators with Him and hold their family in your prayers.
Words that fail to affirm that all children no matter the circumstance are a blessing from God, who is the Creator and Giver of all life, by saying, “NFP (natural family planning) did not work” or “I was on the pill and shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.”
…instead say, “Although this is not what I had planned, God has a different plan. I am still thankful and blessed by this miracle.”
Words that suggest human life is not created until birth by saying, “I’m going to be a mom/dad/uncle/aunt/grandma/grandpa etc” or “[older sibling name] is going to be a big sister/brother” or once a child is born stating that child has now joined their family.
…instead say, “I am a mother/dad/uncle/aunt/grandma/grandpa etc” or “[older sibling name] is a big sister/brother.”
Words that fail to dignify human life by calling the baby “it”.
…instead refer to the growing human life as a baby or if known, by their name.
Words that fail to recognize that life lost through miscarriage is death of a child – an irreplaceable person that matters and has worth – by never acknowledging that child’s life or not including that child in your count of the number of children you have.
… instead say, “I have [x number] of children on earth and [x number] in heaven” or “I’m raising [x number] of children” (referring to the number you have on earth).
Words that refer to children who have died as angels. Although ‘angel baby’ is a widely accepted term to refer to babies in heaven, it does not properly describe the nature of human souls since death does not transform us into angels.
…instead refer to them as what they are, a saint, or by their name.
Words that claim a growing baby in utero is half a person by saying, “I have ‘x and half number’ children.”
…instead say, “This is my fourth” or whatever number they are.
Maybe you are like me before Casey was conceived and never thought twice about using such words. I understand that some examples are used light heartedly and most of the time your intention is not to be misleading. Some may even be used as coping mechanisms. However, to a grieving mother or to someone who would give anything to see that beloved plus sign, these words are daggers straight to the heart. Words that cause an indescribable amount of hurt and pain.
So please, my dear Christian brothers and sisters, I am pleading with you. Let us unite and be consistently mindful to use pro-life/family language. Words that uplift and dignify what God revealed to be true about family and life in all avenues of our lives. Be courageous and counter-cultural.
Praying for you,