There comes a time in life when one has to face certain hurdles that life thrusts on him or her; a time when one has to contend with the reality of human existence. Experience has shown that if you have not worn the same shoe with those who are beclouded with setbacks at a point in their life, you may not be able to empathize with them; “for he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches.” One of the problems with which those in any kind of predicament are plagued is that they are, more often than not, left in their own world. In other words, they are not always given commensurate ‘ consolation which their situation at that point in time requires. The enormity of the pain or whatever they experience within their inner being . is not always known to others save those who perhaps, have undergone similar experience.
We are living in a society where childless women or those who are yet to give birth are not only jeered at, but also made to realize that they do not essentially belong to the womenfolk. The throbbing of the fruitlessness of their marriage is not so much because they are yet to be blessed with children, but more so because of their placement in the society, especially in their immediate community. The implication is that many people are either oblivious of the fact that children are blessing from God or that they have been blindfolded by haughtiness. It is a further demonstration that some persons delight in the misfortune of others, and would want to show that they are more favoured than the rest of mankind.
Specifically, however, every woman wants to be called a mother, not in the sense of being an elderly woman, but in the sense of being actual mother. Once this aspiration is not immediately met as at when due, especially few months after marriage, unmitigated anxiety sets in. This sort of fruitfulness is consequent upon the misunderstanding of the real purpose for which marriage was instituted. This is addition to the fact that it is not in the hands of man to give children. Children are gifts from God. It is with this understanding that we attempt to x-ray fundamental issues in childlessness in marriage, especially as it affects Nigerian women.
CHILDLESSNESS IN THE SCRIPTURE: The Old Testament Understanding;
The history of Israel is that of a people who were always under the protective hand of God; a people who were saturated with God’s blessing. Fertility of the womb was thus considered essential part of God promises and as such, it was of paramount importance to the life of Israel. On the other hand, childlessness was regarded as a contradiction to these promises of God; for it is believed to be walking against the plan of God for his chosen people. This was evident in the life of Abraham, when his wife Sarah, could not give birth for a considerable length of time after God had promised that he would be the father of multitude of nations. Sarah’s infertility at that point in time was a stumbling block to the actualization of this wonderful plan of God. This makes childlessness an evil that must be combated.
Fundamentally, the Old Testament considers childlessness as an evil that must be struggled against. Xavier Leon- Dufour observes that sterility goes against the command, of the creator who desires fruitfulness and life. This is obviously the mentality of the people of Israel. Like the typical African society, the people of Israel believed that not to have one’s name survived is a sign of shame, and perhaps, failure in life. This explains why Abraham questioned God thus: “What does my adopted servant matter, if I perish without children.” In the same vein, Sarah felt despised by the fruitful servant woman, and would not see herself as worth anything before her. Many persons in this state of life actually feel much less important before those whose marriages are fruitful. Others like Rachel who said to her husband: “Give me child or I die” believe that it is better to die than to remain childless. But if one understands that it is God that bestows or denies motherhood, just as Jacob responded to his wife Rachel, one would come to the realization that there is more to marriage life than procreation.”
From the responses of Jacob, it is patently obvious that it is God that gives or denies fruitfulness in marriage. The sacred writer(s) of the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy tend to show that it is reserved to God alone to conquer childlessness in marriage, and he never failed to manifest his omnipotence in this regard. It goes without saying that the only task onus on man is complete trust and dependence on God who gives generously to whomever he chooses. However, the kind of struggle against childlessness prevalent in the Old Testament was the practice of allowing another woman either a slave or free citizen to take the place of the real wife and beget children on her behalf. This was what Sarah and Rachel did to their husbands. But the type of battle one is required to wage on sterility in marriage is that of patient waiting in prayer and absolute trust and confidence in God: for prophet Habakkuk says: “Even if it delays, wait for it, for surely it will come” It is instructive to note that the ancestors of Israel were born of women who were childless in their marriage until their ripe old age. It goes to portray the omnipotence of God: that nothing is impossible for him and that he has the power to do whatever he wills.
Childlessness In The New Testament
The New Testament gives us the account of the life of Elizabeth who was believed to be sterile until God’s miraculous intervention at her old age. It is a demonstration that there is no impossibility in the sight of God. More importantly, it is from this woman who was considered to be barren, came the one who the scripture describes as the greatest of all men born of woman. It is pertinent to note also, that the story of Elizabeth is much similar to that of Hannah, who earnestly prayed to God to open her womb after many years of barrenness; “because the Lord had closed her womb.” Samuel, the prophet and the seer, who anointed the first ‘ling of Israel was the fruit of her patient waiting on the Lord in prayer. Though man is commanded to be fruitful and multiply in Genesis account of creation, Jesus in the New Testament teaches that some are made childless, fruitless or eunuchs either by nature (if they are born so), by men or by themselves for the sake of the kingdom. Similarly, St. Paul in one of his epistles writes that it is good to remain childless, especially those who were not given .in marriage. In other words, it is worthwhile, in fact, a gift to be single. By this, Paul means that not all are meant to be fruitful as in having one’s name survived; for the unmarried are concerned with the Lord’s affairs. Thus, the New Testament understanding is that childlessness could be a vocational call to single life. On the other hand, the story of Elizabeth shows that childlessness within marriage contradicts God’s plan and promises, though he could closed any womb only to open it at the appointed time for his own glory.
Edward contributed this piece from Port Harcourt.
Assemblies Of God Women Move To Check Hypertension Prevalence
As the women of Assemblies of God, Ikwerre -South District, aka Canaan City, converged for a three-day religious summit in Alakahia, Port Harcourt, the need for a careful living to check the prevalence of high blood pressure, otherwise called hypertension, has been reechoed. This is part of the obligations of the management of the women department at the district level, at improving the wellbeing of its members.
Hypertension is a health condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Usually, it is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Addressing participants at the conference, recently, Dr Okpako Ebruphiyo highlighted age, black race, family history, overweight and sedentary living as risk factors for hypertension and cautioned them against the intake of alcohol and table salt as such ingredients are not only capable of provoking high blood pressure, but could exacerbate its existence in the body.
The medical expert who emphasised the imperative for body relaxation as a measure against stress, called for regular exercise, regular medical checkup as well as intake of less carbohydrate with more vegetables. Referring to hypertension as a silent killer, she warned that a careless attitude towards it would lead to stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in kidneys, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. Others include metabolic syndrome, trouble with memory or understanding and dementia.
Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women. The prevalence and severity of hypertension rise markedly with age, and blood pressure control becomes more difficult with aging in both genders, particularly in women. According to research, hypertension is less common in women, compared with men, in those younger than 65 years of age, but is more common in elderly (65 years and older) women than men.
As a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
Want Your Marriage To Work?
Everyone you marry has a weakness. Only God does not have a weakness. So if you focus on your spouse’s weakness you can’t get the best out of his/her strength.
Everyone has a dark history. No one is an angel. When you get married or you want to get married, stop digging into someone’s past. What matters most is the present life of your partner. Old things have passed away. Forgive and forget. Focus on the present and the future.
Every marriage has its own challenges. Marriage is not a bed of roses. Every good marriage has gone through its own test of blazing fire. True love proves in times of challenges. Fight for your marriage. Make up your mind to stay with your spouse in times of need. Remember the vow: For better for worse. In sickness and in health be there.
Every marriage has different levels of success. Don’t compare your marriage with that of any one else. We can never be equal. Some will be far, some behind. To avoid marriage stresses, be patient, work hard and with time your marriage dreams shall come true.
To get married is declaring war. When you get married you must declare war against enemies of marriage. Some enemies of marriage are:
Ignorance, Prayerlessness, Unforgiveness, Third party influence, Stinginess, Stubbornness Lack of love, Rudeness, Laziness, Disrespect, Cheating etc. Be ready to fight to maintain your marriage zone.
There is no perfect marriage. There is no ready – made marriage. Marriage is hard work. Volunteer yourself to work daily on it. Marriage is like a car that needs proper maintenance and proper service. If this is not done it will break down somewhere exposing the owner to danger, or some unhealthy circumstances. Let us not be careless about our marriages.
God cannot give you a complete person you desire. He gives you the person in the form of raw materials in order for you to mold the person into what you desire. This can only be achieved through prayer, love and Patience
Getting married is taking a huge risk. You can not predict what will happen in the future. Situations may change so leave room for adjustments. Husband can lose his good job or you may fail to have babies. All these require you to be prayerful otherwise you might divorce.
Marriage is not a contract. It is permanent. It needs total commitment. Love is the glue that sticks the couple together. Divorce starts in the mind and the devil feeds the mind. Never ever entertain thoughts of getting a divorce. Never threaten your spouse with divorce. Choose to remain married. God hates divorce.
Every marriage has a price to pay. Marriage is like a bank account. It is the money that you deposit that you withdraw. If you don’t deposit love, peace and care into your marriage, you are not a candidate for a blissful home.
So today let us pray for our marriages.
Oshoala Tasks Nigerian Girls On Education
Reigning CAF Woman Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala, has urged Nigerian girls to focus on their education while exhibiting talents in sports, especially football.
Oshoala, also the Captain of the senior national female football team, Super Falcons, spoke at the 59th Inter-House Sports Competition of Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos, on Saturday.
According to her, proper education can guarantee success of any individual and ensure production of exemplary future leaders.
She said that education could go side-by-side with sports, adding that in such a situation, one should not suffer because of the other.
“I feel very happy to be here today. I am amazed with what I have witnessed here today. It is very heartwarming.
“I am excited seeing girls compete with much zeal in the various sports showcased at this occasion.
“It shows that these girls are discovering their passion for sports unlike what it used to be in the past, where it was an ‘all boys’ thing.
“Talking about football specifically, I will really love to have lots of Asisat Oshoalas in Nigeria, but first thing first: education is very critical,” she said.
The footballer said that there was the need to ensure that young people, especially girls, would take their education serious.
“This, however, does not stop them from showcasing their talents in the area of sports, especially football,” she said.
The four-time CAF African Woman Footballer of the Year, who plies her trade with the Barcelona Female Football Club in Spain, said that she almost missed out when she decided to opt out of education to concentrate on football.
“I chose sports at some point, but at the end of the day, I realised the place of education and retraced my steps by embracing it, while still being active in sports.
“This, therefore, is the right period to let these girls understand that education and sports can go hand-in-hand,” the Brand Ambassador of Emzor said.
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