Do you think of yourself as a selfless person? Does the thought of others and THEIR feelings come to your mind first, or does the thought of “how is this going to effect me?” I recently watched an airing of Dateline that really forced me to do some heavy introspection. I truly found this episode challenging my “radar” as to whether I would do the godly thing if I were in this position. I do not want to be thought of by the Lord as a woman who lived a selfish life, so I really had to ponder this one. As a Christian woman, isn’t this what God expects from us? We need to look at the world through a “God filter” and decide what He would want us to do, or what the appropriate response from us should be. We should be challenged to be a light for the world and shine for Him-no matter how hard the situation may be. Let me start with the story of this couple on the show.
The story begins with a couple who married and wanted to start a family right away. They were blessed with a son, and then later, another son. Then the third pregnancy is where the difficulties started. She had trouble conceiving, so they used in-vitro fertilization; a high-risk pregnancy; high blood pressure; baby born pre-maturely with a low birth weight; but they were thrilled to add a beautiful baby girl to their family. The couple also had more embryos frozen to be used for future implantation. Because it took a long time to get pregnant the third time, there was quite a gap between the second and third babies, more than ten years. The couple knew they were getting older now, so they went back to the doctor fairly soon after their daughter was born for another implantation. What happened next was incredible to me-
she received a call from the doctor’s office that she was pregnant-but with another couple’s child! (The couples shared the same last name, and the clinic neglected to check the mother’s birth dates.) What does she do now? They desperately wanted more children, but the baby she was carrying was not biologically her and her husbands. The clinic told them that she had full rights to end the pregnancy-but she clearly stated that this was not even an option for them. They decided their next step was to have the clinic check to see if the biological parents of the baby would want the child-knowing that someone else was carrying the baby for them. The other couple had twins, but were thrilled to have another baby, especially knowing it was their biological child.
So what would YOU do at this point? You so very much want to have another child-and now you find out you are carrying someone else’s baby? Her and her husband agonized over this, and kept the pregnancy a secret from family and friends while they made their decision. Since she had troubled pregnancies before, they wanted to make sure she was not going to miscarry. They did decide that they had to make the unselfish, godly choice-to give the baby to his biological parents. She had a very stressful pregnancy with weekly ultrasounds and injections, but she was able to carry the baby to almost full-term. The healthy baby boy weighed five pounds. Another heart-wrenching aspect of this story is that while she was pregnant, doctors advised her that this should probably be her last pregnancy. Because of her age and the high risks she faced, she was encouraged to have a surrogate mother carry her remaining frozen embryos, so that is what they decided to do. Sadly, the surrogate miscarried their last two pregnancies. So as this couple was passing this beautiful baby boy to his parents in the hospital, needless to say there was not a dry eye in the room (or in our living room as we were watching). What a selfless couple!
What impressed me about this story though, is how the couple carrying the baby made their decision. When it got down to the final call, here’s what they said, “What would we do if the situation were reversed? Would we want her to carry the pregnancy to full-term? Would we want ‘our’ child after delivery?” They thought through the questions in a totally selfless manner. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
I am encouraged and emboldened by this couple. Even though the story did not mention their religious affiliation, you could tell that God was a part of their life. This story reminded me of warriors in the faith who also made selfless decisions: Daniel (Daniel 2:24); Ruth (Ruth 1:16); Esther (Esther 4:16); Paul (1 Corinthians 9:22-23); and Rahab (Joshua 2:6), and the list goes on and on. Of course, we know the most selfless act was shown by our God and told of in Hebrews 2:9, “But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”
Let me challenge you, Sisters, to make decisions in a selfless manner. Take yourself out of the equation and think of others needs before your own. Isn’t that what our Lord and Savior came to be an example of? “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11
Robin Martin and her husband Randy are members at the South Twin Cities Church of Christ in Rosemount, MN, where Randy ministers as an elder. They just celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary! They have seven children together, four of whom have married Christian spouses, giving them eight grandchildren! Robin enjoys running her in-home licensed daycare, teaching the baby and toddler classes for the church, leading ladies’ devotionals, and has had the privilege of speaking at Ladies Days in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa. She loves to sew, quilt, cook, host events, and spend time with her family and friends!