I would like to point out a wonderful blog. It is He Remembers the Barren - a blog about the issues and thoughts that come up with not being able to have children, adoption (and its difficulties) and the like.
There is a reason why I don't like focusing on how things are "supposed" to be - why I don't like going into discussions of Natural Law and things like that. Because in a sinful world, through no fault of our own, often things don't go like they "ought". When we say, "This is what your life should be" we so often forget the specific realities of how a person's life in a sinful world *is* - and people get stepped on and crushed with guilt and shame.
We live in a pressure packed society - a society that has invented phrases like, "keeping up with the Joneses". We have to worry about keeping up appearances and the the like. If you've been in Junior High, you know peer pressure. If you've lived in a neighborhood association, you get this. If you watch advertising, you understand the social pressure to keep up and do this, to buy that - regardless of the reality of your own needs and finances.
We ought to oppose these crushing pressures. They are cruel and mean because they are of the world, and the world is cruel and mean. It seems though that instead of telling people that they are free in Christ, that they don't have to play by the world's standards (which would be truly liberating), some folks want to just throw out a new and better standard.
Which just crushes people more.
Instead of comforting the one who cannot have the 2.4 children, we talk about how people should have 7 or 8 and just need to be more open to God's blessings. And they have to in order to grow the Church. Crush.
Instead of speaking gently to the people who fear that they can't afford more children, we just criticize them as being selfish instead of finding out why they are fearful. Or the parents who "only" have _____ children and feel that they can only handle what they have -- and we chastize them for not trusting more in God. Crush.
Or finding the person who is single and bemoaning how "good" Christians need to be married and establishing families... totally forgetting that marriage is given and established by God in His own time. Crush.
Instead of consoling the person who deals with sexual attraction to the their own gender and helping them deal with their struggles (pointing out that they are basically in the same situation as any unmarried person and that keeping passions in check is a pain), we will lambaste them for going against nature (as though my Swedish blood that calls out for me to plunder, pillage, and establish a harem somehow isn't against nature as God created it). Crush.
(What about the other denominations - you know, you are supposed to be rich and you will be if you just have enough faith! That crushes. Oh, you mean substituting "kids" for "cash" crushes people too... hmmm... but kids are a bless... oh, wait, so is my material stuff... yeah, they were both in the 1st article).
Instead of simply seeing the horrors of social pressure, it seems as though some in the Church have decided to "fight fire with fire." We become pious Rush Limbaughs declaring "the way things ought to be." We Crush.
That's not who I am as a pastor. I'm simply not. I don't worry now about how things "ought" to be... the time when things will be how they ought to be, but that is not now. Now, let's deal with what is.
You are a sinner who is pulled in many different directions, with guilt thrown upon you for things you have done, with false guilt and shame thrown upon you because you don't meet up to standards that someone else establishes. Sometimes you want to give into these temptations and pressures because you think it will make things easier.
You are forgiven by Christ Jesus. You are given life by Him. Even your life now. Even if it is not all it is cracked up to be (by some), even if there are pains and difficulties - temptations to face down and false expectations that won't be met. Even in the midst of this, you have life. Seeing Him, you have joy...
Not happiness, not necessarily pleasure... but joy. You have confidence in your salvation. You have confidence that He will make you endure, even unto life everlasting. You know that you are loved by Christ Jesus - whatever the world throws at you. These truths are the source of "joy" -- not necessarily happy feelings or emotional highs or your "best" life now... but that fruit of the Spirit that is tied to love and peace.
The Law no peace or joy ever gives, even if it is good. Especially if it is used as an artificial (though called "natural") standard of what your life should look like.
If you want to know what your life does look like - look at Christ Jesus. There is suffering, there is hardship - and there is life and salvation because of Him.