I am pleased to announce I am now the mommy to 6 awesome children! A half dozen blessings, all hand sculpted by the Lord! Never did I think God had such favor to find me fit to raise 6 people! He either grades on a curve or sees something I don’t, either way, I am blessed!
But there is a dreaded moment in my near future where the questions and comments I receive change. The temperature drops and suddenly the warmth of congrats turns to the coldness of ‘This is it, right?’ I am not looking forward to it but I know my life is not the norm so I must be okay with answering my critics, whether I know them or not. Today, I will answer some just for you to eavesdrop on.
“What about your other children, they must feel so left out with no one-on-one time.”
This is one that I really dislike. Please find me the scripture about one on one time with children in the Bible. I am not saying it’s not important to spend time with our children, I often reward good behavior with a mommy/child date to get ice cream or I take one of my older ones to the store, my husband does the same with all of them even if its just a simple project like changing oil. It’s important to know each of our children for who they are but you do not always need to be alone with them to know them. You can learn a lot about a person in a group setting, even within a family. Often one person will ask questions another never thought to ask or a topic comes up you didn’t realize intrigued them. I have some that prefer alone time, others that prefer a crowd, it depends on the child. I do my best to meet the needs of each of them where they are.
I will admit I am not perfect and there are times my priorities shift to a sick child, pregnancy, a newborn, a big house project, ministry work, etc. and someone feels left out. I do my best to avoid this but it happens. This is a hard life lesson for children to learn when they realize they are not the center of the universe but they must realize it. Typically if this happens the symptoms become clear quickly through outward rebellion and the issue can rooted out and it can be fixed. Though its often not one on one time they crave, just time to be part of the group. My 3 year old often feels left out of bigger kids activities, slowly he gets to be a part of it. Last year, he couldn’t go to the springs to swim with Daddy (mainly because he did NOT grasp the concept of ‘underwater=bad’ and why sinking and swimming are different!), this year he gets to go with the older 3… and Leah, almost 2, is upset she can’t go with Daddy yet. The cycle continues! Alas, we must all be told no at some point in time but when we can say yes we should! I think of proverbs 3:28 “Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you” (ESV). Same for children, if your able, allow it or do it, if not, don’t.
My point here is it’s not just one on one time, it’s a family unit we are built as. I enjoy the times my oldest goes to the bank with me and we chat in the car or the times I get to cuddle a toddler but its not a goal. Our goal is to raise strong people to the glory of God, who can serve, lead, follow, work, pray, contribute and know they belong to something greater than themselves.
“But your body is so worn out!”
First off, thanks for the compliment (insert sarcasm here)… and yes, people say this! We, as women, were created to have babies. God, being God, is not dumb. He does not accidentally create life and He gives us what our bodies can handle. Is pregnancy tough, absolutely! I have had 2 pretty easy pregnancies and 4 pretty tough ones . I have 6 wonderful children. They were worth every time I threw up, every ache and pain, every pound I gained or struggled gaining like with Piper.
God never promises easy, He never says ‘this trial will be a breeze!’ Pregnancy can be a trial, just look at the fact its 40 weeks long! That’s a big number to God. I was 40 years in the desert for the Israelite’s, 40 days fasting for Jesus before He walked into ministry, 40 pops up a lot in scripture and usually it’s not a 40 day feast or party! This is no coincidence. But at the end of those 40 weeks we are sweetly rewarded with a precious new life entrusted to us to raise to the glory of God! My body is not worn out, it is being used for the reason in which it was created, to bring forth life. Maybe my stomach isn’t flat or those few extra pounds will never really go away but I get to bring people into the world. I will trade a pair of size 5 jeans for that privilege any day!
“But your risks of complications go up so much with each pregnancy!”
Let’s talk about what it means for ‘risks going up with each pregnancy’. My risks of dying in a skydiving accident is zero, why? I don’t skydive therefore making my risk level zero… unless I get hit by a skydiver who is landing! If a person skydives 1 time a year, they are increased risk than my zero risk, if they skydive weekly they are at a far greater risk. Have their risk per jump gone up, no. It’s the amount they skydive that increases their personal risks. Some could skydive daily for years with no issues. Others die the first jump. The more times you put yourself in a situation, the greater the risks.
Now this is true for most pregnancy related complications except for a few which are early postpartum hemorrhage (within 24 hours of giving birth), repeat c-section complications and gestational diabetes if you have had it before. I am not in this category fortunately, for those that are they need to bring that to the Lord and to their Midwife/doctor for advice. There are always exceptions to the rules but for the most part, in a normal healthy woman, increased pregnancy risks only increase because we are pregnant more often.
Funny enough a study came out recently that said women who have 6 or more children live longer. Same for fathers of 6, watch out world, Vince and I aren’t going anywhere soon, we are now in the elite class of ‘parents of 6’! J
“I only had 2, that’s all I could handle!”
I couldn’t handle 2, that’s why I had more! There is more peace in my home of 6 children then there ever was with just 2. We have a 5 year gap between #2 and #3. I had a very different (and wrong!) philosophy on parenting then, creating more rivalry than peace. God gave us that gap by His grace and fixed a lot that we had broken. Adding more children has really helped! It may be contrary to what everyone thinks but adding children breaks selfishness in other children, helps draw out personalities, helps me see Gods plan for our family even more clear.
I cannot handle 6 children under my own strength, in fact I can barely handle our yorkie, but God sees differently. He obviously sees something in me that’s stronger than I see myself. I am weak, He is strong. He gives me the grace and mercy to handle 6 children. I could not handle 6 when I had 1, I couldn’t handle 8 now that I have 6, why? It’s because I stand in my present, where God has brought me. With each child I have grown, each addition brings challenges and triumphs, exposes selfishness and pride and allows me to grow more into the likeness of my Savior. I cannot handle breathing without Jesus nor could I handle marriage, finances, friendship or anything else without His grace! Parenthood is the same no matter how many children you have. To raise a child without the grace and guidance of the Lord in your life is to drive blind, that’s why you crash into things! I need that light to see the path He has carved for me and each of our children, that wouldn’t change if we had 1 or 21.
“How selfish to have so many children!” (this one often said behind my back)
Yes, I can see how you feel I am selfish because I obviously must enjoy doing dishes, laundry, cooking and cleaning up after 6 children, a husband, dogs and myself. Ummm…no. My problem was that I was selfish which is why I needed a large family! I am an only child, I have perfected selfishness. I am good at manipulating, putting myself first, being lazy, sloppy and unorganized. Those are my talents. God didn’t see those as talents so He has broken me of those talents and created an environment that I must die to self every day! What a blessing! Being conformed unto Christ is hard, no matter our path or how God brings us there. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I am weak; I praise God He has found this as a way to show how strong He is through me.
“wow, 6, God bless you!”
He has, 6 times! I don’t have any idea why I found such favor with Him! This is usually said with sarcasm and no true intention of actually saying ‘God bless you’. Its more of a weird ‘I don’t know what else to say’ kind of statement, no longer holding on to the ‘God bless you’ we hear in church or from fellow Christians and more of the superstitious ‘God bless you’ we get after a sneeze. It’s a funny thing to me how people see children as a downside of sorts. The more there are the more burdened we are, oh, poor family with so many children. I have never had a conversation with someone whose husband got a promotion from $45,000 a year and now makes $55,000 a year and have them say “but I know that this is it for us, we are going to make sure we don’t make any more money than that, hes going to his boss on Monday and having his sign a paper that says ‘no more raises’ because we really feel he has hit the maximum level of promotion, have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” That would be craziness! Who is going to put a cap on financial blessing and reward?
Yet this is what we do with children. We put a cap on God. We say “Oh, I trust the Lord” when it comes to health, financial and increase in things but when it comes to children we cut Him off, not allowing Him to make the decision, just simply stating we ‘know we are done’. Do you really think the God you trust enough for your salvation is going to mess up with your womb? Children are not a happenstance; they are a heritage from the Lord. They don’t just come out of nowhere; they come out of Gods hands. If you trust Him with your soul it should be easy to trust Him with your womb. I am blessed to be the mom of 6. Could I be fortunate enough to have #7? I don’t know but I know the decision is not mine to make. I leave that up to the One who knows me best, my Creator.
Just a side note, I am not anti-birth control when it comes to barrier methods or NFP. I don’t believe they are Gods best but I don’t believe they are sinful unless God has convicted you and you are disobeying Him. I am against all hormonal birth control, IUD’s, etc. These are classified abortifactents and can kill a baby if it’s conceived (which happens more often than you may realize!). I believe the use of those kinds of birth control are sinful as they can result in the loss of life of a baby. They also have horrible side effects for a woman and can shorten her life by causing diseases like cancer.
“You know what causes that, right?”
No… please tell me, random stranger? People seem to not realize how inappropriate their comments are… until you turn it around on them and say, “no, what causes it?” or “yes, happy marriages!” or my favorite “oh, we dont have TV”.
and drumroll please…. the one I hear most often… the one every mom hears… the one that people STILL think is original…
“boy, you have your hands full”
Oh yes, I do! I also have a heart full of joy, love and blessings! God is amazing to have chosen me for this adventure I call family, my hands my be full for this season but one day my nest will empty. I will look back with no regrets on the number of children I had even if its more than the norm. I will watch them grow into the people God created them to be and remember they are here not because I am their mother but because God is their Father and their paths are created by Him. I have a front row seat and both hands fully immersed into the lives of 6 people. Yes, my hands are full, full of the greatest blessing I could ever imagine, motherhood.
In summary, I am telling you I am abundantly blessed beyond my wildest dreams! The Lord took a wretch of a 19 year old girl, saved her and has found her fit to not only be a wife but also a mom to 6! I went from an atheist, evolutionist ,‘live like Hell’, ‘you name the sin and I have done it’ person to a soundly saved, homeschooling mom of 6 who has the greatest passion to serve God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. You may dig through the Bible looking for miracles but I look at my life to see what God has done and realize it’s a miracle I am even here! Its amazing I am called to be the helpmeet to my husband, the mother to my children and the daughter to the most high God.