My brother and his wife just had their second baby yesterday. There’s nothing like a brand new baby to remind me just how precious life is, and how blessed I am! For “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the son’s of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them!” (Psalm 127:3-5 RSV)
It doesn’t get any clearer than that — children are a blessing, period. Not just when we have enough money, or a big enough house, or when they are “planned,” or when they don’t require too much sacrifice on our parts. I will admit that there are times when I haven’t seen my fertility as the blessing that it is. I have my selfish moments, or even whole days, when I resent the sacrifices I have to make as a mom of many. Heck, I can’t even work out without finding someone to watch the baby! (Although sometimes that’s a handy excuse for being lazy!)
But the truth is, the benefits of living in a big family far outweigh the sacrifices when I remember to look at the big picture, and when I remember to keep myself centered in the Lord, and in His Word. It’s sometimes easy to get bogged down in the negatives: when money is tight, when you wonder if you can possibly fit any more bunk beds in the house, when the kids are squabbling all day . . . well, you get the idea — don’t want to get bogged down writing about it.
I was speaking with a woman at a social function one day when I was pregnant with my 4th or 5th. When she noticed I was pregnant (again!) she asked if I was “done” after this baby. I told her that I didn’t know, but that God did. Her response? “Don’t you want to have . . . like . . . a life?” I’ve never forgotten that, and not because I was offended by it, but because I found it so sad. For the life of me, I can’t think of anything I could be doing with my life that would be more valuable than raising children to the glory of God. And this woman had children of her own! How sad that she didn’t see the value in what she was doing as a mom, but was spending her time looking forward to “having a life!”
Honestly, I love my life, thank you very much! Is money tight? Yes, but there’s food on the table and a roof over our heads. Is our house crowded? You betcha! But I just spent an hour of quality time with two of the kids putting together our third bunk bed. Besides, how much room do they really need to sleep anyway?! Do my kids fight with each other? Of course. But I’m also seeing them enjoying each other’s company. Even at camp this summer, with their friends, they spent time together voluntarily. What a wonderful thing it is as a parent to see your kids becoming friends.
My children can be very unlikable at times. But overall, I really enjoy them. I even like my tweens and (gasp) my teenager! I look at each of my kids with their very different personalities, and I can’t imagine life without any one of them. And on my bad days, all I have to do is remind myself of the friends that I have who are experiencing infertility, who would be thrilled to have my “problems.” The key is remembering to practice gratitude — not something I’m always good at.
Now, of course, quivers come in all different sizes, so I’m not one of those people who thinks that everyone is called to have as many kids as they possibly can. The thing is, only God knows what He has planned for each of us. For today, I’m just grateful that mine is so large, and at times I feel undeserving of it. But that’s the beauty of our God — He gives us so much that we don’t deserve just because He loves us. I just pray that I can give Him glory through the way I parent my children, in spite of my unworthiness.