If I received a dollar for every time I heard the phrase, "Wow, you've got your hands full", I could be rich. I realize that I must look like quite the spectacle with my almost 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old and very petite 2 year old foster daughter. Not to mention my gargantuan watermelon belly screaming that we'll soon be adding another to our crew. I know I must look like a bit outside the norm, but it saddens my heart how much more often I hear comments of pity and distain rather than encouragement. You see, when I only had our son and daughter, I would head to the grocery store and hear positive "oohs" and "ahhs" and "what a beautiful family". But as our family has grown through foster care and as we wait the arrival of our fourth child, those comments are all but gone. Now I hear things like, "oh good two boys and two girls, now you can be done" and "wow, are these really ALL yours?" It's sad to live in a society that views children as a burden and inconvenience rather than a blessing, where having more than 2-3 kids is considered crazy or somehow wrong. I fear that our society has pushed family and children to the way end of "worthy" things worth doing in life; only once couples are ready to give up fun, youthfulness, and sleep. They are something only to be taken on once couples have achieved their career dreams, financial success, or the unforgiving biological clock ticks by and children become the next thing to do.
The truth is, despite what many people must think, I'm extremely happy! Yes, I'm busy. Yes, I have "nearly" a hand full. Yes, I get tired. But, yes, I enjoy how many kids we have!
I think the truth is that our society realizes that having children is hard work. It changes the depth of who you are. It takes a person (like me) who has been used to living life for me, myself and I, and puts a little person there who's needs take precedence over mine 9 times out of 10. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. In fact, there are few things in my life God has used to mold and change me more than having children.
You see, since becoming a mother, I've had to learn to become less selfish. I've had to give up some "creature comforts" so that we can make ends meet as a family. I've had to learn to become a morning person (still a work in progress on this one). But most importantly, I've been learning a whole lot more about God as my father and about what it means to love unconditionally. This life really isn't about me and living for what I want. This life is about God and about serving him in WHATEVER areas he has called me. I find the hardest days I have as a mother are the ones where my selfishness and quest for my own comfort (or sleep) are hindered by the little ones entrusted in my care. Overcoming my selfishness, the deepest rooted sin that I have, is a very challenging thing! Only with the help of God, the power of his Word and the right mindset of living for God rather than myself, do I find success.
So as I finish this post to take a hiatus from writing as we have our newest little family member, I honestly couldn't be more excited. Yes, I know what this new transition will mean for my sleeping habits, but I could care less. You see for all the work this newest little babe will add to my plate, the joy and blessing he will bring to our family will far outweigh all of that. Because God doesn't make mistakes, ever. Every word of God is true (Proverbs 30:5) and if he says children are a blessing, then you better believe that children, whether 2 or 20, will be just that: a wonderful blessing from the Lord.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. - Psalm 127:3-5