Thursday, November 14, 2013

You have how many kids!?!

I get interesting comments all the time because of the size of our family which some people think is so astronomically large (personally I do not think having six children is that many).

*Disclaimer: I do not judge people that have  fewer than I have. I realize there could be a variety of reasons ranging from illness, infertility or past miscarriages. I have a couple of friends who dealt with hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive nausea and vomiting) when they were pregnant. If that were my case, I do not know if I could have kept having more kids. I am simply addressing here the comments I happen to have received.

I am not sure why people often feel the need to make certain comments when they find out I have six kids. Sometimes it makes me wonder if they are experiencing some inner turmoil and conviction especially since I do not ask. Here are a sample of some of the comments people feel compelled to share with me:

"I am MORE than happy with my two!!!"

I was perfectly happy and content when I only had two as well. I realized however it was not just about me and what made ME happy. My children were not brought into existence for my enjoyment. It is an added bonus when I enjoy them but that is not their meaning and purpose in life. Their destiny is not necessarily intertwined with my destiny.

Each person is made in the image and likeness of God. We were conceived in God's heart before we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers. Each person has the capability of reflecting God's glory in a way that no other person on the planet can do. We each have our own unique characteristics, purpose, and dignity as human persons.

Often people in our culture think happiness is one of the most important emotions for us to experience in life. God however does not always promise us a life of happiness. He is more concerned with our holiness. If we will surrender to his will, we will obtain an even greater fruit of the Spirit in our life which is joy! Joy is something deeper and longer lasting than happiness.

I would like to say I am always happy with my children but the truth is, they do not always make me happy. I happen to have one child who seemed to be born miserable. She is miserable a lot of the time. What she teaches me is God's unconditional love. It is my job to steer her in the right direction so that through God's grace her seemingly negative personality traits can be transformed into positive traits for the Kingdom of God.

Several of my children happen to also be very strong-willed (not sure where they get that from). This was quite difficult to deal with when they were little but now that they are older, their strong-willed personalities have been transformed into a holy determination.

"I don't have the patience for more than one."

I don't either. That is probably why God gave me more than two. As a matter of fact, just when I think I am getting the patience virtue down, one of my children will test my patience severely and then I realize just how far I still have to go.  I don't know which saint said it, but one of the saints said, "You are only as virtuous as you are in the worst of situations." In other words, you could lock yourself in a closet, never go out and never see anyone so that you keep from sinning but that doesn't mean that your heart is clean. Children have a wonderful way of bringing out the ugliness that is in our heart and showing us how much our hearts still need to be purified and transformed. 

"I don't know how you do it?!" 

The truth is, I don't! People like to believe that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. That couldn't be further from the truth. Having six children, I am faced with my limitations and tremendous need for God's grace in my life every day. Everyday I am faced with more than I can handle. People ask how I do it. The only way I am able to "do it" is by leaning back in Christ and allowing him to "do it" through me. Having six children definitely keeps me humble. I am constantly faced with my own short comings.

"I can't afford more than two children."

Ironically usually the people that say this to me have nice cars, a nice house and nice things. It is usually a matter of where one's priorities lie. I shop at thrift stores, use cloth diapers and receive hand-me-downs for my children's clothes. Tom and I drive older cars that are paid off. Our house is older and spacious as opposed to newer and smaller. I will say however, God has always provided for us. Maybe not in the way we expected or wanted, but he has always taken care of our needs. In fact, with each pregnancy, Tom has gotten either a raise, bonus, or promotion while I was pregnant or right after the baby was born. We take that as God's little way of letting us know he's got our back.

"Are you done yet?!"

We think we are but it really isn't about us. Ultimately we are leaving it up to God. Some think that is foolishness and I'm okay with that.

I think the bottom line is to avoid looking at our own limited desires, situations, and what we think we are capable of. We serve a big God who is more than capable of moving mountains in our life, transforming us, and bringing about his purposes. All we need to do is surrender and trust!