As I'm slowly, and yet quickly, creeping up to the end of this pregnancy, I'm finding myself more and more thinking about life and the choices I have made. To be honest, this is mostly at night, for during the sunlight of the day, I'm quite busy and sometimes it's all I can do to remember to not leave someone somewhere. Yet on the occasions when I rock Damaris to sleep for her nap, I am awarded time to think on these things. As I gaze down at her face, sleepy eyed and yet comfortable, leaning in towards my chest and snuggling in to get even closer, I think about where I would be now if I followed main stream advice. You know the kind: get a college education, make something of yourself, don't settle down until you're well established, have fun before you have kids, 2 or 3 children are good numbers, find a good daycare for your child(ren), . . . and on and on it goes. I chose to not follow that advice simply because it's not Biblical. Not at first, though. I have always known that my "calling" was to be a wife and mother. I never aspired to be anything else. I did attend college, 1 1/2 years, but I was never fulfilled by it. I knew in my heart that a career was not what God had for me. It wasn't until after I was married and we had our first child that I began to see and understand what the Bible has to say about being a mother. Before I go any further, I need to clarify something: I am in no way "bashing" or meaning to put in a negative light those women who have chosen something other than what I have chosen to do with my life. My life style is not for everyone and that's okay. While I do strongly encourage all mothers to seek out what the Bible has to say about motherhood, the road we all walk has different steps in it. I'm just simply talking about mine.
As time went on, Adam and I became convicted that since the control already rests in God's hands, why not acknowledge it? Yes, He gives us a choice and we live with those choices. God is not a puppet master nor does He put a top in motion and sit back to see what happens. Ultimately, He has the control. It became evident to us that, as Christians, we need to give up all pretense of control in our lives and fully submit to Him. One of the "hot topic" areas of this submission is the size of our family. When you go into a restaurant, what size tables do you see more often? A table that seats 4. When you see a commercial for a family vehicle, what size family is depicted? A family of 4. When you read a "family friendly" recipe, what is the usual yield amount? It serves 4 people. It is obvious that a larger family of 4 is not seen as the norm (whether it is or not, I don't know). So when you have more than the assumed two children, you become an oddity. And that status only grows with the more children you add to your family. My husband and I are convinced that not using birth control of any kind is what the Lord wants for our family. But this is not widely excepted. We are often times seen as irresponsible, stupid (for not knowing what causes that), selfish (people often assume we are on welfare, for "no one can afford that size of a family on one income".), and many other things. To me, isn't it more responsible to trust the One who knows more about what you can handle then you know yourself? I mean, we have a good idea of what we each can handle and how far we can be stretched. But don't you think God knows more than you do, even about yourself? He knows what we can physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially handle. It seems more "common sense" to trust the One who knows everything, then to trust myself who doesn't even know what's for supper.
I have long since given up caring what others think of me or of my choices. As long as I am pleasing the Lord, and not being a stumbling block to another, what does it matter to me what they think? If we had followed conventional advice and the going trend, more than half of my children would not be. They simply wouldn't exist. I would not have the sweet spirit of Isaac, who, even at the tender age of 6, often times goes without so someone else can have. Who constantly lives up to his name (which means "laughter") and is the soft buffer between his sisters. I would not have the sparkling blue eyes of Malachi, lovingly looking up at me, with arms always ready for a hug. Who's obsession with Legos is astounding and who's personality is a stabilizer of sorts in our tribe. I would not have the impish grin of Nathaniel, who's tenacity is without limit! Who's energy is amazing, yet coupled with his gentleness is humbling. I would not have the sweet snuggling ways of Damaris, who loves her Daddy in such a way that makes my heart melt each time I see them together. Who has the most contagious laugh and a smile that lights up her whole face. And I would not have this beautiful spirit wiggling inside of me, just waiting to live the life and potential that God has created him/her for.
Contrary to what popular belief says, I have not "lost myself." Quite the contrary: I have found myself. I am not without identity: I'm the crazy woman with almost 7 children! I am my own person. And yet, I am Mama to many, which makes me not my own. Being a mother is not about "me". That'll come later. When the children are all grown (and yes, there will come a time when that will happen even for me. I will not have children forever. ), and the house is quiet and will finally stay clean for longer than overnight, there will be plenty of time for "me". Being a mother is about "them" and what their needs are. Being a mother is about putting your child(ren) first, before yourself. Not before your marriage, but before yourself. So where would I be if I had not listened to His call and followed another path? I would not be as happy as I am right now, knowing that my beautiful children are all safely tucked into their beds (or at least on their beds) and that they exist at all. I would not be as fulfilled with a career as I am with the job of teaching my children in the ways of the Lord, and I would be without the knowledge that God has deemed me worthy to be a mother of many.
I get 2 questions regularly asked me:
1. Are you going to have any more kids? I would like to.
2. How many children do you want? All of them.
Blessings this week!