Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Having a Big Family

I grew up the youngest of 5 kids.  And I LOVED it.  Seriously.  I would have loved it even more if we had been closer in age, but I always knew that there was someone who could take care of me.

Now, I have 4 children of my own, and it shocks me how unfortunate most people's view of large families is in our culture.  As the youngest of 5, I would always get the shocked looks that I came from such a "big" family (not really that big, in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there...), but not the judgment because I was not the one in control of the size of my family.

Apparently, now that I am deemed "in control" of how many kids I have, everyone feels the need to give their 2 cents on the size of my family.  I've heard it all:

"Aren't you pregnant for, like, the 20th time?"
"You are ALWAYS pregnant!"
"You know how that happens, right?"  (Best comeback I ever heard for this one - "Yes, we're quite good at it.  Why, do you need some pointers?"  Ha ha ha!!!!)
"Birth control was created for a reason"
"You've certainly got your hands full!"
"I just couldn't handle all that craziness and noise."
"They're certainly very busy"
"Are they all yours?!"
"You've been busy (wink wink)"

And then there are the things that people don't say in words, but say very clearly with their actions.  The looks of condescension and disgust when they start visually counting my children.

I'll admit - when I was younger, I probably did the same thing - because I couldn't even fathom how I would handle a family this size.  When something is outside of your experience and seems to be overwhelming, you tend to think either you couldn't or wouldn't want to deal with it.

Is having a bunch of kids easy?  Is having even ONE kid easy??  Of course not.  No one ever said it was, nor was it meant to be.

I think our culture views parenthood and children in a very skewed way.

The world says:

  • Children are objects to fulfill you.  
  • Being a parent shouldn't be all that hard.
  • Your life is all about you and your happiness.
  • There is no way you can be happy or content if you have too many children because they take up too much of your time.
  • You can't possibly give each of your children what they need if you have more than 1 or 2.
  • Children are a burden to be avoided.
  • Adoption is only a last resort when you can't have children of your own.
  • If a child is "damaged", then it is not worth having

The Bible says:

  • Children are human beings from conception and are not here for you but for the glory of God, just as all human beings are.
  • Being a parent is difficult but immensely rewarding.
  • Your life is about God's glory and becoming more like Him.
  • Contentment and joy come from the Lord - not from your surroundings.  You can have them regardless of what is going on in your life and surroundings by simply choosing to rest in Him.
  • You have to be intentional as a parent to give each child what they need, but also need to rest in the Lord that He will show you what they need and what you need to do about it.
  • Children are a blessing and a reward - regardless of how they come into your family (through either giving birth or through adoption)
  • Children, regardless of their status (healthy, sick, developmentally delayed, etc.) are all fearfully and wonderfully made. 
I've read the first few verses of Psalm 127 in several versions to compare:

Contemporary English Version: 127:3 "Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord"
The Message: "Don't you see that children are God's best gift?  The fruit of the womb His generous legacy?"
Common English Bible: "No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a divine reward."

Then I did a dictionary search on a few words, and these are my favorite definitions for them:

Blessing: To consecrate or render holy, beneficial, or prosperous by means of a religious rite.  To make or pronounce holy.
(Holy: Dedicated or devoted to the service of God.  Dedicate: To offer fully in testimony of affection or respect.)
Reward: Something given or received in return for service, merit, or hardship.
Gift: Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone.

Hmmm...let's think about that...

Because God loves me and wants to give me good things, he gave me children to show His favor to me, and to make me offer myself fully to His service out of affection and respect for Him.

..............I'll let that sink in.

Yes, it might get crazy, loud, and frustrating in my house.  And if I give in to my human nature, I might just lose my mind.  But when I step back, take a deep breath and allow the Holy Spirit to overcome my flesh, I'll still lose my mind but I'll gain His in the process. 

 I'll have insight into the way the Father sees me in a way I never would have without children.  I see all the ways I fail and the ways He will never fail me or my children.  I see how He can overcome all of my mistakes and even use them for His glory and to point others to Himself.

That's how God chose to bless me.  He might not choose to bless you that way, but if you belong to Him, He will bless you in many other rich ways.  Do not look to having children as the only way to be blessed, but don't look at it as a burden, either.  See it for what it is.  If God does not have this is store for you, He will let you know.  If that's the case, then He has different plans for you - and as hard as that might be to hear right now, His plans are always the best ones.  

Be encouraged, sweet friends, whatever path you are on.  God loves you - you can rest in that :D


  1. I LOVE this post! I don't know how many kids we will end up having because I don't know how many kids God intends for us to have, but I think big families are full of blessings. I grew up basically an only child and have always wanted a big family :) And it's true that even having one child is hard but so rewarding!


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