As the mother of more than the socially acceptable 2.1 children in the US I have encountered more than my fair share of shocking comments when someone feels the freedom to share their most cogent thoughts upon seeing or hearing about our family size. “Can’t you figure out how to stop that??” is, truthfully, on the milder side of many comments we’ve received with similar sentiments.
But as we’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day, and I’ve had opportunity to have all my children around, along with some more recently acquired in-law children, I marvel at how silly those comments really are.
They are rude, yes, but mostly they come from people who simply cannot imagine how we manage – or why we choose to do so – so they allow the first thing that comes to their minds to slip out (always a bad plan in case you’re wondering).
But I do wonder if most people have ever thought about what they’re really saying.
Think about the last child or two that you have been blessed with. What would your life be like without them? Would you trade your life with them for a life without them? Would you rather have more money – or possessions – or freedoms – than that person in your life?
Perhaps we would have had nicer homes or cars or bigger savings accounts without all our darlings – but compared to the gift that each of their lives has been to us, those things become like cheap, dollar-store trinkets that break the first time you use them. Those things are quite literally nothing when it comes to how rich we have become through the relationships God has placed right in our family.
A long time ago we were challenged to think through how we viewed the gift of children. I had horrible pregnancies where I was hospitalized and ill for the duration of each one. We’ve experienced life-threatening illnesses and injuries and the loss of children; we’ve spent countless thousands on food and clothing and glasses and braces; we’ve lost sleep and gained weight; and we’ve had to say, “n0” to many, many good things.
But I wouldn’t trade one moment of any of their lives for any of the sparkling imitations of riches this world wants to offer me instead.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5
While our culture often does, the Bible does not speak of children in terms of burdens, loads, inconveniences, or afflictions. On the contrary, they are rightly described as gifts, treasures, rewards, blessings.
There are lots of reasons the world would give you to not accept the blessing God has in store for you – but think carefully first about who you will believe and whose words you will trust. Will not the one who hands you the gift – whom He treasures even more than you – not also provide you with all you need to take good care of the treasure as well? And isn’t it just like God to be kind enough to allow us to experience so much joy as we disciple each one to love and serve Him – and to raise the next generation to do the same?
Stop that?? Now really – would you?