About 3 weeks prior to giving birth to Jackson, my mind was set on tubal ligation. I was “done” having babies. – then I heard God clearly say “You’re going to have a son who’s going to help him (Jackson) in his ministry.” And I knew then that I wasn’t done having babies. I was honestly crushed and my first reaction was a curse word.
It took almost a year before I was even entertaining the thought seriously of having more children. I didn’t want more. It’s not that I don’t love kids, it’s that I’m a planner. I look at the realities of how much raising kids costs, what my husband’s career goals are, and I evaluate the health needs of my family (spiritual, mental, physical) along with economics. Having more kids makes absolutely zero sense financially. Looking at it from a purely spiritual viewpoint, it makes a *little more sense. I grow more with each child. I’m stretched beyond what I thought I could handle and I’m faced with many more faith building situations with each child’s unique set of life challenges – illnesses, discipline methods, personality clashes, learning differences, to name a few. Bottom line: raising kids is really tough! It’s not for the selfish, lazy or faint of heart. It grows you, changes you and redirects your focus to something so much bigger than yourself. There are so many parallels between parenthood and our faith walk that are beautiful, affirming and shore us repeatedly that God alone is fully worthy of praise. Parenthood is the toughest role I’ve ever taken on and I’m grateful that Anthony and I never have to do it alone. God is always here.
Parenthood brings multiple challenges especially harsh criticisms and judgment, even from people who truly don’t mean any harm. I see the looks people give me when one of my kids acts out in public. They’re judgemental, condemning. They reduce me to mere inches before I fight inwardly with myself to “toughen up”. When people discover I’m pregnant with my fourth baby, many make rude and disparaging comments such as:
“you know what causes that, right” ( Yeah, and it’s both fun and biblical to enjoy sex and have loads of it)
“All from the same father?” ( We’ve been together twenty years, so YES!)
“What are you going to do with four?” (Do you have any idea how much this one makes me feel like you’re calling me a horrible mother? Love them. I’m going to LOVE them.)
“Are you done after this?” (Ask God. It’s His choice how much He wants to bless us.)
“I just never saw the point in having so many kids when there’s so many unwanted kids already waiting to be adopted.” (Then go adopt and stop harassing me. I don’t fully disagree with you. I hope to adopt someday, too.)
“Can you handle another?” (I have to mentally edit at least five potential responses before I gracefully end with “yes, with God’s help.”)
Bottom line, I’m not done having children until the Lord shuts my womb. I fully trust Him to make that time abundantly clear. He has guided me through every other major decision and life change. I’m not going to stop trusting Him now. Can I “afford” more kids? Nope. Am I daily concerned with that fact? You betcha! I take that to Him in prayer almost hourly some days. He always provides. My faith grows and my husband, children and I are absolutely never without our most basic need – Jesus.
It’s time to change our views on parenthood, family sizes and pregnancy in the USA. We have, as a society at large, such a disconnect from God, from the Bible’s Wisdom and solid teaching and from simple faith, causing us to make far too many wrong, unbiblical and hurtful assumptions. God’s providence doesn’t always look the way we believe it will. It rarely involves comfortable methods for any party involved and it very rarely involves actual currency (for those overly concerned with that fact).
We’re so blessed to know, love and serve a very big God who intimately knows us, gives us infinitely more than we ever dared hope for and surrounds with His loving care and protection – even when it involves people and situations that cause us discomfort.
Parenthood is humbling. It’s terrifying at times. It’s always, always, always worth the sacrifices and hard work. We can all plan out our paths, but it’s the Lord who directs our steps. Maybe we could all be a bit more mindful of that?