A couple of weeks ago my mom shared her heart with me. "I hope you don't have any more," she told me. She explained that she wanted me to have a life of my own, things of my own. "It's a big sacrifice being a mother," she remarked.
My mom is seeing me be a mom. Seeing me struggle. Seeing me feel overwhelmed at times. Seeing me do without. And I know that's hard for a mom to see, because as parents I think we all want our children to have nice things, good experiences, and a happy life. It's pretty common for parents to want "better" for their kids than they had. For many, "better" means bigger houses, shinier cars, more stuff. If you haven't guessed by now, it's hard to keep up with the Jones with a large family.
There are a number of reasons I've heard as to why people shouldn't have "too many kids" but many of them go back to finances. They simply cost too much. (Believe me, I know. We have no money!) Some people have also said they just don't have the patience. Even my mom pointed out that I get frustrated and ill because there are "so many of them."
To be honest with you thinking about it all can get discouraging. But it's during times of discouragement that I do best to take refuge in the Lord. Sometimes it's best to turn a deaf ear to the world and tune in to what God has to say.
The world says, "Children are a burden! They're hard work and cost so much."
God says, "Children are a blessing. A reward. A heritage!" (Psalm 127:3-5)
The world says, "Accumlate as much as you can. Not only do you NEED a new car, a big house, expensive clothes, and vacations, you DESERVE it!"
God says, "Value what is eternal. This life is just a tiny stop on the journey." (1 John 2:17)
As I remind the kids when they are fighting over toys, people are more important than things. A while back we noticed that someone had misspelled Ryland's name ON THE SIDE OF OUR VAN (hint: It was Ryland.) You know, the van where countless drinks have been spilled, kids have thrown up on the seats, and there's enough crumbs hidden to sustain our entire family should we be trapped in a Georgia snow storm. But you know what? Even if I managed to keep our van nice and clean for 100 years, some day it will be garbage. Every single thing we own will! Don't waste your time and money loving garbage.
The world says, "It's hard having a bunch of kids. They're loud and annoying and want to eat, like, every single day! Keep calm by removing potential stressors from your life!"
God says, "Lay down your life for others. Be a living sacrifice." (Romans 12:1, John 15:13)
"But you're just not a patient person!" the world reminds you.
God says, "Be kind! Be patient! These are attributes Christians have because this is how I am!" He is the vine and we are the branches, remember?
God doesn't give us suggestions. He gives us commands. He expects us to be patient and kind and slow to anger. But don't worry, we don't have to do it by ourselves! One of my favorite verses is posted on our fridge so I can read it every single day: "Surely God is my help, The Lord is the one who sustains me. (See also Philippians 4:13, Psalm 46:1 and a bazillion others)
What an encouragement to know that there's more to life than just what you can grab as you pass through! There's more to you than what you wear or where you live or what you drive. You are eternal and important to the Creator of the universe! You can make a difference not only in other peoples' lives but their ETERNITIES by valuing them. The hardships you go through right now are worth it. They are not meaningless but have massive potential.
And as a side note I'd like to mention something the Lord used to encourage me one day. We Christians are supposed to be fishers of men--making disciples! It's a lot easier to fish for men when you have a big aquarium at home! ; )
This post isn't really about children. It's about taking God at His Word. He has given us the answers; we don't have to look to the world or try to figure them out on our own. We can have so much peace and joy if we look at things from God's point of view instead. Wherever you are in life, whatever that means for you, try it!