Monday, September 16, 2013

Poison darts or arrows?

In the summer of 2010, we joyfully announced the expectation of our now 2 1/2 year old son.  Although news of him was a surprise to us (and after the initial shock was absorbed) we were thrilled to be expecting our fourth child----and third son.  I could not imagine life without my sweet little man, a gentle, considerate, slightly shy compilation of his older siblings.  He has soothed sorrows, brought much joy, and delighted our entire brood.

By the fall of 2010, I was growing weary.  Yes, I was pregnancy-weary, and I was homeschooling-weary, and I was housework- and discipline-weary.  But what I was really, really weary of was all of the intrusive, rude, misguided statements.  Statements framed as questions, yet hedging judgement and disdain for something of no concern to them.

"Are these all yours?!?  My, you will have your hands FULL!  Another boy?!? Your poor daughter!"

And my personal favorite, the one reducing the intended recipient of the question to a 10th grade health class flunky:


Being the wife of a preacher man does not come with an automatic proclivity to keeping one's mouth shut, although there are so many times that would be most helpful.  I did mostly smile and nod and "Hahaha" to the bulk of the commentary, but I do recall one unfortunate woman who received a, "No, perhaps you can enlighten me.  I just keep waking up all swollen like this" quip.

Four kids entered me deeper into the Freak Zone, deeper than special needs, deeper than homeschooling and deeper than a husband who preaches the gospel.When I talk of autism spectrum stuff or homeschooling, I make waves. When I introduce myself to people and tell them about my husband, I sometimes joke that I am wearing the "Scarlet P" on my chest, for "Preacher's Wife".  I can sense in some an icy demeanor change upon that announcement, but generally people are still respectful.  But for some reason my swelling abdomen was a permission slip for commentary about population control.

And four kids isn't even that many kids!  I live fairly close to Ohio's largest Amish population.  Fourteen, sixteen kids-----THAT is a lot of kids.  Four is still "regular mini van".  Four is just past needing only one hotel room, just past the family sleeper car on Amtrak, just past pickup trucks with extended cabs.  But it is still a normal amount of kids. 

Just like so many other societal "norms", we are going against the Book in our attitude and in our world view.

The Bible teaches us that:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.----Psalms 127:3-5

God rewards us with children.  They are his reward to us.  And like all blessings, they are given to us for at least two reasons:
1.  For our enjoyment
2.  For our edification.

We are to find joy in our children.  Children, like spouses, are given to us in part to bring us joy.  If we aren't feeling joy in our relationships with our blessings, it is a sign that something is not right.  Usually for me, this is a sign that I need to get down to business with the Lord by praying about the situation, searching the scriptures, and asking for His wisdom to discern the truth about my heart.  Sometimes I see my blessings as burdens.  This is a huge red flag that needs to be addressed when it arises.

Children teach us how to be better children of God.  My marriage has taught me about the mercy of Jesus.  My parenthood has taught me about my His wonderful, marvelous grace.  The Lord is so patient, so long suffering, and so willing to bless me--even in spite of my willful disobedience, my stubborn nature, my lack of showing grace toward others.  It shows me, that in comparison ---not to other moms or people on T.V., but in comparison to Him and Him alone---- that I am NOT patient.  I am NOT long suffering, and I do NOT extend grace even to my flesh and blood children as I should.  It helps me to humbly ask His forgiveness (and many times, my children's forgiveness) for my ways, and that humility reminds me of who I am in His sight.  I am only the daughter of a king through the merciful spirit of adoption. That knowledge in my soul gives me strength to extend grace to others.

There is not a respect given toward children in our world.  We
                                    preoccupy them with gadgets, rather than teach patience, diligence and respect;
                                    pacify them, rather than show them how to work;
                                    shelter them, rather than instruct how to handle responsibilities;
                                    thrust them into a popular culture they don't have the tools to navigate in. 

Our blessings should be cultivated gently and carefully and purposefully, like a garden.  Gardens will weed naturally, but a carefully cultivated garden will yield much fruit for the labor.

Hannah purposefully raised a child, only to give him back to the Lord.  In surrendering what she held so dear, she actually found her heart's desire; a child that would honor the Lord with his life.  By contrast, Eli took a less diligent approach to child rearing, and reaped a garden full of weeds, fit only to be burned down.

Big, wonderful families are blessings from God.  Those doing the task of raising them need our support and encouragement, not our scorn. 

I had two differing reactions this week to my "big" family.  Earlier I called on our first rental possibility in Oregon.  Upon finding out how many children we have, the landlord exclaimed, "Oh honey---that's too many kids for my septic tank to handle."  This left me in Mama Grizzly mode, although it would not be the first time a person has frowned upon or discriminated against our number of kids.

But today, a sweet older man at Sam's Club saw me with the kids, and we were having a good time eating pizza before shopping.  He watched us for quite some time and said to me, "I bet you wish you had four more swirling around you.  They sure are wonderful." 

And that was awesome.

Lord, help us to see our little people as blessings. Give us wisdom to teach and live out lives before them that are honorable and exemplary of what You want us to be.  Help us to encourage and support those with small children in any way we can.

Love to you all this beautiful day-----
Sandra :)

1 comment:

  1. BEAUTIFUL, Love this family so much.