I din't know about you, but Sunday mornings tend to be my hardest day of the week. Sometimes it is pure chaos around here getting 7 children up, fed, and out the door fully clothed in something that doesn't look like the rolled around in the back yard. "Mom, I can'y find my....." is a very popular phrase. Mornings are usually a challenge for us to go places for other reasons as well. Plus I teach Sunday School and have to be at church early and I do not do late. Really. I cannot stand to be late and do everything I can to be somewhere on time. It just feels like Sunday mornings Satan is doing all he can to try and keep us from church and it can be difficult just to get there.
So we get out the door on time. Everyone is clothed and even the baby has shoes. Of course she was the last one up and barely touched her breakfast but that's ok, a few donuts once a week for the child that doesn't normally eat sweets will work just fine for breakfast. We get to church and start heading in, pausing for a gentlemen pushing his mother in a wheel chair that Christian holds the door open for and we make our way over to the donut table.
I am stopped on the way by an elderly gentleman that goes to my church. I say good morning and he says, " I feel sorry for you."
I said, "I'm sorry?"
"I watch you with all those kids and you do a good job keeping control of them, but I feel sorry for you having all those children."
I stood there for a second Stunned. Speechless. And then said, "Don't feel sorry for me. I would have a dozen more if I could." Then I turned, got the baby her donuts and headed over to greet my little preschoolers. My children, by the way, heard what he said.
Over the years , we have heard a lot of nasty, rude, and hurtful comments from people. But the sad part is that most of those comments have not come from strangers on the street, but from family, friends, and members of our church. And that actually is so much more hurtful than when it comes from strangers. And honestly, most of the time they don't think there is anything wrong with what they've said and that it is completely acceptable.
It saddens me to think that that is what someone thinks of when they look at my family. That you cold look at those beautiful, wonderful, amazing children and the first thing you think of is to feel sorry for the parents. I don't expect people to really understand or comprehend how I feel about children. I don't expect them to know first hand what God taught me about the miracle of life and how precious it is through fertility issues and the sudden and tragic loss of my brother. I don't expect people to understand the amazing capacity of love for children that God has given me that makes my heart just overflow. Or that I stand in amazement every single day that God chose me to be the mother of these precious children. But, as Christians maybe we should have an understanding of what the Bible has to say about children. Let's look at a few verses.
Psalm 127:3-5 "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court."
Psalm 139 13-16 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a] Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
James 1:17-"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
Genesis 1:28 "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Matthew 18:10 ""See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
Matthew 19:14 "Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
There is no recipe for the perfect size family. I would never tell someone I felt sorry for them because they have no children, or one child, or two. Some people choose to not have children, others choose to have only one or two. Some choose to have as many as God sees fit to give them. That decision is between the family and God.
Don't feel sorry for me. Raising children is hard and is a ton of work, but it is also an amazing blessing. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. If there are people we should feel sorry for in regards to children, let's think about those who don't value children and the results of those feelings. Millions of babies are murdered through abortion every year. Children are abused and neglected every day. Parents abandon their children. Orphanages and the foster care system overflow.
Now, I've got a snuggly 3 year old who has just woken up and I am going to take advantage of those snuggles for as long as she is willing to give them.