Thursday, February 10, 2011

Children are Like Books

Children are like books, you can never have too many. Books are like children, to be treasured and adored.
 -Deanna Cooner


A trip to the grocery store is never my favorite activity. Whether it's to fill a basket to overflowing, or to just to pick up a few things, I loathe grocery shopping.

The best and worst part of grocery shopping is the reaction I always get from complete strangers. I must shop with four kids in tow. Some of the time they run around my buggy and drive me crazy while they get in my way as well as other shoppers. Sometimes I get wise and make them follow behind me like little ducklings, youngest to oldest. I find myself much more sane with this method.

Sometimes, a couple little kids are packed away in the buggy beneath the granola bars, milk, and bags of fruit.

It doesn't matter the method in which I attempt to contain, control, or corral my children, I always receive the same remark from at least one stranger while shopping.

"My, you sure have got your hands full, don't you?"

Yes, I have my hands full with four children. I prefer it that way. Most people just chuckle and walk away, seemingly thankful they are not me.

The other day at the store was a particularly memorable encounter with one such stranger. As we passed in the main aisle, she smiled sweetly as she made her "full-hands" remark as I call it. I proudly tapped my belly and said, "Yes I do, and #5 is on the way too."

Some people say the "full-hands" remark adoringly, admiring the children. Some people say it bitterly, as if they are personally offended by my choice to have so many kids. This lady seem to be the former of the two strangers, until I announced our upcoming arrival. Her response shocked me and left me speechless.

"Oh my!" She exclaimed. "I would kill myself!"


The idea of children really do bring out the worst in people.

I can't help but wonder why so many Christians tell me I'm crazy, or I've lost my mind. Why when they talk to me about my choice to have a large family do they act like their own children are such a huge burden, almost to the point that they wish they had never had any at all?

I look to what the Bible says about children. Does it call them a burden?

"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;"
Psalm 127:3-5a

The Bible calls children a gift and a reward! One who has a quiver full of children, like myself, is blessed!

Through the instruction of the scripture, the choice to have children is never questioned, it is simply understood that one will have them.

"Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation." Joel 1:3

Instructions are given over and over again on how to raise children, what to teach them and how to teach them.

I haven't even mentioned one of the most common commands God gave from the very beginning of man.
You can find the words "fruitful and multiply" over 600 times in the Bible!

Even our traditions point to the blessing and reward of children. Today a couple might choose to have rice, birdseed, or bubbles thrown over them as they leave their wedding reception, but the tradition began with nuts and seeds being thrown instead. It was a blessing on the newly wed couple, that they might be "fruitful and multiply" or have lots of children!

Somewhere along the way, our society decided their blessings, rewards, and gifts were just burdens. It is still so natural for us to want children, but because they are such a burden we limit just how burdened we will become.

I'm not saying everyone should have a large family. I'm not even saying everyone should have children (because I believe strongly there are some that just shouldn't have many children). It truly is a calling from God to multiply your family so greatly.

What I am saying is that our attitude is corrupt. What message are we sending our children- the next generation and the ones who will be caring for us and making decision for us eventually- when we say things like, "I would kill myself,"? We are telling them,  "I would rather suffer death, than suffer with you."

I pray that my children's ears are deafened when people say such ugly things about them. I pray that even when I am having the most difficult time at the grocery store with my children in tow, I will treat them like the precious treasures they are, so that everyone will know just how valuable my children, and your children and every child in this world truly is.

Not only is our attitude toward children corrupt, but we have arrogantly made ourselves police over God's domain, and other people's choices.

For a person to be offended by my choice of the number of children I have is ridiculous! Just as it is ridiculous for people to be offended by my choice to homeschool my own God- given children. We have made ourselves the sovereign authority on just how many children one couple should bring forth into this world. God is the only sovereign authority on any one person's life and only He has the authority to say, "Just because it's raining doesn't mean you have to stand out in it and get wet."

God alone gives life and enables one to give birth. He may even close a woman's womb, but only He has the power and authority to do so.

"Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb." Genesis 30:22

He also is the only one with the power to bring forth life no matter how much we try to prevent it. Many of those babies aborted were created while birth control was in use.

It is time we return to the attitude God intended for us. Children are precious, desirable, and a treasure. Children should be protected, defended, and taught in the ways of the Lord.  It's time we stop casting judgemental eyes toward those that choose to enlarge their family and experience an even greater reward.

It is never easy, to have even one child, much less many more, but the reward for each child is truly worth the sacrifice and work that they require.