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!"

Wow!

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.



6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Amy. It always makes me sad when I hear other women talking about the next opportunity to "have a break" from their children. Don't get me wrong, we all need time to ourselves every now and then, but they do talk like it's a burden. I love time at home or anywhere else with both my guys. It infuriates Robert when he hears another dad say they had to babysit. Babysit! Aren't they your children? I love to watch the Duggar family on TV and commend them for being so bold and open about where God leads them. I don't know that I would want 19 children and counting, but I feel they truly believe that is the life they were called to. Anyway, I'm glad you pointed out the fact that, even if you have 1 child it's hard. I know people often wonder why we only wanted to have one child. We didn't. We tried for many years and Connor is what God have us. What a gift. We never felt lead to seek avenues to change that other than prayer. I struggled with the only child thing for a long time and God finally gave me peace about it. I'm not saying I understand why He only gave us 1 child but I trust that this is His will for us. We are blessed with the one He has given us and you with the 5. I'm so glad God has it all figured out.

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  2. I think you are a wonderful mother! I couldn't agree with this blog more! I love having 3 kids...maybe would have more if it were possible. They are each blessings and a true gift from God.
    I admire other mothers that "cherish" their time with their kids and don't pawn them off at every given chance. Afterall, they are OUR kids not our parents...our friends...our babysitters...
    I would give anything to be able to stay at home with my kids but I have to work to live...I don't consider it a 'break' from my kids to be at work all day... as soon as 5:00 hits I am rushing to spend as much time with them as possible.
    Well said Amy!!!!... now keep on multiplying :)
    Shae

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  3. Well said. I get frustrated as well, when I hear people say "I need a break." Why would anyone WANT a break from their children? I was a single mom for 4 years and it saddened me every time my baby begged to spend the night with Grandma. I hated those "breaks". I was lost. I think you are a great mom and think it's great that you have a quiver full. ;-) Love you!

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  4. Thank you for blessing me today with your post. I often get those looks and remarks from family, friends and total strangers. I am sometimes that parent that says I need a break. Mainly because I know when my nerves so rattled, I become a mean person. My children deserve better than having to see that. So I need a break sometimes. It may be an hour or just overnight. That gives me enough time to regain my self control so I can be around my children without them seeing all the bad.

    You really spoke to me today. I needed to hear from someone else that big families are ok. I am tired of being made to feel ashamed I have so many. I would love to have another one in the future. I feel as though being a mommy is what God has called for me, as a woman to be.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a friend post on facebook that "Children are vastly overrated." it broke my heart. Each child I have whether I gave birth to them or not has a purpose. I refuse to believe that. I know my God has some special reasons for placing them in my life. I can already see a purpose for one of them. I know God is going to use him in a mganificient way.
    Thanks for sharing with us again, it brought tears and joy to my life today.

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  5. So true ladies! WE all need a break. I often tell Jay I need a drink from Sonic and just sit in the quiet. Sometimes I just lock myself in the bathroom to have a moment. But it's when we continually seek to get away from our precious children that is so dangerous, and devastating to the children.
    Mostly, I just would like to see our society stop making mom's feel guilty for wanting or having more than 2.whatever children society says we should have. Instead, encourage them and compliment them on the difficult task tehy have taken on, to raise the next generation of adults, whether they have 1 child or 20!

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  6. Toni (Minnick) DenisonFebruary 15, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Thanks for this discussion, Amy. I have been having the opposite experience... once Morgan turned two - and ever since - it seems like everyone we ever talk to wants to know when we will have another one. We are still doing some soul searching on that one, but people make us feel like we are slacking off or something. These comments always seem to come right after we have experienced a 20 mintue crying fit becuase I put her left shoe on first and not the right one, or something equally exasperating.
    Anyway, I don't think you are crazy for having 5... I just think you are a better, stonger, more selfless person than the rest of us. I can't imagine how you do it... how you have the energy to get everything done.
    If we choose not to have any more children it would not be because of Morgan - she is awesome - but because of us. We don't thrive on chaos, instead we let it frustrate us, and we are selfish. I've been doing a lot of thinking, and praying, trying to figure out if another child is in my future or not.
    Thanks for the encouragement!
    This is my first comment, but I've been enjoying your blog for a while. My mom told me about it. I have enjoyed your lessons.
    Toni

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