Our eight kids along with our two son-in-laws
Our oldest daughter, Brittney and her husband, Jacob lost their baby (our first grandchild) in childbirth back in October. We had countless people come to our side, loving and supporting us through it all. It was amazing and still is what stands out in our minds when we think of that time.
Brittney was compelled to visually display this through a video she recently made. You can view it here.
As she and I were talking, another thing that came up in our conversation was how amazing it is to have so many, just in our own personal family, that were there…brothers, sisters, brother-in-law. We had a short time where only our family filled that hospital room and it will always be a clear, sweet memory to me. Looking around the room at these people who came to us one at a time, by God’s grace. Babies that God has blessed us with, transforming into adults who live to carry out HIS plan for their lives! And here they were, supporting and lifting each other up. Lifting Brittney and Jacob up. There to welcome Isaac, to love on him, touch him, kiss him and then say goodbye…together.
Memory forever cherished
Somehow, as hard as that time was, it was easier together. Brittney told me this, “That’s one of the things I am most thankful for: that you and dad weren’t afraid to have lots of kids! It makes all of our lives sooo much better!”
And that’s why God says that children are a blessing. He meant for them to be a blessing. Sometimes that looks like dad and mom being sanctified while they deal with sin in their children or the way that children often bring our own sin to the surface. The joys and sorrows of parenting are all part of God’s plan and a huge part of our journey in becoming more like Jesus.
I am not saying that every couple should have a large family. I AM saying that it would be wise to ask God what HE wants. I am saying that we shouldn’t just assume that a certain number is the “right” number.
One of the reasons my husband and I decided to let God plan our family was that we had talked to many older people and they all had one thing in common: they all wished they had more children or if they had several, they were glad for it. It didn’t matter if they were wealthy or not, that was the one thing they looked back on and had strong thoughts about.
Another reason was that we believed that if we raised these kids to love and serve God, He would use them for His glory. We also understand that it is a work that HE has to do in their hearts and that continues to be a growing experience for us.
It’s hard. It’s hard when the kids are all little and you are sleep deprived and you think you just can’t do anymore. God may be saying “slow down” or “stop”, but He also may be saying, “Lean hard into me and I will give you strength”. The point again is to ask Him what HE wants.
Our kids are best friends…that does NOT mean they always get along. It means that they are learning a lot about God’s grace…receiving grace and giving grace. They are learning how to resolve conflict. They are learning to work as a team. They are seeing their need for a Savior.
Having a big family is a very realistic view of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ-God’s family. So many different personalities, quirks, strong and weak points. We stick together because we are family, not because it’s easy all the time. We take the time to work through things. And with that many people in one household, everyone has to pitch in. When someone is gone, we all feel the hole and when it comes to that person’s missed chores, we FILL the hole.
As our kids are growing up, so far, we are happy with what we are seeing. None of them are perfect, they all have their struggles, strengths and weaknesses. But then there’s God. Ever seeing, ever working, ever moving, ever loving us all on this journey called life.
I’m not going to lie. It’s a crazy amount of work. Would I change a thing? Nope.