The first time I held our third child, I cried uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity. The first two births were special too but, you see, "we" had planned the pregnancies so we almost took a little credit for those babies but this one... she was a gift from God that I didn't even ask for. In fact, she was a gift that I had tried to reject. Gulp.
How could I be worthy enough to receive such a gift? How could the Lord have known that we needed her when we thought we didn't? How many other blessings could the Lord have planned for us that we would miss out on if we tried to take matters into our own hands.
Needless to say, after our third child was born, I had a lot of unanswered questions and a whole new pattern of thinking was beginning to take shape in my mind. I began to read God's word to see what He had to say about children. I also began to read books by people who had decided to put their fertility into God's hands. And I began to ask other women about their decisions to use or not use birth control.
Ultimately, I began to feel as though God should have His way over this area of my life. I had given Him control of every other area so why would I hold this back and not trust Him?
I was so fearful that if I let God have control that He would ruin my life and that I would be overrun with a dozen or more children.
I love children. I always have.
So I guess it wasn't the dozen children themselves that scared me. It was the responsibility that came along with them that made me want to get my tubes tied, get my husband the big "V", take the pill and practice abstinence... just in case. There were several unknowns that made me tremble but, as crazy as it sounds, I was the most terrified when I thought of having to feed them all. I wasn't one of those women who buzzed effortlessly around the kitchen, tossing a little of this with a bit of that while entertaining a circulating frenzy of children, children's friends, neighbors, the church pastor and the local women's society. I, on the other hand, had to call my mom to find out how to boil water and thought that cooking a different variety of Hamburger Helper six nights a week counted as getting creative in the kitchen. I had also started a collection of pictures of nightmares that occurred in my kitchen- everything from burnt potpies to homemade bread, colored green for St. Patrick's day, that ended up being inedible and instead used as a model of the surface of the moon. More children in my house would certainly starve.
It was during this time that I had walked three miles, with all three children (the youngest was only weeks old), to attend a women's only revival meeting at our church. I was desperate to hear from the Lord and just knew I had to be there. During the worship set, we began to sing "He is Able" and it was during that song that I clearly hear the Lord speak these words to me:
I am able to make you a Mother of Many Children.Whoa! Stop the music! I sat down as the color drained from my face and immediately leaned over to a friend next to me and asked her, "Did you just hear that?".
"Hear what?", she asked.
"Did God just tell you that He's able to make you a Mother of Many Children?"
She shook her head emphatically and began to scoot away to make sure that she didn't hear any such thing.
And me? I just sat there, stunned as the words played over and over in my head and heart. And then I began to question God:
"How many is many? Because I think three is plenty many, you know."
But those words kept repeating...
He is able.
More than able.
He is able to make me what He wants me to be.
And if He wants me to be the Mother of Many Children, then He is able. If that means cooking like a mad cafeteria lady, then so be it. He is able. Not me.
God had me right where He wanted me. I felt weak and inadequate so He would be strong through me and show Himself able.
So here I sit, 12 years later and I am now the Mother of Many Children, by any definition. I have seven children here on Earth and one that I never met that's in heaven. I have long since given up being fearful about how I would feed such a large brood as none of them have starved yet. Instead, I've replaced that fear with many others over the years...
... how will I teach them all?
...how will I keep up with so much laundry?
...how will we afford a bigger car?
...how can I give each one the love and attention they need?
...how will I ever have time for me?
... how will we fit them all in one house?
...how will I not turn into a house after so many pregnancies?
...how will I handle another pregnancy with horrible varicose veins or with a brain condition?
You name it, I've thought it. And to each fear-based question, God has comforted me with the same phrase He spoke to me all those years ago and I know now that He is able because I certainly couldn't do this without Him.
And so here's my new blog, perfectly titled, "A Mother of Many Children" because that, by the grace of God, is what I am. Most of what I do in the day falls under that title and so this all-encompassing blog should be pretty varied in topics. However, if there's one thing I hope it will do is show that I am weak and incapable but He is strong and he is able. May He be glorified through my life and my words.