I'm taking a Blogging Break this week; as I am off on a short road trip to move dear son Joshua across the state to transfer to the University there. The van is loaded, and tomorrow I will head out with the younger kids and head across the state. I won't have internet access at the house we are staying; so, I'm not even taking my computer. (I do think I'll be a little lost on a road trip without my trusty Purple & Black MacBook, though.)
Anyway, while I am gone, I thought it would be fun to re-posts some posts from years' past. I have a LOT of new readers recently, and I think they might enjoy a week of "Getting to Know the Big D Family".
Today's post is from April 2008 ...
"You'll never be able to provide for your large family on a teacher's salary."
"We only have 2 children so that we can provide all the extras: piano lessons, dance, etc..."
"How will you ever be able to pay for college for your kids?"
On and on and on they went ... it seemed that very few people could find a positive thing to say about our large family. (Thank you to those of you who DID support our choices back then.) And, much of the negativity was focused on the fact that they believed that Jim's teacher's salary wouldn't be sufficient to provide for all that our children would "need".
Yes ... things were tight. Yes ... there were months that our cupboards were nearly bare the last few days as we waited for the monthly paycheck. No ... our kids didn't get everything they wanted (but we did provide for their needs).
Today ... I sit in awe of ALL that the Lord has done ... the things He has provided ... the places He has taken our children.
Five of those children are now young adults (and #6 is in his 1st year of college). Four of the five have at least 2 years of college under their belts. The eldest chose the military rather than college (a choice we fully supported).
All of the children got their piano lessons. All of the children participated in choirs, drama, athletic teams, etc... Even with our small income, they all got to do the "things" that other kids did.
While, in some ways, our kids have lived a "typical" American child's life ... in other ways the Lord has taken them far beyond where their typical peers have gone. Many years ago, the Lord gave us a vision for missions. One year, our homeschool history class was focused on reading biographies of famous Believers, who had traveled the world for Christ (often sacrificing their lives for His cause). The books gave our children a view of the world far beyond what a typical history text would have given them. And, it gave them visions for where the Lord might take each of them.
We haven't taken vacations to Disney Land, but we have taken road trips to 35 states. We haven't taken them to Hawaii, but we have gone on mission trips to L.A. and to New Orleans.
I am reminiscing this week, because I now have 3 children in far-away lands. While Gregg is finishing up his time in Iraq this month, Carissa has just arrived this morning in Argentina. She is attending a YWAM DTS (discipleship training school) for 6 months. And, just hours before driving Carissa to the airport, we all said our good-byes to Lindsey, as she headed off to Germany for a 10 day mission trip with our church. Jeremiah and Josh are still home (the last of the "big kids"). While Josh will finish up 2 years of college while living at home, Jeremiah is working 2 jobs in order to put away enough money for 2 years in Amman, Jordan (leaving in August).
Who could have guessed, back when we could barely afford to drive to Oregon for summer vacation, where the Lord would be leading each of our children (not to mention Papa and Mama's recent trip to Africa)? Because of the significant costs associated with the adoption and travel to Africa, we haven't financially supported the older children's current travel abroad. However, they are hard workers; they have learned to save; and God has provided for each of them exactly what they have needed.
We stand in awe ... of God's calling on our family ... of the fact that we thought 6 kids was a "large family" (who would have guessed we would end up with 13) ... of God's plan to take our children all over the world for Him (Cassie started the trend, with trips to Haiti, Africa, and India) ... of God's faithfulness to provide for us the past 25 years ...
I NEVER ONCE FELT LIKE I DIDN'T HAVE WHAT OTHER KIDS HAD WHEN I WAS GROWING UP!!!!!
i was just talking to some gals at work today about growing up in my amazing family, and how even though dad was a teacher and mom was mostly a stay at home mom... i never felt like we were going to starve.... yes i was sick of chili and rice at one point, but i thought we ate it so much cause Dad and Gregg liked it... not because it was all we had and it was cheap.
People always ask me "how do you pay for all your trips?" and i answer, "i work hard and i pray hard." Ever since my first mission trip to Naches WA in 8th grade... Dad and Mom always encouraged us to work hard and pray hard... If God wants us there he will provide a way to get there. Even when i was on my DTS... i was secretly giving money to a girl headed to China, when i didn't even have all my money for Africa, cause i knew that God would make up the difference for me, but she didn't have as much home and church support as i knew i could get... ends up God totally took care of my outreach cost from other people on MY team to Africa! I also knew that coming back from africa with exactly 100 dollars to my name was no big deal for God... turns out within 3 weeks of being home i got my dream job at NCCTK!!!
WOW.... we sure do serve a BIG God who can accomplish BIG things if only we would be more available for him to stretch our faith while we walk in obedience.
way to GO my big amazing Greek family!
i love you all.
And, yes! I totally agree with what Cassie said! I never felt like I didn't have as good enough a life as others, And so love having a BIG family!!
I remember going over to your house once and helping out for a day. When it was time to do chores each of your kids immediately went to their stations and began their duties like a well oiled machine - and they all had smiles on their faces.
I was utterly amazed and maybe a little embarrassed that your kids (who were 12 and under) had a few virtues that I lacked myself.
I knew at that time that you guys were doing something right (and different from what everyone else was doing). Now we see the fruit of it.
Thank you for your vision and example - showing parents like me what a blessing children can be when you focus on the things that really matter.
I hope you'll all enjoy this series of "Looking Back" this week ...