first published in the "Hearts At Home"
I dropped out of college and got married at age 20. Soon, the babies started arriving in rapid succession. By the age of 27 I had five babies under five years old. My family couldn't understand what had happened to me; they saw me as a failure. I was asked, "When will you finish your education?" "What are you going to do with your life?" "Are you really happy?" None of them could understand why I would choose to be "just a mom".
When I face difficult situations, I know I can always find encouragement in God's Word. So when I asked myself, "Why do I do what I do?" the Lord led me to Paul's greeting to the Thessalonians . . .
"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
Is your work produced by faith? Do you know that the job you are doing is exactly the job God has called you to? I have never doubted my calling to be a full-time mom of a large family. When I was in elementary school, I remember reading magazine articles about extra-large families and thinking, "That's what I want." I always wondered what it would be like to be "just a mom" (which was not something I had any examples of in my extended family).
When Jim and I married we told everyone we wanted six children; they all told us we would change our minds. Now, we laugh . . . we changed our minds, we didn't stop at only six.
However, having a large family wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. After a year of marriage, we were told I had severe endometriosis and I needed to have a complete hysterectomy. The doctor agreed not to do surgery immediately, yet he told us we only had a two percent chance of ever having children. I boldly told all of our friends that, "God doesn't care about percentages." Seven healthy children later, I was told a hysterectomy was now imperative. I calmly went into surgery trusting this was God's will for my life. What a joyful surprise it was when we discovered the Lord had completely healed me and the surgeon just sewed me back up after taking a peek inside. We knew God obviously wasn't ready to shut that door, and waited expectantly to see what His plan was.
Now that we have ten beautiful blessings, we often get asked, "How big is a quiver?" Not knowing what the Lord's ultimate plan is for our family, I just laugh and say, "I hear they are cheaper by the dozen."
Is your labor prompted by love? Are you working an outside job in order to earn some type of reward, or are you working at home because you love your children so very much you can't imagine a more glamorous job? No, motherhood is not easy; but I love each of my children so very much I cannot imagine life without them.
On the days when homeschooling isn't going well and I'm ready to give up on reading, writing, and arithmetic, all I need to do is send them all outside to play. I love to sit at the kitchen window, just watching them. It makes my daily sacrifices all worthwhile when I see the loving relationships that are developing between them. What a joy it is to watch my seventeen-year-old son digging tunnels in the pile of wood shavings with my 5-year-old daughter; to see my 12-year-old daughter taking her one-year-old brother for another walk to see the neighbor's cows; and to see my eight and eleven-year-old sons completely lost in a game of make-believe with homemade bows and arrows. Yes, love makes it all worthwhile.
Is your endurance inspired by hope in Christ? Are you continually in survival mode, or are you running this race with endurance? Do you have the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ that enable you to stick with this job for the long haul? If not, I pray you will ask the Lord to show you the blessed hope only He can give.
People talk about trying to make it through the day. Well, many days, when I had 5 little ones under 5 years old, it was too overwhelming to think about making it through the day; I had to consciously break my day down into smaller segments: "Can I make it until lunch? Until nap time? How can we survive until Daddy gets home? I think I can make it until bedtime." And, those thoughts were okay. They helped me to focus on my priorities and not get overwhelmed.
If you are overwhelmed about a situation, can you find ways to break it down into smaller segments? I pray you will ask the Lord to help you. When our hope is placed in Jesus Christ, He gives us the strength and endurance to accomplish all He asks us to do.
Now that we have ten children, my family has stopped asking so many questions. They still don't understand why I do what I do and they still see education as the highest priority, but I know God has a different set of priorities for my life.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
I hope you were encouraged by this article that I wrote back in 2002. Just so you know . . . I found out that children aren't "cheaper by the dozen". (smile)