We started summer off with a bit of a bang! We headed out to the Pacific Northwest to see family and also for work for the hubby. On our road trip down we found out for sure we were pregnant with our fifth child! Yes… I took a pregnancy test in a sketch gas station in Idaho… Then we had the next 7 hours to let it sink in that we were going from a large family to a “large family”. There is just something about that jump from 4 kids to 5 kids that in today’s society seems to take you from “wow, you are busy” to “wow, you are crazy!!”. I mean really what are we going to drive!?! Looking in the back of our packed (I mean ‘every nook and cranny is absolutely stuffed’ packed) mini van, it’s obvious this good old dodge caravan is not going to cut it much longer!
Already when we go out in public people notice, and sometimes I catch them, just staring… Some are encouraging, some are discouraging and judgmental… yes, I do mean vocally judgmental, not just scowls! Sometimes we catch ourselves looking at a picture of another family and thinking “Wow, they have a lot of kids!” Then it hits me, we have that many kids… It sure doesn’t seem like as many when its your own family!
And if I’m being honest with myself at times I am still working through this jump myself. Raising this many kids feels scary. It’s expensive, inconvenient, and exhausting. It brings out my selfishness, and my flaws like nothing else ever has. I don’t know if I have ever dealt with feeling so guilty about, well… everything, since having children. Guilty about what they eat, how they act, what they watch. Am I reading to them enough? Am I disciplining them enough? Am I showing them enough grace? Am I giving them enough Bible teaching, and what about the Gospel? Am I living out an active, loving faith with my Savior that they can see?
I can let myself be plagued with questions and guilt. And here we are adding another one to the brood. Sometimes the pounding thought of “you are not enough” can blare so loudly in my mind. Sometimes I can let it seep in and run amuck, while stealing my joy. I measure myself against the impossible, the unrealistic standard and I never measure up. Deep down I know I will never measure up. I have known this since I was a child. So why am I still trying to measure up?? Why do I let my self get tangled in the whispered lies that turn into blaring loud lies, and then become hard to tune out and turn off. I step back and look into the trap that I can so easily fall into again and again. And I know these are lies from the enemy.
My heavenly Father tells me I am enough, not because of me, but because of Christ who lives in me. His mercies are new for me every day, every hour. I am covered in His grace, in His love. His yoke is light. And when I remember that Christ is enough, how light this yoke, and this burden becomes. There are going to be many times I fail, many times I will have to ask my children, others, and God for forgiveness. But I know that my heavenly Father has already covered these things in His shed blood, by His grace. I am beyond thankful and in awe of His grace. I know that He is sufficient where I fall short. I fix my eyes on the Father, and place my family, my children, and my fears, in His hands. Here, with Him, I find peace and joy again, here I can rest.
Life is crazy, and will be getting crazier. And that’s OK. The laundry can pile, the books go unread, the screen time go unchecked for too long… Will it all fall apart?!? No, of course not. I can’t place my value, my worth, in holding it all together. When I place my value in Christ, I am enough, because He is enough. And I want my kids to know that truth. Sometimes when I feel like everything is falling apart, that’s where we get to see God’s hand and grace the most, these moments can turn into the most amazing teachable moments.
I say all this because adding another one can feel daunting, if I’m being honest. And will everything go perfect adding another one? As much as my control freak wants it to be… The answer is NO!! It will be one big beautiful mess!!! I will be exhausted. The older kids will have to step up and help more. And sometimes when people come to my house it will be a disaster and smell like poopy diapers. But I am thrilled!! My children are such a gift, and I take so much joy in our imperfect life. This child that I carry, strange as it may look to the world’s eyes, this big family that I have, are just huge blessings from the Lord. The truth is I struggle, but I love this life that God has given me. I don’t know what we will drive or how we will be able to help our kids through college. But God does. And once again I surrender. And joy shines through.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.