Today's guest post is by Andrea of Whispers in the Silence ___
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. Psalm 127: 3-5a NKJV
With a quiver full of four children eight years old and under, I frequently receive the comments, "Wow! You must be busy," "You must have your hands full," and "I don't know how you do it." They are comments I have come to expect. They are ones I dread to hear.
I dread them because what I sense in these comments is a notion that parenting more than two children is a burden, not a blessing. And how I fight to smother that weed of a thought, especially in moments of intense mothering when my children push all my buttons simultaneously and I flounder to respond in a way which even remotely resembles Christ.
These weedy thoughts wage a war within me. The war between desiring to be joyful mother who embraces the call God placed on her life and believing motherhood is not a real vocation – that my days of meaningfully contributing to society are on hold until our children are well past their teen years.
And so I grapple with how to gracefully respond to these comments in a culture which often does not see the beauty in bearing more children than the societal norm. Often, I demurely smile or mumble some sort of affirmative answer and cave to the pressure of answering with an expected rejoinder. But when I do, I feel like I am short-changing God and the gift of motherhood He bestowed upon me; it feels wrong to agree with a sentiment I do not believe to be true.
What I want to say is that, yes, it is hard and not always fun raising four young children, and sometimes a convent sounds like a great idea. I long to share how much God has grown me these past eight years and though He has put me on a road less traveled, I would rather walk it than remain the same selfish person I was before these children were brought into my life. I want people to see how living with fewer children would mean living with less patience, less compassion, less desire to serve and put others first and a smaller capacity to love.
Most of all I long to point the commenter to the One who makes all good things possible.
So how do we, mothers of many small children, graciously respond to these comments in a way that points back to our hope and strength in God, and affirms our call as a blessing, and not a burden?
Here are some possibilities:
- “I am. Blessedly so.”
- “Yes, I do have my hands full…they are full of love.”
- “I pray. A lot.” (I have started to use this one in response to “I don’t know how you do it.”
- “With God, all things are possible.”
For those of you with children, do these comments sound familiar? Have you found an effective way of responding with love and grace? Have your responses opened the door to sharing your hope in Christ? Please share your experiences that we might all be encouraged and affirmed in our call to motherhood.
I once walked with my back to God. He chose to bring me into His fold. I now run toward the sound of His voice and love to write about Him. I praise Him, too, for providing so many ways of experiencing Him and learning about His heart. In this season of my life, He has chosen to do this through my husband and four children and in blogging, homeschooling, sewing and creating for my shop, and training for a triathlon. Find Andrea blogging at Whispers in the Silence.