I can't believe you are 5 months old already! I was looking into your sweet face the other day, just reflecting on your days with us. I felt so silly because I remember being afraid when I found out you were coming. (I mentioned it to you once before.) Yes, I was afraid, not because you were you, not because of you at all. I was so happy and blessed to know you were coming. But, I was afraid of what people would say about you, about me, about our family. Words hurt.
My mother always said, "Who cares what people think?!" Well, up goes my hand! I'll be flat out honest, and say, "I do! I care what people think about me." Probably a bit more than I should, though. (And if more people were honest, they'd have their hands raised, too.) So, that was my fear. What will people say now?
With six kids in tow, your mom has become a walking anomaly in this world. Apparently, having more than 2 children is not what's up these days. Anymore than that and people think you've lost your mind. Obviously, Mommy didn't get that memo. Not only do people think I've lost my mind, but they have no shame in questioning the blessing that you and your siblings are.
Then, to top it all off, your older brothers are just 15 months apart, and there are just 14 months between you and the last one. So, you see, people have had A LOT to say about our family. And, for the most part, it's always directed at me--negatively. So, I began to focus on the negative. What will be said at the doctor's office, the grocery store, the post office, the library, at a restaurant, or any other place the people happen to notice that you were on the way?
I remember, sweet girl, that I was just about ready to let the evil one steal my joy.
I had been through the Scriptures, searching for comfort. I already read the passage below about a thousand times and I couldn't seem to find the peace I once had:
But, for some reason God showed me this same Scripture again, just in a different translation. It was a glorious revelation:
the fruit of the womb His generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
Oh, this Word gave me power and it strengthened me where I was weak. It also chastened me for ever allowing people to make me doubt or waver over the beauty God was pouring into our lives: the fruit of the womb His generous legacy!
Sweet girl, you are the one God chose to help Mommy not to fear what man says about the gifts God gives. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! He chose you, little one, to help Mommy maintain my focus on the Kingdom work at hand.
It's not about avoiding the staring, probing eyes and the dropped jaws when we all walk into a room. It's not about telling people that we are not, in fact, a clan, a gang, a day care, a baseball team, a children's choir, or a reality show, but a real, flesh and blood family. It's not about catching an attitude when the 1 millionth person asks, in disbelief, if all 6 of you are my children. God has already taken care of all of that--because my enemies don't stand a chance against me.
It's about our family showing the love of Christ, even when we don't get that in return. It's about Mommy remembering that although you may see people attack us for being large, more importantly, you all are watching the way I respond. It's about your Daddy and me raising you all for His glory. It is about believing God, that I am who He says I am, and that He's equipped me to do what He's called me to.
It's about going where He's asked me to go, without fear. (The song on my lips these days: Where He leads me, I will follow. . . I'll go with Him all the way.)
So, when I find myself as the only Mama in the place with 6 kids in the middle of the day, I embrace it. I welcome it. Someone needs to know that it is a wonderful thing to accept the children God gives as gifts. Someone needs to know that the appropriate response when God gives a gift is: thank You. Someone needs to know that being seen in public with all of your children is nothing to be ashamed of. Someone needs to know that you can absolutely love every child in your care. Someone needs to know that it is an honor to diligently raise a family for the Lord. Someone needs to just see something different so the Lord can speak their hearts. Someone needs to know that they should not be afraid to follow the Lord.
Thank you for what you've taught me, baby girl. The Lord has used you already in a mighty way.