I remember distinctly the first time we found out we were pregnant. We were so excited and I remember the people around me communicating similar excitement. When I shared the news with friends, family, and even strangers, their immediate response was either “Congratulations!” or “How exciting!”…something like that. Based on that first experience I assumed that was the way people always respond when someone announces a new life will be joining this world. When I made that announcement my new baby was just an “it”…an unknown person, unknown sex and I had no idea what ‘it” would be like. Today, that little baby is my 16-year-old daughter, Mannah.
A couple of years later my wife and I found out we were blessed with another new addition to the family. I made the exact same announcement and received similar responses as the first time….lots of “Congratulations!”…until we found out the sex. When we found out we were having another girl the comments changed slightly to “That’s great….are you going to go for a boy or are you done?” Implied in this question is that once you have one boy and one girl then obviously you would be done having kids but since you are having another girl I can understand why you might want to try one more time. That little baby…the one that didn’t give us the perfect little 2 kid family is now my 14-year-old daughter, Haven.
Just two years later we were announcing the birth of our first son. I remember there were many “Congratulations!”, but there were also an amazing number of “You know how that happens, right?”. Implied in that statement is “if you realized what was causing all these kids you would stop”. Now I realize people are just trying to be funny but it was eerie the number of times that people’s first reaction to my announcement was “You know how that happens, right?”. I started to get tired of hearing it so I would just respond with a short and simple, “Yes, and I like it”. That first little baby boy is now 12 years old and is my son Canaan.
Just a few years later we found out we were pregnant with another boy. Now this is when things got really interesting. I was shocked at the number of times I would announce the approaching birth of our 4th child and the response was NOT “Congratulations!” anymore…it was almost ALWAYS “How many more are you having?”. It was so different from the responses I received with our first three kids that I NOTICED. In fact, it was those responses that have led me to writing this post 9 years later! Why were people so worried about how many kids I was having? Is the fourth child no longer a “blessing”? I was just as excited as the first and it felt like a blessing to me! That little blessing is now my 9-year-old son, Noble.
There was a longer gap after Noble and I think everyone thought we were “finally done”. However, about six years later we were blessed with the addition of a fifth child to our family. When I announced the arrival of number five the response was nearly always, “Are you done, yet?” I have come to resent the word “YET”. The “yet” implies I should have been done a while back and begs the question, “Have you come to your senses and decided to stop this foolishness now?” I realize that many times it was an innocent question, but where were all the “Congratulations!”? The thing about “Are you done, yet?” that I find most interesting is the implied assumption that parents should control the size of their family and not God. Fortunately, we didn’t prevent the conception of our fifth child and that little girl is now my 3-year-old daughter, Harvest.
We love having children! There is no denying that they are a ton of responsibility, they create constant chaos and noise, they are expensive, and they can be difficult since they all have their own will and sometimes they don’t cooperate with our self-centered vision of a relaxing day. BUT, they are a HUGE BLESSING! We would have been fine with our 7 person family but thankfully I had the opportunity to announce another future new addition to our family about 9 months ago. Sure, I heard some “Congratulations!” but more often than not I got to hear comments along the lines of “Are you trying to catch up with the Duggars?”, “How are you going to pay for college?”, or my favorite so far, “Better you than me!”. Many times these comments leave me with the impression that they think children are a burden, not a blessing. That little baby has not been born yet. It may be tonight or it may be another couple weeks but he will be here soon. When he arrives I will post his picture HERE.
So what’s the point of this post? Its simple…
Children are a blessing so respond accordingly!
For those that will ask the question, “How many more are you having?” I can honestly say…I don’t know. My wife and I believe God can be trusted with the size of our family. We are not trying to have children but we are also not preventing them.
I know that many people think this is irresponsible behavior, but any time we have tried to control the size of our family we both feel deeply convicted and it feels like sin to us. When we attempt to control our family size (whether it’s to have more or less children) we are taking our trust in God and putting it in ourselves. It feels like we know God’s will for us is to have children, so preventing that is putting our will above His. I’m not saying God’s will is always to have more children. We each have to pray and seek God’s will for our own lives. We are not wanting to play God for others…only obey and trust Him ourselves.
In our modern American society we have developed a false sense of control over our future and an unhealthy desire to secure for ourselves the most personal satisfaction possible. We have a tendency to believe the world is all about ourselves and that we can create our best future. The truth is that God knows what our best future looks like and that if we trust Him and walk in His will we will experience the greatest and most fulfilling life available to us…the abundant life mentioned in John 10:10.
We have come to trust that He will not give us more than we can handle and that He will provide everything we need. So far, so good. There are days when it feels like we have taken on too much. As our pastor’s wife, Sandra Stanley, once said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” That has been our experience. Some days when the house is a mess, the finances are tight, and we are at the point of going crazy, we wonder how we are going to make it. But then, we look back over the years and God has ALWAYS provided, we have ALWAYS been able to make it, and all those tough, long, draining days have led to this:
Psalm 127:3: Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him.