I caught myself staring across the street at the neighbor’s this afternoon.
They have two teenagers—one girl, one boy. Nice family.
The boy has even shoveled my driveway in the past, despite the fact I have called him by the wrong name a few times.
My husband and I want a lot of kids, and by a lot, I mean more than 3, which is unfortunately considered a large family these days.
Since marrying and having children, I have wondered why anyone would choose to have just one or two kids and stop there. I have such a strong desire to have a large family, with a lot of grandkids running around, always a daughter or daughter-in-law to hang out with on a boring Saturday.
However, as I stared across the street to the neighbor’s, the thought crossed my mind for the first time, that perhaps my life would be easier if I would just stop at two kids.
Lately, motherhood has been hard, and I have found little joy in it.
Wait… am I allowed to admit that?
My sons aren’t sleeping and have been sick constantly for the past month. There has not been much to rejoice in.
If I were to stop at two kids, I could go back to teaching.
If I were to stop at two kids, I could maybe afford something for myself someday.
If I were to stop at two kids, I would only have two humans to keep alive, to worry about, to train up in the ways of the Lord—I would only have two humans to screw up.
If I were to stop at two kids, I would only have two college tuitions with which to scrape up money.
If I were to stop at two kids, a good night sleep might be nearer than I previously imagined.
If I were to stop at two kids, maybe I could take my life back, find some freedom, breathe a little.
So, to all my readers, now you know I’m selfish—disgustingly self-centered and entitled. Gasp. How could I admit something so dreadful, so personal? Um… we are all disgustingly self-centered and entitled— we are all sinners. I’m confident every parent, in every house, on every street, in every country, struggles to overcome their selfishness to raise their self-absorbed mini humans.
It’s because children take everything. They take your wits, your strengths, your time, your freedom, and they take advantage of your weaknesses, wringing them out until you have no choice but to toss them aside, along with parts of yourself, and keep fighting.
There is good news, though. In order to parent the next generation, the Lord does not ask us to submit to our children’s needs and desires, only to stop recognizing who we once were when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror.
No. In order to parent the next generation, the Lord asks us to submit to His will, His call, His desires. Whether you’re a parent or not, you are called to die to yourself and serve and honor the Lord. If you’ve been asked to do this in the shape of a parent, it is no different. You are honoring your Father by being a parent to His children. There is no greater, nor is there a more difficult calling.
Each time you deal with a day of constant tantrums, each time you sacrifice what you want for your kids, each time you give up another Saturday morning for your child’s activities, you have served the Lord. You have honored Him, by seeking out the joy in the life He has given you.
Finding the joy in motherhood can be difficult at times. However, the joy that it brings cannot be matched by any other experience on Earth. World travel will not match a mother’s joy. Money will not match a mother’s joy. A good night’s sleep will not even match a mother’s joy. For even though a mother has much to suffer through as she raises her Christians, she has even more bliss to revel in, to bask in.
She will revel in her child playing his own game with an imaginary monkey and shark. She will revel in her children growing up to serve God in their own way. She will revel in all the dancing, the singing, and the laughing that comes with motherhood. She will revel in it all—and it is all joy.
She will even find joy in the struggle of it all, because it is in this struggle, that the Lord will refine her and make her more like Him. In the end, that is not a struggle, that is a blessing.
So, how many children do I want?
As many as the Lord thinks I can handle.
You can never have enough joy.