We will (by God's grace!) have six children by the end of this year. The number of children, of course, causes many raised eyebrows. We've had many surprised family members and strangers exclaiming how LARGE a family we have. Perhaps because I'm the eldest of four sibling, having four children doesn't seem "large" to me. Six children stretches my imagination a bit, but I also recognize that throughout history having six children would not seem abnormally large until quite recently. Six doesn't seem too large or too much to me and I'm thankful that the Lord has given me wonderful examples of families with six, seven, eight, ten and even twelve children that are all seen as incredible blessings. Our children know that we believe each of them is a blessing and they are incredibly excited about the new baby to come. Still, I'm always glad for positive reinforcement.
It was with delight today that I read to the children from Caddie Woodlawn (by Carol Ryrie Brink):
"Dear me!" said Cousin Annabelle, "are these children all yours, Aunty Harriet?"
"There are only seven," said Mother, "and every one is precious."
"Of course! Mother told me there were seven. But they do look such a lot when one sees them all together, don't they?"
I'm sure that is was goes through many heads as they see "all" of us out and about together. No wonder we get so many questions about our family size!
And then, I was encouraged by this, from Dr. H. Bavinck (quoted in A Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess):
"Children are the luxury of marital life, the treasure of the parents, the wealth of the family life. Their presence develops a great number of virtues in the parents, the father and mother- love, devotion, and self-sacrifice, the care for the future, interest in the community, the art of education. Children check selfishness in parents, reconcile the contrasts, soften the differences, bring the hearts of the parents ever closer to each other, give them a common interest that lives outside themselves, and opens their eyes and hearts to their surroundings and posterity. They uphold to the parents, as if in mirrors, their own virtues and defects, force them to reconsider their lives, soften their criticisms, and teach them how difficult it is to rule a human being. Out of the family life their proceeds a reforming power toward the parents. Who recognizes in the sensible, industrious father of a family the boisterous youth of former days, and who ever suspected the light-hearted maid of being changed, through her first-born, into a mother who willingly makes supreme sacrifices with cheerful patience? Family life turns the selfish into servants, misers into heroes, coarse men into considerate fathers, and tender mothers into courageous fighters."
It is for our GOOD that the Lord has given us children! Oh, how eager I am to become the cheerfully patient mother who serves selflessly with a softened heart. For it is difficult to raise human beings. It is difficult even to bring them into the world! And yet, what wealth is ours through this.
1041) a new blessing anticipated!
1042) encouragement through literature
1043) smiling through discomfort (T's swollen jaw on his birthday)
1044) kids coming to our house to play
1045) steak supper with family; so good and so relaxed
1046) hope for homeschooling (older, wiser moms investing in my life and bringing clarity)
1047) cooler mornings and windows open at night
1048) bright orange birthday packages in the mail to be excited about!
1049) lavender soothing a burn
1050) sweet sorrow of missing friends who are on vacation