Sunday was interesting. I mean besides the fact that I cried like a baby during the worship music and then continued to cry like a baby through the worshipful sermon, it was a highly interesting day (did I mention I was one of the singers on the platform? great. A crying singer. That always sounds nice. But I digress.)
6, count them 6 people mentioned the Duggar family to me on Sunday. Do you know who they are? They are that family in Arkansas that has 17 children and just announced via the press they are expecting baby 18. And the Discovery Channel does specials on them all the time. I believe the titles are "16 and Moving In", "Wow, they are pregnant again?", and "Don't they know what causes this?"...or at least I'm assuming that's what the shows are called because that's what I hear all the time about my "overly large family" and they have more than doubled me so they must hear even worse things, or maybe no one actually speaks to them at all, face to face, for fear of being sucked into a cult, of which they must be a part, or catching the "pregnancy bug" should it truly be contagious or "in the water". (by the way, did you notice my intentional use of a run on sentence there? That was a literary device that I was hoping would mirror the largeness of the families we are talking about....cool, eh? Oh yeah. I'm a super homeschooler...insert eye rolling here.)
So anyhow, they came up in a reference to me. And I was asked, not once, but twice or thrice, if I was following their lead, intending on having 18 of my own? And could I 'catch up to her', meaning, could I get to 18 by the age of 41 like she has...
You know, I even laughed at all this because it is a bit funny to me. And I have obviously noticed that when we leave the house for a walk or a shopping trip that our gaggle does take up quite a bit of 'real estate' as we walk. So I am not oblivious to the size and even unusualness of our family. I am also fairly fascinated and challenged by the Duggars. I mean, who does have 18 kids? I saw the special on the building of their house and I was highly impressed, and pretty moved. And there is a part of me that thinks "That would be kind of cool!" But being cool isn't my goal (clearly!). Doing what the Lord lays on my heart to do for my family is the goal. And today that means having 7, not 18, children.
But what was really interesting to me were the conversations that I found myself in where people said "oh you make parenting look so easy. You must have been born for this. You take so naturally to being a mother. I can't imagine you ever having any problems at all" (okay, did they miss the talk on PPD?)
And some day I'll get brave enough to say "Well, sure, if you mean by the reality of my having a uterus and functional ovaries, then yes, I was born for this. However, if you are referring to an ability to channel June Cleaver and morph into Mr. Dress Up, all the while spouting the wisdom of Dr. Spock and simultaneously keeping my home like a regular Martha Stewart, well, then, no. You must be thinking of someone else.
It has been drawn to my attention at fairly regular intervals that the Lord equips those he calls, rather than calling the 'naturally' equiped. The Lord did not look down on His creation and say "Why look how together Barbara is. She sure would be a fantastic mother. See her diligence and ability to die to self, and to keep house spic and span and notice how she is well prepared and ready at all times. Not to mention her saintly patience and enduring wisdom. Why I think I'll just give her a whole fleet of children because she is most assuredly able to handle it.".
People see my children, who admittedly are quite fantastic, and assume that it is because I am some brilliantly gifted woman. And then they say things like "Wow. I could never do that." But that is ridiculous, because *I* could never do this expect that the Lord has grace and mercy and goodness to me, giving me the strength for the next step, and the next and the next until I somehow have arrived at this point that my children are 9, 8, 6 1/2, 5 1/2, 4, (almost)2, and 3 months and all of us relatively unscathed. And more than merely unscathed; I believe that we are thriving. Notice I did not say "perfect". We are on our way to being who the Lord intends for us to be because of His working in our lives. My goodness I am certainly learning from being a mother. Learning exactly how UNgifted I am naturally for this role. I was a great babysitter, remember? So surely I'd be a great mom. Whatever.
Saul was the most useless, ungifted apostle ever....until the Lord called him to it and enabled him for it. Gideon was the most pathetic wimpy warrior ever...until the Lord called him to it and enabled him for it. Barbara was the most lazy, reluctant, selfish, unmotherly woman ever...well okay, she is still working on that.
But do you see what I'm saying? Being the kind of mom that I want to be (and I don't get there very often), resulting in the kind of kids I want (and for the most part have) takes a LOT of prayer, a LOT of hard work, a LOT of the Lord's hand shaping all of our lives, and a SUPER LOT of me saying no to me and yes to Him. (that is the Hardest work of it all). It is a choice, not some divine anointing that some women get and some sadly don't.
So what is my point with all this? I'm not sure really, except that I want to shout from the rafters and sing from the mountain tops that I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING EITHER, except that I am listening and watching and trying really hard to obey what God shows me. And when I screw it up (and boy do I) I know to go back to Him and say, "You promise to gently lead those who are with young. That's me. And wow do I ever need some leading,....and forgiveness for my sinfulness, ....and patience,..... and a tea with my girlfriend,....and a date with my husband,....and another sermon on guilt, (because, Mike if you are reading this....wow. You should just move in with me and repeat that sermon continuously until I get it.)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Period.