our work

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Much is Enough?

"The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it."  Proverbs 10:22

Today has been both wonderful and difficult. One of my precious children is sick and we went to
the doctor early. While making conversation with an office employee who has known our family for years, the subject of our pending adoption came up (okay, I brought it up because I'm just so darn excited!).  She congratulated me and then proceeded to make some light hearted, no-harm-intended comments about my craziness for wanting so many children.  I felt a little annoyed but decided it was probably my own attitude that needed to be kept in check and I played along.

A few hours later I went to our local "quick ship" store to send some documents to homeland security for our adoption. The clerk, a man much older than I, asked for the address to which I was sending the documents so he could print a label for me. The address piqued his interest and I could tell he wanted to know what I was sending but was not allowed to ask.  Once again, in my sheer excitement about our new son, I shared a little with him about our family. He looked at me and sardonically made a remark about the volume of groceries and laundry I must have. HUH? 

In between these two encounters I ran into the grocery store with JUST ONE of my children. I bought enough yogurt for the entire Italian army, I'll admit that. We like yogurt. It's yummy.   Anyway, a lady peered
into my cart and said "you must be feeding a lot of people" and because I still haven't learned any better, I replied "we have five children and they are big yogurt fans".  She looked at the little brown boy by my side and said "you must be adoptive parents".  I proudly said "yes" and she proceeded to elevate me to the status of Mother Theresa right in the dairy section of Aldi.  She said "well,God bless you" as she walked away and I replied in all honesty "He already has" and gave my boy a  quick squeeze of the hand.  Her sentiments were lovely but her furrowed brow tattled on her.  She's the president elect of the  I-can't-figure-out-for-the-life-of-me-why-anyone-would-want-more-than-two-children club.

All three of these encounters happened JUST TODAY! I promise!  As a child, our pastor would tell stories that sounded, shall we say, "fantastical" to me.  I grew up wondering if pastors were given poetic license to
embellish in order to make a point.   It sounds like I am doing that in this very post and if I could type with my right hand up and solemnly swear I am not, I would!  This was my day today. 

These encounters caused me to wonder if this is really how society views children - as laundry makers and grocery consumers. As robbers of our time and our sanity.  As troublesome beings that, if actively pursued, make the pursuer  a saint.  The Bible says that children are a heritage from the Lord. They are a blessing.
We should seek to fill our quiver with them.  Do we ever make jokes about how bothersome our extra money is? Our good health? Those pesky vacations that keep needing to be taken each year? But when it comes to children, we don't view them as "the jackpot", we joke about them like they are millstones around our necks, holding us back from all the things we REALLY want to do.  Am I being too cynical? Maybe. I get that way sometimes but with three interactions in one single day, the evidence is leaning heavily in favor of the permeating attitude being "kids are great as long as there aren't too many and they hurry and grow up and leave the nest". 

Yes, my kids have caused me sadness on occasion. They have driven me to my knees in prayer on many, many occasions.  They have even made me cry behind closed doors but they have blessed me. They have held me accountable. They have improved  and refined me. They have challenged my hypocrisy and shone a spotlight on the weaknesses that need shoring up in my character.  They defend, forgive and prefer me more than I deserve.  My children make me laugh every single day and I often feel pity for the rest of the world that these children are mine and not theirs (just keeping it real here).  I feel like the prom queen and the valedictorian when I am with them. My husband and I secretly muse (well, not "secretly" anymore) that we don't really understand our good fortune in being given this family but we sure don't want to do anything to mess it up - ha ha! So far, so good.
SO . . . if you run into a proud mom in the grocery store line, tell her how lucky she is. Tell her she seems to be truly happy in her role and her kids are adorable.  For the love of all that's good, DON'T make a snide remark about how much laundry she must have or how tired she must be!  Tell her she's blessed. I'll wager she already knows this but tell her anyway.  It will be so counter to the messages she's used to getting that you'll throw her right off her game!


  1. Amen!

    Great post, Nikki and by the way, do you know how blessed you are with your beautiful family? :-)

  2. I love how you've put this into words! I get the same all the time and that's exactly how I feel but have not found the right words to express it! Thanks!

  3. Love this, Nikki! If you had told them how many of your children are sons, I'm sure even more comments would spout out. I feel like a circus side show anytime I take all my boys grocery shopping. And that's when they are all behaving.

  4. Oh, we deal with this every time we go into public! Dealing with others in this respect requires much grace. Sounds like you are doing so. Cuz once you get past 4 kids, people don't just suspect you are nuts...they KNOW it LOL Much love to your lovely and blessed family :) Your quiver is a blessing to so many...

  5. I have heard the saying in America that "People like the IDEA of kids, but they really don't truly like or accept them (especially in public--they are too loud, too messy, too whatever you want to fill in the blank)." How sad! If it weren't for my kids, I would unknowingly be one of those people! And I know I would be much more self-absorbed and I would miss out on sooo many blessings and laughter and fun. May God bless you and your family, Nikki, as you stand out in the crowd!!!!

  6. As always, a beautiful post. Thanks!

  7. I saw this on a friend's blog and I loved it and it speaks appropriately to your post. "The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing; but in our culture, we apply for a curse and reject blessings. Something is wrong with this picture." -Doug Phillips