Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Joyful Mothering

My girlfriend Lindsey sent me a link to this blog post, and it really hit home with me, so I wanted to share it here:

Seeing Through The Weeds
By Christin, on August 23rd, 2011

Today’s guest post is by Andrea of Whispers in the Silence


Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. Psalm 127: 3-5a NKJV

With a quiver full of four children eight years old and under, I frequently receive the comments, “Wow! You must be busy,” “You must have your hands full,” and “I don’t know how you do it.” They are comments I have come to expect. They are ones I dread to hear.

I dread them because what I sense in these comments is a notion that parenting more than two children is a burden, not a blessing. And how I fight to smother that weed of a thought, especially in moments of intense mothering when my children push all my buttons simultaneously and I flounder to respond in a way which even remotely resembles Christ.

These weedy thoughts wage a war within me. The war between desiring to be joyful mother who embraces the call God placed on her life and believing motherhood is not a real vocation – that my days of meaningfully contributing to society are on hold until our children are well past their teen years.

And so I grapple with how to gracefully respond to these comments in a culture which often does not see the beauty in bearing more children than the societal norm. Often, I demurely smile or mumble some sort of affirmative answer and cave to the pressure of answering with an expected rejoinder. But when I do, I feel like I am short-changing God and the gift of motherhood He bestowed upon me; it feels wrong to agree with a sentiment I do not believe to be true.

What I want to say is that, yes, it is hard and not always fun raising four young children, and sometimes a convent sounds like a great idea. I long to share how much God has grown me these past eight years and though He has put me on a road less traveled, I would rather walk it than remain the same selfish person I was before these children were brought into my life. I want people to see how living with fewer children would mean living with less patience, less compassion, less desire to serve and put others first and a smaller capacity to love.

Most of all I long to point the commenter to the One who makes all good things possible.

So how do we, mothers of many small children, graciously respond to these comments in a way that points back to our hope and strength in God, and affirms our call as a blessing, and not a burden?

Here are some possibilities:

“I am. Blessedly so.”
“Yes, I do have my hands full…they are full of love.”
“I pray. A lot.” (I have started to use this one in response to “I don’t know how you do it.”
“With God, all things are possible.”

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