If you know our story, then you know we have seven children and our youngest is adopted. That’s the short version. The longer version involves years of arguing with God about surrender, complaining about why His timeline was different than mine, and finally submitting to Him because His ways are better.
I didn’t set out to have a large family, in fact, I only really wanted three children. My husband and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary this year and I have to tell you a secret…… The last twenty years have NOT gone according to my plans. As I reflect on twenty years of marriage and more children than I intended on having I have to say this life has been better than anything I could have imagined. Follow Jesus and you’ll never be bored has become my motto. I am certainly NEVER bored! Most days there is so much do to that I don’t know where to begin. I will be the first to tell anyone how unqualified I feel to teach and train these little people in my care. Yet, God has seen fit to call me to this monumental task called motherhood.
Being a mom is a hard and often thankless job. Our work feels endless and monotonous. Moms do the hidden things that no one sees, and certainly don’t think to give thanks for. We do them out of obligation, but also out of love. Preparing and cleaning up from meals is not an easy task when there are nine hungry mouths to feed! Any mother who tells you her favorite part of the day is scrubbing the toilets and doing laundry and dishes is either delusional (Please rescue her and take her on a coffee date!) Or, she’s learned that as much as some tasks are unpleasant, they are a gift to her family and so she does them with joy.
We’ve forgotten that hard things can be full of joy. The lie of the culture is that the only way to find joy is to do the things that bring YOU fulfillment. The truth is, we can find joy in the most mundane and unpleasant tasks when we shift our gaze and change our perspective. I have this little decorative plate propped up by my kitchen sink. Engraved on it is this phrase; “You were made for this”. With seven children, I spend a LOT of time at that sink looking at that plate. I’ve learned that I have a choice in how I view my time there. It can be full of complaining, or full of thankfulness, and joy. A simple phrase sometimes isn’t enough to remind me of that calling. But, I’m glad it’s there because it brings me back every time to the weak yes I’ve given to Jesus over the years.
Washing dishes can be an act of love. Making and serving a meal can show how thankful we are for the family God has surrounded us with. Even mounds and mounds of laundry can be a chance to remind ourselves how blessed we are, (thank God we have clothes to wear!). But in all seriousness, it is all about perspective. When I said “yes” to the Lord in the area of family size, I wasn’t thinking about the laundry, or dishes, or how much food I would have to keep on hand (at this moment we have four teenagers living here! They are like bottomless pits and consume a ton of food!). When I said yes to the Lord, sometimes reluctantly, I was saying yes to His ways, and plans which are higher than mine. I was saying, even though it won’t always be fun, I want to do all You have called me to.
Motherhood is a calling. One I stepped into with just a weak yes, but God has taken that weak yes and blessed me beyond anything I ever dreamed. Sometimes all He’s asking is for a weak yes. For us as daughters of the King to step out of our comfort zone and step into the very thing He made us for. For me, it’s raising world changers. Maybe for you, it’s some other task you feel ill-prepared and unqualified for. If I’ve learned one thing in this journey it’s that God doesn’t call the qualified, but He certainly qualifies those He calls. He’s just waiting for us to say Yes.