My husband and I have been thinking a lot about children lately. And how could we not, when our lives are overrun with so many of the cute little beasts? When we got married, we never dreamed that our family would look like it does now. Four kids in two years: two babies born to us and two kids adopted along with their trauma, and then a surprise "birth-control baby" three years later. From zero to five in five years.
Or at least that's what I've been told. I don't feel crazy. Not exactly, anyway. Is life hectic? Yes. Is there always something going on? Yes. Does someone always need something at any given time of the day and (often) night? Yes. Do I feel like I can't catch up on laundry or sleep or cleaning or shopping or organizing or scheduling? Yes. And have I had to give up an awful lot of myself to pour into my family? Yes.
Does that make me crazy?
And what would you say if I told you that we'll probably end up with more kids? Would you tell me that I'm crazy? Probably. And maybe you would be right. Maybe I am crazy.
But here's the deal: we believe that children are blessings. (Of course, we also believe that children are pains in the heiney, but for the sake of argument, we'll stick with "blessings"). The world would agree that children are blessings, but only up to a certain point. When a young married couple is expecting their first baby, everyone considers the child a blessing. When they're expecting their second, the baby is still a blessing. When they're pregnant with their third child, it's unofficially expected that this will be their last child, especially if the family has children of both genders, and if they announce they're expecting a fourth, the couple is deemed to be a bit eccentric.
But when do they become crazy, I want to know? When they have five children? Eight? Ten? And what number of children can a family have before their next baby ceases to be a blessing?
Is the unexpected birth-control baby still a blessing? I know mine is. What about the child with special needs? I know mine is. What about the one with a birth defect? Is he still a blessing? I know mine is. What about the child that makes your house feel too small? Or your finances seem too stretched? Whose pregnancy weight you just can't lose? What about the child that makes you give up your career? Forces you to buy a van? Causes you to give up designer clothes and shoes and bags...or even just daily showers?
What about the one that finally makes you so busy that you don't have time to be selfish anymore? What a blessing that child would be to me!
I absolutely believe that God's perfect will is different for each of His children, and I strongly doubt that He expects every family to have as many children as they possibly can. He did give us free will, after all, as well as other ministries outside of child-rearing. Having said that, I also believe that many Christian couples attempt to plan their families without ever consulting God; without praying and asking for His direction. They factor in everything else: jobs, income, housing, college, personal freedom and ambition and more, and they make their decisions based solely on their own desires and ideas, never wondering if God might have something different for them.
And all I'm saying is that my husband and I don't have peace about declaring our family complete. We both feel certain that He has plans for us, but He has yet to reveal them: maybe more babies, maybe more adoption, maybe more foster care, and maybe all three. Possibly He's just waiting for the right time to tell us we're done. But until we hear definitively from Him, we're trusting that He'll lead us where He wants us to go.
And if that makes me crazy, then I wear the title with pride.