We all like peace and order, don’t we?
We like to know our favorite scissors will always be just where we put them last, or we can talk on the phone without competing with screaming in the background, or we can open the bathroom door without fear and trepidation…
Children change all that. I know this because having 15 children has seriously hampered my orderly life.
Take this morning, for instance. The bathroom sink wouldn’t drain so I opened it and found all sorts of foreign objects had fallen in–most of which were not identifiable (better than the time I found the stinking carcasses of a dozen or so moths). Meanwhile, I put out an all-points bulletin for a hairbrush, or comb, (or even the vacuum brush) so that I could take care of the little girls’ hair (we own six brushes, but not one of them showed up).
Next, a set of blinds broke so I needed to find the width of the window (note to self: take measurements and write in planner). Problem: I could not find any of our carpenter’s tape measures (pretty sure someone played with them and left them to rust outside).
I am hoping you can relate. I am hoping you are not rolling on the floor and laughing at me right now!
Of course, I have not mentioned the noise this morning, mostly because I myself never notice it until someone comes to visit.
When the children were young it was all about crying and sometimes random yelling and screaming (one child asked me why she had a headache after she stood in the yard and screamed continually for five or ten minutes straight). As they have grown the normal noises of childhood are augmented with the playing of at least three different devices at a time; surround sound, iThings, etc. Walking through our house is like surfing through the AM stations at midnight–lots of scattered noise but nothing clear enough to understand.
I am supposed to be crazy, or bitter, or constantly angry by now.
But I’m not.
I am blessed and filled with joy most of the day.
When I cleaned the drain, I wasn’t frustrated, I was thankful (albeit a little grossed-out).
When I couldn’t find a brush, I was stroking the baby faces and looking into the gorgeous eyes of people I love.
When I couldn’t find the measuring tape I was thinking of how creative children are, and remembering being fascinated with those amazing contraptions when I was little, too.
You see, God did not place me in a perfectly predictable life so that I would never realize my need for Him. No, He blessed me with the care of 15 perfectly imperfect people so that I would have no choice but come face-to-face with what I really looked like from the inside-out.
Then He helped me to realize that, since He sent His son, I am no longer a slave to the old, frustrated, angry person, but He has made me new:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Being moms of many does this for us; it gets us to the bottom of who we are and makes us realize that, if God doesn’t become our Source, we’re doomed.
So, we cry out to Him, and as always, He hears and answers, bless His name!
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
He doesn’t necessarily change the circumstances, but He adds grace upon grace so that they don’t touch us. He gives us the power to overcome.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4
Of course, I have had to cooperate by renewing my mind (Romans 12).
One way I do this is to remember Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Another way is to meditate every morning on scriptures like these:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
This means that I am not marinating in the negative. I don’t allow my mind to think of how my children are interrupting my life. Instead, I concentrate on the tremendous blessings they are, how they are charming and marvelous and eternally loved by God.
I live among them with understanding, remembering back to when I was a child and loving them as I would have been loved at their different ages.
This helps me to be more than tolerant, it fills me up and overwhelms me with joy.
I almost wish you could have known me before I became a mom, before I became a wife, before I became a Christian. I was almost unrecognizable. I didn’t know how to be tolerant, or patient, or kind. But God didn’t leave me there. His power has allowed me to grow beyond my culture, my upbringing, and my personality. This can only be because:
Jesus makes all the difference.
Feel free to share a testimony of how Jesus has made the difference in your life, too!