Grateful for the ability to enjoy raising my children
I met Heather Krenz in 2008 when we embarked upon a three month journey together at Overland Missions Rapid 14 base. We both felt a call to the nations and stepped out in faith to complete the Advanced Missions Training program; a training that would thoroughly equip us to reach the nations. We had quite the three months together! She and I were tent-mates (instead of roommates because we lived in a tent for three plus months) and we had the time of our lives. I saw something in Heather that gripped my heart and made me want to make her my friend. And friends we are. She and I literally have the same sense of humor and we have bonded over I Love Lucy binges on our missions base and other ridiculous moments. This girl has inspired me to believe God for more and to never lower my expectations of His provision…. she and her beautiful family live and serve in the Chipepo Chiefdom in Zambia on the edges of Lake Kariba. This girl has tenacity and grit. I’m sure she would be over the moon to tell you about the revival happening all around her; I’m sure she could tell you a dozen stories about chasing away hippos and crocodiles from her property as well 😉
Children were never really in my plan. At age 16 I dreamed that I would be a successful interior decorator, get married, live in Colorado in a log cabin mansion and own horses. Maybe I would have a couple of kids because that’s what people do. Oh and I would write Christian music on the side so I could feel like I was doing something for God.
But God wrecked me. Jesus came radically into my life after I only uttered a whisper of, “Show me Your glory.” For hours the unconditional love of God pierced my heart and I was never the same again. Because I know how loved I am, I have so much more to give people. The selfishness started fading and 9 months after I was married I was already eager to get pregnant with our first child.
I never experienced postpartum depression but I felt like my life was over once my daughter was born. My husband was working long hours and wasn’t sleeping enough so I always had to get up with Rebecca in the middle of the night. When she would wake up 3-4 times a night I would look at my sleeping husband, then scream into my pillow over and over until I could force myself to get out of bed. I was basically raised as an only child and never had someone else inconvenience me so much in my whole life.
Jesse was gone all day, and I stayed home finishing college online. All I did was take care of the baby, clean the house, and cook meals. I knew that women have been doing this all over the world for thousands of years, but why was it so hard for me to just embrace it? I died so much to myself that first year of my daughter’s life. I had decided that I was only going to have 3 kids because I was such a stressball that I knew I couldn’t handle more.
But one day, in a moment, God dropped a vision into my heart. I was utterly consumed with a passion to have many children and live off the land in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t know or care anything about gardening or farm animals before. All of this was just – not me.
Since that I day I have decided to trust God with the size of my family and instead of planning children around my life, to plan my life around children. I threw the lie of “I’m too stressed” out the window and decided to trust God to change my perspective. I threw out the memories of mothers screaming at me when I was a child telling me I did a horrible job babysitting. I turned a deaf ear to our American culture of only 2 children and the opinions of family and even other Christians. I decided to believe that His plan for my life was indeed going to make me the happiest woman in the world. And that the things that are the most difficult will provide the greatest reward.
When I start to listen to God’s opinion on the matter of raising children, I don’t have to look past the first chapter in the Bible to see His heart. In Genesis chapter 1, the first commandment God gave man was to reproduce abundantly:
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
But being obedient to have children doesn’t take away my attitude towards my kids in all their needs and tantrums. I’ve had to cry out for His perspective in the midst of a self-centered world which offers no other answer than to send them to daycare or grandma’s so you can get a break.
I began to notice that on the days I planned to set apart just for my children, I thoroughly enjoyed them. I lingered longer giving them a bath, realizing that one day they will be taking showers on their own. I made creations out of their meals at lunchtime. I read books with them and talked about the pictures in them. I wrestled with them and laughed until I cried. Serving them on those days was so easy.
But when I crammed my schedule full of to-dos until I was stressed to the max, my children were ALWAYS annoying, needy, loud, and a burden. So are my children the problem, or is it me after all? I’ve had to surrender whatever greatness I thought I would have outside of my children, and embrace the greatness of motherhood. God keeps giving me glimpses into the eternal reward and glory of choosing to appreciate this higher calling.
And you know, child-rearing years are a relatively short time in our lives. One day my husband and I will be sitting in our home alone. The house will be perfectly clean, the meals will be small again, and no one will be screaming “Mama!” and I may be eagerly looking forward to my grandchildren’s visits so I can hear pitter-patters of little feet running down my halls again.
Lots of love!