I recently came across 2 particular sites which have impacted me so much and ultimately inspired me to write this post. 1 is from a former atheist, who converted to Catholicism. Her amazing story is found here. The other is a well known Protestant couple/family who has their own TV show! The Duggars: 20 and Counting. As in, twenty kids! Their story is found here. If you have the chance, check them out. POWERFUL testimonies of God’s love.
So hands down, by far the most commonly asked question I have received (from friends and strangers alike) since the day my pregnancy with Alizea was known is “How many kids do you want?”
Initially, despite my convictions, my response was centered around my desires, my dreams, my wishes for my ideal family size letting my selfishness and pride get the best of me. I always left the conversation thinking “Hmm…I don’t think that jives with your beliefs, Marisa, that children are a gift from God and a blessing and that we are to be open to life always. Do you really think you have control over that?” And I would whisper a prayer of apology for such a poor witness and pray for another chance to do better. I remember turning to Dean and asking him how to answer such a question. His solution was simple. “As many as God wants” which I liked. And got in the habit of using. For awhile. But slowly, over time, I would allow the nagging, joking or probing to the prior response to get to me and my answers then evolved into something like: “oh I don’t know, we’ll see” or “more than 2 or 3” clearly watering down the boldness and shifting the focus away from the Creator of life and back to me and my desires.
Well, over the years, I’ve come to realize that my answers and my thinking, that a gift so miraculous & loving was alright to shun, were downright selfish. Yes, I will admit on a human, selfish level, 4 kids sounds ideal. comfortable. fun. Something Marisa can
handle control. But on a spiritual/faith level, which we are called to live by every single day, what I truly want is what God wants because I do trust His ways are better than my ways and He knows my true needs way better than I do. Besides, who am I to say anything on the matter other than “Your will be done, Lord” Doesn’t it it ultimately come down to trusting Him in everything, every aspect of our life even with our bodies, our fertility, our family size???
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Dean describes it with this anology: If we truly believe children are a gift from God, who would say prior to receiving a (material) birthday gift, “I want 8 gifts today” or I only want 3 gifts”? Noone. And if they did, we would think they were selfish. It doesn’t logically make sense to try and take control of a gift which by definition is something we are to receive openly and gratefully from the Giver. He has also always challenged me with the argument that we have one life to live. That’s all! And as a wife/husband, mother/father we have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the lives of our children and our children’s children, to influence generations upon generations. In his words, “to miss that opportunity to impact so many lives because of one selfish act is unfathomable” (That’s your daddy, girls!)
So, for the record, my new and improved response to the infamous inquiry “So, how many kids do you want?” (in case you were wondering too) will be …..”As many as we’re Given!” It feels right. And I can honestly, truthfully and joyfully express that I do in fact want as many (gifts) as God gives us whereby I can freely live as I was created to be trusting solely in and in total dependence on the Maker of Life (because God only knows you have no other choice as a mom!!!)