O ye beneath life’s crushing load

I remember those holidays when I was single.  I remember the acute sense of loneliness when I showed up at a family gathering by myself and those pangs of longing as I left the festivities bursting with family and drove home. Alone.

I remember when I wept sitting under the lighted tree one Christmas Eve because I had been infertile for many years. There were no children to share the joy of the day. My arms and my heart felt empty.

I remember the Christmas when my Grandpa, who was so very dear to me, passed away a few days before the holiday. It was a consuming time with the funeral, visitation and dealing with grief. I barely noticed it was Christmas that year.

I also remember sensing God’s presence in those lonely times. When I cried out to Him, I was reminded:

For unto us a Child is born! Unto us a Son is given!

I pray those who might feel lonely today will know that Christ is born for them. You always have a family and you always have a baby to love if you have Jesus. He is our baby, our brother, our dearest One, and He is with us always. God made flesh.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, verse 2

The Scripture quote comes from Isaiah 9:6

The image is verse two from the Christmas carol “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” written by Edmond Hamilton Sears in 1849.

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Me and my 1.9 children

The post below called “Why Most Families have 2 Children”, though written 3 years ago circulated through my news feed several times recently:

http://mychildiloveyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-most-families-have-2-children.html

As of this writing, there have been nearly 700 comments on that post.  It struck a nerve with people. Many saw it as positive and others found it upsetting. I’ve read it a few times in the past weeks since it came to my attention.  Let me say, first off, that I think that the author has a good heart.  It is apparent that she meant well and wanted to be an encouragement.  Based on reading several of her other posts, she is a loving, caring and devout mother.  I think she wanted to encourage moms to see their children as a blessing, and to embrace their fertility, and to not be afraid to have a large family if that is possible in their situation.

At the same time, for me, it stung.  This was perhaps the part that hurt the most:

Do not misunderstand my words that mothers of two children have nothing to teach us. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying that with any job, usually the person whom has been there the longest and has the most experience is pretty wise. 

I hate to use this trite, overused phrase, but….I feel judged.  Me, with my  1.9 children.  Me, the girl who boldly proclaimed in high school, “I want to get married and have 10 kids”.  The same girl who went through eight years of infertility in my first marriage.  Who went on to re-marry, was blessed with  two children in her late thirties, and then lost our third baby in a miscarriage.  The same person who is now in her forties with  health issues that make pregnancy a little scary.

When you are in a church and/or home school community such as I live in, children are generally considered a tremendous blessing and “the more the merrier”.    Indeed, the mamas with large families are often wise and revered, and they often have good counsel for those of us with younger children, or who are just getting started.

Sometimes I’ve wondered:  How does this community look upon a mama like me, who has “only 2”?  As my great aunt said sweetly after our second was born “Now you have a millionaire family!”  I wondered about that expression until I looked it up. It meant that we had what is considered “the perfect family”, a boy and a girl.

When I go to home schooling events  or a new church and meet people for the first time, we inevitably have those “How many kids do you have/what ages, etc.?” conversations.  You will likely see my cheeks blush when I reply “two”, and sometimes I say “only two”, in an apologetic manner.  While nothing further is usually said, I always  long to explain to people that we didn’t stop there intentionally.

My husband’s favorite verse to quote to me is this:

Proverbs 29:25

Proverbs 29:25

Really, when it boils down, this is a pride issue for me.  I’m worrying too much about what other people think (even strangers!). At the same time, I consider myself immensely blessed by God to have this millionaire family.   Having  two children makes me feel rich in life. There were many years when I thought that I would never have babies. I treasure the gift of motherhood, perhaps in a way that I never would have if I had been granted my “dream” family of ten, right out of high school.   The years of my adulthood that I spent childless were full of  growing, learning and life circumstances that I carry into mothering now. I am utterly grateful to God that I have the opportunity to raise a son and a daughter.

My 1.9 children

My 1.9 children

It is most likely that I will never be a mother to ten children.  God is Sovereign.  His will is good and right and perfect.  He worked my crazy life according to His plan and used infertility, divorce,  circumstances, and even my own sin to draw me closer to Him, to humble me and help me to rely on His grace for everything.  No need to blush or apologize for my 1.9.