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My husband and I had never sat down and made a conscious decision that we would have a large family. The number of children to have was never discussed.
As time went on we embarked on two journeys. I call them our spiritual and our personal journeys. One led us to discover a faith we never even thought about before. The other made us question the things we had been led to believe by society over the years. Were the two linked? With the benefit of hindsight and a greater understanding of how God works in people’s lives, I believe they were. Years ago, however, they were two separate journeys that we embarked on — or at least they were in our view.
My husband and I had dated back in high school. We were together for two years before breaking up. I then got into a pretty bad relationship and didn’t get out of it until I had a six-month-old baby and another on the way.
I had been a single mum of two children for four years when Mike and I got back together. The following year I stopped using birth control and we began to try for a baby. It wasn’t to be. That year alone we experienced the pain of three miscarriages before we finally fell and carried our baby to term.
Over the years we had another five miscarriages in between successful pregnancies and it was during this time we began questioning birth control. The more we researched it, the less we felt there was reason for it and eventually decided that we would no longer buy into the birth control mentality and would trust and be prepared to accept more children into our lives. It didn’t make sense that we were trying to prevent conceiving a child when a month or two later we would be “planning” to have one, yet grieving when a miscarriage occurred.
We soon discovered that the world is a harsh place when you go against the grain. People don’t need to have large families any more, don’t you know, was the reasoning.
Then I would look at my children and think, which of my children would I choose to be without? If our hearts didn’t desire these children, which of these children would we not know?
Which of my children would not be hugging me? Who wouldn’t be running out to the car when Daddy comes home from work? Who wouldn’t be telling me their plans, their worries or their dreams? Which of my children would not be telling me they love me?
I have love to give and I know there is no limit to it. There is no limit, either, to the amount I can receive. I cannot imagine not having any one of my children in my life and I look forward to seeing who else is going to be entrusted to us.
Mostly, I am grateful for the journeys that led us here.